Element Gaming Range - Xenon 700 Headset
Our look at the Element range of gaming accessories continues with their high-end gaming headset, the Xenon 700. Now you’ve got your chair sorted, a headset is a vital part of any gaming setup. Vital in multiplayer and incredibly useful as an alternative to expensive 5.1 surround sound setups, the Xenon is Element’s top level headset, designed specifically for PC players.
These are some hefty cans, to lower the tone for a moment. Designed as much for comfort and stability as they are for audio, the build quality on the headset is impressive, right down to the wire itself. Yes, these aren’t wireless headphones but there’s a degree of reassurance that there’ll be no interference with wires. When they are braided cord, those wires are no problem whatsoever. There’s little chance they’ll fray, split or become misshapen and the blue/black braiding is far easier on the eye than a generic black plastic coating. A foot or so along the cable is a control device for the headset, allowing you to adjust the volume, mute the microphone, mute sound or switch off lighting effects on the actual headphones. Glowing blue (more on the lighting of the main headset later), this device is easy to locate and chunky enough that it isn’t fiddly. Purple LEDs indicate whether the mic is muted - all combining for a quick to read display that’s charmingly low-tech in design. The cable itself checks in at three metres - plenty of reach for the average PC setup and just about enough for anyone using a console in the living room.
Meanwhile, the headset itself is very comfortable even over extended gaming sessions. The cushioned padding on the earphones has remained soft, although the admittedly nice leather covering does have a tendency to do what most leather things do - accentuate moisture. Usage during the sticky summer months could yield a different result, but they felt wonderful during the cooler springtime.. They do a great job of surrounding your ears too, blocking out most external noise while focusing the audio exclusively towards you. The metallic framework is also light and, while the headset isn’t exactly featherweight, they don’t become heavy enough that you need to remove them over extended periods of time.
The microphone is attached to the the left ear with a spindly yet sturdy boom, very easy to adjust yet tight enough that it stays exactly where you want it with no need for further adjustment. Again, fabric cord (similar to that on climbing ropes) attaches the mic to the main headset, meaning there’s little chance of wear and tear affecting its performance. The mic will light when in use - blue for open and red for muted - and is singularly directional, meaning it won’t pick up much in the way of external noise. The mic audio is clear - check out our recent interview with Gareth Coker where we used it to conduct our side of the the discussion - but lacks bass. You’ll sound a little like a fighter pilot, clear but a little tinny. This is by no means a problem - not too many people are looking for studio quality in a gaming mic - and it does the job with aplomb.
As for the headset audio itself, it’s resonant, clear and packs a good bass punch. Some might say the bass is a little excessive at times, but it’s impressive and works well for gaming, the design of the headset blocking out extraneous noise. The headset boasts 7.1 surround sound although it is simulated. However, for this price point it is an excellent feature and it works well, offering players directional channels to make gaming that bit more immersive. It’s not as brill as real 7.1 but that costs a whole lot more to implement. The Xenon 700s more than make up for a lack of room/money/time by offering a plug and play alternative.
Testing against dedicated audio headsets did reveal the Xenon 700s weren’t quite the same in audio quality. The bass on the Xenons can be a bit coarse - push the headset near its higher limits (111db) and the bass makes the ‘womp’ rather blunt, while high volumes can distort the audio. Still, for a headset not dedicated wholly to studio audio it sounds great (and doesn’t cost £70).
Added bonuses are a nice touch. The lighting sees the headset pulse a range of colours as you play - entirely aesthetic but lending a futuristic vibe to the product. The USB connection is absolutely fantastic. We tested the headset on our PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Sony’s machine happily took the headset, reverted audio through to the device and allowed for microphone use. The less said about the Xbox One the better - it didn’t recognise the headset whatsoever.
If there’s one minor problem (and something that crops up with most of the Element range) it’s that the headset will stay lit if plugged in to a PC that’s ostensibly off. This is all well and good for those gaming in a separate room but anyone trying to sleep will have to unplug from the PC, lest a mini-disco keep them awake with all the flashing lights.
As a headset under the £50 mark, the Xenon 700s offer great audio and build quality at a fraction of the price of some of the more ridiculous headsets. When some pay up to £250 for a wireless headset, it’s reassuring that a great alternative can be found at prices that don’t empty your wallet. The headset can be found at Ebuyer for £44.99.