So then, the Siberia V2. It was kind of a high watermark for Steel Series headsets a few years back, and many were the hours I whiled away with my head warmly nestled in the velvety embrace of my V2. With the recent-ish release of the Siberia V3, though, the V2 disappeared from sale (naturally enough), and with it the 50mm drivers that gave the V2 such good sound quality.
Now, obviously, the V3 is an improvement on the V2. But there were so many fans clamouring for the now-dropped V2 that Steel Series re-released it. Nearly. Enter the Siberia 200, which resembles the V2 like BB-8 resembles R2-D2. It fulfils the same niche, and does many of the same things, but it’s been designed just a little differently.
I had no problem with the V2’s comfort or durability, but over the years I’ve realized that a complete circumnaural experience, whereby your ears are not crushed or confined but totally enclosed within the headphones, is very important to a good gaming headset. And, well, the Siberia 200 doesn’t quite offer that to me. Of course, small-eared gamers might not have this problem. That’s one of the things with headphones. It kind of all depends on the shape of your head, doesn’t it?
Still, despite not completely enclosing my ears without any contact at all, the overall feel is still very comfortable and it’s easy to forget you’re wearing them. The sound quality is right up there in the sweet spot: high up on the scale of affordable headsets but not into the region that’s only ever accompanied by a stellar price point. Still, it shows an improvement over the base V2, which is particularly nice as it’s actually a fair bit less expensive than the V2 was when I got mine.
Design-wise, it’s almost indistinguishable to the eye from the vanilla V2, although there are a ton of new colours available in case you need to match your headphones up to the Sakura Purple colour scheme that you’ve used for the rest of your room, or just because your favourite colour is Gaia Green. The design isn’t completely the same, though, as it feels a little lighter and perhaps slightly less fragile than the original V2 (some of this could be my imagination, though). It still has that classy sprung overhead strap that makes it comfortable on any head.
The mic was maybe one of the low points of the V2, and continues to perhaps not be the best thing about the Siberia 200 either, which is odd considering how popular these things are with eSports players. The unidirectional mic stores into the left earcup when not in use (although it’s always on), and can be pulled out and bent to sit where you want it, just like the mic of its predecessor. It’s not always easy to extract in a hurry, however. Although if you’re trying to yank your mic out of its earcup halfway through an online game, I have to suggest this might be a result of bad planning rather than any fault of the headphones. Still, the mic sound isn’t really special, but it’s also not awful. Just a straightforward, no frills mix with the kind of performance you’d expect from a low-cost headset.
But, see, that’s the thing with the Siberia 200. It IS a low-cost headset, with a price point of 79.99 USD or 58.99 of Her Majesty’s Golden Pounds. But, for the most part, everything is just a little better than you’d normally expect for that price. They’re really comfortable, the sound is deep and satisfying and the cable is a sensible length (unlike that of my original V2). Because of the long and storied heritage of the V2, Steel Series have been able to play to its strengths to engineer the most from the 200 while keeping it real price-wise.
One thing I’ve got used to with other headsets is bracketed earcups that will sit flat on the desk when you take them off and fling them nonchalantly onto your computer desk. That’s a feature I would have liked to have seen in the Siberia 200, but really, at this point it’s looking for problems rather than really moaning about any shortcomings in the device itself. While the cable is a little plasticy and some of the colours a bit garish, I guess you could call them ‘stylish’. The Siberia definitely has a signature look, and these are, of course, no exception.
In terms of actual audio specs, there’s a lot about the 200 that looks familiar to users of the V2. And that’s kind of the point. Both have the 50mm Neodymium drivers as mentioned above, and both have a sensitivity of 112 dB. In fact, when you really get down to it, the 200 and the V2 are really very similar, and what differences may exist are microscopic.
I’d be hard-pressed to recommend a V2 owner to upgrade to the 200. However, if you’re looking for an introductory headset and you aren’t too bothered about a mind-blowingly wonderful mic, the Siberia 200 is pretty much the best in its class. As a re-introduction of a classic model to accede to customer demand, keeping the design the same as the V2 was a smart move.