SteelSeries H Wireless Headset Review

SteelSeries H Wireless Headset

SteelSeries takes quality seriously at all price levels which makes it an easier choice when it comes time to spend the big bucks on a great headset. ~J.A. Laraque

SteelSeries H Wireless Headset

Often when you are looking to make a purchase your thinking about what you need the product for and how much you are willing to spend. We also know that style, branding and personal preference often come into play. If you have read any of my reviews you know that I try to put myself in the shoes of the various consumers out there that will be making the decisions on what to buy. You will get the technical data you need and my personal options, but it is also about hitting the important points that a wide array of shoppers look to be hit upon when doing research to make the right choice.

SteelSeries H Wireless Headset

When it comes to headsets you often have two major camps, those who only use headphones when they have too, and those who prefer to always use a headset. So when reviewing the SteelSeries H Wireless Headset, I thought of those two camps first. Now before looking at the various decision points first thing first is the price. At $299.99, this is a purchase for someone that is serious about headphones. While spending for quality regardless of how much you may use a product is a smart move, those with a budget need to think as well as research before making the decision to spend this amount on any headset.

SteelSeries H Wireless Headset

Most likely if you are reading this review you are a gamer and I can say right off the bat that this headset is truly built for gaming. You have to keep in mind however, that just using the term gaming headset does not mean that it is necessary for gaming. Think of it like a home stereo system. I have friends over on the AVS forums that have spent thousands of dollars to build the perfect home theater system, but even they will tell you that it is not 100% necessary nor is it needed if all you do is watch a few hours a television a week. On the other hand, if you are seriously into gaming then the high quality sounds the H Wireless Headset delivers will not only increase the experience of gaming, but in competitive gaming the Dolby Headphone surround sound allows you to hear things all around you clearly which is a major plus for games where you hunt or are hunted.

SteelSeries H Wireless Headset

Now comfort is king, while it may be more important to those who always have their headsets on, comfort should be important to everyone. The memory foam padding on the headband and ear cups are seriously comfortable. I personally made sure to test this by wearing it during my off day working from my home office. I played music, games, talked on Skype and Ventrilo and watched Netflix. It was about 6 hours total of me wearing the headset and I never felt the need to take it off due to discomfort or because my ears were getting sweaty. The microphone quality is great and the Chat and Live Mix features balance the audio from games to music and movies to your voice and the voices of others. Also the wireless capabilities are about 40 feet and it worked from different highs through doors and other rooms of the house.

One of the questions about wireless headsets was battery life and interference. As far as battery life, again the H Wireless Headset knows what gamers need. They understand that when your battery goes low you need to pop in another one fast. The good news is the battery life is a little over 20 hours and the transmitter holds a secondary battery that charges while the other is in the headset. It is quick and easy to remove the plastic cover on the headset, remove the battery, pop out the other fully changed one in the transmitter, pop it in, pop the other in the transmitter to begin charging and get back to gaming.

SteelSeries H Wireless Headset

The transmitter itself is also a great feature. First, you get all the cords you need to hook up your PC, Xbox, Playstation even your television. You can connect the transmitter via USB or a standard AC power cable that is included. Now the box itself is very small, but stylish. It kind of reminds me of the Apple TV box. It is well put together with a clear display that shows you the various menu and settings options, volume and battery life. As stated, you can connect different and multiple devices and use the profile system to switch between them. You can also adjust the various audio settings using the transmitter menu and can be done for your different profiles. I have profiles for my Xbox and PC and played around with another for my friends PS4.

SteelSeries H Wireless Headset

Now interference, I really wanted to test this since people used to hate wireless headsets because of this. I tried everything from having a large number of other wireless devices to being near my microwave, my large speaker system and even outside my home far past the 40 feet distance. I never got any interference, not even with my phone, this is due to the frequency hopping and fixed audio stream that the H Wireless Headset has so there is no lag and it is low latency, in everything I did the audio remained smooth and clear.

SteelSeries H Wireless Headset

So here is the problem. As said, if you are a gamer who always uses a headset and are into seriously good gaming audio quality then the price point is not an issue. However, if you are not, it will be. Consider that one of the main critiques of the H Wireless headset is it does not perform well with other media. I do not completely agree, what I would say is that for the price and even just comparing it to other SteelSeries headsets I find the H Wireless headset did not make a vast improvement over other models.

I also own the Siberia headset and have for a while now, for under $100, I found it had great quality for gaming as well as music, movies and voice. Now obviously it is not wireless nor does it have all the features of the H and the H beats it in gaming. However, I used the Siberia for a long time and loved the way it played music and the surround sound I heard in TV and movies. It is also very comfortable and has similar noise reduction and microphone features. So the issue becomes, if you are not an avid gamer do you need the H series. My honest option is that you do not especially if having wireless capabilities are more of a bonus than a must.

SteelSeries H Wireless Headset

The H Wireless headset preforms to me just as well as the Siberia in music and movies, but it is within games that it shines and makes the price point understandable. Also it is additional features like the retractable microphone that hides away in the headset and glows red when you mute it which you can do via the buttons on the headset itself or the transmitter. You can also control the volume from both devices and for those with Bluetooth devices like Android or iOS, you can connect those to the transmitter as well.

Overall for the gamer who lives with his headset and demands the best in gaming audio performance the SteelSeries H Wireless Headset delivers that hands down. For those on a budget or who are more casual with gaming as well as headset use, perhaps the Siberia would be a better choice. Either way it shows SteelSeries takes quality seriously at all price levels which makes it an easier choice when it comes time to spend the big bucks on a great headset.

Product Notes and Statistics

SteelSeries H Wireless Headset

HEADPHONE

Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20000Hz
Weight: 297g (without battery)
Max Volume: 100dB* SPL @ 1kHz
Ports: Wired Mode / Share Port,
Chat port, mini USB FW update port

TRANSMITTER

Wireless Range: 12m (40ft) straight line
Latency: <16ms, fixed
Ports: Analog In, Analog Out, mini USB,
Optical In, Optical Out, Power
Battery Type: Rechargeable Lithium-Ion, 1000mAh
Battery Life: 20 hours per pack, typical usage

MICROPHONE

Frequency Response: 100Hz – 10000Hz
Mic Pattern: Unidirectional
Indication: Red LED on mute

BOX CONTENTS

H Wireless Headset & Transmitter
(2) Battery packs
(6) Cables: Optical, USB, Power,
Analog, Mobile, Chat
Power adapter with (4) worldwide plug ends

Logitech G430 Surround Sound Gaming Headset Review

We have been using this headset for about two months daily before writing this review.

logitech g430 gaming headset
logitech g430 gaming headset

Cable/Wire:

The connectors are standard, gold-plated mini-jack audio connectors that are not just compatible with all computers but MP3 players as well. The main cable is thin and it splits into a cable that you connect to a sound source as well as a cable that lets you use the microphone. If you don’t want to use the standard audio connectors the headset comes with an adapter that converts the two plugs into a USB adapter. It’s recommended to install the software that comes with the headset should you wish to use the USB adapter with full functionality and support, as far as using it with a Windows PC. The cable is bright blue which is useful in the sense that it can prevent you from stepping on the cable since it is much more visible than a standard black cord. It also has a controller that lets you mute and unmute the microphone as well as adjust the volume of the headphones. The cable is long enough that they will be adequate for most situations.

Comfort:

The headset is light which helps the level of comfort in general and after extended usage. The ear pieces are soft to the touch and are easy on your ears. Since the earpieces are made out of cloth they won’t get hot (like most full ear headphones do) since they vent your heat successfully. This is great for marathon gaming (the kind that we usually do).

The earpieces can be rotated a full 90 degrees which make them easy to transport in most laptop carrying cases with no problems.

Construction:

This headset is mainly made out of plastic, rubber, and cloth. The thing most people will notice is the usage of the neon blue color on the earpieces and the headband.

We’ve dropped them (a couple of times) to see how sturdy they are on a tile floor and they only suffered minor damage that did not affect functionality.

Microphone:

We have tested the microphone with Skype, Ventrilo, TeamSpeak, and Raidcall and it worked great with virtually no configuration needed on our part. The sound quality is crisp.

The microphone can be muted either from the volume control in the cable or also by raising the microphone up from it’s working position.

Software:

The headset came with an installation pamphlet that directs you to download the latest software for the headset from the Logitech website. Once downloaded it installs an application that for the most part is dormant and becomes active when you connect the headset to your computer. You can use it to play around with the equalizer and other adjustments of that nature.

Sound Dampening:

When using this headset the material of the earpieces successfully blocks most outside noise. This is great for when working or gaming but it can result in people screaming to get your attention because the headset does a great job.

Sound Quality:

The level of fidelity is high in this headset. It does not distort badly even if set at maximum volume.

Loudness:

This headset gets loud which goes well with how successful they are sound dampened. They can be heard 5 feet away if you take them off and you have them reasonably high.

Surround Sound:

The 7.1 surround sound that is built into this headset works great with gaming and movie watching, for which they are intended. The surround sound features are designed by Dolby and they are effective in creating a realistic surround sound environment.

Value:

These headphones cost around $100 new, which seems like a reasonable price to me.

Conclusion:

I recommend these headphones over the similar Logitech G35 Headset that I reviewed earlier. They cost about the same and work better with less configuration on the user’s part. They are almost the same except that the G430 does not include the programmable sound buttons (that most people don’t use anyways), and they are superior because they have regular mini-jacks as well as the ability to connect via USB.

Hands-On Review: Plantronics GameCom Commander

The folks at Plantronics have put out a limited edition headset for the ultimate pro gaming experience, the GameCom Commander. With a price tag of $299.99, I decided to take it for a spin and see about that.

Plantronics GameCom Commander

First Impressions:

The Commander comes in with a lofty entrance. A heavy-duty carrying case hides and protects the headset and all it’s attachments, complete with a heavy latch to attach the protective case to your belt loop, luggage or backpack.

The case will do it’s job in protecting the valuable headset inside. I tried everything to hurt this thing, from pulling and yanking on the latch to actually standing on the case and it took the abuse with no evidence of it. Considering I’m a former pro wrestler, I have to conclude that this is a pretty tough carrying case.

First Impressions Score: 9 out of 10

Installation:

The wires and attachments were easy to remove and connect quickly. The drivers also installed on my PC very fast. I was up and running within moments, a big plus to me.

The only real issue here is that the headset uses the standard Windows drivers, something those wishing to use it at home more often than outside events may not wish to be stuck with.

Installation Score: 9 out of 10

Sound Quality:

Outstanding. The 7.1 Dolby stereo surround sound ensured I could hear every detail, footstep and audio queue on every game and song I attempted to use with it.

A big assist here goes to the noise cancellation ability of the Commander. The basic design of the headset comes from headsets that were originally designed to block out the noise of jet engines. All I could hear was what I wanted to. Any outside noise, even the sound of my own voice, was blocked out.

The heavy duty microphone provided the clearest sound I’ve heard with a headset. Regardless of if you are using the Commander to call out enemy positions in the middle of a team deathmatch or making a Skype call, every word you speak will come out with incredibly clarity on par with anything out there.

Sound Quality Score: 10 out of 10

Form Factor:

The Commander has both highs and lows in this department. I’ll start with the good news first.

This headset is tough and will likely last longer than your keyboard and controllers will. As I noted earlier, I’m a pretty big guy and yet my experience with the Commander marks the first time I’ve ever been unafraid that I might break a headset. I considered giving it the same test that I gave the case and see if it could take me stepping on it, but opted not to since I have to return this sample copy to Plantronics.

The volume control uses a flat dial that makes it hard to accidentally bump in the middle of play. The odds of accidentally muting yourself in the middle of a firefight or blasting your ears off accidentally are low.

On the flip side, however, the Commander is almost too much of a beast to be comfortable to wear. The weight of the product might be too much for some users, and after extended use I felt considerable discomfort around my ears and jaw, as if the headset was putting far to much pressure. I found no easy way to adjust the Commander for a more comfortable fit, meaning that it may not be ideal for marathon gaming sessions or lengthy conference calls.

Form Factor Score: 6 out of 10

Overall, the GameCom Commander delivers the experience it advertises and is built to last for the long term. The $299.99 price tag brings along a tough-as-nails design that ensures your investment will survive whatever you plan to put it through.

I only wish it was more comfortable to wear. People of different shapes and sizes may have a different experience in that regard while others might not want to trade off comfort for sound quality.

Total Score: 32 out of 40

Logitech G35 Surround Sound Headset Review

 

I’ve had this headset for about 5 months. Keep in mind how long a product was used when reading a review!

Logitech G35 Surround Sound Headset

Cable/Wire:

The headset connects through USB connector that is attached to a thick, very sturdy cable. This is great design improvement over other headsets that have a cable that’s thin and easy to get cut or broken. The cable is also long enough that you probably won’t need to get an extension for them. Even if you need an extension, USB cables are cheap to extend these days so that is not really an issue.

Comfort:

These headphones are extremely comfortable to use. The ear piece parts are well designed enough that it won’t make your ears sweat much and they will hug your ears providing great comfort as you use them. I haven’t gotten my ears to hurt by using these headphones for an extended period of time. I’ve used them 14 hours non stop and I haven’t felt uncomfortable during that period of usage.

Construction:

This headset is pretty sturdy. It seems to be made of aluminum, rubber, and the ear parts of imitation leather. I’ve dropped them from 8 feet and they only barely got scratched.

The headset has buttons on the left side of the ear muff that you can use to trigger functions such as launching your favorite media player, controlling it, reconfiguring them, etc.

Microphone:

The microphone works whenever you have the mouthpiece down; the rest of the time you can turn it off by lifting it up. The light on the piece helps you know when it is on or off. I’ve gotten good response from my guild/clan mates regarding the default sound quality of the microphone (tested using Skype and Teamspeak, using auto calibration).

Software:

It’s completely optional to install the software that comes with them but the software is useful for when tweaking the settings of the headset. The software/drivers sometimes go a little crazy if you decide to plug them in or unplug them during system critical points like in the middle of booting windows. From my experience this is a program that most USB audio peripherals seem to have versus traditional audio plugs. Sometimes I have to manually set my output to either be the headset or my speaker set depending on what I did.

Some games require you to quit them in order to use the headset correctly if you plugged them in while you were using speakers before. Usually the newer a game or program is, the less likely it is to have this problem. For example, Guild Wars 2 works like a charm but World of Tanks requires restarting the game for the headset to work.

Sound Dampening:

These headphones are extremely efficient when it comes to blocking out external sound. Usually when I am using them while talking to my guild on Teamspeak and my girlfriend is talking to me, I have to put one ear offset to be able to hear what she is telling me. I love this feature because I live at a house where there are plenty of loud noises most of the time (dog barking, people watching TV at airport noise level volumes, etc.).

Sound Quality:

For me, the best way to test sound quality is to play all different ranges of music on whatever audio equipment I’m testing. The sound quality is really good all throughout except for the bass when at maximum volume. Although the bass is decent enough when gaming, when playing bass heavy music you see a limitation in the bass feel of these headphones.

Loudness:

The G35’s max volume is loud enough to appease most users. I’ve had more powerful headphones in that past that were so loud that people two rooms away could hear them. Due to the better design, only the wearer can really hear the sound when they are worn.

They are loud enough that some games might shock you. I don’t classify them as being loud enough to make one go deaf but then again this is subjective.

Surround Sound:

The surround sound in these headphones is even better than the 5.1 Surround Sound speakers I use and they are also from Logitech. I was very impressed by them, especially when gaming and they make you have a significant advantage while playing a game with a good audio engine. The first time I used these headphones I was playing World of Tanks at 4 AM, at max volume, and it was amazing to hear cannon shells flying by and exploding all around me. It felt like actually being in a real battle.

The surround sound capabilities are specifically useful for hearing things behind you in games and in movies that take advantage of proper sound channel placement.

Value:

Right now the Logitech G35 Headset can be bought for about 90-100 US Dollars. I think that’s a fair price considering what you are getting.

Conclusion:

The Logitech G35 Headset is great to get if you are a gamer, live in a loud place, or need to use Skype/Teamspeak/Ventrilo privately with a good microphone.

The SteelSeries Diablo III Headset Review

SteelSeries Diablo III Headset Review

SteelSeries Diablo III Headset

First thing you will notice when holding the box, is the Diablo III art all over the package. Then when you open the package you realize how light this headset is!

Inside the box you will find the headset, a quick start guide, a SteelSeries professional gaming gear insert, a nifty SteelSeries sticker,  and a USB extension cable.

The USB extension cable will be important, because if your keyboard does not have a built-in USB port, the cable on the headset might be too short. SteelSeries realized nobody likes excess cables that you can trip over so they reduced the main cable length and included the USB extension cable. This gives you more options than other headsets where you would have to hide the excess cable. The only thing to note is that the USB extension cable isn’t gold plated or braided. But since it would probably be routed behind your desk you wouldn’t even see it.

SteelSeries Diablo III Headset Box

I tested the Diablo III headset with the following games and applications: Star Wars – The Old Republic, World of Tanks, The Witcher 2, TeamSpeak, and Ventrilo. Both the microphone and headset were astounding. The 50mm drivers on the headset do a superb job on the high, mid, and low-ranges. And the microphone allows you to retract it into the left ear-cup. This is a great feature if you just want to use them for listening to music.

The SteelSeries software for the headset feels like you’re in a menu of a Diablo game. You have several options to adjust the intensity and pulsation of the red LED lights. And the best part of the software, you are able to adjust the Equalizer to your liking.

The overall feel to this headset screams quality. From the attention to detail paid on the cable lengths to the light weight of the product. You can definitely see SteelSeries did their homework on gamer’s “work environments” and thought of everything.

SteelSeries-Diablo-3

Rating 9.5 of of 10.

Technical SpecificationsHeadphones

  • Frequency: 18 – 28.000 Hz
  • Cable Length:
  • Headset (1m / 3ft)
  • USB Extension (2m / 6.5ft)
  • Headset Jack: Gold Plated USB

 

Microphone

  • Active Noise Reduction: up to 20dB
  • Frequency: 50 – 16,000 Hz
  • Pick up pattern: Uni-directional
  • Sensitivity: -38 dB

 

SteelSeries Siberia v2 Gaming Headset Review

SteelSeries Siberia V2 Full-Size Gaming Headset Black and Gold Edition

Looking for a great gift for the gamer in your life? The great thing about getting them an excellent pair of headphones is not only will they enjoy all their games and media in high quality sound, but it keeps the rest of the house quiet. Well, until they yell out “Boom Headshot!

Personally I have never been a fan of headphones mainly because I love to crank up the sound in my office, but mainly because of uncomfortable headphones that just become bothersome after wearing them for a few hours. One of the first things I noticed with the Siberia v2 was how comfortable they were.

This is achieved by two means. One is their unique band that adjusts to your head. With most headphones you need to pull and adjust them to fit, but the Siberia v2 fits like a soft leather glove and speaking of leather that brings us to the number two reason.

When wearing headphones after a few hours you really can tell if the padding on the earpieces are made for comfort or not and the soft padded cushions built from sound dampening foam really does keep you from even noticing you are wearing them.

Let’s face it, if you are a gamer you are spending a lot of time doing what you love, so, if you are chatting using Ventrilo or Skype or in game voice clients you want a headset that feels great to wear for long periods of time and the next important factor is sound.

steelseries-siberia-v2-black-gold-plated

First let’s look at the numbers:

Headphones

  Frequency response: 18 – 28.000 Hz

  Impedance: 32 Ohm

  SPL@ 1kHz, 1 Vrms: 112 dB

  Cable length: 1 + 2 = 3 m (9,8 ft.)

  Jacks: 3,5 mm

Microphone

  Frequency response: 50 – 16.000 Hz

  Pick up pattern: Uni-directional

  Sensitivity: -38 dB

So first the tech. The Siberia v2 uses high-performance 50mm driver units to produce an optimized soundscape for games, music and other media. However, when it comes to games the headset really shines especially in FPS games. The Siberia v2 is engineered so you can hear the direction of enemies or sounds from all around you. I personally tried this out in Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3 and believe me it makes a difference.

It is established that the Siberia v2 has high-quality sound, but what about volume and noise reduction? Earlier we talked about the leather padded cushions made with sound dampening foam. How does this translate into the real world? The staff at Obsolete Gamer travels often and of course we game or listen to media on the plane. With too many headphones you get the high quality sound and high volume, but you still hear too much outside noise which kills the immersion factor.

SteelSeries Siberia V2 Full-Size Gaming Headset

The combination of the sound dampening foam and the precise fit of the Siberia v2 allows the sound quality to remain within while blocking out passive noise. Now you will still hear some of the jet engine, but much less than other headphones and even ear buds that I have tried. Now place yourself in a noisy dorm or home and the passive noise reduction means you will be focused on the game not outside distractions.

Finally we come to the microphone. Anyone who has been in a Ventrilo channel knows what it is like to have someone with a bad mic. With the Siberia v2 one of the first cool things is its retractable microphone. Forget that crappy bendable wire that reminds me of the microphone in fast food joints. This mic can hide away in the left ear cup when not in use and pulls out easily when you need to talk.

The Siberia v2’s microphone is uni-directional so you don’t need to swallow the mic to talk. Also, the microphone is optimized for voice chat meaning you will come across clear without the need to yell unless you must have a Leroy Jenkins moment.

I got to test out the Black and Gold special edition and as you can see they look pretty sweet, but you can find them in an array of colors on the SteelSeries website. Two last things to mention. One is the extended cords that come with the headset which is great for those whose PC is far away from them or when connecting them to another media device. Like your prom date said, nothing is worse than a short cord.

Second is the volume controls on the cord. Sure, this is nothing new in the world of gaming headsets, but the Siberia v2 controls are smaller than most and not noticeable until you need it. The volume itself can get pretty loud which is great and being able to adjust the sound as well as mute the microphone at the touch of a button puts the icing on the cake.

All in all the Siberia v2 is a great gaming headset and for about $90 it is in the perfect range for those looking for a high quality audio experience. We were so pleased with these headphones we gave it our Totally Not Obsolete seal of approval.