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Monday, January 27, 2014

The Gear for the Gamer: Hands on with Steelseries Siberia Elite

When it comes to headset, the usual names coming up are Bose, Sennhesier, Beats, etc.. Although they all pursue better sound quality, the market segments they are tapping are slightly different. For example, Bose is thought as more business while Beats is more favoured by the younger generation. What I’m bringing today, is again something different from them, Steelseries’s latest headset, Siberia Elite. 

You may have not heard about Steelseries before if you are not a hardcore gamer. They manufacture all kinds of computer gaming related gears such as keyboard, mouse, mousepad and so on. Gamers want everything that makes their gaming experience better. Headset is definitely on the list of gears they will invest. A good headset puts games right into the scene and great sound quality is an essential part of the gaming experience. Clearly, Steelseries has something ready for them. 

To be frank, I am not a big fan of computer games, at least for the past 7, 8 years, so I don’t have much relevant experience I can speak about. This hands-on is more likely from a perspective of an outsider and if you are just looking for something that suits your need, you may find it useful. 

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The package is of very good quality. 

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Inside is the headset itself, it’s pure white which echoes its name Siberia. It has LED light on both ear cups, which will be shown later.

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The headband part isn’t like most other headsets that are adjustable by pulling out extra part in the slot. It’s elastic so it will automatically adjust when you wear it. 

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The microphone can be extended and position can be adjusted to make the sound reception better. 

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The cable that attaches to the headphone is using a micro USB port, but don’t worry, it has provided adapters for 3.5mm jacket, and flight port. 

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The USB sound card is the one which brings the best ability out of the headset. 

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Here is size comparison with my Beats Solo HD. Beats Solo HD is about the normal size of a headphone. Clearly, Siberia Elite is much more bulky than Beats. That makes it less portable.   

When connecting the Siberia Elite to the computer via the sound card, you will be able to customise the headset. Before that, you need to download the software Steelseries Engine 3. That can be easily found from its official website. 

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In the interface, you can customise the sound quality as most of the audio software provides. What I want to mention here is also the ability to customise the illumination color of the LED lights. It can be set to certain color or shift between colors. That is pretty cool, although nothing much related to the sound quality.

Another thing is the Dolby headphone option. If you use a normal headphone before you would notice that the sound is very much constrained in the ear cups. In other words, you know that the sound is from the headphone. However, if you switch on the Dolby effect, it completely turns the sound into stereo. By saying stereo, I mean, you would have thought the sound is filled in your room, from your computer. That’s something I can only experience in cinema theatres, which is amazing.

In terms of sound quality, I can feel that the bass is pretty strong and the higher range isn’t too harsh. The sound resolution isn’t as high as other professional headphones but I think it’s good enough for gaming use. 

So here comes my verdict.

Good:

1. Very comfortable and great sound quality and highly customisable.

2. Really cool LED lights (well, this isn’t something you expect headset to have, but it is eye catching)

3. Convenient control over the ear cup.  

Bad:

1. The huge size makes it only suitable for desktop gaming, rather than day to day use.

2. The big cushions are comfortable but they keep the ears too warm if they are used for long time.

3. For the price tag, you may find other good alternatives. 

Well, I have to admit that I don’t have enough time with testing out this headphone so many of my impression could really be first impression. If one day I’m diving into the gaming world, I’ll definitely considering it as one of my gaming gears. Hope you find the review useful. Ciao!

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