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Best Gaming Headsets Under $100

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When it comes to video-gaming, full immersion is critical to get the best experience possible. And total immersion is done by having a couple of different things: an excellent monitor or TV if you’re a console gamer, the right peripherals, and a kickass sound system. Full surround sound, large speakers that shake the walls, the whole nine yards. Total immersion means having a sound system that is like that of a movie theater. Ever been to the movies and felt like you were right dab smack in the middle of whatever it is you’re watching? It has a lot to do with the sound system of that theater. Everything that happens on screen and its corresponding sounds may bombard you from the correct direction. Does an explosion occur to the right according to the screen? You hear most of it with your right ear. A bird flies and squawks above? You listen to it above you. A proper sound system puts you in the center of the action and makes you experience the movie, or in this case, the video game, on an entirely new level.

However, it’s not always possible to have a large and powerful sound system in the home or the apartment. Maybe space is an issue, and you can’t have prominent speakers lying around. Perhaps the building manager will blow his top if he hears another complaint from a tenant that you’re playing video games too loudly. When this happens, what you need is a video game headset.

Video gaming headsets are the best option for playing video games at high audio fidelity if you are unable to set up loudspeakers in your room. They are essential in making sure that not only can you hear what’s happening correctly and at high quality, but also so that you can communicate with any one of your friends online. And this is very important, especially when it comes to cooperative games that require a lot of coordination and synchronized action.

But what exactly are video game headsets, and how are they different from regular headsets? And for those with a tight budget, what are the best gaming headsets under 100?

Best PS4 Gaming Headset

Logitech G430 7.1 Gaming Headset

Logitech G430 7.1 Gaming Headset

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Best Overall Gaming Headset

Corsair Void Pro RGB Wireless Gaming Headset

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Best Xbox One Headset

Turtle Beach Ear Force XO One Amplified Gaming Headset

Turtle Beach Ear Force XO One Amplified Gaming Headset

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Corsair Void Pro RGB Wireless Gaming Headset

Best Overall Gaming Headset

“The design is so sleek and sophisticated that walking down the street with these won’t make you pop out like a sore thumb.”

Connectivity: Wireless

Sound: Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound, 50mm Drivers
Microphone: Unidirectional Noise Cancel
Colors: White with black accents, pure black, shades of gray

We consider this the best of the best gaming headsets under 100 dollars. Why? Not only does it feature Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound, but it also has a foldable unidirectional noise-canceling microphone and wireless long-range. It’s also not all plastic, even if the beefy headband and outer shells are. Because the earcup brackets are metal, which is a plus because those are stress points, the padding is memory foam covered with a soft fabric for the headband and mesh for the earcups. The earcups are also more spacious, able to cover large ears instead of pressing them to the side of the head.

Not only that, the design is so sleek and sophisticated that walking down the street with these won’t make you pop out like a sore thumb (unless that is your goal.) The simple elegance of the white, black, or gray colors will also allow it to match the aesthetic of any outfit, gaming chair, or mobile device. It’s also easy to use. Attach the transmitter on any USB port. Turn both that and the headset on. The pairing happens automatically. And with the Corsair Utility Engine, you can customize other things like the mic levels and the RGB lighting as well.

But the centerpiece feature of this gaming headset is the Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound. It is the real surround sound. There won’t be any mistaking every single bit of sound you hear. It will tell you exactly where that bullet ricochets, where that orc roared in anger. Where that spaceship flew from — all with pinpoint accuracy.

All for $69.99. It is why we have chosen the Corsair Void Pro RGB Wireless Gaming Headset as the best of the best gaming headsets under 100.

Key Features:

  1. Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound – real surround sound that utilizes multiple sound channels for 3d immersion.
  2. Comfort level – memory foam, breathable fabric, and microfiber mesh allows for extended listening times with very little physical stress or discomfort.
  3. Well, balanced sound – the 50mm neodymium speakers are tuned specifically for gaming. It features a wide range and deep bass.
  4. Crystal-clear wireless connectivity – 40ft range with very low latency that’s very clear and smooth.
  5. Long battery life – 16 hours capacity makes sure that you will never suddenly run out of charge during a vital game moment.
  6. Noise-canceling unidirectional microphone – foldable and easy to get out of the way.
  7. Durability – high-quality plastic and metal frames for the earcups can take the constant abuse of high-intensity gaming.


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Turtle Beach Ear Force XO One Amplified Gaming Headset

Turtle Beach Ear Force XO One Amplified Gaming Headset

Best Xbox One Headset

“This gaming headset was made to take your Xbox One listening experience to a whole new level.”

Connectivity: Wired to the controller

Sound: Amplified Stereo Microphone: Removable omnidirectional mic boom Colors: Black with green earcup interior

If the Xbox One is your console of choice, then the Turtle Beach Ear Force XO One Amplified Gaming Headset is the gaming headset for you. As the name implies, this gaming headset was made to take your Xbox One listening experience to a whole new level. It plugs directly into your Xbox controller, which makes controlling the headset on-hand right on your fingertips.

At first glance, the headset doesn’t look spectacular. It seems quite plain. A black plastic body just about looks like any basic headset or consumer headphones. But don’t let its looks fool you. It comes with features that enhance Xbox One gaming to the max. That, along with an unparalleled audio response for gaming headsets, meant for consoles.

Audio quality and mic quality are right at the sweet spot for Xbox One gaming. The sounds coming from the drivers are clear and robust and delivers the audio of Xbox One games perfectly. The bass will rock your socks off but doesn’t drown out other audio elements. But if that’s not enough, use the two-step Bass Boost and kick it up a notch or three.

Comfort-wise, the headset features large oval earcups that can accommodate ears of all sizes. Soft mesh with equally soft foam make long gaming sessions very comfortable and allow your ears to breathe. The entire unit is lightweight and so comfortable that they’ll sit as naturally on your head as your hair.

And the ChatMix controller that connects to the Xbox One allows you to control the game sounds and the chat volumes easily and independent of the other. Why is this important? Because many gaming headsets will only have one volume controller on the device. Usually, if you want to adjust the chat volume, you’ll have to press the Xbox button to open the guide, select the right menu items to get to volume, then choose the chat mixer, and adjust from there. With the Turtle Beach Ear Force XO One Amplified Gaming Headset, the controls are right there. Just press up or down to adjust chat volume or game volume, and voila: on the fly adjustments without having to fiddle with menus and options that take your time, and most importantly, your attention away from the game.

But just because the headset was made to make Xbox One gaming better doesn’t mean it can’t be for anything else. If your phone or device has a regular 3.5mm jack output, then you’re good to go. Take out the mic, and its plain appearance makes it blend naturally as a pair of consumer headphones. Pop it back on, and you can use your headphones for mobile phone calls.

Overall a versatile Xbox One gaming headset that can be for outside the gaming room.

Key Features:

  1. Powerful and precise audio – 50mm drivers deliver properly attuned audio quality that significantly enhances Xbox One gaming.
  2. Deep and controllable bass – solid bass sounds that pack a wallop without disturbing other audio elements.
  3. ChatMix controller – take command of the Xbox One’s game audio and chat audio without fiddling with anything else.
  4. Highly sensitive mic – removable boom mic that can pick up each word you speak very clearly.
  5. Lightweight with breathable comfort – mesh covers on soft foam makes extended use very easy on the ears and the head.


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Logitech G430 7.1 Gaming Headset

Logitech G430 7.1 Gaming Headset

Best PS4 Gaming Headset

“If the PS4 is your console of choice, then you can’t go wrong with the Logitech G430 7.1 Gaming Headset.”

Connectivity: Wired

Sound: DTX Headphone X, Dolby 7.1 Surround Microphone: Foldable noise-canceling boom mic Colors: Black with blue earcups and trim

If the PS4 is your console of choice, then you can’t go wrong with the Logitech G430 7.1 Gaming Headset. Let’s not beat around the bush. The best features of this gaming headset are the fact that it features the DTS Headphone: X and Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound technology. It is perhaps the most immersive gaming headset available for the PS4 and deserves a spot in our best gaming headsets under 100 list.

You can choose between DTS or Dolby modes, and both deliver an outstanding quality immersive sound that will only vary slightly depending on whether you are using the headset for PS4 gaming or just regular music. Either way, it will deliver audio with a punch as the bass is cranked up to eleven without being distorted. It is clear despite the oomph it gives and will make games with a lot of explosions and other loud special effects clear.

The foldable mic picks up your voice clearly and cancels unwanted sounds very well. Controlling the headset is easy and straightforward, with the inline remote attached to the durable braided cable. One key difference between the G430 and its higher-end and more advanced cousins is the lack of controls on the earcups and programmable keys. But these are advantageous as no earcup buttons mean that the headset is lighter, and not including programmable keys means that the cost of the G430 can push to the below $50 range.

Despite the price, however, the G430 has comfort and style befitting gaming headsets at the $80 price range or higher. A sporty aesthetic matched with actual sports performance cloth over the earcup cushions matches the fast-paced, high-energy gaming you’ll be doing. The earcup padding is removable and replaceable if they do get damaged from prolonged use. There’s also comfortable padding on the headband to ensure that even if you play on your PS4 all day long, the top of your head won’t be sore.

Did we say PS4? Because the G430 includes a PC adapter for desktop players. So if you own both, this gaming headset is a steal at $42.44 and deserves this spot in the best gaming headsets under 100 list.

Key Features:

  1. DTS Headphone: X and Dolby 7.1 Surround – two very immersive audio delivery systems that work well with PS4 and PC games, movies, and more. Pick and choose between the two at your whim.
  2. Superb noise-canceling foldable mic – your teammates will hear you, and only you, as unwanted ambient sounds, are filtered out.
  3. Calculated bass boost – feel every loud and deep sound-effect of your game clearly and with no distortion.
  4. Unparalleled weight and comfort – streamlined earcups with no buttons for control and very soft foam with sports fabric make long gaming sessions easy.
  5. Sporty aesthetic – if you want to show-off just how serious a video-gamer you are, the sporty design, coupled with the bright blue accents, will do the job.


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What Are Gaming Headsets, And How Are They Different?

To the uninitiated, it may seem like gaming headsets are just regular headphones with a microphone attached. And at its very core, that’s correct. You can dismiss a gaming headset as something just as simple as that. But you’ll be shortchanging what a gaming headset can do. And what kind of added benefit it can give when it comes to gaming.

To fully understand what gaming headsets are, it is also essential to know what differences there are when it comes to gaming headsets, studio headphones, and consumer headphones.

Consumer Headphones

Consumer headphones are what you can consider the most common kind of headphones today. Prominent brands make these with the sole purpose of delivering quality sound to as many people as possible, in the most stylish way possible. If you see a pair of headphones with a known company logo, like Sony, Beats, or SkullCandy, then chances are those are consumer headphones.

Consumer headphones focus on style and design. Their products can deliver varying qualities of sound, no doubt. But because the headphones are made to be part of an outfit or a lifestyle, the design is the main center trait. Headphones that are meant to fit into a particular style of clothing. Headphones that are convenient because they can fold and store in small everyday bags. Headphones that don’t show any electronics or screws come in different colors or have no cables. These are mostly the focus of consumer headphones.

Sometimes, however, because of all of this focus on aesthetics and lifestyle design, some elements suffer — comfort, durability, and most importantly, sound quality. Frequently, what people pay for when it comes to consumer headphones, are the prestige of the logo and the “cool” factor rather than the audio quality itself.

That’s not to say that consumer headphones don’t have a lot of features underneath their fancy exterior shells. On the contrary, you can argue that consumer headphones have the most features out of all kinds of headphones available out there. Top of the line consumer headphones packs as many features as possible to provide the best listening experience possible: noise-cancellation, wireless capabilities, phone controls, and more. Some of the most modern models can even adjust the way they deliver the sound based on how well they are on your head! It makes headphones more than just a tool to listen to music.

When it comes to listening to music and audio, however, consumer headphones aren’t lacking. The headphones focus on delivering sound in a way that will not make it difficult for the user to listen for long periods. The audio signature is often “warm,” which means that the treble is more relaxed, and the bass boosts higher. The signature allows the music of all kinds, even the bad and lower quality ones, to sound more alright. It might not be the best kind of sound delivered by headphones, but it will work well enough. Whether it’s during workouts in the gym, commuting home from work, or just chilling with friends over some coffee.

Studio Headphones

Studio headphones are what professionals in the audio and music industry use. It provides very accurate sound fidelity for recording music or mixing tracks. And if it’s good enough for that, then it’s undoubtedly great for the average music listener! Some of the brand names you will see in these studio headphones won’t be as familiar as the more commercial ones, but you will recognize a few. Pioneer and Sony, for example, also make consumer headphones. But Audio-Technica, Fostex, and so on, focus on pro-quality headphones.

What makes studio headphones stand-out is that the emphasis is on the audio quality. But not only that, but they are also built to last long. Tight and durable from hours of use and abuse in the warzone that is the recording studio. Most of these studio headphones are made using high-quality materials. Specifically, most studio headphones have a metal headband instead of a plastic one. Metal parts are in the ear cups and the rest of the frame. Sometimes plastics are used, but when they are, even the lowest priced studio headphones will use higher quality grade plastic.

On the downside, many of these studio headphones look very similar to one another. But that’s because they stick to a classic design that works properly, so the rest of the work can go to ensuring high sound quality. That’s not to say there aren’t variants available, because there are. It’s just that they aren’t as diverse as consumer headphones.

Going back to talking about the audio quality, studio headphones have a very neutral sound. Put it in layman’s terms; this means that whatever music or song you will hear using these headphones will sound precisely the way it was intended to sound. After all, when professionally mixing recordings, accuracy is the name of the game. To us regular listeners, we will get to experience a track the way the composer or mixer meant for it to sound. The downside, however, is that if the track is low quality, or flawed in some way, then you will hear it as well.

What many people don’t know is that most popular music and tracks mix so that they sound good on regular audio devices. There’s a signature to it that makes it sound “pop.” The same goes for normal video game sounds and the like. So studio-quality gear isn’t as compatible with these tracks. If you wish to hear how a song or a musical piece was meant to sound like, then these are the headphones for you.

Perhaps the best part of studio headphones is that the price can be quite low and well below 100. It is because the costs of these kinds of headphones fluctuate and change almost every week, hitting low prices depending on the current trend. So if you’re looking to get a pair of headphones under 100, then these are an option. But if this is the case, then why should you get still get a gaming headset for gaming?

Gaming Headsets

You can consider gaming headsets the best of both worlds, and yet even more. It has very similar tech and tunings as studio headphones, and the style and design elements of consumer headphones. Combine those, add a bunch of gaming and online interactivity technology, and voila! Gaming headsets are so good that you can even use them as your everyday headphones, and look good doing so. So unless you have to have those designer brands on your daily commute and feel like you have to hear every nuance of every note when you listen to music at home, you won’t need to get a separate pair of headphones. A gaming headset should be enough to satisfy all those needs and still give you the functionality you need for all your video games. Brands like SteelSeries, Razer, HyperX, and more are the top brands for gaming headsets.

The microphone and surround sound quality are the two main assets of a gaming headset. Why is a microphone essential? In online gaming, when explosions and gunfire or magic spells and fireballs are exploding, your teammates must hear what you’re saying. And most gaming headsets have high-quality, very versatile microphones that can either be detached, magnetized to the side of the earpiece, or folded out of the way. So that when you need to use your headsets for other things, it’s easy and convenient.

Surround sound is perhaps the most significant asset gaming headsets have. Top of the line headsets provide a gaming experience unlike regular headsets and come with both the hardware and software to support this. Now, why is this necessary in gaming? It’s because if you hear an explosion, footsteps sneaking around, or a creature breathing heavily, you have to know where to look to react quickly. Surround sound will help point you in the right direction. Not only that, surround sound helps with the all-important immersion in a game. If you’re walking inside a lush forest full of birds chirping and animals frolicking about, hearing them from different directions brings them all to life — a haunted mansion where each creaking door and the skittering insect brings the terror up many levels. The list goes on and on.

And gaming headsets are perhaps the most versatile of all headphones available. They function well on a technical level because of their tuning and sound capabilities. They are fashionable due to the design choices of the brands to fit many gamer personalities. And they are packed with features from both consumer headphones and studio headphones, with more to spare.

So it seems like when it comes to deciding on which headphones to get, the gaming headset is the best choice, correct? We can’t say it is for everybody. But if you are a gamer, even the most casual of players, then a gaming headset is the best choice among the different kinds of headphones.

But if gaming headsets come full of features, surely they cost an arm and a leg to get, right? The bad news is, many of the top-of-the-line headsets cost quite a bit. The good news, however, is that you can get an excellent gaming headset for under 100 dollars.

Yes. You read right. For under $100 you can get not just a decent gaming headset, but a perfect one. And we’re not just talking about gaming features. Other features like noise cancellation, wireless Bluetooth, and many others are all present in the best gaming headsets under 100 dollars. Not only that, they can go toe-to-toe against consumer headphones of $200 and up that have the same features but cost higher because of the brand or the hype.

Kinds Of Gaming Headsets

Now before we dive into the best gaming headsets under 100 dollars, you need to know precisely what kind of a gaming headset you should get. Because there are some variants to gaming headsets, it is crucial to figure out precisely what you need or would fit your lifestyle the best.

  1. Wired or Wireless – at first glance, this seems to be a no-brainer. A wireless gaming headset looks to be the best choice all around. Why? Because it gives you freedom. Whether you’re a PC or console gamer, having no wires means you can get up at any time and still be in communication with your teammates in a game. You can go to the bathroom for a break. Or you can go to the kitchen for a snack. And you’ll always be in the heat of the action. If you’re going to use your headsets for other things like listening to music while in the gym, it’s also very convenient, not having wires that could get tangled in a machine or your weights reduces the risk of your headset damaging. And yes, wireless options are a feature in some of the best gaming headsets under 100. There is a catch, however. Wireless means you’re reliant on the battery charge. And you wouldn’t want to get cut off right in the middle of a critical gaming moment. So you will have to be mindful of making sure your headset is charged correctly or has enough charge left during a gaming session. Something that you wouldn’t need to worry about when using wired gaming headsets: sure, you wouldn’t have the same freedom of mobility that wireless gaming headsets will give. However, you won’t ever need to worry about suddenly, not hearing anything because the charge has depleted. Not only that, because it doesn’t use wireless tech that adds cost to the headset, a wired gaming headset might have extra features that a wireless version won’t have. So if you’re a gamer who doesn’t mind wires, and wants to make sure you can listen and communicate uninterrupted, a wired gaming headset is the choice. Now before we proceed to the next kind, we’d like to point out that sometimes there will be an issue regarding static or interference when it comes to wired vs. wireless debate. Wireless headsets are said to be prone to static or interference caused by other devices. Anything that emits a strong electrical field, or even a mobile phone itself, could cause these issues. And that wired headsets do not have this problem. Yes, in some kinds of wireless gaming headsets, especially during the early years, these problems are very evident. However, the technology these days have reduced, if not outrightly eliminated, the chances of these issues happening.
  2. Real Surround vs. Virtual Surround – we mentioned earlier that surround sound is present in gaming headsets. And this is true. However, there are two kinds of surround sound: real and virtual. Real surround sound technology requires the use of multiple different channels. Regular headphones only have left and right channels (stereo sound.) With numerous channels from Real surround, the immersive effect of hearing from different directions is possible. The downside, however, is that this comes at a high price. And if real surround sound is present in one of the best gaming headsets under 100 dollars, it probably means a handful of other features won’t be present. The cost is why most gaming headsets under 100 use virtual surround sound. Virtual surround sound functions similar stereo sound, which has the simple left and right channels. However, it utilizes these left and right channels in a way that simulates real surround sound. It isn’t as accurate nor as precise as real surround sound, but it does the job of providing that multi-directional immersive feeling. You can still recognize what direction a sound is coming from, even though it’s not as exact or as precise. If you’re the type of gamer, who veers towards being more of an audiophile than anything else might prefer real surround sound. Even at the cost of losing some other features. Especially if you’ll be using your gaming headset of other things like watching movies, but if you’re more a gamer than anything else and would prefer to have more gaming features on your headset, virtual surround should be exceptional.

Conclusion

There are many more in the best gaming headsets under 100 markets, but these are our top picks. Just remember that when choosing which one is the best gaming headset for you to always consider the key elements: wired or wireless, real or virtual surround sound, for PC, consoles, or all, and of course the price range. These, along with other features like ease of control, audio quality, and so on.

Whatever gaming headset you choose, your gaming experience will kick up a few notches. And it will be hard to play games without them ever again.



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California’s net neutrality law dodges Big Telecom bullet • The Register

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The US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday upheld a lower court’s refusal to block California’s net neutrality law (SB 822), affirming that state laws can regulate internet connectivity where federal law has gone silent.

The decision is a blow to the large internet service providers that challenged California’s regulations, which prohibit network practices that discriminate against lawful applications and online activities. SB 822, for example, forbids “zero-rating” programs that exempt favored services from customer data allotments, paid prioritization, and blocking or degrading service.

In 2017, under the leadership of then-chairman Ajit Pai, the US Federal Communications Commission tossed out America’s net neutrality rules, to the delight of the internet service providers that had to comply. Then in 2018, the FCC issued an order that redefined broadband internet services, treating them as “information services” under Title I of the Communications Act instead of more regulated “telecommunications services” under Title II of the Communications Act.

California lawmaker Scott Wiener (D) crafted SB 822 to implement the nixed 2015 Open Internet Order on a state level, in an effort to fill the vacuum left by the FCC’s abdication. SB 822, the “California Internet Consumer Protection and Net Neutrality Act of 2018,” was signed into law in September 2018 and promptly challenged.

In October 2018, a group of cable and telecom trade associations sued California to prevent SB 822 from being enforced. In February, 2021, Judge John Mendez of the United States District Court for Eastern California declined to grant the plaintiffs’ request for an injunction to block the law. 

So the trade groups took their case to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which has now rejected their arguments. While federal laws can preempt state laws, the FCC’s decision to reclassify broadband services has moved those services outside its authority and opened a gap that state regulators are now free to fill.

“We conclude the district court correctly denied the preliminary injunction,” the appellate ruling [PDF] says. “This is because only the invocation of federal regulatory authority can preempt state regulatory authority.

The FCC no longer has the authority to regulate in the same manner that it had when these services were classified as telecommunications services

“As the D.C. Circuit held in Mozilla, by classifying broadband internet services as information services, the FCC no longer has the authority to regulate in the same manner that it had when these services were classified as telecommunications services. The agency, therefore, cannot preempt state action, like SB 822, that protects net neutrality.”

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which supported California in an amicus brief, celebrated the decision in a statement emailed to The Register.

“EFF is pleased that the Ninth Circuit has refused to bar enforcement of California’s pioneering net neutrality rules, recognizing a very simple principle: the federal government can’t simultaneously refuse to protect net neutrality and prevent anyone else from filling the gap,” a spokesperson said.

“Californians can breathe a sigh of relief that their state will be able to do its part to ensure fair access to the internet for all, at a time when we most need it.”

There’s still the possibility that the plaintiffs – ACA Connects, CTIA, NCTA and USTelecom – could appeal to the US Supreme Court.

In an emailed statement, the organizations told us, “We’re disappointed and will review our options. Once again, a piecemeal approach to this issue is untenable and Congress should codify national rules for an open Internet once and for all.” ®

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RCSI scientists find potential treatment for secondary breast cancer

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An existing drug called PARP inhibitor can be used to exploit a vulnerability in the way breast cancer cells repair their DNA, preventing spread to the brain.

For a long time, there have been limited treatment options for patients with breast cancer that has spread to the brain, sometimes leaving them with just months to live. But scientists at the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland (RCSI) have found a potential treatment using existing drugs.

By tracking the development of tumours from diagnosis to their spread to the brain, a team of researchers at RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences and the Beaumont RCSI Cancer Centre found a previously unknown vulnerability in the way the tumours repair their DNA.

An existing kind of drug known as a PARP inhibitor, often used to treat heritable cancers, can prevent cancer cells from repairing their DNA because of this vulnerability, culminating in the cells dying and the patient being rid of the cancer.

Prof Leonie Young, principal investigator of the RCSI study, said that breast cancer research focused on expanding treatment options for patients whose disease has spread to the brain is urgently needed to save the lives of those living with the disease.

“Our study represents an important development in getting one step closer to a potential treatment for patients with this devastating complication of breast cancer,” she said of the study, which was published in the journal Nature Communications.

Deaths caused by breast cancer are often a result of treatment relapses which lead to tumours spreading to other parts of the body, a condition known as secondary or metastatic breast cancer. This kind of cancer is particularly aggressive and lethal when it spreads to the brain.

The study was funded by Breast Cancer Ireland with support from Breast Cancer Now and Science Foundation Ireland.

It was carried out as an international collaboration with the Mayo Clinic and the University of Pittsburgh in the US. Apart from Prof Young, the other RCSI researchers were Dr Nicola Cosgrove, Dr Damir Varešlija and Prof Arnold Hill.

“By uncovering these new vulnerabilities in DNA pathways in brain metastasis, our research opens up the possibility of novel treatment strategies for patients who previously had limited targeted therapy options”, said Dr Varešlija.

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Surface Duo 2 review: Microsoft’s dual-screen Android needs work | Microsoft

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Microsoft’s second attempt at its interesting dual-screen Android smartphone corrects some mistakes of the original, but falls short of a revolution due to a series of oddities created by its physical laptop-like form.

Looking more like a tiny convertible computer than a phone, the Surface Duo 2 starts at £1,349 ($1,499/A$2,319), a lot for a regular smartphone but slightly cheaper than folding-screen rivals.

It opens like a book, with each half just 5.5mm thick, and a hinge that allows it to fold all the way over.

Microsoft Surface Duo 2 review
There is no screen on the outside, but the time and some basic alerts for SMS and calls can be shown down the spine of the hinge. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Inside are a pair of 90Hz OLED screens each measuring 5.8in on the diagonal. They can be used on their own or combined as one display measuring 8.3in – a similar size to an iPad mini. Both screens are covered in traditional scratch-resistant smartphone glass and have large, old-fashioned bezels top and bottom.

Having two separate displays rather than one that folds in half creates a major drawback: a gap in the middle of the screen big enough that you can see through it, which is much harder to ignore than the crease in the middle of a flexible display as found on the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3.

Microsoft Surface Duo 2 review
The gap between the screens sits right in the middle of the combined display, which makes full-screen reading, scrolling and watching video awkward. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

You can use two different apps at the same time on the two screens. The theory is sound, but I found few pairings were useful beyond simple messaging apps and a browser. More useful was using one screen for a note-taking app and the other for a full keyboard like a mini laptop.

Some apps spanned across both displays, like Outlook, can put different information on each screen, such as your inbox on one side and an open message on the other. Some games, including Asphalt 9 and Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass streaming service, put controls on one screen and the action on the other. But there are very few apps and games optimised for this setup.

microsoft surface duo 2 review
The two screens can be folded into various configurations, including just a single display, both combined into one large display, propped up like a tent or open like a mini laptop. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Specifications

  • Screens: two 5.8in AMOLED 90Hz displays

  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888

  • RAM: 8GB of RAM

  • Storage: 128, 256 or 512GB

  • Operating system: Android 11

  • Cameras: 12MP wide, 16MP ultra-wide, 12MP 2x telephoto; 12MP selfie

  • Connectivity: 5G, USB-C, wifi 6, NFC, Bluetooth 5.1 and location

  • Water resistance: IPX1 (dripping water)

  • Dimensions closed: 145.2 x 92.1 x 11.0mm

  • Dimensions open: 145.2 x 184.5 x 5.5mm

  • Weight: 284g

2021’s top Android chip

microsoft surface duo 2 review
It takes two hours 15 minutes to fully charge the Duo 2 hitting 50% in 45 minutes, using a 45W USB-C charger (not included), which is pretty slow compared to rivals. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The Duo 2 has last year’s top Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chip with 8GB of RAM, matching the performance of top-flight Android smartphones from 2021 and capable of running two apps running side-by-side without slowdown.

Battery life is more variable than a traditional phone. It lasts about 32 hours between charges, with both screens used for about four hours with a variety of messaging, browsing and work apps. It lasts about a third longer if you mostly use only one screen. That’s a considerably shorter battery life than a regular smartphone and behind the Z Fold 3.

Sustainability

Microsoft Surface Duo 2 review
The camera sticks quite far out of the glass back stopping it from sitting flat on a desk. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Microsoft does not provide an expected lifespan for the Duo 2’s battery; those in similar devices typically maintain at least 80% of their original capacity for in excess of 500 full charge cycles. Microsoft charges an out-of-warranty service fee of £593.94 to repair devices and £568.44 to replace the battery. The previous generation Surface Duo scored only two out of 10 on iFixit’s repairability scale.

The phone contains no recycled materials, but Microsoft operates recycling schemes for old devices, publishes a company-wide sustainability report and a breakdown of each product’s environmental impact.

Android 11

Microsoft Surface Duo 2 review
The single screen mode is hard to use one-handed and most Android apps and websites are designed for longer screens, not short and fat ones, so you end up having to do a lot more scrolling than you would on a regular phone. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The Duo 2 runs Android 11 – not the latest Android 12 – and generally behaves like a standard Android smartphone or tablet with a few small additions that make it easier to use each screen separately. One of the best is the ability to drag the gesture bar at the bottom of an app to move it between screens or to drop it on to the gap between the screens to span it across both displays.

The software can be a bit unpredictable at times, such as opening the keyboard or text box of an app on another screen or hiding a second app from the screen when you try to type. But it is generally a fast and responsive experience given how unusual the device is.

The Duo 2 will receive three years of software updates from release, including monthly security patches, which is disappointingly at least a year short of what rivals, including Samsung and Apple, offer. Microsoft’s last planned update for the Duo 2 will be 21 October 2024.

Camera

Microsoft Surface Duo 2 review
Because the camera is on the back of the device, it would be blocked if you fold one of the screens over, meaning you have to shoot photos with both screens open – which is unwieldy. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The Duo 2 has a triple camera on the back and a 12-megapixel selfie camera above the right-hand screen.

The rear main 12MP camera and 2x telephoto cameras are good, capable of producing detailed shots in a range of lighting conditions. The 16MP ultra-wide camera is reasonable, but a bit soft on detail and struggles with challenging scenes. The camera app has most of the features you’d expect, such as portrait mode, night mode and slow-mo video, and can shoot regular video at up to 4K at 60 frames a second.

The 12MP selfie camera is capable of shooting detailed photos even in middling light, and has access to the dedicated night mode when it gets dark.

Overall, the camera system on the Duo 2 is solid, but it can’t hold a candle to the best in the business.

Observations

Microsoft Surface Duo 2 review
The camera lump on the back stops the device folding fully flat, creating a wedge shape when using one screen only. The shiny power button is also a fingerprint scanner, which was fairly fast and reliable. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian
  • The Duo 2 supports Microsoft’s Slim Pen stylus, which can be magnetically stored and charged on the back of the device when not in use.

  • The stereo speakers are decently loud but a bit tinny, fine for watching YouTube videos.

  • The width of the device makes it a challenge to fit into smaller pockets.

Price

The Surface Duo 2 costs £1,349 ($1,499/A$2,319) with 128GB, £1,429 ($1,599/A$2,469) with 256GB or £1,589 ($1,799/A$2,769) with 512GB of storage.

For comparison, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 costs £1,599 and the Galaxy Z Flip 3 costs £949.

Verdict

The Surface Duo 2 is an improvement on its predecessor, but is still a very odd proposition that’s neither a good phone nor a good tablet.

The individual screens are short and stout, forcing lots of scrolling in apps when using it like a phone and making one-handed use very difficult. The gap at the hinge makes combining them into one big tablet screen awkward too.

Using two apps side-by-side works well, but few combinations proved useful or faster than just quick switching between two apps on one screen on a normal phone. There is more potential in apps like Outlook that provide a multi-pane view, but few apps or games are optimised for the dual-screen system.

Microsoft is only offering a disappointing three years of software and security updates from release for the Duo 2, too, losing it a star.

It is good to see Microsoft trying something different. But ultimately the Duo 2’s two screens are just not yet as good or useful as either a single phone screen or a bigger folding screen, making it an expensive halfway house.

Pros: two screens, two apps side-by-side, multiple modes, top performance, hardened glass screens, decent camera, head-turning design.

Cons: gap between screens, few optimised apps, average battery life, bulky camera lump, chunky in pocket, hard to use one-handed, no real water resistance, only three years of software updates from release.

Microsoft Surface Duo 2 review
The outside of the device is smooth glass front and back with quality-feeling plastic edges and a metal hinge. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

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