Okay, I admit that branding can be a point of pride for many gamers. But while I’d like to think of myself as a SteelSeries gal, I’m really just an indiscriminate gadget freak. So it was with some guilt and excitement that I put my trusty Arctis 7 aside and donned Edifier’s G4 headset for a gaming session.
I could go into detailed specs and scrutinise every facet, but that would be a bit yawn-inducing. If you’re a gamer, what you’re probably most interested in are what I like to call the 3 S’s: Style, Sound and Social.
Who cares what you look like when you’re in the trenches of a virtual battleground? The answer is you probably do, even if you are in the habit of wearing potato chip crumbs (guilty as charged). The G4’s are pretty sexy what with LED lights on the cups and a sleek look all around. The flexible mic boom retracts into the left cup and has its own light to indicate whether it’s muted or not. Being a prolific snacker, I was pleased to find that the mic didn’t get in the way of coffee-drinking or chocolate-eating. Don’t laugh. This is important to me!
The leather cups are plush enough to be what I call “marshmallowy” and there’s a nice bit of cushion on the headband as well. For long sessions, I found that the over ear cups did make me feel a bit warm, although not unbearably so. More of a concern was the headband which felt a bit too stiff and grippy overtime for my taste.
The G4 comes with a 2.5 metre long cable – long enough for you to get up for a stretch, but hopefully not long enough for you to run over with your chair. The cable has a wired controller with built-in soundcard and gives you access to muting, volume, on/off toggle and the all-important vibration function. Which leads us to…
That vibration function is something you’re either going to love or hate. Personally, I loved it. Turning it on gives you a nice “thunk” sound and suddenly everything feels a little bassier. I was surprised at how much the vibration added to the atmosphere of a game. For example, if you’re a Dead by Daylight fan, those killer heartbeats now feel more suspenseful when you can practically feel them with the help of a little vibration. It’s a weird effect to have if you’re just listening to talking, but fortunately it can be turned off with a flick of a switch. Overall sound quality was great. I’m one of those people who prefers gaming in stereo over virtual surround sound because I hate being distracted by audio-positioning in the midst of everything else that’s going on. I’m glad to say that in this case, I wasn’t bothered by the virtual 7.1 surround and actually found it quite immersive.
The biggest gripe I have comes in the form of the weirdest software I’ve seen for awhile. For one, the manual directed me to a Chinese version of the Edifier website. I tried finding a link on one of the English sites, but no luck. After some scrutiny of the Chinese characters and pictures, I finally managed to deduct where to click to download (yeah, my Asian family is still embarrassed at my lack of skills). The software itself is clunky and rather low-def. It feels like an afterthought. If you can figure out how to work it though, it does allow you to balance each audio input to your liking. It also gives you access to monitor control so you can hear your own voice, which to me is a rare and really nice bonus. If you can’t be bothered with software and deciphering Chinese characters, then fortunately the headset is good enough to just plug and go without having to install drivers.
Being an avid co-op player, gaming with buddies with the G4 was the real test for me. Voices came through loud and clear without any echoing or interferences. Mic-wise, I didn’t have any complaints about volume, trying to decipher what I was saying or environmental noise (I have an extraordinarily loud cooling fan). However, people did use words like “swimmy” and “muffled” to describe my voice quality. Hopefully, that’s not because I sound like that in real life.
Despite that, I found the recording quality pretty good. My voice sounded clear enough to use on a recording and the mic did a decent job of dealing with things like sibilance and breath noises. For all you mouth breathers, you know how important this is.
Edifier’s G4 gaming headsets are available from Ascent Technologies, Mighty Ape and PB Technologies for NZD$119.99.