Polk Audio has been around since 1972, providing audio solutions for your home, car and boat. I actually didn’t know they were involved in gaming audio until E3, when I saw their N1 gaming sound bar and previewed the Xbox One Striker ZX gaming headset.
Built for the Xbox One, the Polk Striker ZX gaming headset delivers a hell of a product considering the price point. Coming in at $89.95, I’d be hard-pressed to find a better Xbox One headset for the same price. It’s simple, comfortable, provides good sound quality, and has a unique style, but it also has a few quirks.
Let’s start with the look of it. I’ve been raving about how the Striker ZX headset looks since I very first saw it. It has a retro look with the shape, detail and color choices, but in a futuristic way. Like something that would be worn in The Last Starfighter. Or something that a member of the Rebel Alliance might wear while working on an X-Wing on Yavin. The model I reviewed is a slightly off-white color with orange accents and dark grey leather cushions. I am really in love with how it looks, so I’m even more happy that it’s incredibly light and can be worn for hours and hours on end. While the cushions and weight (or lack thereof) of the Striker ZX go a long way in making it so comfortable. But I did notice that the ear cups are a bit on the shallow side. My ears consistently touched the inside mesh of the ear cup, which is something I’m not used to. It wasn’t uncomfortable, but I did notice it touching.
The headset is made of plastic, like most headsets. There is a good amount of squeakiness to the ear cups; they can rotate a little, but not a ton. It’s pretty much enough movement for adjustments. That said, it sounds like you’re going to break it, even though you aren’t. I assure you, I bent this further than I probably should have, and my two-year-old tried ripping it off of my head (he’s a monster) — it did not break.
The mic is a retractable, bendable and maneuverable omni-directional boom mic that slides back into the left ear cup when you’re done. It picks up everything, so I muted myself often. You can also hear your voice while you speak (though you can turn it off) so you can make sure you’re not yelling. Though enough background noise can get through that you can hear how loud you’re speaking anyway. I wish the mic came out a little more so that it picked my voice (and just my voice) up better, but I can say I always came through loudly. The sound quality is awesome too. I played primarily Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and Sunset Overdrive with it.. Every gunshot had punch, and the game’s audio was balanced nicely. And the music from Sunset Overdrive sounded great during my time with the headset.
The Striker ZX can be used with any device, as it uses the connected 3.5mm cable, but you lose functionality over muting, volume and game-voice balancing. For the Xbox One, the ZX comes with Polk’s own designed Xbox One chat adapter for the controller. I prefer it to Microsoft’s, but like Astro’s more. Still, the headset’s 3.5mm cable plugs into it and you have nice, big buttons to mute the mic, balance game and chat audio, and raise and lower the volume. So you won’t have to go out and buy an adapter to use this headset.
The Polk Striker ZX headset is a great solution to your audio needs on the Xbox One. It comes in at a great price point while offering everything gamers are looking for — quality sound, lightweight comfort, and style. I can deal with a couple of gripes for this price, and I would prefer the ZX over some high-end $200+ headsets I’ve used.