SteelSeries 7H Fnatic Edition Stereo Headset - Reviewed

Written by Jake Vander Ende on . Posted in Audio

steelseries_7h_fnatic_closeupAfter reviewing their Diablo III-themed Sibera V2 headset, I was thrilled to get in touch with SteelSeries again to see what other audio candy they had to offer. They were happy to get in touch with a few more models, the first of which is this one: The 7H Fnatic Edition stereo headset.

It's a different beast than the Diablo III V2, so let's talk about just what to expect.

The 7H Fnatic Edition sports all of the basic features you'd expect from a stereo gaming headset: cushioned speakers that fit over your ears, an over-the-top padded band to keep them on your head, 3.5mm microphone and audio jacks with a generous extension cable should you need it, volume and microphone control - including a mic mute switch - on the cord, and a retractable microphone. So far so good in maintaining the checklist of basic features you need from a gaming headset, right?

The 7H Fnatic goes above and beyond "basic" in three ways:

+ The entire thing can be disassembled into each earpiece, the over-the-head connector, and the cable, making it the easiest full stereo headset to travel with I've ever seen.

+ The cushioning is ridiculously comfortable

+ The aesthetic color scheme is actually really slick and quickly makes them stand out, especially on the go.

Interested? Let's go into a little more detail.

steelseries_7h_fnatic

Positives

+ The SteelSeries 7H Fnatic headset is by far the most comfortable set of headphones I've ever worn. I've tried all kinds of stuff, from cheap buds to really expensive brands like Sennheiser and Bose, and there's always been something wrong. Either something sticks in or sits on my ear funny or the expensive leather makes my ears get hot and overheated no matter what kind of headphones they are. I really liked the Diablo III V2 I last reviewed here, but one of my only complaints was that they made my ears hot. I don't know what it is, maybe some magic-infused material from another plane of existence, but the 7H Fnatic has these unassuming cloth insets that just work. No part of my ear ever gets hot, squished, or otherwise uncomfortable and at this point I've done some marathon sessions with them. Even the headband is nice and squishy and does its job unflinchingly well. Even if the cloth doesn't do it for you, the 7H Fnatic also comes packed with leather replacements just like what you'd get with the V2. Did I mention that the speakers swivel and the headband is adjustable, too? Total win on all accounts.

+ Travel with the 7H Fnatic is really convenient. I make a lengthy commute and frequently find myself carrying technology with me, so I like to have a good pair of headphones around. I used to only bring ear buds, but testing these out I decided to haul them around for a while and see how they fared. For starters, they've never been damaged in that process, but beyond that they're just super easy to carry around with or without disassembling them. I used to take them apart frequently, but in their completely compact, assembled state they're still quite manageable and extremely sturdy and hold up to travel very well.

SteelSeries_7H_Fnatic_exploded.JPG

+ 3.5mm inputs means you can use these headphones for everything from your laptop to your Nintendo 3DS. I have and they hold up equally well under all circumstances. They come with a generously long extension cable if you need it - Maybe you want to use them on something far away? I've never had to use it, because honestly the basic cable is just the right length already. 

+ Sound occlusion. I honestly didn't expect this from the cloth-like ear covering, but I think the 7H Fnatic actually does a great job of blocking outside sound, better than any headphones with leather backing I've tried. There's a replaceable leather backing you can swap out, but I use the 7H Fnatic as-is to block outside noise when I'm trying to get work done. Even without sound coming through the, everything is much quieter. When you live in an apartment complex and sometimes work in an office with up to 8 other people carrying on conversations in the same room, that noise blocking goes a long way.

steelseries_7h_fnatic_closeup

Downsides

- Literally the only quibble I have with the 7H Fnatic is the sound and that's only because it's about 90% as good as the V2 series. HUGE QUALIFIER: I think the AudioMixer/Soundcard is actually what does a lot of the heavy lifting from a "make this sound amazing" perspective. The hardware in the V2 and the hardware in the 7H is extremely similar. Testing the PS3 V2 and the 7H Fnatic side by side with no AudioMixer shows me that the V2 seems to have a thicker bass and the 7H has a crisper treble. I guess you have to ask yourself, then, "Do I want to be shaken by explosions and drums or do I want to more accurately hear footsteps, gunshots, and lead guitar riffs? On the road, I always use the 7H for reasons state above, but at home it's a toss-up and I'd imagine it would be for anyone else, too.

Conclusion

The SteelSeries 7H Fnatic Edition stereo headset is a very solid set of stereo, gaming headphones. Portability is a strong argument in their favor and touted by SteelSeries as what makes them stand out (aside from their Fnatic-endorsed aesthetics), but personally overall comfort stood out as one of the most powerful, underrated features for this lovely device and still resonates with me as the chief reason to use them. The bass isn't as potent (or isn't equalized as well) as other SteelSeries models like the PS3 or Diablo III V2 models, but the treble might even be clearer and the overall sound is still significantly better than any laptop, desktop, car, or mobile (iPad, 3DS, Vita, etc.) speaker. If you want something exclusively for your gaming console or computer, there are other options to consider, but if you're looking for stereo headphones you can use with anything, take anywhere, and listen to for extended periods of time, I've found that I can unflinchingly recommend the SteelSeries 7H Fnatic. 

SteelSeries provided review models of the 7H Fnatic, Diablo III V2, and PS3 V2 to DigitalReviews.net for review purposes. Jake reviewed the 7H Fnatic listening to music and playing games on a variety of devices in a variety of settings, including at home, in the office, and on the go. The SteelSeries 7H Fnatic Edition is available now for an MSRP of $139.99 USD from SteelSeries.com and other retailers. sharp tv Argos

In addition to writing reviews on DigitalReviews.net, Jake maintains an independent blog at Aletheia's Herald

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