Snakebyte Head:Set X – Hardware Review
Snakebyte HEAD:SET X
Snakebyte have been making gaming peripherals for a while now, mainly for the PC market, but are now pleasingly moving into the console market as well. I was lucky enough to receive their Head:Set X to review, which is compatible with all Xbox One controllers via the plug in adaptor. At a retail price of only £17.99 its a headset aimed squarely at the budget end of the market, but does that budget price mean that quality suffers?
The first surprise for me when my headset was delivered, was how small the box was, surely a full sized headset couldn’t fit in there? On opening I found the equipment very well packed in bubble wrap, so there was no chance of it being damaged in transit. The reason the headset can fit into such a small box is because the band the ear cups are hinged and can be folded inwards. Its not only an advantage for the manufacturer to save on packaging, but makes the equipment more portable and easy to store. When not in use it can easily by folded up and stored away in a drawer. On unpacking the box I could see the contents were split into the headset unit itself, the
The look of the headset is quite simple, what you’d expect to see from a budget model, mostly in black but with green trim in the colour scheme associated with Snakebyte. The strap that goes over your head is quite thin, but padded and although it sits close on your head wearing the headset quite comfortable. The arms for the ear cups extend quite a way so the length can be adjusted to most sizes of head. The headset is on ear rather than over ear like the majority of headsets on the market, with round cups, but are well padded. They sit on your ears without pressing too tightly and the ample cushioning means its nice and comfortably on your ears, and doesn’t make them hot and sweaty after prolonged use either. To help with the comfort, the cups do tilt as well which counteracts a lack of flexibility in the head strap. It would help more if the cups tilted on two axis rather than the just one, as ears come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and so if your ears stick out a bit the Head:set X presses them down, luckily not a problem for me but I can imagine it could make the headset less comfortable for some players.
The detachable mic is of a sturdier design than the rest of the headset with a flexible yet robust arm and a foam covered end. the mic plugs into the right ear cup via the pin plug on the end. The mic is very simple to attach and detach, so if you feel it gets in the way when playing single player or off line games where the mic isn’t needed, just simply unplug it! The cabling is of a good build standard, and at 1.2m is of a very generous length, more so that you really need when its only going to be plugged to the Xbox One controller. There is a controller on the cable with a dial to control the volume, but as the cable needs to be plugged into an adaptor on the Xbox controller, I found it much easier to use the buttons on the adaptor to change the level of volume and the balance between game and chat sounds.
Although the design of the headset makes it obvious it’s a budget model, you’ll be surprised by the very good quality of the sound coming through the speakers. Considering its only 2.1 audio, I was pleasantly surprised how crisp and clear the sound was on different games. It doesn’t come through mega loud, and I had the volume turned up to near the maximum but I played a few games from different genres and was impressed with the quality. The quality does appear to drop off ever so slightly with lower tones but not enough to spoil the experience. You wont get much in the way of directional sound from the headset but you wouldn’t really expect anything precise from a headset in this price range, but what you do get is certainly of a higher quality than I was expecting. There is a bit of sound leakage because of the on ear design, but that is to be expected, although that might have a knock on effect with a problem I found later with the mic.
The mic doesn’t reach all the way round to your mouth, but despite this you still come through loud and clear to other players. The foam covering cuts out the problem of heavy breathing, but your voice comes through to friends a little on the tinny side, but was still of a better quality than I was getting using the standard single ear headset that came with my Xbox One. The main problem with my mic was that every time I was in a party, everybody was getting an echo from my mic. I unplugged the mic and plugged it back in again numerous times and left and rejoined parties, but every time it was causing echo to party members. it wasn’t so apparent to me but very noticeable and of significant volume to other party members that I ended up changing headset to carry on with my play in the party.
In conclusion, this headset wont be for everyone, but if youre without a stereo headset and looking for budget model then this a definitely worth the price tag. With its lightweight build and ability to fold up to stow away, its an ideal headset for younger gamers. Its not the best for those that do most of their gaming in a party as the mic did appear to have some issues during my testing, but for hours of single player game-play the Head:Set X would be a great choice, as you can wear it for long periods without it becoming uncomfortable or too hot, and the quality of sound really is excellent for an outlay of under 20 quid.
The Snakebyte Head:Set X is available now from retailers for £17.99
Many thanks to Snakebyte for sending us the sample for review.