Each month, CGM writers get the chance to review the latest and greatest tech, toys, games and media. At the end of each month, we round up the ten highest scoring reviews to show our readers what gear and games we can stand behind with confidence! From our CGM family to yours, we want to ensure you never miss the top reviews to help you make informed choices on all your media and gear!
Here are our CGM Monthly Top 10 Reviews: August 2021
The Best of the Rest
Rode VideoMic Pro+
“A great feature of the mic is that, when it is attached to the camera via the TRS cable, it will power on automatically when the camera powers on. This helps you avoid that embarrassing moment where you check your footage and see that you have forgotten to turn on the mic. It is worth noting that this won’t work if the battery is low as it is trying to save power.” Here is CGMs review of the Rode VideoMic Pro+.
Final Thoughts: If you are a vlogger or if you produce any kind of video in the field, there are few options as good as the Rode VideoMic Pro+ and none of those options are nearly as affordable.
The Fantabulous 5
Life Is Strange: True Colors (PC)
“Like past games in the series, True Colors is a narrative adventure that relies heavily on choices and conversations. However, the world encourages a bit more exploration than other Life Is Strange titles. Multiple instances in each chapter have you exploring parts of Haven, like Main Street, and there is a wide variety of optional objectives and collectibles.” Here is CGMs review of Life Is Strange: True Colors (PC).
Final Thoughts: Life Is Strange: True Colors is an unforgettable journey with some meaningful messages.
Seagate Storage Expansion Card For Xbox Series X|S
“Nothing in my gaming career has been easier than using this expansion card. I figured there would be some trick, something I needed to fiddle with, to get it working. I plugged it in, and it was ready to go. That’s it. Just like a USB stick, pop it in the slot in the back of the Series X, and you’re good to go. I thought I’d done something wrong, but nope, it worked perfectly.” Here is CGM’s review of the Seagate Storage Expansion Card For Xbox Series X|S.
Final Thoughts: With only the price making me hesitate, the Seagate Storage Expansion Card for Xbox Series X|S is a flawless solution for our current-gen storage problems.
Dreame Bot Z10 Pro
“The Dreame Bot Z10 Pro boasts 4,000 Pa of suction power, which is quite impressive for a robot vacuum. For comparison, the Roomba s9 has an estimated 2,500 Pa, though to put it all in perspective, the Dyson V11 has about 24,000 Pa. But even on a high pile carpet (the trickiest of tests), the Z10 Pro leaves the rug looking clean.” Here is CGMs review of the Dreame Bot Z10 Pro.
Final Thoughts: The Dreame Bot Z10 Pro offers a number of user-friendly features and an impressive navigation system.
Razer Huntsman V2 Keyboard
“Razer is back with the latest iteration of the Huntsman, their optical switch-based keyboard. Bringing with it much of what they have learned in past iterations, the new Razer Huntsman V2 is a refined experience. It takes the best features from past keyboards and brings with it great additions that make the gaming experience better. From a new wrist rest to the new Sound Dampening Foam, the Razer Huntsman V2 is the new keyboard to beat if you demand only the best.” Here is CGMs review of the Razer Huntsman V2 Keyboard.
Final Thoughts: Razer has made a name for themselves with their keyboards, and the Razer Huntsman V2 is one of the best offerings so far.
Sony WF-1000XM4 Earbuds
“No matter what you are listening to, Sony has ensured the WF-1000XM4 deliver a clean, flat audio experience. While many headphones on the market will push the bass to make the sound feel “fuller” or more “impactful”, Sony has chosen to follow what they have done in the past and present the audio as it was meant to be heard.” Here is CGMs review of the Sony WF-1000XM4 Earbuds.
Final Thoughts: While a bit bigger than other earbuds on the market, the Sony WF-1000XM4 delivers some of the best sound and noise-cancelling you can find on earbuds.
The Top 10
“While the story on the surface sounds like it would be easy to adapt, it is the nuance and complexity of the story and world that make it a challenge. Many have veered into the realm of spiritual nonsense, missing the core of the series. Thankfully, Villeneuve has proven himself as a master of his craft, tackling the complex political, metaphysical, and personal aspects of the books without losing focus along the way.” Here is CGMs review of Dune (2021).
Final Thoughts: Dune is a masterwork blending complex ideas and visual storytelling in a way that brings the world of Arrakis to life in a way I never thought possible.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3
“The Galaxy Z Flip 3 features Corning Gorilla Glass Victus and offers a new protective film out of the box. Considering how malleable the underling screen technology is, the fact that I am not constantly fearful of damaging the device is amazing and it is all thanks to Samsung. It feels much more “glass” like this time around and is much easier to use then past foldable devices.” Here is CGMs review of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3.
Final Thoughts: With the Galaxy Z Flip 3, Samsung has finally shown the potential of a folding phone, and it is one of the most interesting and fun new devices on the market this year.
Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania (Nintendo Switch)
“Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania is just a fantastic game. It’s simple, arcade fun that anyone can enjoy; and perfectly suited to a system like the Switch where you can get easily get in a couple stages while on a bus ride or lunch break. If you missed these back in 2001, then you should definitely check them out now. It’s just classic fun that is hard to come by these days.” Here is CGMs review of Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania (Nintendo Switch).
Final Thoughts: Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania is a loving recreation and just pure, uncomplicated FUN!
NZXT H510 Flow Case
“The case offers a max CPU cooler clearance of 165 mm, max GPU clearance of 360 mm, with cable management offering 12-23 mm. While it can be tight at times, provided you don’t go overboard, you should have no problem slotting in a great PC, and have it look clean and sleek when all is said and done. The easy access glass side panel looks good and is great to show off the internals, with the left side panel working to hide the mess of cables should things get a little out of hand (although the cable channels make this less of an issue).” Here is CGMs review of the NZXT H510 Flow Case.
Final Thoughts: NZXT has delivered an amazing case that pushes the possibility of performance in a small, stylish design.
Death Stranding Director’s Cut (PS5)
“Perhaps third times the charm, or maybe I’ve just played too much Death Stranding, and I have now developed the gaming equivalent of Stockholm syndrome. Whatever may be the case, Death Stranding the Director’s Cut is not only the best version of the game, but it is also my favourite title to utilize the PlayStation 5’s DualSense controller.” Here is CGMs review of Death Stranding Director’s Cut (PS5).
Final Thoughts: Death Stranding the Director’s Cut is the definitive way to experience the game and is worth checking out for those who may have missed it on other platforms.
ASUS TUF Dash F15 Laptop
“ASUS has managed to combine the power of a high-end gaming laptop, the battery life and the professional style of a notebook, and a display that rivals some monitors out there. The device itself is absolutely gorgeous. The Eclipse Grey model tested could possibly be the prettiest computer I have ever seen. I love the elegant simplicity of the laser etched TUF logo on the lid. When you open it up, you can see some subtle ridging on either side of the keyboard which is a very nice balance and breaks up the smoothness of the rest of the computer.” Here is CGMs review of the ASUS TUF Dash F15 Laptop.
Final Thoughts: Despite there being no camera and the audio being less than ideal, the TUF Dash F15 is an amazing laptop and will easily do everything I want it to and aims to be future-proof.
Ring Doorbell Pro 2
“The Ring Doorbell Pro 2 is the smart doorbell company’s newest innovation of their original design, with more features and incredible user experiences than ever before. Between the better-quality video, Alexa integration, and top-of-the-line form factor and usage, the Ring Doorbell Pro 2 is easily the most useful smart doorbell on the market.” Here is CGMs review of the Ring Doorbell Pro 2.
Final Thoughts: Ring continues to improve its line of state-of-the-art smart security doorbells with the Doorbell Pro 2.
Final Fantasy IV Pixel Remaster (PC)
“These new arrangements have more depth and character, without altering their timeless melodies. Whatever the emotion behind each song, it’s enhanced—from the Red Wings’ militaristic theme, to the bittersweet Theme of Love, to the intense battle themes. (The Chocobo themes in particular are great, accented by some raucous brass, and Palom & Porom has never had such a funky bass line.)” Here is CGMs review of Final Fantasy IV Pixel Remaster (PC).
Final Thoughts: Final Fantasy IV Pixel Remaster is a nigh-definitive rebuild of an essential entry in the series, revitalized with a new presentation and only lacking the bonus endgame content of other ports.
NZXT Kraken Z63 RGB 280 AIO Cooler
“NZXT has iterated on the Kraken, and delivered a winner with the new Kraken Z63 RGB 280 mm. The small changes to the design and lighting make it great for customization, and the overall performance is what you would expect from NZXT. If you are looking for a cooling solution to add to your new build and want it to work in a system that is uniquely yours, give the Kraken Z63 RGB a look, you will be in for a treat. Here is CGMs review of the NZXT Kraken Z63 RGB 280 AIO Cooler.
Final Thoughts: The NZXT Kraken Z63 RGB is a fantastic AIO cooling system for people that want the best, while offering the ability to make it uniquely yours.
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2
“The Galaxy Buds 2 come built with a Dynamic two-way speaker that delivers crisp sound in a small package. In testing, I threw on a little La Isla Bonita (as performed by Rob Tardik), and the intricate sound of acoustic guitar, smooth bass and the subtle inclusion of castanets were as clear and vibrant as they would’ve been on my JBL 800. Bolstering the speaker quality is a wide array of equalizer options, as well as an impressive ANC—which boasts a 98% cut to background noise, to which I can personally attest to.” Here is CGMs review of the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 .
Final Thoughts: Despite a bit of mild finickiness, the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 maintain the brand’s high bar of quality in wireless earbuds.
And our Monthly Dishonourable Mention:
“A lot of movies have tried to adapt the reality of the global emergency into film. Films like Language Lessons use shooting limitations to create something cleverly shot over video calls. But this bizarre found footage feature reduces the pandemic to a punch line, engaging with it on a level shallower than a dried-up bog. You know those two-minute-long videos of white women screeching in grocery stores about not wanting to wear a mask that you wish they were caught by your twitter mute function? Imagine that, only feature length, and instead of telling you anything about society, it adds some poop and puke.” Here is CGMs review of Dashcam (2021).
Final Thoughts: Last year’s Host made genre fans throw their warmth at the young filmmakers who gave us community via a scary movie. Dashcam should kick them out of horror’s warm embrace.
That sums up our CGM Monthly Top 10 Reviews for September 2021. Come back on October 31st, 2021 to see how the world of tech, toys, games and media compares to this month!