Gaming headsets, or headphones as they are commonly called, are one of those things that is always sort of the red headed stepchild of gear. Most opt for a cheap solution, buying something at the local dollar store, or pressing an old set of earbuds into duty. Then you have to consider how you are going to communicate; are you going to buy a microphone, rely on the one that may be built into your webcam, or send up smoke signals?
The best solution, of course, is going to be a headset that offers both a built in microphone and good sound quality, bonus points if you can use it for other things as well.
The Steelseries 5Hv3 replaced my venerable Siberia V2 headset, and while it offers many of the same features, takes things a step further.
Like the Siberia, the 5Hv3 has a retractable microphone, and in-line volume/mic control. What goes a bit further is the swappable cable system, allowing it to be used in a single jack, and the braided nylon cord which makes it less likely to get tangled. Additionally, you can disassemble the 5Hv3 into separate components, allowing for easier stowage and travel.
One thing I was disappointed in, but is common among most headsets, is the inability to use the 5Hv3 across different platforms. With the inclusion of the dual to single adapter, I have to believe it is feasible. Steelseries does offer a possible solution to this, but it is a separate purchase.
Well, really if you need me to explain to you how to use a headset then you are on the wrong site. Plug the thing in to the right color input (green for speaker/headphones, red for microphone), and make sure your volume control is set.
Comfort, I suppose, would fall into this category; sometimes you get a headset and it feels like two concrete blocks hanging off your ears. The 5Hv3 is fairly comfortable for a moderate amount of time, if you wear it more than two hours of so, you may experience some discomfort, but I didn’t leave it on long enough to experience that.
The headband is fairly durable and flexible, with a leather padded underside that sits comfortably on top of your brain bucket, while the leather padded earcups isolate background noise very well. In comparison to other headsets I have owned, the amount of noise cancellation is wonderful, allowing me to game comfortably while completely oblivious to the fact that my wife is talking to me. The microphone is, as I said, retractable and picks up unidirectional sound with a -38 dB sensitivity, while the speakers pump it out up to 110 dB.
The actual appearance of the 5Hv3 is sleek, and simple. While I don’t personally wear anything larger than simple earbuds in public, the 5Hv3 is not too flashy nor ridiculous to imagine that you might try to use it with your phone or mp3 player, using the included adapter.
I’ve tried several headsets and earbud combinations before. Everything ranging from a cheap USB set bought from a dollar store with a desktop microphone, to more expensive options. My all time favorite previously was the Siberia V2, but the 5Hv3 seems to have a little better quality of sound, and is a bit more comfortable.
The 5Hv3 seems durable enough, though I have yet to drop kick it or roll over it in my car to test that theory. The braided cord is one of the signature features of a lot of Steelseries products, and helps insure that the wiring inside it is protected, while the solid polymer construction is lightweight and flexible enough to accommodate nearly any size head.
For me, the 5Hv3 pushes the right buttons. It’s sleek, simple and doesn’t feature glowing lights or neon colors.
Like a lot of quality headsets, the 5Hv3 will set you back some money. Currently sitting at 80 USD for the Steelseries North American store, that price may be prohibitive to some. Fortunately a less expensive option to the 5Hv3 is the 3HV2 and 3HVR. While the performance may not quite be as good as the 5Hv3 the numbers run pretty close except on price. The 3HV2 is 40 USD and the 3H VR runs about 30 USD direct from Steelseries. Additionally, if you want more features, and don’t mind spending the money, the 7H is another option at approximately 130 USD along with many other options. As always, be sure to shop around for the best deal, however.
I’ve been using the 5Hv3 now for about a month, and I couldn’t be more pleased. I didn’t think at first that the quality and performance would match my Siberia headset, but it excels. The adage “You get what you pay for” rings true in most cases, but with Steelseries you get a bit more in return.