Pretty headset for (WoW) gamers
World of Warcraft gamers have been treated with several WoW themed accessories from keyboards to gaming mice. Creative has also recognised this market and their Sound Blaster World of Warcraft Wireless Headset is a good-looking addition to gaming paraphernalia. Not only is it WoW themed, but it is also marketed as a high quality product for all other gamers as well. But let's take a closer look at the headset before we give our ratings.
Design and Features
One thing that gamers can rarely avoid when they pick up their chosen gaming gear is the plethora of flashing led lights in various colours. This holds true also with this WoW headset. The earpieces are adorned with WoW specific LED lighted symbols belonging to Horde and Alliance. With a bit of Googling, we found out that these are some sort of “factions” in the WoW universe. While the present reviewers have no experience with the WoW universe, we didn't find the symbols any more bothersome than we find all flashing lights in our gaming mice, keyboards and other equipment. For those who like these sorts of things the 16 million programmable colour illumination options are certain to get them drooling.
The earpiece design of the headset is circumaural, and they muffle any outside sounds pretty well, letting you concentrate on what's important: the game. The cushions are soft and comfortable even with glasses, covered with what seems like faux leather. The earpieces did not press painfully against the ears and felt much more comfortable than many of the competing headphones out there.
The build quality of the headset is good at first – there were no creaking or any other stress-related sounds when you flex them. This did not hold true for long, though. As one of our reviewers has quite a big head (62 EU and 7 3/4 US), we needed to extend the earpieces from the headband and naturally pull the headset open to fit it over this big melon. This revealed the marked weakness of the Creative design, as the extension pieces are made out of thin plastic. After only a couple of weeks of usage, one of these extensions cracked and will probably soon break off completely. ADDENDUM: It appears that this weakness was not solely the fault of the reviewer's head size, but others are also experiencing the same problem - so be warned!
Like in many Creative products, the microphone is detachable, which is a great bonus for those who don't tend to babble when they play. The main specs are as follows:
Driver Units: 40mm Neodymium Magnet
Frequency Response: 20Hz ~ 20kHz
Impedance: 32 ohms
SPL (1kHz): 112dB
Microphone Type: Noise-Canceling Condenser
Frequency Response: 50Hz ~ 16kHz
Sensitivity@ 1kHz: -48 dBV/Pa (Uni-directional)
Even though SoundBlaster World of Warcraft Wireless Headset is named after a certain online game, we refrained from testing the headset with that particular game. Instead, we played Mafia II, Crysis, Mass Effect 1&2 and other games that support surround sounds. We detected no sound displacement as such in the sound reproduction, but the speakers fell flat in their ability to create a real surround sound atmosphere. In short, they seemed to lose the effect of 5.1 or any speaker setting above 2.1 and telling the direction of your enemy (above left or right) was not possible.
In online chat the microphone provided good sound quality. You can easily switch the microphone off with a small button on the left earpiece. In all gaming use, the earphones and microphone served us very well. Furthermore, the wireless nature of the headset made them very convenient to use, although we would have expected some sort of a warning sound before the battery runs out – as it is, you hear a small beep at the very moment the speakers turn off with no warning whatsoever.
The WoW Headset offers great sound quality – but not above what you would expect from a gaming level headset in this price category. Those who value Hi-Fi and true surround sounds should really look elsewhere – and expect to pay a lot more for their headphones.
We’ve rated the Sound Blaster World of Warcraft Wireless Headset in a variety of categories on a scale of 1 to 10.
Design and Build Quality: 3.0/10 (adjusted from 6/10 - see the review)
Sound Quality: 8.5/10
Our score: 5.0/10 (adjusted from 7/10 - see the review)
The major downside of the headset is the build quality. Plastic is not really the material you use when you want to make something that lasts longer than a few weeks – especially if you have to accommodate big gamer melons. The cracked extension piece really destroyed our belief in this product, although it may have been a unique fault of this particular set (and thus we still gave it a 6 in that regard). NOTE - this has been adjusted due to reader reports of similar problems.
Overall, the SoundBlaster World of Warcraft Wireless Headset may be a solid product if your head size is close to the centre of the bell curve, or below it – and if you don't twist the frame too much when you pull the set over your head. The best quality of the headset is definitely the excellent comfort even when worn with glasses and we will miss that aspect of the headset when it breaks down for good.