The first thing you will notice when taking this headset out of the box, its a bit plain, almost military-themed appearance. This headset certainly isn’t a looker, and fails to boast the visual flair you might expect from higher-end brands such as SteelSeries. Aside from a metallic strip placed across the top of the head arch, and some black mesh to work alongside it, this product looks very dull. The use of dark colours and minimal detailing only adds to this unappealing design, drawing similarities between this headset and a pair of old-school keyboard headphones.
The headset also suffers from being large in size, feeling bulky and heavy on the head, noticeably weighing down on you throughout use. This makes for an uncomfortable experience, especially in longer sessions where it can be a bit distracting. The actual headphones are fairly uncomfortable on the ears too, and though they can move and twist to fit in the right position, they will make your ears heat up and sweat after no time at all. Continued use did occasionally irritate my ears as the cups pressed on and around them, with the foam supplying not enough relief for my liking. Despite this however, the headphones hold up well when reducing the outside noise, meaning that your gaming sessions go largely uninterrupted by the sounds of the outside world.
The microphone on the headset is designed rather well, spawning out from the left headphone and sporting a flexible and adjustable arm, it’s easy to sit in the right place without any hassle. It extends out enough to give plenty of room between the mouth and the mic, and it never feels obtrusive to have it in front of you, neither does it distract.
Wiring off from the headset is a control module that allows the user to change the volume of both voice, and the game (using separate controls for each), as well as allowing you to mute and unmute the microphone. The volume controls are very easy to use, and are nice and responsive, though the microphone control is frustrating to use. Working on a slider switch, the panel doesn’t offer enough grip to be able to slide it easily, making for a few fumbled attempts each time. This can be especially annoying while in the middle of a multiplayer game, when you want use of the control module to be quick and pain-free.
The EX-05s were originally only compatible with PC, MAC, Xbox 360, and Playstation 3, though thanks to a handy set of extra wires now supplied with the product, it is now usable with the Playstation 4. Unfortunately however, using the headset on a PS4 is a nightmare because the method used to get it to work results in lots of extra wires, making the headset extremely cumbersome to use. The wires trail everywhere, with them being plugged into the PS4’s DualShock 4 controller, the headsets control module, and the PS4 all at once. It makes any experience on the PS4 painful, and though the wires provide plenty of length, they will often all be tangled together in a mess on the floor. When using on any other platform however, the cables don’t tend to frustrate, though the wire still feels unnecessarily long.
The audio quality of this headset is a mixed bag of good and bad points, but I’ll start with the positive features it has to offer. If there’s one thing this headset does well, it’s providing plenty of audio clarity, even in a noisy in-game environment. It’s easy to distinguish between the different sounds here, with footsteps for example never getting lost within the background music. You will be able to understand key dialogue, even over a hail of gunfire and explosions. Your awareness in-game is certainly not lost while using this headset, even more so thanks to the wide stereo field that the headphones offer, giving you plenty of depth within the situations that matter. Audio panning is very effective running through the headphones, and you can easily understand what direction certain sounds are coming from in-game.
The big problem with the audio quality however is the ‘muddy’ sound you receive from the headphones. None of the audio sounds whole, with everything sounding as though it’s being dampened. The headphones also offer a strange boost in high frequencies, with plosive sounds sounding especially ear piercing. This is incredibly crippling for the headset, and even though there are some good qualities to be found, the audio quality is too poor, and outweighs them significantly.
The microphone is actually the only feature of the EX-05s that is pretty solid. Considering the low price point of this product, the microphone is very surprising, capturing the users voice without any problems, and giving enough clarity in the recording. The microphone also does a commendable job of isolating background noise from the microphone, gating the sound pretty well, without any artefacts getting too much in the way. While background noise does creep in, unless you are in a particularly noisy environment, you won’t be broadcasting much unwanted noise to other players.
This is a headset that is rather hard to recommend to most people, which is a shame because Gioteck have done some nice things with this peripheral. While the audio clarity, the wide stereo field, and the microphone quality are all surprising, these positive points are overshadowed by the uncomfortable design, the cumbersome amount of wiring for PS4 users, and the bad sound quality. Unless you are desperate for a budget-level headset, I wouldn’t recommend this product. In fact, you could probably get a better quality headset for a few quid more, and it would be a much more worthy investment.
- Headphone noise reduction is capable.
- Good clarity between different sounds.
- Wide stereo field.
- Mic cuts out background noise quite well.
- Nice clarity in mic recordings.
- Physical appearance is not much to look at.
- Headset becomes uncomfortable to wear pretty quickly.
- Large sized – feel big on your head.
- Makes your ears hot, sweaty, and occasionally irritated.
- All the wires make the headset feel cumbersome (when using with a PS4).
- The microphone mute control is awkward to use.
- Everything sounds ‘muddy’, as if the sound’s being dampened.
- High amounts of treble – plosive sounds are ear piercing.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.