Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Hardware: Gioteck EX-05 wired headset

In these straightened times, buying a gaming peripheral can be a big decision and a sizeable investment. But with a summer lull for big game releases, there's no reason what money you do have should be burning a hole in your pocket – especially when Gioteck’s EX-05 headset will only enhance your gaming experience. The multi platform version is available at a slight premium but means it’s usable with the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC, offering a perfect accompaniment for the serious gamer.

For those of us loving nothing more than a lengthy gaming session, the EX-05 headset looks the business and is available as a substantial 5-metre wired version (reviewed here) or with a 2.4GHz wireless transmitter – either way, giving you ample range for mid-game snack runs!

Inside the box lurks the headset, control box and two cables – one with RCA connectors and a USB, as well as another shorter lead that connects to the controller when using it with Xbox for voice chat. The instructions clearly outline how you can plug these RCA cables into your display but an additional – and inexpensive - Xbox HDMI AV adaptor is needed if you want to connect the headset direct to your console. It's much the same set up on PS3, while using the EX-05 with the PC only requires the USB to be plugged in. Painless and quick.

The control box features four main elements: Game Volume, Voice Volume, a PS3/Xbox toggle and a mute switch, linked to an indicator light that shows when it’s activated.

The build quality of the headphones is suitably sturdy, ensuring that these can withstand plenty of abuse. Although initially seeming slightly unwieldy compared with other slimmer headsets currently available, the height adjustable earcups encapsulate your ears perfectly and isolate all external noise to provide a very pleasant (albeit sweaty) experience. The cushioned ear cups will no doubt ensure that your eyes will ache long before your ears after a lengthy gaming session. It may look substantial but the headset is nice and lightweight; the mesh camo headband sports a metal frame and, despite its rigidity and lack of padding is surprisingly comfy.

The EX-05 also boasts 40mm speakers capable of producing good treble and bass. In fact, ramp the volume up on these bad boys and you’ll be blown away. Topping the unit off is a flexible noise isolating microphone boom that can be positioned according to individual preference and during our playtests, received very favourable reports from those on the other end of the conversation.They all commented on crystal clear speech and said it was a great improvement on the standard headset bundled with my 360.

The military styling will make you feel right at home as you unload your MK14 into your Modern Warfare buddies. Footsteps, gunshots and even the rustling of leaves are clearly audible with these babies on your head – and it certainly enhances your experience. But don’t think the headset is only suited to explosives and gunfire.. an extensive playthrough of FIFA 12 had us hearing crowd chants like never before. While the menu music was more vivid and rich than when we’d relied on our TV speakers, even subtle sounds like the ball striking the crossbar helped to immerse us in the game. We tried playing The Walking Dead, Dead Island and Left 4 Dead 2 and the groans, shuffles and screams were crystal clear through the EX-05s and really heightened the experience… so much so, you’ll be playing with the lights on!

We did find, however, that the game volume can easily overpower voice chat, which meant we had to get the balance just right if we wanted to talk to friends. The lack of any form of voice monitoring offered by some rival headsets means you’re unable to gauge how loud you’re speaking, which may prove an irritant to others in the room.

Besides these minor issues, we can’t rate these highly enough. The sound clarity and build quality are fantastic and, unlike many of its competitors, the Gioteck EX-05 is reasonably priced too and won’t break the bank. For pretty much the price of a new game (around £40 in the UK) this is a peripheral that will certainly augment your gameplay.

  • Breathable micro-fibre ear cups
  • Super lightweight headband
  • Military styling
  • Powered by USB
  • 40mm high quality stereo drivers
  • Flexible microphone arm
  • Noise isolating microphone
  • Ergonomic controls - voice and game sound control
For more details, visit the official website.