Good audio performance, but compromises made to hit its price point
YOU’LL EITHER LOVE the mesh design of Logitech’s new surround sound cans, or you won’t. They’re certainly a striking pair of closed-cup headphones in any of the four available colors. Our test sample came in “triple black,” and while it’s true that Logitech’s sports mesh design does help to keep the weight down to just 9.14oz, we didn’t notice that they were especially breathable. More noticeable is the G433’s tendency to collect and display dust in all those hard-to-reach dimples. Also included are a color-matched carry case and an alternative set of ear pads with a tighter weave, but they, too, have an unorthodox finish. Think faux chamois. They’re slightly more comfortable against the ears, and a bit easier to keep clean.
But this isn’t GoodH ousekeeping magazine, and headphones are there to push sound into your ears. The G433s are better at that. Built with 40mm drivers just like their forefathers, the much bulkier G430s, these lightweight cans are capable of powerful bass, and that’s important. But more than that, they deliver said bass along a relatively flat frequency response, which means it doesn’t sound distorted at high volumes, or muddy up the overall sound. There’s a real alchemy to this, and it’s as much about construction materials as it is about drivers—so maybe we’re being harsh on that sports mesh after all. The upshot is that you don’t need to tweak any EQ settings manually or cycle presets for different activities—gaming, music, and so on—in order to get a rich sound. It’s not quite up there with Kingston’s now legendary HyperX Cloud, or Sennheiser’s higher-end models, but for $87, the sound can’t be faulted. Surround sound, provided digitally via DTX Headphone-X, provides a really wide and yet precise soundscape, which benefits both games and movies. Digital surround can be something of a lottery, but it works well here.
As we’re seeing across the headset market at the moment, focus on this model, too, has shifted away from gaming alone and broadens out into a headset that Logitech hopes you will use for all your consoles and mobile devices, too. That much is evident by the total absence of RGB lighting and tribal motifs, but it’s more tangible in the additional cables that you’ll find bundled in the box. While the DTX Headphone-X digital 7.1 surround is only compatible with PCs, the additional 4.9-feet cable enables you to hook this up to a PS4, Xbox One, or smartphone as a stereo headset. As for connecting to your PC, both USB and 3.5mm options are lavished upon you.
So far, so good, then. There’s inevitably a “but” coming, though: There’s a couple of areas in which the G433’s concessions to a lower price point end up impacting upon the usability to a noticeable degree. Firstly, the microphone. We have no qualms about its sound quality or noise gate, but it’s difficult to get along with that non-retractable piece of bendy rubber it’s attached to. It feels like a relic from an already bygone era of gaming headsets, such is the pace of advancement and the widespread adoption of retractable or swing-arm designs that don’t intrude on your peripheral vision. Our only other gripe is with the inline remote, which is small and lightweight, as per the design brief, but actually quite awkward to use. The mic mute button is very stiff and requires concerted effort to operate, and finding the tiny volume scroll wheel takes some practice.
All that nitpicking still leaves two good reasons to buy this G433 headset (twoand-a-half if you’re into the mesh look): good value and solid sound. They’re good boxes to check. If we were building a headset, we’d make sure it sounded good before adding luxury to the inline remote, too. There are no real deal-breakers in this package, but you should know not to expect luxury from the mic or controls before making the purchase. –PHIL IWANIUK
MESHMERIZING Flat sound; strong surround; value.
HOT MESH Basic controls. $ 87, www.logitech.com