For the eagle eyed among you, you may well have noticed that we review an awful lot of Tritton headsets – most of which score rather highly, and rightly so. The ones that don’t seem to hit the sweet-spot on the score chart tend to be those with less features. The Kunai for example is a perfectly good headset with fantastic audio for such a low price and small frame, but it can’t do nearly as much as the Detonator or Primer headsets can. On the flip-side they don’t look anywhere near as nice the Kunai, nor do they cost as little. Other than attempting to cram in a load of hyperlinks for you to click on and click through, what I’m trying to say here is that it takes a lot more than just functionality to make a good headset. It’s a combination of features, build and – most importantly of all – cost.
It’s here that we find the Tritton Warhead sitting upon a fence between the verdant garden of Features and thorny hedgerow of Cost. It may have staggering 7.1 surround sound quality with a ton of features crammed right into each ear-cup, yet it’s the price that really has you questioning its worth. After all, with an asking price of £229.99/$299.99 this is more expensive than the console you’d be buying it for. And, what’s worse still is that it’ll only work on your Xbox 360 properly – although it should technically be able to take optical sound from the PS3, it isn’t listed as compatible (and certainly won’t support chat). Even then you have to wonder how long your purchase will be relevant for – what with this generation coming towards its close and there being no assurance that it’ll work on the next generation of hardware.
On top of this the Warhead doesn’t quite exude quality either, at least not £230 worth. While Tritton may spin it so it sounds as if it comes in a luxury “aesthetically pleasing” casing, it actually looks rather bulky and the glossy black plastic doesn’t do it any favours. Granted, it’s hard to imagine anything with an entirely plastic body looking like a premium product – but the flip-side is, if it was made of brushed steel and leather, it’d be one heavy headset to wear for long periods. It must be said though, if you are going to pick up a pair of Warheads, you should be on the look out for the infinitely sexier Halo 4 edition as that brings the high-gloss plastic to life with some lovely Halo 4 touches – and it costs exactly the same.
Now the major problems are out of the way, I can focus on all the reasons the Warhead is worth considering – especially if you have the money.
It’s hard to know where to begin when it comes to the Warhead’s feature list. First of all it’s the first truly wireless Xbox 360 headset, meaning you don’t need a wire down to your controller to chat and you need not be tethered to your console in any way either. Its wireless station also houses a charge port for a second battery – which is provided – so you won’t ever run out of juice mid game, at least not for very long. The wireless signal used for your headset is also carried at the higher frequency of 5.8Ghz so it won’t interfere with the myriad of other wireless devices around your home – thus providing incredibly crisp sound and a impressive 33ft/10m range.
That’s not hyperbole either, the sound really is super sharp and crisp. The majority of my time spent playing Halo 4 and Far Cry 3 was with these bad boys on, and they really did add to the atmosphere. Venturing into the bowels of The Sprawl in Dead Space 2 was also horrifying as drips of water could be heard forming dank pools from behind my head. As the Xbox 360 only supports 5.1 surround sound, the 7.1 is actually digitised, but it’s done fantastically so you really don’t have to worry about iffy audio here and there as it digitally converts the sound.
This is thanks, in part, to the two 50mm Neodymium Drivers that each speaker cone makes use of. Don’t worry, I haven’t much of a clue as to what that really means either, but I can promise you that the sound is even better than the 40mm Neodymium drivers that are found in the Detonators – and they produced incredibly crisp highs and deep lows, so just imagine what these 50mm bad boys can do.
Another nice feature about the Warheads are the streamlined buttons that are self contained around both ear cup. This means that you don’t have to fumble around for a remote or scramble over to the docking station. Instead you just fiddle around by your head. Here you’ll find separate controls for chat and game volume as well as an Equaliser preset switch and a toggle between digital and stereo sound – incase you have a stereo input going into your wireless tower. You an also mute the microphone, chat, and make use of SVM (or self voice monitoring as it’s called).
In my review of the Detonator I chastised the use of SVM, seeming like a feature ment for little more than the individual who loves the sound of their own voice. However, after many a late-night session of Halo 4 it’s become an invaluable addition. It lets you hear the volume of your own voice, so you know how loud you’re being, and thus how annoying you actually are to others. If you can hear yourself eating, so can someone else – don’t do it guys. The fact it’s selectable is another plus point because it means you don’t have to hear your own voice if you don’t want to, and most of the time I really don’t.
The previously mentioned Equaliser button is also somewhat of a godsend. The major problem with every Tritton headset I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing is that away from playing games, they’re pretty useless. However, the Warhead solves that by offering up a set of pre-made equalisations that mean I can listen to music perfectly, watch a film without wondering why everybody is so quiet, and then go back to playing a game without losing any audio fidelity.
The Warhead’s ear-cups are also incredibly comfortable, made with extended gaming in mind. The soft foam pads are big enough to fit over the largest of ears, and because they’re made of extremely squishy foam and faux leather they don’t rub or apply unwanted pressure on your head. As I wear glasses when I game, and in general now really, it’s great to have a headset that lets me keep wearing them comfortably. It’s a small point on this long list of features, but it’s important enough to count.
While the downsides to the Tritton Warhead 7.1 Wireless Surround Sound Headset may be just more than it’s annoyingly long official title, the plus points do go a long way to making up for the lost ground. Many other headsets, including Tritton’s own 720+ offer 7.1 surround sound at a cheaper price – and on more than one format – however they aren’t wireless, and many others don’t contain the features found on offer here. What you really have to ask yourself when considering a Tritton Warhead purchase is a) “Will I really use them enough” b) “Can I seriously afford them” c) “Am I happy with how they look”. If the answer is a resounding yes to all three, then don’t think twice.
Audio/Visual – 4/5: Stunning sound quality but let down by their aesthetics.
Gameplay – N/A
Innovation – 4/5: SVM makes a welcome return and the myriad of wireless features and EQ make this technologically impressive
Value – 3/4: Very pricey, but they are feature rich. Worth it if you can afford to splash the cash.
Final Score: 4/5