|A member of the Funky Media Group|
|Review: Sharkoon XTACTIC SP USB Gaming Headset|
|Posted by Will Smith|
|Sunday, 14 November 2010 22:09|
The growth of online gaming have increased tremendously, and there's no stopping manufacturers producing all sorts or accessories for this ever growing market, from headsets to keyboards and from laser mice to mouse mats. To most gamers, especially professional gamers, these accessories isn't just about the look and feel of the product. Build quality, comfort, unique features, and most important responsiveness are all factors which are extremely important. It could mean the matter of getting your last kill or not. This is vitally important, especially when there are huge prizes at stake in the professional gaming scene.
In the past 6-12 months, we've seen an increase in gaming headsets on the market, and seems that everyone's doing it ... even Corsair (who are supposed to be memory specialists). This is all thanks to a resilient and bouyant gaming industry. We've already reviewed some headsets from Arctic Cooling and Steelseries, which arguably makes the best in ear headphones on the market. Take for example the Sharkoon RHS200, which we reviewed a few months ago. It's a budget gaming headset aimed at the value market. It produced decent sound, but we thought it lacked build quality. Nevertheless, the Sharkoon RHS200 is an anologue headset with 3.5mm jacks, so it will be suitable for a majority of devices.
In this review, we'll be taking a look at the Sharkoon XTACTIC SP USB Gaming Headset. It's a USB gaming headset that's suitable for use with PlayStation® 3, Xbox® 360 and PC. It's one of the first headsets we've tested that's compatible for gaming consoles, as well as for PC. It features two high quality 40 mm drivers, which is housed in an oval-shaped earcup. This is the first we've ever seen for a headset, as the earcups on most headsets are normally round, not oval-shaped. It could be one of those star features that's never really mentioned. The oval-shaped earcups literally "cup" your ears, making it a perfect fit. The Sharkoon XTACTIC SP headset is USB-powered and comes with an extremely long cable measuring 3.7m in length. There's also a separate detachable microphone that's flexible, and a control unit for adjusting the volume on the microphone and speaker, as well as an on/off mic switch.
Sharkoon are based in Germany and comes from a slightly different background. They produce on all sorts of peripherals from keyboard/mouse to USD HDD docking stations. More recently, they've entered the gaming market and launched a new brand called RUSH ... selling keyboards, mouse and headsets for gamers. For those who've never heard of Sharkoon until now ... here's a little something taken from their website. ...
One of the most important things we look for in all our headset reviews, is audio quality and comfort. You have to remember, after several hours of heavy and intense gaming session, your ears will bear the brunt of the headset. Without comfort, you could lack concentration and your gaming experience will probably deteriorate. So it's important that the earcup's surroundings must be made from materials that's comfortable to the ear.
It will be interesting to see what the audio quality is really like on these Sharkoon XTACTIC SP USB gaming headset. What makes these headsets extremely appealing to the masses, is the fact that it's compatible with the chat functions for both PlayStation 3 Chat and Xbox LIVE. Let's take a look at the specifications below ...
Features and Specifications
Sophisticated in design and technology – with the X-Tatic SP you gain a state-of-the-art stereo headset giving you the crucial sound advantage for epic gaming sessions on your PlayStation® 3 or Xbox® 360. Simply connect the X-Tatic SP to your game console through the analog interface and instantly experience a whole new world of sound delivered by the built-in amplifier.
Easily configure your personal sound using the in-line volume controller while chatting with your friends via “USB to PS3™” or “Xbox® Live”.
For more information please visit Sharkoon's website ...
Verdict and Conclusion
One thing that really stands out with the Sharkoon XTACTIC SP, is the size of the actual headset. It's much smaller than I expected, which I think is a great. It means that it's not too bulky to carry it around with you, plus it won't be too heavy when you wear it around your neck. The detachable microphone is also good feature to have, as it allows you to remove it when you just want to use it as a standard headphone. Furthermore, the extremely long 3.7m cable is perfect for listening to music or movies, in the comfort of your sofa/armchair from a distance. And talking of comfort, the earcups on the Sharkoon XTACTIC SP is oval-shaped, which literally "cup" your ears, making it a perfect fit and extremely comfortable. After several hours of usage, I didn't experience any ear aches whatsoever.
The overall audio quality is very good. The large 40mm driver gives loud, clear and crisp sounds with good bass. It's slightly better than the Arctic Sound P531, which we tested last week but not better than the more expensive Steelseries 7H. As far as build quality is concerned, the headset seems to made from good quality materials and feels pretty solid.
The Sharkoon XTACTIC SP comes with a built-in control unit, which is located about 1m along the USB cable/extention cord. The unit allows you to control the volume of the speaker and microphone. There's also a mic on/off switch, as well as 3.5mm jack for connecting the included Xbox 360 extension cable to your controller.
Although the Sharkoon XTACTIC SP is designed to be compatible for both the Sony PS3 and the Xbox 360... it was kind of odd to see the complicated wiring instructions. To do this, the package comes with an extention cable that is needed for connecting the headset to your Sony PS3 or Xbox 360 (see below). However having said that ... the Sharkoon XTACTIC SP is one of only a few headsets that is compatible for all platforms ... Sony PS3, Xbox 360 and PC.
All-in-all, I'm pretty impressed with the Sharkoon XTACTIC SP USB Gaming Headset. It's one headset I would definitely consider as a good alternative to the more expensive professional gaming headsets from Steelseries. Costing around USD $75.00 (GBP 49.00), I think it's correctly priced and affordable to most users out there. Could this be one of the best in ear headphones available on the market? I'll let you decide ...