Logitech G: futuristic headphones for gamers set to bring company back to gamers

Demonstrated almost in the middle of nowhere, Logitech hopes to head back into the centre of the gaming industry

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The Independent Tech

Camas, Washington is a fairly small city in that North West part of the US that takes an awfully long time to get to. The city only has around 21,000 residents but boasts a burgeoning tech sector – Hewlett-Packard have a lab here, as do Linear Technology. I’m here for Logitech.

Chances are, in the days before every computer had a built-in webcam, you probably had one of Logitech’s USB numbers. At some point, most of us have had a Logitech mouse, keyboard or set of speakers – in 2008 they announced they’d made over a billion computer mice. They’ve been kitting out computers for quite some time.

More recently, the company suffered a decline at the hands of rising tablet sales – not many people are looking for a mouse to go with their touch screen tablet – but after a rebrand, they’re getting back on track.

Part of that rebrand was the Logitech G range, PC gaming accessories for “the serious gamer”. They’re pretty good products, often built in collaboration with the e-sports teams Logitech are sponsoring. It means the products are often built specifically for top-class players.

 

The newest addition to this range is what I’m being shown in Camas. Two headsets, one wired and one wireless, called the Artemis Spectrum G633 and G933. The journey took me around 21 hours from doorstep to hotel and my body was fairly confused about what time it was as I put on a pair of G633 headphones and pushed a button to make the large leather armchair I’m sitting in recline. But half-way through our first presentation of the audio, me and a colleague took the headphones off. We’re so certain that the sound isn’t coming from the headsets that we needed to make sure we weren’t being tricked.

The Artemis Spectrum duo have been in development for around 18 months, going through different design stages and tests at the Camas facility. There’s a silent room where they test the audio. The room is built so there is almost zero ambient noise – it cost around $1 million, is essentially separated from the rest of the building and is one of the most disconcerting places I’ve ever been in. This is the kind of room people have urban legends about, supposedly you spend 15 minutes in here and you go mad – they say it’s a myth, I’m unconvinced.

In another part of the building is the design workshop which is decidedly noisier. They wanted the headset to look futuristic, they say. Like something from science-fiction and a bit like an armadillo, with that hard shell. ‘Futuristic, sci-fi armadillo’ I note down.

The covers on each side are easily removable and Logitech are planning to have the design easily accessible, that way people will be able to 3D print their own covers in whatever wacky design they might want. And for those of us who enjoy colourful flashing lights (everybody), there’s RGB lighting along the sides that’s fully customizable; there are 16.8 million colours to choose from and they can flash as fast or slow as you want, you lucky thing.

They also have multi-platform support – i.e. more than one device can be playing through your headset at once, useful for those millennials with such short attention spans they need to be watching TV and gaming at the same time. As well as Dolby Surround Sound, they also support DTS Headphone:X.

Though the software for DTS won’t be available until early October that won’t ruin too much – the G633 wired headset is set to be available later this month and the G933 wireless one won’t be out until October.

As far as my experience is showing me, Logitech’s G range isn’t to be sniffed at. I’ve seen plenty of big developers opting for Logitech products to show off their games and Logitech’s partnering with YouTubers and e-sports alike show a company that’s invested in the surge of popularity and interest the gaming world is seeing.

Someone even mentioned to me that they considered launching the new products entirely with Youtubers instead of journalists – such is the changing nature of media and the gaming audience.

Retailing at around $149.99 for the G633 and $199.99 for the G933, the Artemis Spectrum headsets aren’t cheap but for what they are that seems about the right price. They aren’t small by any measure and you’d look a bit weird wearing them on the tube (like you had some futuristic, sci-fi armadillos on your head) but the very concealable microphone helps that. For the gamer of the family they’re a good choice and for me, they made the 15 hours I spent on planes back to London slightly more bearable.

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