If you’re on the market for a new headset, chances are you’ve got more than one option on your shopping list, you’ll be looking for the best return on investment and you’ll want to find the headset that is best suited to your needs. Today I’ll be departing from our usual headset review format and showing you three headsets, putting them head-to-head and finding the strengths and weaknesses of each. At my disposal I have the TteSports Cronos, the Speedlink Medua NX and the CM Storm by Coolermaster Ceres 300. They’re all quite varied in terms of features, price and style, but they all have one thing in common, they’re all available for under £60.
The TteSports by Thermaltake Cronos headset is priced around £55 from most major online retailers, making it the most expensive of the collection that I have here today. The Speedlink Medusa can be picked up at most major retailers for around £50, but a little Google-fu will net you a brand new one for around £40 from some of the top eBay sellers making it the second most expensive option and finally we have the CM Storm by Coolermaster Ceres 300, which can be picked up for a very affordable £28. I’m hoping that by covering these three products we can work out if you need to spend more money to get the kind of performance you desire, or perhaps you’ll be able to save yourself some money by downgrading. There is only one way to find out, so let’s put these headsets to the test, but first let’s take a closer look at what you get in the box.
First up we have the TteSports Cronos; in the box you’ll find the headset, a rubber sleeved 4-pole cable (for mobile use), a braided dual 3.5mm + USB power connector cable, a simple user guide and a nice quality protective bag.
The speed link Medusa comes hard-wired with a fairly standard cable and comes bundled with a quick install guide and a zip up protective bag.
Finally, we have the Ceres 300, which comes bundled with a user guide, a hard wired cable and a detachable boom microphone.
Today is the turn of a headset, but from a company you have probably not heard of much or even at all, in fact excluding this one recent news story then they have not been mentioned on this site. This is mainly due to them being very focused on their own German market.
That is not to say they are a small company, in fact Speedlink have one of the largest collections of products I have ever seen. To put this into perspective under ‘Headsets’ they have 31 different products – although several are the same model in different colours, this is still a lot of products.
Speedlink have included a nice, circular, carry bag, and as the headset is fold-able it should fit in easily.
This headset is a full 5.1 headset and so we expect it to have a good collection of cables, as such the Medusa NX has front, rear, centre/subwoofer and microphone jacks.
There is also a USB connector to provide power for the headset, although SpeedLink do make a fully-USB version of this headset.
As we would expect with this type of headset, there is also an in-line remote with plenty of options. This side has 1 on/off switch and two volume controls for the Centre speakers and the Bass Vibration.
The other side of the remote has 2 more volume controls for the Front and Rear channels, each control goes from 0 to 10.
Moving to the headset itself, we find a flexible microphone that includes noise cancelling technology for crystal-clear voice transmission.
Each ear cup rotates 90 degrees outwards and folds inwards making them very easy to store away which is especially useful for gamers who take their own peripherals to LAN parties for instance.
The ear cups are made of a soft fabric style padding which make them extremely comfortable to wear especially for long periods of time.
The headband is also well padded, and is fairly springy to help it fold up into a smaller space, perfect for fitting it into the carry case. They have also made it fairly obvious that its made by speedlink due to the rather large lettering on top.
The first thing we did when we got this headset, after plugging it in, was to sit down and watch a good film. This was to test the surround sound and sound quality aspects of the headset, as well as the general comfort and usability of the headset. We then tested this headset during several skype conversations to check the quality of the headsets’ microphone and the noise cancellation system.
The surround sound of this headset is very impressive, and while not the best we have tried it is certainly in the same league. Due to the use of 4 speakers in each ear cup the headset is able to produce a fairly encompassing sound which during films and games allows you to know exactly where the sound is coming from. It did however feel that everything was very close, as if you had 5.1 surround sound set-up in a very small room, or you were fighting in a broom cupboard, the range and depth of sound was just not there when compared with other headsets. The sound quality was also fairly good with a nice tone and decent balance of bass, although when needed the bass can really pack a punch which is very impressive for this size headset.
We also found that the noise cancellation and microphone worked well together and that during skype conversations we were heard very clearly, although we found it very easy to knock the microphone out of place as it rotates a bit too easily. The flexibility of the microphone is certainly useful as you can literally get it into any position you want.
In terms of comfort we found the Medusa Headset really excels, compared to other full 5.1 headsets it is extremely light and so after a few minutes you do forget you are wearing a headset. The ear pads are just the right size that they support some of the weight without crushing your ear and still block some of the external noises.
The price of this headset makes this one of the best value headsets we have ever seen and tested here at eTeknix. For just £48.60 you can have the full surround sound experience which does have pinpoint precision and impressive sound quality as well as punchy bass and full control over each channel. A perfect peripheral for everyones computer demands, whether a serious gamer or just wanting to enjoy films without annoying the neighbours, and at this price, we really couldn’t knock it.