Game audio is always a force multiplier when it’s good. When it’s great your ability to react to what is going on around you and feel immersed in it is unmatched and that is where Plantronics is hoping to be with its GameCom Commander headset for your serious PC gamer.
Everything about this headset feels designed with a bit of a retro military helo pilot look and feel from it’s wire headpiece to ear-cup linkage to its old school ‘phone cord’. The outside says simple but the inside is where the audio magic happens.
Military is where this unit seems to aim. Rugged case for the PC gaming road warrior, velcro lets you personalize with our usually abundant name tapes or morale patches and just an overall look and feel that is chunky and utilitarian.
Whether you run straight audio jacks into your own sound card or use the USB dongle, you’ll find that simplicity appears to be the place that Plantronics had in mind. Nothing about the unit was difficult to figure out and unlike some headsets it didnt bog us down with any software or OS tweaking.
The whole rig from headset to the case it comes in is solid. You feel good about your protected investment when traveling with this headset in a semi-rigid case complete with carabiner which we assume would prevent swift walk offs if you secured it to something solid while you were visiting your next MLG or other LAN event.
The break away cables also read as if a lot of thought went into the immersed gamer forgetting they were tethered and getting over-excited about what they were doing. Pull a little too hard and your headset cord safely disengages from your PC saving a USB or sound card port as well as the connection wiring at the headset itself.
The inline mute and volume was convenient and easy to use and the boom mike adjusts easy enough. The attachment point for the mic boom is a screw down and felt solid
Here’s where things go sideways with the GameCom Commander. While the unit feels great initially there is a pressure exerted by the unit that the cushions in the ear cup cant seem to compensate for. The depth on the cushions also had the inner speaker platform right on the ear. Initially it seemed tight but considering the noise cancelling a good solid seal seemed expected. What was unexpected was how uncomfortable the headset got very quickly. Our gaming sessions got harder to deal with as it felt like the wire between the headset band and the ear cup got up next to the head and the constant pressure against the ear caused a shortened game play time with them rather than being able to forget about them as we hoped and simply enjoyed the immersion of the sound quality.
Amazing sound from your gaming without bleeding audio from the outside world disturbing you. This unit does everything right when it comes to the audio quality. The sound is crisp, the lows a thumping and the detail is great. The 7.1 surround sound really gives you a good sense of direction and the testing in our most popular shooters allowed us to get a solid read on incoming rounds as well as the footsteps of even the sneakiest opposition.
Even with a solid quality sound card we quickly opted for the no frills all quality USB option. Running off the front of the PC gave us a few more non pulling inches on the old phone style cord and the quality that came from the USB was outstanding without any need to make any adjustments.
Solid construction and great audio really speak well of Plantronics. If you’re one of those people who want to FEEL a solid purchase then the GameCom Commander really does get it done. The unit isnt afraid to take a little rough play or travel while still delivering the user a solid audio experience.
$300 is the retail price you’ll find at the time of this review. This is top end for game audio headset/mic combinations and few players are at that level. For this investment any gamer needs to hear all the audio, see all the quality and feel the comfort. Two out of three at this price isn’t going to cut it.
I had this headset on at the PAX Prime show in Seattle for a short time and can honestly say that unless I simply didn’t wear it long enough for the comfort issue to show up I would think it was a different model. Using it at the show for a few moments however did sell the noise cancelling prowess in the unit itself.
At $300 retail this isn’t an entry or even a mid tier product. At that level I feel that the headset should be able to bridge more than just the PC gamer and take care of console and non gaming PC operations like general voice communications and a few hours of blissful music enjoyment during your deployment.