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Multiplayer games being all the rage nowadays, having a headset is essential so you can communicate with your fellow players and, why not, the adversaries as well. Zowie enters the gaming-grade niche with the release of the Hammer E-Sport Headset. The design resembles an old school DJ headphone — a friend has dubbed it “Paradise Garage,” referring to the legendary 70’s and 80’s NY nightclub which was the birthplace of a particular subgenre of house music, garage. The ear cups cover the entire ear, the whole body is very sturdy and reinforced so the microphone bar and headband cannot be easily broken, and it also comes with extra cable so you can walk around the room while using Skype. Let’s examine the Hammer in details.
The Hammer comes with two sets of ear cups, leather and cloth, so you can choose the one of your preference. Theoretically, the leather is for multimedia use while the cloth is better for gaming since it’s not as hot as the leather cups, but it’s all a matter of personal taste. We did find the cloth cups cooler.
There’s a control module with a shirt clip mid cable, with a mute key and volume controls. It’s a little too big but it goes with the overall design, and the microphone mute control is also very sturdy and cannot be clicked on by accident.
Speaking of the microphone, it’s also big and comes encased in a plastic mouthpiece. We’ll talk about its performance later.
[nextpage title=”Installing and Using the Hammer”]
Well, a headset is one of the easiest things to be installed in a computer. The Hammer doesn’t come with a driver or instructions manual. You have two 3.5 mm jacks — one for the mike, the other for the stereo sound — and that’s it. As we said before, a cable extension is a good idea but also something of a hassle to contribute to the clutter of wiring behind the desk and the PC.
The Hammer is as sturdy as the name implies. There’s an aluminum rubber coated headband that is comfortable as well as flexible so it cannot be snapped in two. We let if fall down (not on purpose, but due to a cluttered workspace) and the Hammer kept on working just fine, not having broken the microphone bar.
The microphone test relied on our friends’ opinion about how clear we sounded when we played Alliance of Valiant Arms within our clan and during Skype calls. The enclosed mouthpiece and mike design allowed for a clear reception of our voice and left out the constant hum of the room fan. The only problem with this design and the microphone bar being so tough to rotate is that is difficult to drink while wearing the headset. You have to either take it off or use a straw.
Although it’s a big headset, the Hammer is very comfortable, the ear cup options allow the user to choose what’s best for him and the aluminum headband doesn’t squeeze the head. The only usage problem we faced was while trying to drink. Noise cancellation is good but you can still hear the cell phone ringing while gaming (which is both a good and a bad thing).
But in terms of sound, the Hammer is no hammer, period. No earth-shattering bass lines, on the contrary. Low frequencies are very weak; the explosions don’t pack a punch. Voice fidelity is very good, the other noises sound great, but it lacks juice when the going gets tough. Sound ambience is precise, you know where the shots and steps are coming from, but the sound is timid. The Hammer is awful to listen to music since that is where you miss the bass lines the most. It’s only good for playing games if you don’t mind a feeble set up.
Zowie Hammer E-Sport Headset main specifications are:
- Frequency response: 15 – 25,000 Hz
- Speaker dimension: 40 mm
- Impedance: 32 Ω
- Sensitivity: 98 dB +/- 4dB
- Cable length: 9′ 10" (47 1/4" plus 71" extension) (3 m; 1.2 m plus 1.8 m cable extension)
- Connectors: 3.5 mm gold-plated jacks
- Microphone frequency range: 60 – 10,000 Hz
- Microphone directivity: Uni-directional
- Microphone impedance: Low
- Microphone sensitivity: -57dB +/- 4dB
- More information: https://www.zowiegear.com
- Average price in the US*: USD 59.00
* Researched on https://www.shopping.com on the day we published this review.
[nextpage title=”Conclusions”]Strong Points
- Two ear cups sets
- Sturdy but comfortable
- Microphone geared for the mouth
- Cable extension (some could complain about wiring clutter)
- Mute key cannot be clicked on by accident
- Weak, feeble bass
- Not good for music and movies
- Tough microphone bar and design make it difficult to drink