Adidas Sennheiser CX680i Review

Reviewing audio equipment such as headphones/IEMs is often a tough task; audio quality is often quite subjective — different people have different preferences and expectations as to how their audio equipment should behave.   Having said that, Sennheiser’s audio products are known to be pretty good and I was thrilled to receive a review unit of the Sennheiser CX680i. Let’s see how it plays.

Box Contents, Design &  Look And Feel

Along with the earphones, the box pack comes with a shirt clip, a cleaning tool, few extra tips and an Adidas branded carrying case.

The Sennheiser CX680i at first glance looks like pretty much standard IEM. However, the CX680i’s funky color is the first thing that’s going to grab most people’s attention. Personally, I found the near-florescent yellow color a bit jarring and flashy for my taste. Having said that, it does grab attention and I was asked by few of my colleagues for more details on the IEM. You don’t see that happening often!

Color issues aside, the CX680i is tagged as a sports-optimized design and there’s a neat little fin which helps the IEM hit snugly in-between your earlobes, preventing the IEMs from falling down while jogging.

Earphone pictures courtesy Sennheiser’s product page


The CX680i also acts as a headset, with an inbuilt-microphone and remote control jack for adjusting volume/activating voice controls/picking up calls. Unfortunately, this seems to be optimized only across iOS devices – for neither the control for accepting calls not the buttons for adjusting volumes/changing tracks worked with my Android-based Samsung Galaxy S II.  A shame this, having it work universally across devices is what Sennheiser should have aimed to do, rather than limit it to iOS devices.

Audio Quality & Performance

While I’m no audiophile, I do like investing on a  quality set of earphones, since I listen to music quite a lot. With this in mind, I had to judge the Sennheiser CX680i against my current earphones – the Denon AH-C360 and the Klipsch S4a.

When compared to the Denon & the Klipsch, the Sennheiser CX680i performed admirably well. The CX680i didn’t have the same level of thumping bass that the Denon had, but nonetheless was well pronounced and could be felt well. On the mids and highs side, the CX680i was not too harsh, well balanced and was quite pleasant to listen to. Pumping up the volumes to high levels didn’t introduce distortions and when plugged into a Fiio E5 earphone amplifier, the CX680i responded well, especially with the bass response. Overall, the 680i responded well to sounds across the spectrum, making your gym workout a pleasure to listen to. The fins on the earphone tips did well enough to prevent the earphones from falling out during mild jogging and the passive noise isolation worked very well —  so much so that I often wouldn’t realize I had people calling me out despite them standing right in front of me.

Pricing & Conclusion

With a retail price of about $100, the CX 680i isn’t exactly inexpensive. But with features such as sweat and water resistance and a Kevlar reinforced cable, the CX 680i is ideal if you listen to a lot of music and have an extensive workout set that keeps destroying your earphones.

Product page – Sennheiser CX 680i


Preload Need For Speed Most Wanted on Downloads4u

Game4u’s digital downloads service, downloads4u was launched few days ago(read my thoughts on the service here). Close on the heels of the launch, Electronic Arts’ newest game in the Need For Speed franchise, the rebooted Need For Speed Most Wanted is available for preload on downloads4u.

Preloading allows you to download the game before the game’s released. Once released, you’ll get the activation code, allowing you to start playing the game immediately, without having to wait for the physical media to ship over.

I’m a huge proponent of digital downloads & preloading, and it’s good to see more vendors are jumping on to the digital distribution bandwagon. You can buy preload Need For Speed Most Wanted by heading over here and purchasing the game using your credit/debit cards or netbanking. The game’s scheduled for November 2nd release and is priced at Rs 1499. While you wait for the download to complete, here’s live action TV ad and a gameplay video of what you can expect from Need For Speed Most Wanted.

Steam’s Halloween Sale is On!

Halloween is here, and if pumpkin carvings and trick-or-treating wasn’t fun enough, Steam’s enticing you to go online and buy some spooky games.

In typical seasonal fashion, Steam’s Halloween Sale is here. The sale runs till the 1st of November, and has some well known horror games on sale.

Here’s a list of some of the games on sale

These are just a small list of some of the most popular games on sale — head over to Steam to checkout the full list of games on sale.


Game4u Launches Downloads4u, A Digital Download Service for PC and Mac Games in India

Game4u, Milestone’s retail unit for PC and video games have introduced a digital download service known as downloads4u. Reporting for MCV India, Sameer mentions that as of now, the games available for download are limited to EA’s titles and few other titles from smaller publishers.

Titled downloads4u, the service allows registered Game4u users to purchase games and download them, much like EA’s Origin or Valve’s Steam. The accepted mode of payments include Net Banking and Credit/Debit cards.

To test out how the service works, I decided to buy Need For Speed:Undercover — for lack  of other better titles I was interested in. The service works, but there are some niggles which detract from the experience.

For starters, there’s no landing page or a prominent link to the downloads4u service. Navigation to the games available on downloads4u is limited by a drop down menu at the sidebar which is pretty easy to ignore and dismiss.

downloads4u location

The search results are pretty poor and there’s no way to filter only the games available for digital download. Once the title is purchased, the interstitial page was a rather bland page with title set as “Insert title here”.


The page offers you a direct link to a bootstrappable game executable — there’s no common downloads4u client available, so if you buy multiple games, your hard drive’s bound to be littered with bootstrapper for each game. Though the game downloader doesn’t have a pause/resume button on the UI, thankfully closing the app and then reopening it later does resume the download.

downloads4u client UI

I hope the downloads4u takes some time in improving these. Price wise, there’s no difference between the digital downloads and the retail unit. With Internet bandwidth at premium and ridiculous Fair Usage Plans(FUP) among Internet Service Providers in India, I’m not too sure if the service will take off. Perhaps a discounted approach at the games available might incite the users to try out the service.

Overall, I’m pretty happy that Game4u has started this service — digital distribution in India is still at a very nascent stage and with initiatives such as this and from EA’s Origin, I hope digital distribution becomes more commonplace.

Blizzard Rolling Out Patch 1.0.5 For Diablo III, Brings in Two New Events

Nearly two months after rolling out the previous patch which brought in a new leveling mechanism, Blizzard is rolling out Patch 1.0.5 across all regions. Along with lots of bug fixes, the patch brings in two new types of Gameplay events – the Infernal Machine and Monster Power. The gameplay mechanics of these events should bring few people back to playing Diablo III, if they had stopped. So what’re these events? Let’s take a look.

Monster Power

Back in the days of Diablo II, joining an open multiplayer game would result in the monsters getting tougher and consequently, the loot would be greater. Soon it was discovered that even in single player mode, entering “/players n” in the chat console, they were able to simulate more players joining the game.

Similar to this, Monster Power enables Diablo III players to increase the Monster Power level independently, across all the four difficulty levels. What does this mean? For me, who finds Hell relatively easy and Inferno nigh impossible, it offers me a chance to play without getting bored from the lack of challenge that Hell provides and at the same time, doesn’t make me flip tables in frustration.

Monster Power in Diablo III

Monster Power starts at zero (which means no power applied) and goes all the way up to Monster Power 10. So how does Monster Power reward you? Apart from the increased challenge, increased Monster Power will result in bonuses to experience, Magic Find and Gold Find – and the Magic/Gold Find bonus will let the character go stack beyond the 300% cap.

Monster Power Scaling

For those playing in Inferno, not only does bumping up the Monster Power increase Monster Health and Damage tremendously, there’s also a chance that the monster will drop a bonus item, with each bump in the monster level.

Monster Power Health And Damage Scaling in Inferno



Infernal Machine

While Monster Power ramps up the monster health and damage, Infernal Machine gives a unique twist to the game. Essentially, you kill preselected monsters(called Keywardens) to pick up keys and Infernal Machine blacksmith plan. Once the components have been collected, the player will be able to assemble the Infernal Machine.

Activating the Infernal Machine will summon a portal which will transport you to one of three realms consisting of not one, but two Boss creatures. The Boss pair is predetermined and can be one of

  • The Skeleton King Leoric and Maghda in the Realm of Discord
  • Ghom and Rakanoth in the Realm of Chaos
  • Siege Breaker and Zoltun Kulle in the Realm of Turmoil

Blizzard mentions that each of these Uber bosses will be as challenging as Diablo on Inferno difficulty, It should also be noted that Monster Power can be applied to the Infernal Machine event as well. The rewards? Killing each Boss pair gives the player a chance to harvest demonic organs  to create the Hellfire Ring with the following stats:

  • Primary stat with a set value range of 170–200.
  • +35% Experience
  • +4 Random Magical Properties
  • No Level Requirement
  • Bind on Account
  • Chance to launch an explosive Hellfire ball when you attack

With these 2 events, Blizzard is hoping that the players who took a break from the game will return to try out these.

In addition to the these, the patch is also expected to bring in fixes such as

  • Two new shrines
    • Empowered shrine to increase resource regen and reduce cooldowns
    • Fleeting Shrine to increase movement speed and pickup radius
  • Experience shrines will now appear in Inferno
  • Resplendent Chests will now grant a stack of Nephalem Valor
  • Legendary items are now marked as a column of light as well as a ping on the mini map.
  • Lots of bug fixes and changes to each of the characters

I’ve been playing Diablo III for nearly every day since it’s launch in May and with these changes, it seems unlikely that I’m going to give up my Diablo addiction any time soon.

EA’s Coupon Code Goof Up Results in Free Games Bonanza

Last night, Electronics Arts(EA) decided to be a little generous and offered few select people a coupon entitling them to $20 off, if they would complete a survey on Origin, EA’s digital distribution service. The coupon made it’s way across the Internet, went viral on Reddit and as a result, a lot of people were able to get the $20 off on few games which were retailing at $20, essentially giving them the game for free.

Origin Logo

Now the catch was that the coupon code was supposed to be one-time and applicable for one game — except EA forgot to put in the one-time check. Woops. Few enterprising souls discovered that they could use it multiple times. EA’s servers essentially didn’t bother to validate if the user had applied the code or not. Result: A lot of people got a lot of games for free. The list of games that could be purchased via the coupon code included

  • Battlefield 2 Complete Collection
  • Bulletstorm
  • Crysis and Crysis: Warhead
  • Dragon Age II
  • Dead Space 1 & 2
  • Mass Effect 1 & 2
  • Shank 1 & 2
  • The Saboteur

The exploit was patched nearly 18 hours after the coupon code was live, by means of making the coupon code as invalid. There were fears that people who made use of this exploit might face bans, but EA Community Manager rep confirmed that “they will honor all sales made with the coupon code.”

Game4u to Hold Midnight Launch for FIFA 13 Across India

FIFA 13, the latest game of EA Sports’  FIFA franchise is all set to launch in India on the 28th of September, 2012. In light of this, Game4u  is set to hold a midnight launch party at various cities across India. The launch is scheduled to happen on September 28th, 2012 with the launch party starting half hour early, at 11:30 pm on September 27th, 2012.

FIFA 13 Boxart

The first customer to purchase FIFA 13 will get a “First to Own” certificate from Game4u.

Here’s more details on the event:

Date: 27 September, 2012

Time: 11:30 PM onwards


  • Game4u, Mega Mall, Oshiwara, Mumbai
  • Game4u, Infiniti Mall, Malad, Mumbai
  • Game4u, MGF Metropolis, Gurgaon
  • Game4u, VIVA Collage, Jalandhar
  • Game4u, MBD Neopolis, Ludhiana

Mass Effect 3 Leviathan DLC Now Available Across All Platforms

BioWare’s action RPG game, Mass Effect 3, just got its second paid DLC. The DLC, titled “Mass Effect 3 Leviathan” is available on Xbox LIVE for 800 MS Points and on the PSN and EA’s Origin service for $9.99.

Leviathan brings in two extra weapons, the AT-12 Raider shotgun and M-55 Argus assault rifle — though pre-order customers would have no extra weapons since these were already available as part of their pre-order bonus.

Mass Effect 3 Leviathan gives a glimpse of a creature powerful enough to destroy a Reapers.  Catch the description and the game trailer below.

Something lurks in the dark corners of space, something powerful enough to kill a Reaper. Shepard must discover the most closely guarded secret in the galaxy before the Reapers silence it forever.

Mass Effect 3: Leviathan expands upon the events of Mass Effect 3, with gripping and emotional storytelling, compelling new characters, and powerful weapons and upgrades. Discover more about the origins of the Reapers as you race across the galaxy to find the Leviathan. Travel to new systems, wield the AT-12 Raider Shotgun and M-55 Argus Assault Rifle, and unravel the dark history of the Reaper Race before it is too late.

Blizzard Rolling out Massive Patch for Diablo III, PvP Still Not in Sight

If you pay a casual trip to Blizzard’s Diablo III forums, you’ll find whole lot of people whining about lack of things to do once they’ve hit the level cap. In an attempt to address this and to encourage people to try out more diverse character builds, Blizzard is currently rolling out Patch 1.0.4 — quite probably the biggest patch yet in terms of adding new features and balancing various characters.

One of the biggest complaints has been the level cap — beyond 60, your character stops growing and for a RPG game, character growth is quite possibly one of the biggest motivators in keeping you hooked onto the game. To combat this, Blizzard has unveiled what they term as the “Paragon” system.

Diablo III Installer

With the Paragon system, players level up to 60. Post that

  • Any further experience earned killing monsters will begin to count toward Paragon levels
  • There are 100 Paragon levels
  • Every Paragon level results will reward the character with:
    • Core stats such as Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, and Vitality in amounts similar to what you’d gain from a normal level
    • 3% Magic Find and 3% Gold Find
  • A border will surround the character portrait in the in-game party frame to denote the Paragon progression. A new frame will be earned after every ten levels

Diablo III Paragon system

Besides the Paragon system, the patch brings in a lot more changes including:

  • Magic Find and Gold Find is now capped at 300%
  • Health of normal monsters is increased by approximately 5%-10% in Inferno. Health of Champions and Rares is reduced by 10-25%
  • The likelihood that normal monsters drop magic or rare items is increased by a factor of four
  • Minion monsters are no longer invulnerable
  • Legendary items are improved, both in terms of damage done and bonuses offerered as well as their ingame animations
  • Lot of changes for all characters — Barbarian, Wizard, Monk, Demon Hunter and the Witch Doctor
  • Auction house improvements: Auctions can now be cancelled at any time, provided there are no active bids on them, allowed number of “Preferred Stats” per search is increased from 3 to 6.
  • Nephalem Valor now grants +15% Bonus Experience per stack, as well as +15% to Magic Find and Gold Find
  • Magic Find is no longer averaged among all players in a multiplayer game

You can review all the changes the patch brings in from the patch notes. Patch will be applied at approximately following times, across different server regions:

  • The Americas: 3:00 a.m. PDT to 1:00 p.m. PDT (8/21)
  • Europe: 8:00 p.m. PDT (8/21) to 6:00 a.m. PDT (8/22)
  • Asia: 11:00 a.m. PDT to 11:00 p.m. PDT (8/22)

Despite all these much welcome changes, the PvP system is yet to come, and is expected to arrive in Patch 1.1, whenever that gets released. We’ll keep you posted on other major patch changes as and when they occur. Drop a comment  if you think the patch changes will improve your Diablo III experience.

Editor’s Pick of the Week: Llama

Welcome to the second edition of Editor’s Pick Of The Week. This week Sathya talks about a location based automation tool for Android devices, Llama.

Have you ever been in a situation where you’ve walked into your office, begun a discussion with your colleague, only to be disturbed by your loud notification tone? Or have a bunch of app updates/RSS feeds/ Other apps scheduled for auto-update when WiFi connection is available, only to forget enabling WiFi once you’re at home because you were preoccupied with some other work.

This happens to me often, and it often frustrated me that I’d remember to switch on WiFi late in morning, instead of previous night — or have a notification alarm sound off when I’m in the middle of a heated discussion. I sought our techie-buzz’s resident Android guru, Rajesh, for an app suggestion and I took Llama for a spin. Needless to say, it’s been one of the best apps that I’ve ever installed.

What is Llama?

Llama terms itself as a “Location Profiles” app which, honestly is quite an uninspiring name. Llama uses GSM cell phone tower locations to mark designated areas. And once you enter/leave the designated areas and upon on other conditions, Llama lets you trigger actions. Llama supports a whole lot of conditions and triggers — some of the parts of your Android phone Llama can act upon include:

  • 2G/3G/4G network modes
  • Bluetooth
  • GPS
  • Play, pause and other media buttons
  • Mobile Data (before Android 2.3 only)
  • Run apps
  • Screen brightness
  • Wifi

allowing you to create events based on

  • Current location
  • Battery level
  • Calendar events
  • Charging
  • Phone start up and shut down
  • Time of day
  • Wifi networks

and so on. So how do I actually use this app? First, you’ll have to train Llama to ensure it knows what the areas are. I’ve defined some set of rules to automate few things that I would otherwise have to do manually.

llama rules

The rules include:

  • Switch off WiFi once I leave home – WiFi hotspots are rather rare here, and I’d enable it if required. This allows me to save on some battery life
  • Switch on WiFi when I reach home – Enables dropbox, Google Currents, Google Play to auto update.
  • Quiet at Work between 08:30 and 18:45, change to quiet every 15 minutes — Llama also allows for actions to be triggered at repeated intervals and at specific times. This rule automatically puts the phone on silent mode between the times mentioned, and the repeated interval check ensures that even if I accidentally enable sounds, it gets disabled.
  • Switch to Normal once I leave Work — My phone doesn’t have to be silent mode anymore, once I leave work.
  • No mobile data when connected to Wifi – Once I’m on Wifi, my phone doesn’t need mobile data enabled, neither do I need 3G enabled. Having these results in better battery backup.
  • Disable 3G at work: The 3G coverage at my workplace is very spotty, with transition between 2G to 3G and vice versa happening very often, killing my battery. Having 3G disabled means that my battery lasts longer.

These are just some of the rules that I use, and Llama’s UI, though not pretty, is quite intuitive. Llama’s available for free on the Play store, though I went ahead and purchased the Donation version simply because the time I have saved using the app has been enormous.