Price (RRP): $169.95
There are peculiar requirements for gaming headsets. Sound clarity, even high fidelity performance, is of course a plus. But they also need a microphone for communicating with your team mates, and perhaps enemies, and above all you need comfort. You’re going to have those things on for hours, and having flattened ears is not a pleasant experience.
That’s one of the things Logitech set itself to addressing with the G433 Surround Gaming Headset. The other: versatility. It is also touting the G433 as a fine way of listening to music when you’re on the move.
A gaming headset consists not just of headphones, but also of a microphone. On a stalk. Poised near your mouth. Being out in public with such might seem a little … odd. No worries: the microphone stalk simply plugs into the headset, so it’s easily removable. Do that, and they look like standard sports-style headphones. Albeit, boldly and colourfully styled ones. They are available in a fabric finish – “hydrophobic, stain-resistant” says Logitech – available in Royal Blue, Fire Red and Triple Black.
Logitech has put a lot of thought into the G433 Surround Gaming Headset, including into making them and keeping them comfortable. They are over ear models to start with. On ear headphones necessarily press down on your ears. Over ears surround them, with the cushions pressing against your head around the outsides of your ears.
There are over ear headphones, and over ear headphones. These ones give lots of space, unlike many which kind of scrunch up your ears. In the long run the latter can be almost as uncomfortable as on ear models.
Since Logitech anticipates – encourages, even – the use of the headphones out and about, it has made the pads removable and washable. And it packs in a spare pair so you can switch over while one pair is being cleaned.
All its connections are conventional, or as conventional as they can be given its flexibility. The microphone plugs into the headphones using a standard 3.5mm plug. The two cables which are provided plug into the headphones using a four conductor 3.5mm plug. The additional conductor is for handling the microphone signal.
One of the cables – finished in a smooth rubber or plastic, has an inline microphone in a pod near the headphone end, along with a push button switch which acts as play, pause, call answer and so on. This cable is intended for use as an analogue connection to your phone or music player and it permits hands free calling.
The other cable has a cloth weave finish, but similar plugs on either end. It also has a small pod near the headphone end, but this one doesn’t have the inline microphone. Instead it has a volume control and a mute switch. This one is intended to plug into the small USB digital to analogue converter that is provided with the headphones. This is one of the main connections you’re likely to use with most computers. You plug the DAC into a USB socket on your computer, and the headphone’s cable into the DAC. It works both ways: providing sound from the computer to the headphones, and digitising sound from the microphone and providing it to the computer.
Also provided is a splitter cable which separates the headphone and microphone audio for two separate analogue connections. That can be useful if you have a sound card you prefer to use, but then you won’t be able to use the Logitech Gaming Software for it won’t know that the headphones are plugged in. And that will also mean that the audio can never be more than two channels. I’ll get to that.
Finally, in addition to all the other bits, the headphones are supplied with a soft pouch.
The physical design – giving plenty of space around the ears, really paid off. These Logitech headphones didn’t put any pressure on or scrunch up my ears at all. Indeed, there was so much space that I usually had to nudge them around a little whenever I donned them to make sure that the drivers over each ear were in the same respective position, otherwise they sounded slightly unbalanced.
Neither was the pressure on my head around the ears excessive. Yet is was just enough, combined with the friction of the ear pad fabric against skin, to hold them firmly in place even when I was walking. Being closed back, they also tended to keep external sounds out, although they weren’t quite as isolating as some closed back designs. Which is just as well when you’re out in the world. Trucks and other hazards, you know.