Produced By: Gioteck
Compatible: PlayStation 4
Price: £10 – £20
Gaming headsets flood the market these days with each manufacturer offering all sorts of quality claims and enticements to get you to use their product over the competition. It can be difficult to see the woods for the trees so to speak when looking for a quality headset out there. Gioteck make a range of headsets to suit everyone’s needs as well as their wallet with sets offering chat only options or full gaming headsets. We are going to take a look at one of their offerings here. The AX1-A gaming headset.
The AX1-A is designed for use with the PlayStation 4 console and as this is my primary online gaming console, I was eager to try this headset out and see what it could do. We’ve reviewed a couple of other Gioteck headsets here on http://www.JoypadAndMe.com and I was interested to see what they could offer the gamer at this price range. The AX1-A is at the lower end of their price range and can be found at around the £10-£20 mark. This headset has been around for a while now but that doesn’t mean to say it might not hold up against the competition. So what can a sub £20 gaming headset offer?
Well firstly the box. I have seen numerous headsets sitting on stores shelves that don’t explain themselves well. They look all shiny and new but when you get them home you find out that they aren’t compatible with your latest console. Not so with the AX1-A’s. It clearly states that they are for the PlayStation 4 so there should be no confusion at all. It might sound like a simple thing to do, getting the packaging right but you would be surprised how many companies can’t get it right.
Now to the headset itself. Firstly the look and feel of the product. Well, they look fine. You can tell that this is a budget headset but then again Gioteck aren’t trying to pull the wool over anyones eyes, these are a lower end headset and wont have all the latest and greatest materials and design features of £200+ headsets. What does the AX1-A have then? well, the earpieces are full ear cups and are made of a soft material that encloses your ear. At first glance, the earcups look very small, small enough that I thought I was going to have trouble using them. When fitting though I found them to fit well. There’s not much extra room in the cup but then again what else are you wanting to fit in there? I would class myself as having an average ear size and they fitted fine, if however you have somewhat larger ears than you may have more of an issue fitting in the cups but ears bend so im sure you can stuff them in if need be. In reality though, larger ears may not fit as well as you would probably want but I would advise on trying a pair before ignoring them.
The plastic that the overall headset is made out of is somewhat cheap looking and feeling but it does have some strength to it. With some heavy handed testing and stretching I found that they hold up well to what I would consider usual use for a gaming headset. These will hold up to the test of time for most people.
The top of the headset has a nice comfortable cushioned piece with the Gioteck logo emblazoned across it. Never under-estimate how much this cushioned piece works when gaming for substantial periods. Ive tested many a headset in my time and the ones that don’t have a cushioned upper defiantly don’t rate as high in my books. This is a really nice addition to a headset of this price range and really adds to the quality feel that the AX1-A’s have. I would much rather they spent the product budget on this cushioned upper than the shininess of the plastic. Function over form.
The microphone is a nice bit of kit. It’s a built in piece that is non removable like on some higher end products. It sits on the left hand side of the headset and is attached to the centre of the ear piece. It’s quite thin but is made out of a rubberized material that lets you manipulate it into any reasonable position that you could want, perfectly aiding you to get the ideal distance between it and your mouth so to avoid those heavy breathing moments while gaming as no one wants to hear that. The mic also folds up and down on the ear piece so when not in use you can lift it right up out of the way which is a nice touch.
I used the headset a few times over the course of a couple of weeks and I have to say that I was really impressed with the AX1-A’s. I did have to have the headset at its widest setting for my head but it did sit securely and comfortably without feeling as though the headset was about to snap in half. Now I also wear glasses and have found a few headsets with enclosed ear pieces can be a real pain in the ass. Not so with these. The cushioned ear pieces have no problem compensating for a pair of glasses which is a definite plus. In one particular gaming session which included a significant amount of time spent on GTA5, I probably spent close to 5 hours with the AX1-A’s on and I had no issues at all. I almost forgot I had them on to be honest.
Sound quality wise, I was again surprised with how good these were. I don’t just mean for a lower end price range set of headset, I mean for any headset ive used. The PlayStation 4 allows you to choose between chat only and full audio and during both I was very impressed with the overall quality. In chat only the sound of people chatting came through crystal clear. I couldn’t detect any background hiss that some competition headsets have. In fact, it sounded as though the person talking was sitting next to me. In all audio mode I was also impressed by the sound of the gameplay filling the headset. It’s not Dolby Digital quality but the sound is as good as most standard tv speakers you get just in your headset. You will notice a difference with higher end Dolby 5.1 and 7.1 headsets but you will also feel the difference in your bank balance. The audio from the gameplay minimises slightly when someone is talking which is nice as it helps to make conversations clearer. One issue I have with enclosed cup earphones and chat is that I can hear people chatting really clearly but when it comes to myself talking, it always sounds muffled . You end up talking louder so that you can hear yourself and this kind of defeats the object of wearing a headset or so my partner keeps informing me! On higher priced headset (but not all of them I might add) they do pipe in your own audio into the chat which is a great feature. Unfortunately the AX1-A’s suffer from this lack of personal piped in audio like so many others do.
These are a wired headset which should be of no major surprise at this price point. Along the wire is the volume control which does its job well in the form of a wheel for raising the volume up and down. All works fine. I would have liked a little indicator to say which way was up and which was down as when setting up a party chat with friends, you can never tell if they are not speaking straight away or if its your headset that’s on too quiet. The volume control could also benefit with a clip to attach to you so you don’t have to fumble down the wire to change volume while gaming. The wire itself is a flat affair and does feel somewhat flimsy but ive twisted and turned and pulled the wire in different directions and ive not had one issue with the wire crimping or breaking so as with the plastic of the actual headset, it might not be the prettiest but it does exactly what you want it to do and does it well.
Overall. Well, this is a great headset. I can’t really put it any simpler than that. It’s a cheaper headset than a lot of the other ones out there and so it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that those competitors have. What it does have however is a very comfortable fit, a very competent sound quality and I would say an above average voice chat quality. Arent those the main features you look for in a gaming headset? For me they are and the Gioteck AX1-A’s have all that. Highlights for me are the crystal clear voice chat quality and the inclusion of the cushioned upper to the headset that really make these a comfortable headset to wear. Downsides, No digitally included personal voice during chat. Scoring wise I have to take into account the overall price and where this headset sits in amongst the competition at the same price range. It’s no good rating it against a £200 – £300 headset as they are almost completely different beasts but when up against similar priced sets, this is a strong contender.