GW2headset_11 Editorials

SteelSeries Guild Wars 2 Gear Review: Headset


The second part to our SteelSeries Guild Wars 2 gear review is here, courtesy of SteelSeries and ArenaNet. Previously we showcased our review of the Guild Wars 2 mousepad – you can check it out here. Read on to find out our verdict on the Guild Wars 2 headset.

Packaging

When I received the package containing the gear, I was initially impressed by the quality of the box. Made of cardboard, the box has a front lid that opens to reveal a plastic window showcasing the headset. All the usual features, tech specs and other various marketing pieces adorn the box but it’s still something you wouldn’t mind keeping for the sake of it. Moving inside, along with the headset there’s also the usual safety instructions and promotional leaflets. Something something to note is the black material used on the outside of the inner packaging used to hold the headset, does have a tendency to rub off onto the white headset, so I don’t recommend storing it in there for long.

SteelSeries Guild Wars 2 Headset

A Closer Look

The headset itself has excellent adjustability and is very user friendly. Based on SteelSeries’ Flux headsets, it’s able to fold up into a compact size for easy storage when on the move or lying on a desk, through folding and extending sides and rotatable (and tilting) ear cups. In addition, these sides and ear cups also make fitting the headset comfortably on your head easy and hassle-free.

In terms of looks, the headset sticks nicely to Guild Wars 2 styling, using a white and red colour scheme that gives a good-looking, clean design. It’s finished in comfortable soft-touch texture plastic, with the ear cushions (called SNDBlock cushions due to their sound-cancelling properties) using an outer cloth layer and an inner leather layer. The outside plates of the ear cups are detachable (this is where the Guild Wars 2 logo sits on both ears) via a magnet – simply pull them off and you can attach other SteelSeries Flux outer plates for great customisation.

The cables that accompany the headset are also credit to its good user friendliness. With a 2m long audio cable, you’d struggle not to be able to plug it in to your computer (or other device). Depending on your preference, you have the option of plugging into the headset on either side – both ear cups have 3.5mm ports. Two standard 3.5mm jacks (one for the in-line, omni-directional microphone and one for the headset) plug into your computer and away you go; you can even plug the headset into a mobile device using a different cable sold separately. A nifty feature is that the ‘extra’ port on whichever ear cup you haven’t plugged into can be used to allow anyone else to ‘listen in’ to the headset by plugging into it with a 3.5mm jack.

SteelSeries Guild Wars 2 Headset

Testing it Out

At $99.99 (£79.99 – Amazon UK), the SteelSeries Guild Wars 2 headset isn’t an entry-level model, but neither is it priced at the top end of the market. If you’re after a mid-range headset that doesn’t break the bank or break apart as soon as you use it, then this might be worth considering.

As sound quality goes, overall it’s good. True audiophiles will find some bass and top-end sounds lacking, as can be common with many headphones,  but for the majority of users the sound quality will be perfectly fine. In game, sounds are clear and listening to music and videos is enjoyable. My recommendation to anyone buying headphones is if you haven’t owned any top-of-the-range headphones before, you’re unlikely to notice anything ‘wrong’ with the sound quality, and for many people this pair will sound great. What’s important to remember is that the SteelSeries headset is designed for gaming and not listening to high quality music or other sound quality-intensive tasks, and in what it was designed to do the headset does well.

Sadly, the in-line microphone might not be suitable for everyone. Our plan was to use the headset to record an episode of Dynamically Spoken to show microphone quality, but unfortunately it didn’t meet our requirements. Because the microphone sits along the audio cable and is not near your mouth, you often end up sounding quiet or muffled – it’s very easy to get the microphone pointing into your chest rather than outwards. If you’re somebody who uses a microphone a lot, a separate one may be required if you wish to use this headset – but that’s not a problem since the in-line microphone doesn’t intrude on you. If, however, you don’t do much speaking, then you may be OK.

SteelSeries Guild Wars 2 Headset

The Verdict

Overall, the SteelSeries Guild Wars 2 headset is worth considering if you’re after a mid-range product with excellent user friendliness, fantastic looks and good sound quality. It’s unfortunate that the microphone may not be suitable for everyone, which is a point to consider before buying this headset. If it’s not something that bothers you though, I’d strongly advise looking at the SteelSeries headset.