Tech Review: Turtle Beach Ear Force XP Seven: for professionals only
Here at GameZone, we've reviewed our fair share of gaming headsets. There are a few that manage to stand out above others when it comes to pricing, comfort and the ability to deliver a worthwhile sound experience, no matter what you're playing. Sony's wireless Pulse headset and Astro Gaming's stellar A50 headset. Now, Turtle Beach is knocking on the door with its most versatile headset to date, the Ear Force XP Seven.
This headset is fully licensed by the Major League Gaming pro circuit, and there's a big reason for that. The XP Seven lets you customize your audio experience in a number of ways, utilizing some savvy equipment so you can change the way you play.
It may look like something along the lines of a PC accessory when you take it out of the box; it includes a headset with a removable Seven caps and plug-in microphone, plenty of wires (we'll get to that in a second) and an expander unit that looks like a fancy remote, but allows for the balancing of both Sonic Lens and Sound Field levels. This lets you handle chat volume at whatever level you feel like, while still keeping the sound effects of the game intact. No longer will you have to turn down the volume to hear what a buddy is saying, only to miss out on a crucial soldier that's standing behind you.
The XP Seven does take a little while to set up, but it's rather convenient once everything is in place, with easily adjustable settings on the Expander and true comfort. It's solidly built, with hardly a cheap part in the fray (even the microphone feels like it's a part of the bulky design). What's more, the speakers feel quite comfortable, using a memory foam-like material that contorts around your ears, rather than just sitting on them and creating a pain during long gaming sessions. It also rests on your neck without causing pinching when you're taking a break from a match.
The surround effects are quite good, but the fact that it only supports up to 5.1 surround sound will be a letdown -- especially if you've gotten used to the 7.1 heights reached by other headsets. That being said, it's still involving; we had no problem hearing some of the better effects in games like Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and Gears of War: Judgment. The boom level is just about right, and the fact that no effects go overboard with the humming shows that Turtle Beach balanced it delicately enough. Still, for the high price tag, you'd think that a 7.1 level would've been considered.
With custom, quality materials, the XP Seven is also a good-looking headset. It's more fashionably made than other models, with its white speaker custom design (stamped with the MLB Pro Circuit label) and adjustable headset. It can handle a pretty good amount of stress, as well, although we hardly suggest throwing them around.
If there's one big setback where you might question the purchase, it's with the wiring. Compared to the Astro A50 and the Pulse, the XP Seven comes with a whole lot of wiring. To some folks, this won't make too much of a difference, but if you're moving frequently or need to get up quickly, you could easily trip or unplug something. It's not the end of the world, however, and the fact you can use it across various consoles and portable devices is excellent.
The XP Seven headset will set you back a mammoth $280, so you may want to consider trying it out before making a full investment. However, if gaming is in your life's blood, or you just want to try to get a competitive edge over those who play with those cheap, chumpy headsets, you could do far worse than this quality model.