For the price, this is a good choice
I have tested a lot of headsets and I must admit I am getting very particular about what I like. I have dabbled with 7.1 surround sound headsets for both consoles and PCs, and in some of these the sensory experience has been superb. Regardless of their cost, though, I have always found that they are six month wonders. They're delicate instruments, which I feel are often better for audiophiles rather than rugged day to day gaming use. They are also not cheap and - having broken the wire on a $500 set of headphones - I have also found that they are often irreparable.
A long time favourite of mine has been the F.R.E.Q 5. It's a stereo headset but it is rugged, with metal construction and a braided cord. It's tough and it has managed to survive drops, spills, and a regular wrap around the office chair. So when I was sent the new Logitech G230 headset to review, I had pretty low expectations. What I found instead was a low priced unit that was full of surprises.
Presented in the now familiar Logitech Gaming Line box of black and technical blue, the G230 is a stereo headset designed for the PC. Inside the box sleeve is a light plastic container secured with tape and twisty ties. Much easier to get into than the current vogue of heat sealed armoured plastic that takes a grinder, chisel, and two pints of blood to open.
The first surprise is that it is not connected by way of a USB jack, but rather it relies on twin 3.5mm plugs to connect to your PC.
The unit has a hard plastic fixed microphone with the only adjustment being the vertical up and down movement over 55 degrees. When pushed fully up, the microphone partly retracts into the left-hand ear cup with about 5cm sitting proud.
The earphone speakers are neodymium drivers that crank out 20hz to 20Khz, which is standard for these types devices. The padding on the the cups is fabric
Construction is a light metal headband slider overlaid in plastic, with solid plastic yokes holding the ear pieces. The whole unit is black, with go-faster red highlights. This same red colour is carried over to the braided cord, which is a very generous three metres in length.
The unit is quite generously padded and very light. All up, the unit weighs in at 263 grams. You hardly know you're wearing it. I put the unit through a good three hour gaming session and there was no discomfort or ear numbness like you can get with models in a similar price bracket.
When you take the unit off, the ear cups fold flat when resting around your neck or on your gaming desk.
The grommets connecting the cord to the phones and to the intermediate control unit are robust, with a good amount of play in them to prevent stress cracking. The braided cord is great. Thinner than what I am used to, but I gave it a good snapping yank and there was no sign of stretching (or breaking).
The intermediate cabling between the each ear cup is hidden inside the unit, so I'm betting these are standard plastic thin wire. This could be an area that will wear over time but the plastic and joints look reasonably solid. I have a sense they are more robust than other units in this price bracket, anyway.
This is not a complex unit to operate. It's plug and play with a small control tab positioned a good distance down the cord from the unit itself. I like that you can sit the control on your desk within easy reach rather hanging from your ear like some hippy techno earring. The controls are as basic as they get, with a slide button to mute the microphone and a wheel to control the volume.
My game of choice for testing headsets has been borderlands, however for this unit I have stepped up a notch and am now using Borderlands 2. The key reason for using this game is that it has a good mixture of voice, sound effects and some great music covering a good range of high and low sounds. It is also a game that is a perennial favourite that never leaves my PC.
As far as the sound quality goes, It has a good range of volume and handled both the low bass sounds of the music while delivering the high pitched voices of some of the main characters (Tiny Tina.) Sound effects wise the explosions were rich and loud when I needed them to be and overall the unit handled a mix of different tones well. I was in fact surprised that the quality was very much on a par with my current higher end unit. I did some direct comparisons and there was no perceptual difference.
The big surprise for me was the retail price on this unit. If you shop around you can pick up these headphones for around $80. This is not bad considering the robust braided cord, the metal headband, and a design that has longevity in mind. If you are wondering, I don’t think the red colour made my game play any faster, and I refuse to comment on how many women I picked up wearing them to the pub.