eSports is a growing industry and it makes sense that a leading eSports team like Fnatic to take their eSports experience and work with leading peripheral companies and create their own brand of gaming peripherals for their fans and gamers alike.
Some might not know who Fnatic are, and I would not do them justice by doing it myself, some might feel it’s a cop-out, but I feel, it is them and they know how to talk about themselves, so here is Fnatic in their words.
Founded by Sam and Anne Mathews in 2004 in the early days of the professional video gaming industry, Fnatic has since helped shape the new world sport into a fast-growing phenomenon.
At its core are Fnatic’s talented professional gamers, who have won have thousands of tournaments and inspired a community of tens of millions of fans. Our world class players represent Fnatic in all corners of the globe, attending more than 75 international events per year across 20 different games including League of Legends, Dota 2, Battlefield 4 and CS:GO. With over a decade of big wins, the Fnatic team continues to take its place at the forefront of the industry.
More than just a team, Fnatic’s mission to bring eSports into every household. Headquartered in London, the Fnatic operation spans across San Francisco, Berlin, Belgrade and Kuala Lumpur. From designing hardware gear and apparel to launching community experiences, we at Fnatic are dedicated to building the first globally recognised lifestyle brand to emerge from the world of eSports– and continuing to entertain new audiences far and wide.Fnatic
So now you know about Fnatic, now let’s get down to the review of these new headphones, and how I always start my reviews of peripherals, sales, and marketing
Well, how do I start this, mmm how about this AIAIAI, is a small logo on the front, what’s so influential about AIAIAI, well it’s the peripheral manufacturer Fnatic has chosen to build and create their leading headset with, who are AIAIAI, let’s let them tell you;
AIAIAI is an audio design company dedicated to developing high quality audio products for everyday use. AIAIAI’s modern, minimalist headphones and earphones deliver clear, amplified sound.
Headquartered in Copenhagen, AIAIAI is proud to contribute to Denmark’s worldwide reputation as leader in acoustic and electro-acoustic design and engineering. Informed by a heritage of Scandinavian design, AIAIAI strives to create high quality, accessible audio products that deliver value far beyond trend-driven aesthetics.
AIAIAI boasts a world-renowned network of industrial designers, audio technicians and DJs as part of its unique and highly collaborative development process. Exploratory and experimental, the process enables AIAIAI to develop new products on the leading edge, independent of current market trends.AIAIAI
Back to the front of the box, you have the Fnatic Logo and the word GEAR, meaning Fnatic Gear, right at the bottom ‘Duel TMA-2 Modular Gaming Headset with Gaming Configuration. Moving to one of the sides, you get to know what you get inside the box, which includes the following items:
- ON-CABLE MIC
- BOOM MIC
- SPEAKER UNIT
- ON-EAR BUD
- MIC SPLITTER
On the other side they talk about the headphones and give features:
‘The Duel in an eSports graded Modular Headset System, and part of the TMA-2 ecosystem. Designed in collaboration with DJ and Studio audio design pioneers AIAIAI and Fnatic.
Our players demand a precise soundstage so they can stay ahead of the competition and on top of their game. The TMA-2 is equipped with studio quality speaker units, two sets of earpads, and *two headbands, providing high isolation and comfort that is ideal for both listening and gaming use.’
*Two Headbands? I only found one in the box is this a known issue? its a typo and represents how many versions of the headband are available now what is in the box.
Features include the following:
Switch your favorite parts in-and-out to make the perfect headset for you
- eSports Ready
Pro-Players designed, tested, and approved for the highest levels of competitive play
- Dual Purpose
Two sets of earpads and mics give you amazing sound whether gaming or on the road
- Studio Quality Audio
In collaboration with DJ and Studio audio pioneers AIAIAI to deliver a soundscape and profile never before seen in eSports
- Fnatic Design
A Headset design you can be proud of while at home and on the go
Moving to the back, well there is a headset, black on a black background, hard to see, I do not like it, but that’s my opinion.
Now let’s checkout the – UNBOXING
This is where it gets strange, ever seen a headset that comes in sealed pouches? I have not, until now, just have a look at the picture below;
This is what you get in the box, not a headset you can take out and check out straight away, it’s a build your own headset, “oh the joy” I am going to have. To my surprise it was easy, you just choose the pads you want to use, attach them to the Speaker Drivers, attach the Driver to the Headband, choose a cable, one with Boom Microphone, or the one with a Mobile Microphone and away you go, plug-in and play.
Everything arrives sealed, well protected, just lacks the ‘OMG THESE HEADPHONES LOOK AWESOME’, factor, when opening the box.
Anything else in the box? there is an instruction manual, very basic, but there are videos if you need more in-depth instructions, I have posted one below, should be some stickers, mine was missing and finally a nice drawstring bag to carry your new headset around with you.
Moving to – Design and Construction
The construction is all plastic with a rubberized feel to it, using colour tones Black and Orange which represents Fnatic as a brand and the main colours of the eSports Team. These headphones have been well built and have plenty of give, so you can twist and pull to your heart’s content, I doubt they would break. Just check out this video below, damn they have plenty of flex.
There are two types of earpads that come with these, the huge gaming ones, that are super comfy for those long gaming sessions.
Or the smaller earpads for music or gaming on the go, not so comfy, but do the job, and you do not look out of place, as you would if you were using the gaming earpads.
The Boom microphone does not retract, but it does have plenty of flex, so you can move it to a position more suitable for you, when not in use. I use this cable more than anything, as I game a lot, but I do not always use the microphone, so I wish they had made the microphone modular, by allowing us to remove the microphone when not in use. You can use the mobile cable if you wish, with the mobile microphone, but the cable is a lot shorter, and the microphone is no where near as good as the boom mic, so kind of sucks.
When the speaker drivers are attached to the frame, you can adjust them up and down the frame, you will hear a subtle click when the driver has found a suitable attachment hole within the frame, once it has, it is still easy to move, but there is enough grip to not move with a simple touch.
Here is a video of the two types of earcups
and a video on how to construct them, which is not really needed, but hey, let’s add this for shits and giggles.
Now is that’s time – TIME TO PLAY
For around two weeks now I have used these headphones for games like Diablo 3, The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind, Formula Fusion, Forza Horizon 3 and Dawn of War 3. Each one is different, you have your massive MMO, Futuristic Racer, General Racer, Strategy and Hack N slash. When I got these new headphones, I had to play it with a racer, loaded up Forza Horizon 3, Jumped into my car, switched on the radio and whizzed around the tracks listening to some classic rock or pop, depending on how I was feeling at the time, for some reason I even felt like the earcups vibrate, was there a secret vibration device in the headphones? NO! its was the ‘BASS IN THE PLACE’, and for me, its was so sweet as I love BASS, and these headphones, do it justice like no *other.
*based on what I have reviewed currently
By far though listening to the EDM music is Formula Fusion, while travelling at high speed in the rather good gravity racing game was great, and the earcups did not stop vibrating, how I love bass.
Then we have games like TESO: Morrowind, a massive online MMO, which I recently started playing thanks to Bethesda, and I had to test these headphones with 7.1 Virtual Surround Sound with Dolby Atmos and by golly do these headphones perform well, you can hear footsteps coming from behind, enemies attacks from all directions, its a treat to behold. I guess though, all headphones now, regardless of the price can now have Virtual Surround Sound thanks to Windows 10, Nahimic, Razer & Dolby Atmos.
But of course the sound is what you want right, good quality sounds, mids, highs and lows, these headphones perform well in every aspect every area and you can fine tune your soundstage with your soundcard settings.
Then we have the microphone, a Boom microphone, I guess you can say this microphone uses cardioid as most of the sensitivity is at the front and this is noted by the orange line and a dot to make you aware this is where you must speak into the microphone. As there is no software, you have no real control over noise suppression, lucky for me though Nahimic does offer this functionality, which helps block out background noise rather well, some may have issues with this if you do not have this feature available on your system.
The longest game I have played using these headphones would be TESO, and I would have to be fair, these headphones did well, they were comfy on, I did not sweat too much, they are extremely light and have just enough padding on the head. The in-game sounds, voices, music all sounded superb, I was really chuffed with how these headphones were performing.
Then I wondered if Fnatic endorse these headphones, do they use them for all there eSports events, why not I thought, they do state these are great for eSports and gaming, so I checked out some videos of them playing in some eSports events, I never seen them once use their own headphones, that they claim to be the best.Word of advice Fnatic, you going to claim your headphones are the best and you want your fans to believe you, use them.
Final thoughts? its simple really, looking for a good, light weight, very comfy, good sound, OK microphone, modular design, mobile and PC gaming, then these are for you, Fnatic Fan, these are for you, I guess its comes down to how much can you spend or what type of headphones you want, wireless or cabled, for cabled you can not go wrong with these, if you can not afford these head along to the Plantronics RIG500E, light weight, good sound, microphone can be by pushed away and muted, two types of gaming earcups and comes with software.
I am giving these a 9/10 I reckon software would highly improve them and give users more versatility, the microphone should be modular so it can be removed, again software for users on PC would help with the microphone to reduce background noise as well. Other than that, a very bold attempt from GEAR by Fnatic, a well-rounded set of headphones.
You can purchase the Fnatic Gear Headphones here