After hearing about the new Diablo 3-themed headset from SteelSeries, I managed to get in touch with them and try a pair of these headphones out. If you're a computer gamer, especially one looking forward to Blizzard's upcoming game, you might want to know what they're like.
At its core, the SteelSeries Diablo 3 headset is really a Siberia V2 with a cosmetic makeover. Essentially, they are a USB-only set of stereo headphones that feature a built-in sound card, an adjustable, extendable microphone, and some pretty nifty red LEDs that give them a characteristic evil glow.
+ These headphones look very cool, from the packaging on through the cable design, the lighting, and the minor cosmetic details that give them a real themed character. "Diablo III" is written across the leather band, the "III" on each side glows, and every aspect of the design looks sharp and menacing. As far as appearance goes, this headset really takes the cake. It's certainly several legs up on the Siberia V2 they were based off of.
+ They fit reasonably well, even without any adjustable size settings. I've worn them for extended listening sessions and I've had a few others try them on for brief use and the self-adjusting flexible design seems to fit all heads of all sizes fairly well. I would've liked some manual forward-backward adjustment, but I haven't really noticed much of a difference not having it.
+ The sound quality is top notch. I honestly haven't spent a major chunk of time with stereo headphones, but I have listened to my fair share of Bose, Sennheiser, and similar brands and to me these sound just as good. The first song I tried listening to was "Pet" by A Perfect Circle and I was blown away by the meaty lows and crisp highs, a tonal clarity that persisted through gaming use. Everything just sounds better through these headphones, though whether or not that's the on-board sound card, the headset itself, or some combination thereof is something I can't tell for sure. I can say that I've found myself going out of my way to wear these when there's something to listen to, be it music or a game.
- They're USB only. More specifically, they're computer only, meaning you also can't use them with a gaming console. Reason being, they require use of the on-board sound card, so it's not just a simple matter of plug-and-play, either. No Bluetooth, no 3.5mm or 3/4" adapters, and no USB plug-in with other non-computer USB devices. They are, however, compatible with both OSX and Windows, so that's something.
- They aren't plug-and-play. You have to go to the SteelSeries website, download and install a 274 MB driver, not included in the packaging, and then tweak some settings to change your sound card to the headset's sound card. It only took a few minutes and you only have to do it once, but it felt like an unnecessary pain in the butt for modern, high-end hardware.
- After several hours of use, they get pretty warm and slightly uncomfortable. I have never encountered leeather, stereo headphones that don't get warm and my ears are kind of big, but it's still worth mentioning. Maybe you've encountered self-cooling headphones and you have big ears, too, so knowing this would help inform your buying decision? That's not for me to say.
Overall, I found that the Diablo 3-themed SteelSeries headset was a pretty fantastic set of headphones. Once I mired through first-use issues and accepted the fact that they're USB-only, I found that they suited their purpose, enhancing my computer-based audio experience, very well. Having them around, I find that I've gone out of my way to use them, and isn't that really the test of whether or not a gadget is worth owning?
The SteelSeries Diablo 3 Headset is available now for an MSRP of $119.99 USD. DigitalReviews.net was given a review set from SteelSeries directly and Jake tested it on a Mac with various music and games such as Jamestown and Trine.
Jake is a part-time, volunteer contributor at DigitalReviews.net and maintains a blog at Aletheia's Herald.