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Whirlwind FX: Vortx Review

By Christopher Bowman on September 13, 2018 | Hardware Reviews | Comments

Whirlwind FX: Vortx Review

When it comes to immersion, video game companies do their best to draw you in. Whether it’s through a story or action, or just plain feels, they try and develop a connection with their game. Well, here comes the Whirlwind FX looking to immerse you like never before by adding plug-and-play environmental simulation. You read that right. This is our review for the Vortx by Whirlwind FX.

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Specifications

  • Price: $119.99 USD at http://www.WhirlwindFX.com
  • Dimensions: 5 1/2” W x 5 1/2" L x 9” H
  • Weight: 3 LBS
  • Air Flow: 15 MPH Max
  • Temperature: 99º F Max
  • Features: 
  • Instantly works with any game
  • Plug-and-play setup for most PCs
  • Innovative software dynamically responds to individual playstyles.
  • Compact design produces effects felt up to six feet away.
  • Adjustable air flow nozzle and custom temperature control offer precise settings.
  • Custom lighting responds to on-screen stimuli.

When you think of immersion, you probably don’t think about the environmental effects as more than eye candy, and you probably wouldn’t miss them if you haven’t tried this device out. I have had the opportunity to spend some time with the Vortx, a product that aims to bring the heat and wind of your games into the real world. Let me start by telling you a bit about how it works. 

The Whirlwind FX Vortx device is cutting-edge technology designed to get you more into the game than ever before , whether it is in virtual reality, or just playing your normal media, like games and movies or even watching YouTube. So how it works: as you would expect, to get immersed in your game and “feel” the environment, there is only one way to do that - fans. The device blows air like you would expect it to; however, there are specific abilities to how this works. This device has a controlled heating unit inside that allows for the buildup and storage of heat until needed. How do you get the heat when it is needed or the normal cooler air? This happens through the use of an air deflector built into the airway. What happens is when there is an explosion or something that you would expect to be hot, then the device releases air into the heat storage area and then blows it out into your face. 

So how does the device know when it needs to blow hot air? Well, I would say it was simple, but it really is all in the algorithm. The EX Algorithm, which was developed in-house, is programmed to take what you see and hear on screen, and it tells the device when to push it through the heating element and when not to. Basically, it has been programmed to recognize colors and to match those colors with a corresponding sound, all in real time. For instance when you look at the colors in an explosion what do you see? You see oranges, whites, and reds, but these colors mean little without the corresponding sound, right? So if you see red on the screen and then the device picks up the explosion sound effect, you will get a burst of warm air to simulate the explosion. But, if you see red on a door will it still cause that heat? The simple answer is no because the door doesn’t have the bombastic sound to go with it.

We have talked about the air deflector and the EX Algorithm already, but that’s not all. There is an adjustable nozzle, and it allows you to angle the bursts of air up or down or straight ahead at you. The Vortx allows the air to be blown up to six feet away but the sweet spot really is right around two-and-a-half to three-and-a-half feet, pointed at your face. 

Speaking of air bursts, the next feature is pivotal in this device: the intensity control. The knob at the bottom of the device is able to be pushed to change between sensitivity controls, heat controls, and custom lighting controls. You can adjust the sensitivity and the heat from zero to one hundred percent. For all you RGB hounds out there, this device has RGB lighting around the knob and there are three light strips underneath the device as well. You can choose a color from anywhere in the spectrum. All of this and it fits into a box that is less than six inches square while being only nine inches tall. 

The best feature of all though, this device works with ANY game, ANY movie, ANY media whatsoever. There is no additional coding needed to work with other programs besides what has already been coded. All of this is done through the Vortx Engine.

Conclusion

Overall this device is a wonderful piece of technology that really does allow you to feel like you are in the game. I have spent hours using it in Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds, watching movies like Doctor Strange, and watching YouTube videos, and the Vortx doesn’t disappoint. 

While playing PUBG I feel like I am flying through the air when jumping out of the plane, or feeling the air in my hair as a drive through the desert, or even when you get blown up by a grenade. It truly works the way they advertise it. The people over at Whirlwind FX really do care about gamers and how they play their games. With this in mind, they do have streamers in mind as well, so stay tuned for updates on that soon. I will be definitely using this on stream to try and get my viewers more immersed into the stream by being able to hear what I hear and feel. The price may steer some people away, but if you are a gamer that wants to experience true immersion with or without VR, then this is a buy for you. You will be pleased with the result. 

Pros

  • Immediate media immersion
  • Works with all kinds of media and games
  • Compact size for easy placement on your desk

Cons

  • Price is high for some
  • The fan is a bit loud

The product discussed in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purposes of review.