While everyone was shopping online for the best Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, we were in the office discussing 2013’s tech offerings. The first subject was headsets and 2013 offered more headset options than ever before. Throughout the course of this year we reviewed dozens of headsets on our site, and narrowing it down wasn’t easy; but in the end these are the selected few that we feel should be on everyone’s shopping-list.
These are the best of the best. The top choices from each of the three largest suppliers of headsets and the most recommended brands in the industry as decided by the editorial staff.
SteelSeries Siberia Elite Edition ($199 at Amazon)
At the top list, and the most recommended headset from our editors, went to SteelSeries Siberia Elite Edition. SteelSeries is already a favorite in the gaming community, but the latest offering is easily the most advanced option put forth by the company to-date. The basic form of the Siberia Elite series continues to improve the original Siberia V2 headset. I was very happy to see that the suspension design was continued in this edition, it’s easily the most comfortable headset that I have ever worn. Instead of the traditional expanding bridge that goes across the top of your head on most headsets, the headset utilizes suspension wires that gently stretch, offering a perfect fit with no a manual adjustments needed. You just put them on, and they are perfect every time.
Another upgrade over the original series is that this time the cord is made of flat non-tangle rubber, the same design found often in medical equipment used at hospitals, meant to prevent snags and tangles in electrical cords. The most obvious improvement you’ll notice right out-of-the-box are the large, leather memory foam cushions featured on the earpieces. It’s another improvement that makes the headset even more comfortable, regardless of how long you wearing it, or the size of your head.
You will also notice the LED illumination rings found on the outside of the earpieces. These can be adjusted to offer up to 16.8 million colors, which are easily chosen from the software included with the package and the SteelSeries Engine that was built for the headset. Add to this list of features the extractable mic w. LED mute indicator, two very awesome dials to mute mic and adjust volume (these are large dials by the LED illumination rings that are totally blended into the design, and one of the best additions to the headset. The USB Soundcard is also included in the price, adding even more control over your settings, from music, gaming and entertainment; these are just the best headsets you can buy at their price-range. The fact that the set includes interchangeable cables to conned to a PC, Mac, tablet or phones makes them the most convenient as well.
Turtle Beach PX 51 ($229 at Amazon)
There were quite a few wireless options this year, the headsets with the most votes went to the PX 51 from Turtle Beach. The company has been a leader in headsets for the last several years now. The headset offers Dual-Band Wi-Fi wireless system, easily overtaking any RF system that you can get your hands on, and the built in bluetooth functions can also synch to a phone, music-player or entertainment device.
With up to 15 hours of battery-life the headset is built for long-session gaming, which is Turtle Beach’s cup-of-tea. The Dolby Digital Surround Sound offers the same experience fans have come to expect from the manufacturer, while the padded earcuffs offer supreme comfort and smooth sound. The headset works with a wide-array of devices, including the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC or Mac, and Bluetooth-enabled phones and tablets.
Kraken Forged Edition Headphones ($299 at Amazon)
Another leader in the gaming world is Razer, our editors chose the newly released Kraken Forged Edition as this year’s top pick from the company. With 40 mm Neodymium Magnets drivers, a frequency response between 20 – 20,000 Hz and only weighing 390g, the headsets are a technical marvel.
Razer products have always been a tad bleak in the design department, though the brand tends to lean towards the popular black matte coverings and neon lights, so we were pleased to see the company change things up with a one-machined, aircraft-grade aluminum design. The headset offers a “closed ear cup design,” that Razer states offers an optimal sound isolation.
A ¼-in. audio connector is included with the purchase, as well as a swappable cable system with included in-line microphone cable. These work with an Apple iPhone, HTC, BlackBerry. The Razer Kraken Forged works well with smart phones and laptops that come default with a 4 pin TRRS audio + mic combined jack.