Review – SteelSeries 7H Fnatic Edition
+ The design is beautiful yet functional.
+ Disassembled (and reassembles) easily.
+ Clean, crisp sound.
- Bass may be too light for some.
- Microphone control could be a little more intuitive.
These are terrific headphones that have a serious design (and don’t make you look like an ass who just spent too much money for a lower-case letter of the alphabet in red.) They look totally sweet, are ready to travel safely, and produce wonderful, pure, really clean sound.
This may sound silly, but looking at the packaging for these headphones, the box overwhelmed the impression of the headphones themselves. I suppose the box did draw my attention, but I would have preferred a design that made these beautiful headphones themselves stand out quicker.
Once I unboxed them though, they looked immediately more impressive – and quite slick.
The robust frame, with details like two-toned brackets of beautiful matte-white and black finish, immediately gave these headphones a kickass, refined style. Little hints of a chrome finish give them a cool slightly industrial effect.
I found the little “Warning: Do not plug this USB cable into equipment other than a SteelSeries headset.” quite amusing, but I am a total sucker for these cloth-like cables and the rubberized plug – I probably would have tried to find some electronic device I could test it out on…
The shape of the headphones, for me, takes a little getting used to. The top bracket is quite rigid and, though it is sufficiently wide, I always feel I’m pulling them a bit too far when putting them on. The rigid style definitely creates more pressure on my ears, something I’m fairly sensitive to. Nonetheless, these are comfortable. The SNDBlock material the ear cushions are made of feel like memory foam, molding themselves to my head well.
One very nice feature is the swivel ear cups. They absolutely are not just obligatory. The swivel is solid, elegant, and has enough motion to make the headphones much more comfortable.
These are large headphones that I will, nonetheless, likely consider bringing with me on airline travel. They are designed to split into four pieces – the head brace, the earpieces, and the cable – in such a way that you would have to be abusive to break any piece of them in transit. When I first disassembled them, I immediately looked at the contacts to see how much wear and tear might compromise the electrical contacts, but once again, they designed the pins perfectly elegantly so it is obvious they would always make excellent contact. The clips are not the easiest to trigger, so taking them apart isn’t exceptionally quick, but thankfully the important part – reassembly – is quick and easy.
The inline volume control is quickly adjustable; however, the microphone control, for me, left something to be desired. I perspire a good deal, particularly when getting my ass kicked in FPSs, so I need something that isn’t perfectly smooth and suddenly seems only vaguely dimpled when I am trying to quickly switch the mic on or off. This isn’t a huge deal because most of the time there is a hotkey, but, frankly, I found it rather irritating. I would love for this piece to be something more of a knob that could be toggled.
The microphone itself works fine, and cleverly vanishes into the earphone casing.
Regarding the microphone I’ll just say it seems entirely adequate for smacktalk. I won’t be recording audiobooks through my Fnatic Limited Edition SteelSeries 7H, so ’nuff said.
The noise dampening from the SNDBlock cushions works, though I don’t know that it actually blocked out more sound than other headphones I’ve used.
Regarding the sound output, it is simply an absolute delight to listen to virtually anything through these headphones. The melody of my music, the authority my radio talk show host and the groaning of my zombies all seemed magically purified and clarified through the Fnatic SteelSeries 7H. The ‘noise’ created by less pure and distinct sounds from other headphones can definitely be jarring to me (and contributes to headaches that I’m sure are responsible for most of my deathmatch losses), but these headphones reduce that effect dramatically for me, making even the most cataclysmic of zombie hordes an aural walk-in-the-park.
The only downside to this – for some – will be that ridiculous body-jarring bass can’t be produced with these headphones in my experience. Mind you: there is nothing tinny or weak about the low tones in these headphones, just no “uber-bass-boost” to flip that hip-hop addicts might expect. The sound is pure and clean.
While the microphone is highly functional when extended, it’s nothing particularly pretty to observe and, to my eyes, detracts from the overall sleek look of these headphones. I suppose here I would love to see a single rigid mic that could be pulled out and then swivel on the ear cup and at the tip. SteelSeries really tries to be both form and function and I might be focused a bit too much on form over function here, I confess.
While the build really speaks of their attention to both quality and style, I am so glad SteelSeries decided to model these headphones after their sponsored team, Fnatic. The bright, rusty orange I am just in love with – the black, orange, chrome, and even the super-cool Fnatic logo really come off as cool, industrial and not at all cheap and glossy like so many headphones these days. I love it!