For the most part, gaming headsets are either incredible or lacklustre. There’s very little middle ground in my experience, and you often find you get what you pay for. Expensive manufacturers bring hosts of interesting features and great sound quality on one hand, whilst cheaper brands often offer serviceable technology and questionable build quality.
I was therefore very surprised with what arrived at my door from EKSA; a relatively budget headset with a stylish design and claiming 7.1 virtual surround sound alongside support for all major consoles. Coming it at around £35 at time of writing, I was initially sceptical but open to the idea it could live up to the claims. I wasn’t disappointed.
Due to moving, I haven’t had access to my PC for a while, so the majority of my time with the headset has been whilst listening to things on my phone, during video calls on my work laptop and whilst playing games on my Switch. Due to this, I haven’t had much chance to mess around with the downloadable software, but from what I have seen the options are impressive with full sound customisation and surround optimisation. I will, however, say that even without the full suite of options available the PC quality is incredible and the virtual 7:1 surround seems to work incredibly well, rivalling similar, more expensive headsets. The directional sound is spot on, allowing for pin-point recognition of where it is supposed to come from. I honestly don’t know how they’ve achieved it, but somehow they have. Unfortunately, this feature isn’t available when plugged into “dumb” devices, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad buy for them.
The headset itself comes in a luxurious purple package oozing quality. Within are the headset itself, the detachable microphone, a 3.5 mm audio cable, a PC splitter cable for separating the mic and headphone jacks, a high-quality USB cable, a manual and a leatherette carry pouch to keep it all in. The headset is primarily built from plastic but has several rubberised and memory foam parts including the strap and ear “cup”. The majority is black, but there are several orange and red highlights around it which are almost reminiscent of some of SteelSeries’ earlier pieces. The band is remarkably strong, with a durable feel despite the somewhat basic look. On the outside of the speakers are some orange/red lights in the shape of the EKSA logo which add to the “gamer” look of the piece. Whilst at first glance it doesn’t look that flashy in comparison to the competition, once you hold it you can feel the quality and the thought which has clearly been put into it as a piece of tech.
Under the left speaker are the various switches and jacks, and there’s a lot to talk about here. The front jack is for the microphone, which is fully detachable. Whilst the mic it comes with looks basic and feels a little insubstantial the quality it offers is pretty amazing, as you can hear from the clip below.
I was also impressed with how effectively the headset cancelled ambient noise; which can be a common annoyance at this price point. I am pleased to say my friends weren’t bothered by squeaks and feedback; a huge bonus. The attachment connects to a simple 3.5 mm jack but it clips in securely and has plenty of flex to allow for perfect positioning. I found the removable nature of it very useful, as I could switch from headset to headphones with very little hassle. For the gamer on the go, this feature is a no-brainer. Next to this port are the USB and Audio jacks, which connect to your platform of choice. The USB-C connection is for PC and allows the use of the 7:1 virtual surround, but I was more interested in the somewhat bizarre audio jack, which has a proprietary lock to prevent the cable slipping out. I’ve never seen anything like it but it works incredibly well and ensures a consistently secure connection. I can imagine that in the long-term this will ensure the cable ends don’t lose their grip and connection quality. Towards the back is a mute switch and a volume roller; there’s not much to say about these except for the fact they work consistently and have a quality feel to their action.
In terms of fit and comfort, I was pleasantly surprised. I have got a big head, to be blunt, so headsets can sometimes be a bit of a squeeze. Luckily the E900 Pro has plenty of give, allowing for a comfy fit regardless of whether you have a melon or a pomegranate on your shoulders. It’s also found a sweet spot in terms of weight, allowing for a light yet considerable feel which remains comfortable after hours of use. My go-to headset for years has been my trusty SteelSeries Siberia V2 due to its almost invisible feel, but I can happily report that EKSA may have replaced it as my long-session device.
Of course, the most important part of any headset is the sound and I’m happy to report that EKSA has nailed it. The 50 mm drivers provide crystal-clear performance at all levels. I was amazed by the clarity of the higher frequencies and equally impressed by the bass levels. Somehow, despite the price-tag, the sound hasn’t been compromised! I could rattle off exact specs, but you can easily find them all over the internet; the sheer fact is that this offers premium quality sound at a very low price and it’s replaced pretty much every headset I’ve used up to yet.
The only downside I’ve found isn’t actually an issue for me; it’s more a problem for my lovely fiancée. As with most similar sets, the E900 pro is designed to cancel out sounds and allow the user to focus on the sound – it does a great job at this. The problem is that it doesn’t do a great job at keeping the sound inside the cups and it, therefore, leaks quite a bit. I quite often play my Switch in bed, and unfortunately, unlike some of my other pairs, this set has disturbed her quite a bit with its powerful bass. A small issue, I know, but it may be significant for some.
All in all, however, I’m a huge fan of EKSA’s offering. The E900 Pro is a jack of all trades which doesn’t compromise in any area. If you want it to listen to music, it’ll do a great job. For gaming and voice comms it’s equally – if even more – impressive. I used to be a fan of Skullcandy for using with my iPod, but this offers better sound for a comparable price AND I can easily plug in a mic for work calls or gaming. Granted, there are a couple of downsides such as the limited 7:1 compatibility and sound leakage, but for this price, these are tiny issues. I can highly recommend the E900 pro to everyone; gamer or not, and I’m proud to be able to give it the highest score I’ve ever given a peripheral.
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