Stealth XP Hornet Multiformat gaming headset
I’ve had a few gaming headsets over the course of my gaming career. I still have a particular favourite that not only acts as my gaming headset, but also as my commuting headset, allowing me to watch videos as I travel to and from work and on overseas trips with the family. And that is exactly what I want from a headset – one that can be used for everything, whilst excelling at the gaming aspect. The ABP Technology’s Stealth Brand of gaming headsets come in a range of styles and I was lucky enough to be sent a review unit of the Stealth XP Hornet, a multiformat gaming headset.
Out of the box, the Hornet isn’t much to look at. It is your typical black plastic headset with mesh padded headrest and earcups and the branded Hornet logo. But looks are often deceiving and this is the case with the Stealth XP Hornet. Although the headset is primarily plastic and doesn’t have a sturdy feel, it has quite a bit of flexibility giving the headset durability belying the look. I was able to twist and bend the headband quite substantially, which gave me the impression that they’d be the sort of headset you’d be comfortable throwing after a rage quit and then pick them up knowing they’d work fine afterwards. The grey mesh padded headrest and earcups give the headset a contrasting colour and the yellow logos provide a further contrast. The headset comes complete with inline controls with a 3.5mm jack, an adapter that splits the 3.5mm jack into separate microphone and audio jacks, and a detachable microphone.
Although the frame has a flimsier feel than many other headsets, the plastic frame and the soft padding do have an advantage over many other headsets I’ve used – weight. The Hornet is the lightest gaming headset I have ever used. I had the headset on for a number of hours and it didn’t weigh me down at all. The padding adequately forms enough of a barrier between the frame and the top of the head, but does not feel intrusive. The ear cups also didn’t push in the side of my face like other headset earcups often do. As a gamer who wears glasses, heavier headsets can tend to dig in at the point where the glasses meet the ear, but the Hornet provided no such issues.
As mentioned briefly earlier, the Hornet comes complete with an inline volume control. I did find that the volume was not overly loud (even when the controls were set to full volume). This may have something to do with the 40mm speaker drivers. Bass too, feels a little under-powered, not providing the booming undertones that a music fan would require. The explosions in games are fine, but music-lovers generally need that extra oomph. The inline controls work well though, making it simple to adjust the volume, whilst also allowing muting of the microphone when needed. This is always a handy feature, as you don’t want your in-game squad listening to your Mum tell you that dinner is ready. I can’t be the only person that has happened to.
The Hornet also has a detachable microphone, which has always been my preferred option, rather than the fixed alternative. It enables the headset to be used on commutes (or flights) to watch TV or listen to music without the microphone being a distraction. The microphone is probably the major weakness of the headset though. The microphone isn’t overly bendable, so you cannot place it in your optimal position like most other detachable boom microphones. And as a result, it does not seem to capture voices as clearly as other mics. The voice often comes out with some distortion, but apart from that does a reasonable job for a lower priced gaming headset.
The Stealth XP Hornet Multiformat Gaming headset is on the budget end of the spectrum, so it would be a worthwhile introductory headset, especially since it can be used for multiple purposes and across multiple platforms. The volume and the microphone aren’t the best on the market, but at the price point it performs more than adequately in a gaming sense - which is the intended primary use. From a comfort perspective though, I cannot fault the Hornet, as I was able to game for hours without any issues. The lightweight nature and flexibility give the headset a sturdiness that belies the lightness of the frame. And the fact that the microphone is detachable, allows the Hornet to be used on your daily commute to work or school to watch videos or listen to music, making it an effective all-rounder.