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Review Verbatim 5.1 Channel Gaming USB Headset

By: Tobias Winkler, 20.07.2010

Surround Gaming.

Hardly suitable for tight notebook pockets, the Verbatim gaming headsets main aim is to provide a convincing soundscape in stationary use. How comfortably and well this is achieved was tested by us.


Picture: Verbatim
Picture: Verbatim

As is so often the case with our tested notebooks, the sound quality of the notebook loudspeakers is only suitable for basic audio demands. Low and mid range frequencies are clearly underrepresented, and the high frequencies have a tinny sound. For games with a bombastic soundscape this is simply not good enough. While external speakers fill the entire room, and might not necessarily always be met with understanding from the neighbors, a headset offers the possibility to enjoy the individual listening experience without any disturbances.


The tested Verbatim 5.1 channel gaming headset belongs to the category of more affordable models, and is currently available for less than 40 Euros (inc. postage and packing). It has a USB connection for the notebook or PC, and does not require any further power supply or cable connections. The quality makes a solid impression, although not as good as some of the more expensive competitor models, due to the predominant use of plastic components.

Handling

The circular round ear pieces take a little getting used to, and don't fit as well as some of the oval shaped alternatives, as well as only providing an average attenuation of ambient sound. You also get the feeling, perhaps due to the shape and depending on the alignment and adjustment, that the bottom stands out marginally. It is easy to adjust the stepless and flexible headband to find the best adjustment position. As a top material Verbatim uses a soft synthetic leather, which fits comfortably to the shape of your head.

The weight we measured was 370g as specified by the manufacturer, as is thus quite heavy for a headset, but not among the heaviest. The weight is also well distributed which makes it less noticeable. The microphone is on an adjustable gooseneck that is attached to the left ear piece, and hence allows ideal positioning of the microphone. All together the wearing comfort can be evaluated as good, and also allows prolonged wearing without causing any headaches.

The cable length is 2m including a clunky looking remote control, and is hence suitable use in many different areas. The remote control only allows the adjustment of volume and muting of the microphone and headphones individually, but this is generally enough. The volume controls on the remote control are not very sensitive which makes it feel a bit clumsy.

Driver CD and handbook are the only accessories
Driver CD and handbook are the only accessories

Sound Quality

There were no problems at the first use of the headphones following a restart after the driver was installed from the accompanying CD.

The sound quality is very good. The frequency response is flat in most cases, so that the balance between low, mid and high frequencies is good, whereby the bass sounds are especially impressive. For some tastes the high frequencies could even be a little bit too quiet, but this can be configured individually with a few simple settings. Using a virtual change in the loudspeaker position a 7.1 system can be simulated, which also succeeded very well in the test.

Listening to music is a real pleasure compared to the usual notebook loudspeakers, movies almost reach cinema quality, and games also get the right atmosphere. Two weaknesses are the speech audio quality with Skype, and some distortion at the maximum volume. Since the maximum volume is very high though, the latter is unlikely to occur in practice.

Verdict

The 5.1 channel gaming USB headset by Verbatim is not only interesting for gamers. The large spectrum of possible applications with a good sound quality is likely to be interesting for many potential users, the only downside being a slightly bad speech audio quality. The value for money is good and the 2 years warranty makes up the package.

In Review: Verbatim 5.1 Channel Gaming Headset
In Review: Verbatim 5.1 Channel Gaming Headset
Round ear pieces can take some getting used to
Round ear pieces can take some getting used to
but the fit is still generally good
but the fit is still generally good
the remote control is not very sensitive
the remote control is not very sensitive

Shortcut

What we liked

The good value for money

What we missed

The low weight

What surprised us

The good sound quality

The competition

Worth a look in the USB camp are the Speedlink Medusa series and the Steelseries Steelsound

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review Verbatim 5.1 Channel Gaming USB Headset
Author: Tobias Winkler, 2010-07-27 (Update: 2012-05-26)