What’s your gaming setup like? Big TV? Surround Sound System? or are you more of a PC screen and headset gamer? One thing’s for sure, your setup is personal to you, so it’s important you have the best gear available. We’ve been kindly given a Plantronics GameCom X95 wireless headset to review, will they fit perfectly in your setup? let’s find out…
Plantronics have an amazing history, dating all the way back to the early 1960’s. It wasn’t about gaming back then, Aviation was the name of the game. Airline pilots used to were huge headsets that were uncomfortable to use, and things needed to change. Two pilots, Courtney Graham and Keith Larkin collaborated to create a small functional design which was robust enough to pass airline standards. They later formed Pacific Plantronics (now called Plantronics, Inc.) on May 18, 1961. They introduced the first lightweight communications headset, the MS-50, to the commercial marketplace in 1962. By the mid 60’s they were the sole supplier of headsets for air traffic controllers, and thereafter was selected to supply headsets to the operators of the Bell Telephone company.
Fast forward 50 years and Plantronics are still going strong, they branched out to gaming headsets under the GameCom label and were responsible for the first Xbox 360 wireless headset to enable voice chat over Live. Now the X95 incorporates game sound as well as voice chat.
What’s in the Box?
The headset couldn’t be simpler really, along with the unit you get the little wireless receiver that plugs in via USB, you also have a pair of phono connectors and a 3.5mm cable. Setting up couldn’t be easier. The USB wireless adapter plugs into the Xbox 360 via USB, then you just need to put your RCA cables into the Xbox 360 component cable and then into your TV. If you’re connecting from your Xbox 360 to your TV via HDMI, you’ll have to dig out the component cable to use instead, or buy a cable that uses two male 3.5mm standard headphone jacks. Twisting the right earcup will reveal the battery holder, and the set comes with two AAA batteries. When you turn on the Xbox syncing only takes a couple of seconds and you are on your way.
The headset looks great, it has a simple matt black design accentuated only by an arctic white rim around each of the speakers and the GameCom logo embossed on the top of the headband, the first thing that jumped out at me was the cleverly placed microphone, when you are not using it slides up next to your left ear under the headband, when you want to chat slide it back down and extend it so that it’s close to your mouth, it’s a great little design. I was slightly disappointed with the felt-like material around the square ear muffs, mainly because they quickly picked up fluff almost instantly and over the last week it’s been pretty hot, which made things uncomfortable over long periods of time. The flexibility of the earcups was another great feature.
Another nice feature of the headset is that the game and chat volume are managed separately, they are conveniently placed on the back of each earcup meaning you can switch them around based on the type of game you are playing. There is also a mute button above the chat volume.
How does it perform?
I’ve tested the headset over a range of games, from FIFA 13, Borderlands 2, Forza Horizon & Lego Lord of the Rings. This headset isn’t a surround sound set so you don’t get the full benefit of game sounds but despite that I was really pleased with what I could hear. The cars sounded awesome in Forza as did the different guns in Borderlands 2. You can have the headset up fairly loud but the noise does leak from them so you will need to be careful when on a late night gaming session.What I was really impressed with was the quality of the voice chat, it was crystal clear, and my friends were able to hear me well too, you would be surprised at the amount of headsets that don’t seem to be able to do this despite costing more. The wireless receiver performed fairly well, though I did get some drop-outs and the odd crackling despite being a couple of feet away from the unit. I managed to get 9 hours out of the batteries which I was pleased with.
The x95’s can be bought for about £55 at the moment and for wireless headset that’s pretty good, especially as the voice chat is so impressive. There are better looking headsets out on the market but the X95 does a very good job for an even better price. If you are looking for a well priced wireless headset then this is the one for you.
Together with Multiplay and Plantronics’, we are giving away a wireless GameCom X95 headset! To enter all you need do is like us and GameCom on Facebook which you can do through our handy little giveaway app!