When the Logitech Wireless Gaming Headset G930 came in for review I thought to myself, "I've seen this type of thing before and it usually doesn't work out." The day of the padded headset was nearly up with the emergence of earbuds and what not. Not to mention a slew of bluetooth headphones out there that had just gotten better each year.
Why in the world would someone need a USB/RF based headset?
Logitech® Wireless Gaming Headset G930 is not just any 'USB/RF' based headset; it's the Aston Martin of 'USB/RF' headsets. Let's start with design!
The design of the G930 resembles a stylish version of headphones you might have used if you lived in the 70s and enjoyed listening to records at home (that's not a knock, those headphones were comfortable!). It's a combination of sleek, finished plastic connected the standard metal arch that fits comfortably over a multitude of noggins. Everyone who tried this headset came out with the same conclusion, it literally feels like there's nothing straddling the top of your head thanks to some well placed padding and extreme flexibility in the arch.
On top of this, the actual ear portion of the headset swivels to allow for any ear type to fit comfortably into the headset; we're all different and certainly not perfect, so this lends well to those needing adjusting. Staying with the ears, the padded foam that will surround your ears on the headset is probably the most comfortable I've ever felt in my life. Genetically I was given some of the biggest, goofiest ears out of everyone I know (thanks dad!), so it was nice to be able to fit those Dumbo-like freaks into the G930 without a hitch. More importantly, and this is something that I experienced when I was using some noise canceling BOSE, my ears never felt crunched during the entire process. There wasn't a period where I needed to take off my headset for a break; it was just that comfortable.
Comfort aside, another big draw to the headsets is that they are wireless. While you do have to plug in a USB device into your machine (big deal), you do have some great range with this headset. For example, as I was running through various tests with the device my wife interrupted me (through what seemed like a jumping jack of some sort to gain my attention; I couldn't hear her because my audio was too loud -- that's the story I'm sticking too) and asked me to go handle the dishes while she gave the kids a bath. I thought, "What a perfect opportunity!" Walking from the computer room down the hall to the kitchen, I sported the G930 the entire way. I listened to my iTunes collection that was playing on my computer in my computer room while I was washing the many dishes that had collected from my hellions; the headset didn't lose a beat! While it wasn't 7.1 (because iTunes only dishes out 2.1) it still was sweet sounding bass based music that rang as crisp and clear as if I was listening to it through a stereo system.
At this point, Logitech had me sold on the headset. Frightfully, there was more to come.
When using these during a gaming experience the 7.1 surround sound portion of the G930 does come in handy. Having played against a few folk using Steam in a few games, I found that the level of response and clarity of sound helped improve the gameplay immensely. You can hear people around you as if you are actually there. Depending on your character's positioning and movement (and game, of course), the sound experience is enhanced and you're given an advantage. While I won't name the game, just know that I'm a sniper and I sit around waiting for people to show up. Having the ability of hearing gamers and characters draw closer is essential for successfully sniping the poor bastards that get in my way. Having a virtual 7.1 surround sound is sweet and handy. If you're skeptical of 'virtual' surround sound then go check out a Nintendo DS system; it sports a 2.1 virtual surround sound and sounds unbelievably clear. Do that and then imagine 7.1; you'll understand how good this can be.
More features that I really thought were out of this world good were the customizable controls. On the left headphone you'll find three buttons that are cleverly placed (so that you don't accidentally hit them during gameplay). You can customize and use these buttons to your advantage. With the software included with the G930 it's incredibly easy to get whatever type of use you want out of these buttons. Much like the gaming keyboards that Logitech produces, these buttons are extremely useful for the macro making person in you. Before I move on to the next portion of the review, let me throw some major kudos out to Logitech for adding the scroll-wheel into the headphones. Not only is it placed properly, but also works so darn well. Being a huge fan of Macintosh (yes, you can use this headset with a mac -- despite the lack of it on the box (just don't expect to customize your buttons)), it was delightful to plug in the USB and start using the headsets without a hitch. Having the ability to turn up and down the volume through this scroll-wheel was huge. Not having to use the tiny volume button the keyboard of any Macintosh (which is a pain the but when you've got big hands) is a huge plus. Anyway, let's move on!
The final piece to this G930 is the noise-canceling microphone. Having plugged the headset in immediately upon receiving it, I was dumbfounded the microphone wasn't giving me that annoying static and catching my breathing. I thought maybe my good friend at UPS had somehow destroyed the G930 before it had gotten to me. Upon further inspection I realized that Logitech had successfully created a noise-canceling microphone like advertised. Folks, you'll just have to try it out for yourself because it not only delivers crystal clear audio to your source, but it does so as if you're talking on a very high-end cellular device. What's even scarier is that not only does it work well in a gaming situation, but it also works well over Skype and iChat (AIM for you Windows peeps). I dialed someone up on my iChat using this headset and sat and talked to them perfectly for a few minutes. I asked the person on the other side (without telling them I was using Logitech's G930) how it sounded and they stated, "Whatever you're using it sounds like you're here talking to me." That's pretty huge considering you don't get that kind of audible love from my $2200+ MacBook Pro's mic. Absolutely astonishing.
So is this the ultimate headset experience for gamers and computer users? I think so, but there a few things about the G930 that should be corrected on the next go around (or perhaps through a software update). The first is that there has to be a better way to recharge your G930 headset. Logitech provides you with a spool of USB cable that plugs into your computer and charges your headset (nice to have recharging ability, rather than batteries). It gives you length to do what you want while you're headset is charging. The problem here is that you must plug in the USB dongle into the spool to get the headphones to work at all. Why should you do that? I'm not exactly sure, as I assumed during the first go around that once you plugged up your headset using the USB cable that you're good to go. Having found out that using the USB cable doesn't allow you to use your headset, I soon realized why the USB input on top of the spool was cleverly placed there. Call me a bit logical, but you should only need the recharge cable to use the headset as it is recharging. It's like if you plugged up your PS3 controller to the PS3 to recharge it allows you to recharge and to use the controller; it should be that way for the G930.
One more small complaint is the lack of usage for video game consoles out there. I would die to use this device on a Playstation 3. I certainly won't count this against Logitech in this review, because their box clearly states Windows, but having the ability to use this comfort and design on my PS3 would be heaven for me. All I can say is, "Please come out with a driver!"
Those complaints aside, the G930 is truly one of the more perfect headset solutions on the market. Now for your noobs out there that see a $159.99 price tag and cringe a bit just know that it's very comparable to similar products. Razer has the Megalodon that does similar things as the G930 and it's priced at $149.99. I haven't tried out the Megalodon, so I'm not going to compare it in any other way except for price and specs. You pay for what you get and the $159.99 that the G930 has slapped on it truly tells you what type of experience you're going to get. It's truly worth every penny.