How do you review a AED 999 gaming headset that fully and completely works for only one system? Do you rate it higher for it’s stellar performance and innovative technology that only works, and well, on a particular setting? Or cut it down for its incompatibility with other environments for which it was never made for in the first place? Steelseries’ latest wireless headset, the Spectrum 7XB, is one such product that has me standing split between the two, ahem, spectrum of the critique.
You see, the 7XB is a console exclusive to the Xbox 360, and as Microsoft would like to have its exclusives, it’s a stingy one at that. The headset are meant for the fraggers, screamers and pre-puberty crowd of the Xbox Live. It’s mic has its soul dedicated to the holy cause of the $50-a-year subscribers, and hence, renders its services incompatible with everything else – PS3 or PC. For a thousand bucks, I would expect the world and the kitchen soap, but not on this one.
Design & Comfort
The 7XB is a feel-good headset. You do actually feel good while you hold them in your hands. It’s got a certain satisfying form and feature that is inviting without overdoing the razzle-dazzle with cheap shiny plastic. In fact, it doesn’t have any of it at all, which is good for the fingerprint OCD’ers.
The 50mm drivers are well fortified with plush high quality leather and soft foam material. They sit well on the ears on the first go, and are largely comfortable. Having them on is like taking a flight in an aeroplane every time – it creates a suction effect that blocks your ears as well air-tightens the surroundings to (literally) mute away every sound around you. Pwning newbs in Call of Duty is more important than listening to your nagging wife.
However, the effect is sort of annoying after a while. I found myself repeatedly lifting the cups to let air escape – like a cooker. It creates unnecessary tension that does start to hurt a bit. The tight headband doesn’t help much, either, too, and makes the headset uncomfortable after 30mins. I did, however, found the ‘perfect position’ (ahem), although hey, I shouldn’t be worrying about that in the first place.
Being wire-less, all the buttons and controllers are stashed away on the right cup. You have your plus and minus volume rockers starting from the upper left edge, with the power button, ExactSND and Live Mix buttons at the bottom right (more on these later). The buttons, except for the ExactSND which has a bump on it, are hard to distinguish. In the heat of things, you are left confused which is which for the most part, though you do get used to it.
And again, being wire-less, the 7XB uses two AAA batteries for juice. It’s been about 7-8 hours and the headset are still going strong. It probably lasts around the 20 hour mark, which is pretty damn good for a light user like me (not because I use speakers, I just don’t get the time…/rant). For heavy users that game 6 hours a day, yeah you will need to buy a whole month’s stock to get through. The 7XB does not charge them back, so it’s either you changing the battery or buy your own recharger. For it’s price, this is quite a baffling overlook from Steelseries.