Tech Review: Gioteck EX-05 blends audio quality with unrivaled comfort
Whether you're sporting the Astro A40s, Tritton Pros or even the Sony Pulse Elites, there is one, very common theme among all of these. They're all rather bulky, and can become uncomfortable when worn over a long period of time. Regardless of their great sound quality, if I start to feel discomfort halfway through my gaming session, chances are I'm going to stop using them over time. Gioteck aims to change that with the EX-05 headset. Sporting a super lightweight, comfortable design, matched with excellent audio quality, this might just be my new favorite headset. But is it right for you?
What am I getting?
Though the box includes everything (almost) you need to get started, it's fairly barebones. There are essentially three things in the box. The headset itself, an Xbox Controller mic cable and the instruction manual which depicts just how to connect this headset to your consoles and PC. Trust me, you're going to need this.
Let's talk about that design
My all time favorite thing about this headset, regardless of its high quality sound output, is its comfortable design that allows me to wear it for hours, without any feeling of discomfort over time. This is largely due to the build being extremely lightweight. When compared to other headsets like the Astro A40, the EX-05 easily weighs less than half, and that's a pretty big deal.
Aside from the big headphones that cover your ears, the top of the headset is all mesh, which is not only lightweight, but extremely breathable. The pillowing on the headphones is also quite comfortable, but being microfibre might cause some occasional sweating. Though, not as bad as the Sony Pulse Elites, whose faux-leather can certainly make you sweat much more. The headset includes a rotatable mic boom that allows you to fold it up when not needed. It also has noise cancelling technology which drowns out background noise which can certainly be helpful in a household full of noisy miscreants.
The headset has an extra long cord coming out of it, with a control box that switches console functionality from 360 to PS3, as well as individual volume knobs for voice and in-game sounds. Stemming from that is a red and white AV cable which is used when hooking this bad boy up to your consoles, which I'll get to later.
So how do they sound?
The speakers themselves are the biggest part of the headset, and with good reason. These things are full of high quality audio output and range. The Bass especially isn't overwhelming, and yet hits your ears with just the right amount of impact. While surround sound (or virtual surround sound rather) isn't advertised on the box, the headset surprisingly enough allowed me to have some location awareness when playing FPS games like Black Ops II or Arma III Alpha. This could be credited to the games themselves, but the fact of the matter is, I felt immersed in the games I was playing, which means this headset is certainly doing something right.
Outside of gaming, I've listened to hours worth of music on them, and enjoyed every second of it. Blame it on the fact that I'm not an audiophile, but I was extremely pleased with the quality.
You mentioned something about consoles and PC?
The Gioteck EX-05s will work on your PC/Mac, as well as your Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles. My best experience by far was on the PC, since it doesn't require anything more than simply plugging them into your USB port, and you're set. Easy, and without a lot of frustration.
The second easiest setup is with the PlayStation 3, though it does start to get tricky. You can use the traditional Component cable setup, which means you just replace the red and white AV cable from your TV with the Giotceck ones, and then replug them in the back of those. This will ensure you're getting the sound from your game sent directly to your headset. Just plug in the USB either in the front or back of the PS3 and you're good to go. You do have the option to go hybrid and use an HDMI connection for video, but the component input just for audio, which does complicate the setup slightly, though you will get a higher fidelity image that way, not to mention you'll have to mess with the PS3 system settings a bit.
The Xbox 360 setup is the most troublesome. If you're ok with using component cables, then you're good to go, like with the PS3, as you're simply switching out the red and white AV cables again. However, if you plan on going strictly HDMI, you're out of luck. Unless you buy an adaptor for the Xbox 360, you simply can't fit the HDMI cord and the Component input plug in the back of your 360. This is rather unfortunate, though, Giotech is hardly at fault here, rather the dumb design of the Xbox console itself. However, the headset can still be used to communicate with other players by using the included mic cable and plugging the headset into an available USB.
One feature I wish this headset had, which my Tritton headset and Sony headset do, is be able to plug them into a standard MP3 player. I realize the cord is long, however having it disconnect at the control box and coming with an extra 3.5mm jack on both ends to connect to the headset and control box would solve this issue. This is just a personal preference.
Sounds like there is some clutter involved
One of the only aspects I don't enjoy about the headset is the fact that it requires so many places to be plugged in, with so many wires. The Sony Pulse Elites eliminated this by being completely wireless, which on one hand provided a lot of freedom, but also required constant recharging.
The Gioteck EX-05s have a cable that essentially runs to the back of your TV, then another cable that plugs into your console, and in the Xbox 360's case, another cable going from your controller to the control box.
What's the bottom line?
If you don't have an aversion to cable clutter, you really can't go wrong with the EX-05. Not only is it extremely affordable, going for $49.99 at GameStop right now, the high quality audio coupled with amazing comfort makes it a must own headset for gamers not looking to spend near a $100 on one.