By Jonathan Charles | Jul 05, 2012 10:24 AM EDT
Themed game accessories are great for fans devoted to a particular franchise - Guild Wars 2 is getting a themed SteelSeries mouse and three mouse mats - and the Battlefield 3 edition of the Razer Blackshark Headset is the latest entry. Made by Razer, can the headset use the company's pedigree in building gaming hardware for the better?
Like Battlefield, the headset has a black-and-orange design and is designed to look like a headset a pilot would use according to Hardware Heaven. It is a noise-isolating, circumaural headset, meaning the ear cups completely surround the ears. Inside the cups have 40mm drivers, frequency response is 20-20,000MHz with a sound pressure level of 105db.
The mic on the left earcup rotates 360 degrees, rather than rotating within a fixed position like some headsets. Poles at the top of the headset allow the mic's position to be adjusted. The headset can go sans mic, useful for listening to music when out.
Pulling either side of the headset adjusts the fit, rather than using notches to slide either side of the headset.
Testing in Battlefield 3, Hardware Heaven added it is a loud headset built for highlighting gunfire and deep bass noise though the overall sound quality was "impressive." No audio comes through the earcups meaning it's easier to hear people when talking, unlike low-tier headsets such as the TurtleBeach X11. That's a positive or negative depending on the user's kind of environment, though the headset can't be completely muted unless done via software or unplugging the mic. That means plugging it back in will mean re-setting the headset.
Voice quality was also excellent, with good volume and clarity. The Headset recommends enabling soundcard noise reduction to reduce background sounds.
Music and movie tests were also good according to the site, but action movies are more favored due to the nature of the headset being designed for gaming and Battlefield. However, "standard music playback was a little lacking." It's a consistent issue that Razer and other companies have been unable to solve, making the case for a single headset for all three media types more difficult.
The Blackshark retails for $129.99, and is currently available for pre-order, a high-end price for a low-end sound compare to 5.1 or 7.1 headsets. Whether that's acceptable probably depends on how much Battlefield 3 matters.
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