SteelSeries is known for their high-end gaming peripherals. Their 5H V2 Professional Gaming Headset keeps this reputation going strong with its durable plastic construction, modular design, and sound quality.
Design: The 5H V2 features a tough plastic construction with modular ear units nacelles which detach from the headband for easy transportation. Its ear cups are gigantic, enveloping all but the largest ears with a soothing foam the likes of which makes your ears feel like angel babies wrapped in a cloud. The headband is rather rigid and if your head is too wide you could have comfort issues. With my large cranium I was just pushing the limits of where the discomfort would begin thankfully, so I could enjoy the headset pain free. The boom microphone extends and retracts from the left ear unit on a flexible chord. This can make retracting the microphone tricky sometimes as the chord would rather flex than retract. The 5HV2’s cable for the microphone and headset plugs is made of a rope-like nylon, which is so much better than the standard rubber-insulated wires found on most headsets. This rope-cable is stronger and does not get tangled up as easily. Included is a huge extension cable for the headset, but I would have rather seen the base cable length extended by a couple feet instead.
Installation: There is no software to install with this headset and installation is easy as plugging both cables into the appropriate jacks on your computer.
Gaming: Gaming with the 5HV2 is the unit’s bread and butter. SteelSeries claims to have designed the headset with a ‘custom-engineered soundscape for gaming’. This statement is a bit over my head in terms of what it actually means. What I do know, however, is that my ears were in gaming heaven while using the headset. Sounds like footsteps and gunfire are very clear, and are freakishly realistic. Call of Duty 4, which always has my adrenaline pumping, took on a new life – this one more claustrophobic and intense than before while using the 5HV2. Using a headset in those games can really immerse you in a way even the high-end desktop systems cannot. Headsets close you off from the rest of the world and make you focus entirely on the in-game audio. Crysis was another great test for the 5HV2, the sounds of the jungle closing in around me while I crept up on North Korean soldiers before unleashing hell.
Movies and Music: While you will enjoy this headset for your movie watching and music listening needs, you hardcore folk would probably be better served with a Dolby Digital-equiped multi-driver headset. For the general populace, I am happy to say music and movies both sound good and the comfort of the headset keeps on going through the entirety of the film or album and then some.
Overall: The SteelSeries 5HV2 Professional Gaming Headset is an excellent product with excellent gaming and respectable film&amp;music performance. It retails for $99 dollars at the official SteelSeries site and is available now. SteelSeries also offers a model dubbed the ‘5HV2 USB’ which includes an external soundcard with 7.1 virtual surround sound. That model retails for an additional $20 dollars but is worth the added cash if your laptop does not have a good internal soundcard.
Official Product Page of the 5HV2