A week with: The PX51 Turtle Beach Earforce gaming headset
'Perfect kit for all anti-social zombie hunters'
* Price: £249.99
* Wireless on PS3 and Bluetooth-enabled PCs, but you do need one wire to play on XBox
* Dual-band Wifi
* Memory-foam sound-insulating cushions
* Rechargeable battery with 15 hours of continuous game play
What is it?
It's a pair of glorified headphones that are specially designed to work well with video games. Plus they have a mic attached so you can "chat" to other gamers as you play with them.
How does it work?
The gaming headset is connected wirelessly to your Xbox 360, PS3 or PC (as long as it's Bluetooth-enabled, or in the case of older Xbox 360 models, you have a Bluetooth adaptor). It uses a combination of Bluetooth and Wifi to connect to your console. Because of this dual connection, it means there's less chance of getting glitches or delays of sound.
Does it work?
Yes, frighteningly well. I played The Last of Us on the PS3 and I was terrified (a good thing). Every footstep and blood-curdling zombie death cry was crystal clear. The game's noises are played in surround sound, which gives you a slight advantage if you're playing against other people, because the direction of the sound lets you know when a threat is approaching and where from.
Turtle Beach also provides a selection of audio presets (consisting of things like louder footsteps, softer bird calls and very loud death rattles, tailored to each game) that you can upload from its website. If you don't like them, you can create some presets yourself with some special software.
The presets seem to be of huge interest in the gaming world. On the Turtle Beach website is a "preset community", where you can share your presets. The forum is full of posts like: "I have a problem. I need a footstep preset for Modern Warfare 3 NOW!!!"
The Turtle Beach press materials puts a big emphasis on getting an "audio advantage" over other players but some posts on the Turtle Beach forum were complaining that this wasn't the case for some games where enemy noises are dampened down. For example, one post read: "[Call of Duty Black Ops 2] ripped gamers off by subduing the sound of enemy movements thus making the use of ANY HEADSET USELESS." Those gamers are big fans of shouty caps.
Other features include memory -foam ear cushions that shape nicely to your ears, so you can block out the noise of annoying housemates, family and friends – perfect for the anti-social gamer. The headset is also compatible with phones and tablets with Bluetooth, so you can receive calls hands-free.
I'm not sure how cool you'd look wandering around town with what resemble ear defenders stuck to your head, but it's just an optional extra, and it comes in useful when you're immersed in the game. You can also use it to stream music while you play.
Is it worth the money?
If you are a serious gamer then this is well worth the big outlay for the additional dimension it adds to your experience of the game, but if you're using it just to get the edge over your opponents you might be disappointed.
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