When folded, these beauties will fit just about anywhere.
SteelSeries are known for their high quality gaming products, which includes headsets, keyboards, mice, mouse mats and even software. We now have their latest branded gaming hardware, the Guild Wars 2 Gaming Headset, designed to be more portable than the usual, larger gaming headset.
Once we slip past the branding its obvious to see that these are the new SteelSeries Flux with the Guild Wars 2 logo on each ear pad and a Guild Wars 2 colour theme. We took it for a test run with various games, live chatting and intense music.
First impressions are great. As soon as we unpacked the headset from it's box, its hard not to notice the great colour scheme. The basic combination of white and red, are simple yet striking. A clean white, over the head bar hold dark red changeable ear pads to your head and adorned with crisp Guild Wars 2 logos really make this headset stand out from the crowd. This has got to be one of the greatest looking headsets we've ever seen. And once you feel Guild Wars 2 is no longer in vogue, the logos can easily be popped out and changed to accommodate the latest trend.
One of the most important things when selecting a new headset is comfort. When playing for hours at a time the lack of headset comfort can start to take its toll on your gaming experience, ahhh my dear friend, Hello Kitty how you dealt so much pleasure and pain. To put these to the test we settled in to a gruelling 7 hour gaming session. The headset managed to remain comfortable throughout, however, on a couple of occasions the headset slipped and fell off due to a lack of headband grip (just the smooth white plastic). This only happens when you look sharply left and right, often to talk to someone else in the room. So ignore everyone except the game and you should be fine for hours.
Another important factor in a headset is the sound quality. Nobody wants to use a headset that sounds like a drunken Finn at four in the morning. Luckily SteelSeries excel in this area and the Guild Wars 2 Gaming Headset delivers the best sound quality for this price range. The frequency range goes as low as 18Hz so you'll hear even the lowest bass when listening to music. And with the high frequency topping at 28kHz, you shouldn’t miss a single word of dialogue. The headset also features great wattage and we couldn't keep them on when we tested it with the volume set to 'Rob Zombie'. Poor neighbours.
The on-the-ear pads feature a special SNDBlock material, which is supposed to filter out any background noises. The special material sits comfortably on the ear, with soft cloth layered over leather that is used internally to isolate sound bleeding. Truth be told, we could hear almost everything that went on outside of the game, but more importantly we could still hear the game too. This is to be expected from on-the-ear pads, which were designed to be lighter and more portable. It was never going to match up to the sound cancellation from over-the-ear cups of a larger headset.
The GW2 headset features an in-line, omni-directional microphone. Basically this means the mic is built into the wire that links the PC to the headset. The omni-directional part left us wondering how “omni” it really was. Needless to say, if we moved our head away from the dangling cord, the recipient couldn't hear us anymore. An awkward feature and one that may become redundant in noisy gaming groups. Otherwise our voice was heard ok, we just had to keep our mouth pointed towards the microphone. On the cord you will also find a mute button, which didn't work on our review headset. We think this was a one-off situation since we have come to expect the best from SteelSeries and may have happened in transit. The button and the microphone are certainly the weak points of the headset.
The headset is meant to be taken with you to your mates house or a LAN party and so it can easily be folded away to fit into your backpack. And not just the backpack, when fully folded you'll easily fit the headset in your pocket. The cable, which is a basic 3,5mm one, can be disconnected from the headset and you can connect it to either side. Very handy. A nice social feature is that you can even daisy chain another headset to yours so a friend can listen while you slay dragons.
Now before you rush out and buy these awesome little portables let me remind you that SteelSeries are a quality gaming product and therefore come with a quality price tag. The headset is not yet available in the UK but you can order them direct from the SteelSeries website for 99.99€ or $99.99 in the US. This price is the same as the SteelSeries Flux, which the headset is based on. So at least you know you are not paying extra for the cool GW2 logos.
So to conclude, the SteelSeries GuildWars 2 Gaming Headset is stylish, highly portable and delivers top quality audio but comes with a price tag to match. Apart from the dangly mic and slippy head plastic this headset will suit all gamers but has a clear focus on portability. This is a great addition to the SteelSeries family and fills a particular niche, just make sure you know what you are looking for in a headset before you part with your money.
The in-line microphone does its job.