All of these headsets are relatively affordable, the Ceres 300 is a wallet friendly £28 from Box.co.uk here in the UK and $45 from Amazon.com in the US. The Speedlink Medusa NX 7.1 can be picked up from £35-50 and finally the TteSports Cronos comes in at £52 from Eclipse here in the UK and $64 from Amazon in the US. Unfortunately I could not find US stock of the Medusa.
So which one of these headsets is the best value for money? That’s actually not an easy thing to answer, each of these headsets has their own set of merits. The Ceres 300 isn’t especially great, but its price tag will no doubt make it a very tempting option for those on a tighter budget. The performance looks bad compared to that of the Medusa and Cronos, but they cost nearly twice as much. If you’re looking for a cheap replacement headset to chuck in your bag for LAN gaming events, or even just playing at home, then you’ll love it. Plus it adjusts rather small, making it ideal for a younger audience. The Ceres 300 also has a detachable microphone and clear chat audio, so it’s pretty handy for things like Skype calls at Team Speak.
The Medusa is the middle choice of the pack, it’s priced a little cheaper than the Cronos from most retailers and even cheaper from many reseller sites. The build quality feels pretty robust, but there is no light way of putting this… the thing looks bloody awful. It looks like it was designed back in the days of they grey PC chassis, when Dell, HP and Packard Bell were still prime choices. Yet despite its shoddy appearance, its punchy sound will soon grab your attention, its got a thick and rich bass and crystal clear chat audio. The 7.1 nonsense on the box is a pointless exercise, this is a perfectly good sounding stereo headset, but quality falls off a cliff if you try mucking about with the included software and virtual surround settings.
Then we have the most expensive headset of the pack, the TteSports by Thermaltake Cronos, the adage that you get what you pay for certainly holds true here. Its sound performance is on par with that of headsets that cost twice as much, as too is its build quality and overall design, this is exactly the kind of quality I would expect from a premium headset, not a low-to-mid budget one. You can save a few bucks and get the Medusa, which sounds almost as good, but the extra investment gets you attention to detail, a much more pleasing design and better ergonomics.
Overall I think they’ve all got a place in the market. If you’re on a tighter budget, need a headset for a younger audience or just something for occasional use, you’ll find the Ceres 300 to be great value for money; Its performance might not be the best, but it’s priced fairly to reflect that. The Medusa is the kind of headset I wouldn’t wear in public, but for sitting at home and watching a few movies, listening to music, chatting on Skype and playing a few games you’ll find it’s very comfortable, affordable and that it packs a good punchy set of drivers, plus it doesn’t need a sound card to operate as it has its own built in. The Cronos stands out as being a solid all-rounder, pay a little more and you get a little more, it’s perfect for LAN gaming, home gaming, movies, music, Skype and even hooking up to your mobile, plus it looks pretty cool too.
If you’re on the market for a budget headset, there are plenty of options out there for you, the real trick is finding out which one best suits your needs. Today I hope I’ve shown you just how far your budget will really go and even more so I hope I’ve saved you a little money by helping you make a more informed decision on your next purchase. Stay tuned for part 2 of our headset guide in the coming weeks.