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You don’t have to play/enjoy World of Warcraft, the biggest MMORPG in the world, to fully appreciate this new wireless headset from Creative Labs. Of course fans (like us) will enjoy the game-based design and the voice distortion software that turns the user’s voice into the likes of several characters from the RPG, but the World of Warcraft Wireless Headset is ideal for those who seek a wireless solution for gaming and an experience of excellent sound combined with extreme comfort. You can play for hours without feeling the weight or pressure of the headset and still enjoy high quality sound. Although it is hard to save the praise for later, first we’ll focus on describing the headset.
The first impression is that this is a monster of a headset. It has big leather padded ear-cups, the kind that completely engulf the ears. The headband is also leather padded. But once you pick it up, you realize it’s all lightweight plastic and it should be carried in the nice leather bag bundled with the headset lest it breaks inside a backpack.
The left ear-cup houses all the controls: a sync/on/off power button, volume controls (in the fake rune engraved edge of the lip) and a mute button. The controls let the headset sync with the 2.4GHz wireless device. There’s also a mini USB port to charge the headset, but you can do it while playing. The microphone is detachable and the ear-cups rotate so the headset can be stored in the leather bag. They also have back-lit lenses on which we will get into details in the next section.
[nextpage title=”Configuration and Customization”]
To all the World of Warcraft fans, the headset features two back-lit lenses showing the symbols of the “Alliance” and “Horde” factions that war over the world of Azeroth. Creative Labs promises that they will release class- and race-specific lenses in the near future but, for now, you only have these two options. There’s a little tool included to help you change the transparent lenses.
The headset starts functioning immediately after being plugged in. Just connect the USB transmitter, plug the cable to the headset for the first charge and Windows 7 will promptly download and install the driver and ask if you want the WoW Wireless Headset to be the default sound device. However, to fully appreciate the headset, you should download the configuration software from Creative’s website that allows to fine tune the THX-certified equalization. Believe us, it enhances the performance and also the fun factor. We’ll get to it later on.
Through the software, you can control the transparent lenses lighting (displaying over 16 million choices of colors) or turn it off completely and also equalize the sound to enhance voice clarity or boost the bass. You can create different profiles associated with several games, VoIP chatting and pure music listening. For us, the “Dialog plus” EQ feature was great because we play World of Warcraft and Modern Warfare 2 talking with our buddies through a Skype conference call. We tried amping the bass to the max, but the end result was so cinematic that we felt like we were in the middle of a firefight in Iraq. After a few tweakings here and there, we set it to our liking and saved a profile. It’s possible to bind keys to shortcut several functions like muting the microphone, changing profiles, tweaking the EQ. Nice.
The software also allows for a joke that so far has kept our gaming friends laughing hard; altering your voice to the tone of several characters from World of Warcraft like “female orc,” “village elder,” “elf male,” or “felguard” (a demonic soldier). It’s a legitimate high school prank and a guarantee of plenty of laughter all around. It has nothing to do with the product’s overall performance, but it’s another nice feature.
[nextpage title=”Using the Headset “]
One expression defines the whole WoW Wireless Headset experience, absolute comfort. We faced daily three hour gaming marathons – sometimes up to five and seven hours playing – and we didn’t feel the pressure on our head, neither on the sides nor the top. The ears were completely engulfed and gaming immersion was good (several times we didn’t hear the cellphone ringing nearby). Even if you wear glasses, you don’t feel the pressure thanks to the soft cushioning. We took a while tweaking the equalization to our liking and according to each game’s strengths, but it was time well spent since the conversations became clearer and the sound ambiance improved dramatically.
With all the bells and whistles (volume up high, lights blinking), the battery simply lasts for five hours and then, with no prior warning, the headset just dies on you. You have to keep the cable at hand to bring it back to life, using it while the unit recharges. With the lights off and not that much punch to the sound, the battery lasts over eight hours. The uni-directional microphone bends to the mouth and keeps most ambient noise at bay.
Besides gaming, the WoW Wireless Headset is excellent for music listening and watching movies on the PC thanks to the THX-certified equalization, but of course it’s still no professional studio headphone. Its frequency response ranges from 20 Hz-20 Khz and the drivers are 40mm neodymium magnets.
As for the wireless performance, the RF transmission didn’t face any interference from our cellphone or internet router. Reach varies according to the wall and room placement around you. A friend of ours, who has the same WoW Wireless Headset, is capable of going to his kitchen to grab a coffee while still chatting with us; unfortunately, our headset only goes as far as ten paces, one short of the fridge’s door, and it starts working again when we get back to the corridor. It’s nothing bad, but we wished we could grab a beer while talking to our fellow gamers.
We’ve already tested plenty of headsets here and the WoW Wireless Headset retired them all; you can’t beat the comfort, immersion and wireless freedom. It’s very expensive, but well worth it. Just don’t tell your gaming buddies once you get it. On the next game, surprise them by sounding like a “village elder” and wait for the laughs.
[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]
The Creative Labs W
orld of Warcraft Wireless Headset main specifications are:
- 40-mm neodymium magnet driver units
- Headphone frequency response: 20 Hz ~ 20 kHz
- Headphone impedance: 32 ohms
- Headphone sensitivity (1 kHz): 112 dB/mW
- Microphone frequency response: 100 Hz ~ 7 kHz
- Microphone impedance: 2.2 Kohms
- Microphone sensitivity (1 kHz): -48 dBV/Pa (uni-directional)
- Wireless Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR): Over 87 dB
- Re-chargeable lithium polymer battery
- Charging duration: 4 hours
- Battery duration: 5 to 9 hours
- Wireless band: 2.4 GHz ISM
- More information: https://www.creative.com
- Suggested retail price in the US: USD 159.99
[nextpage title=”Conclusions”]Below you can see a summary of our impressions of the World of Warcraft Wireless Headset.Strong Points
- Great equalization and sound tweaking
- Strong bass and clear voice channel
- Absolute comfort
- Ear-cups rotate for transportation
- Nice presentation with a leather bag
- WoW theme will blow fans’ minds
- Sturdy appearance
- No low battery warning