1More Spearhead VRX Gaming Headset
WE ARE NOT ONES to sneer at silly gimmicks, but—no, actually, we are. And we had a real serious sneer ready for the Spearhead VRX, which adds positional head tracking (labeled “Waves Nx”) to the existing Spearhead VR formula. Had it come from a company with less gravitas than the surprisingly awesome 1More, perhaps that sneer would have stayed on our faces; maybe, had the gimmick not turned out to be a pretty neat feature that actually adds a decent new dimension to your gaming exploits, the grimace might not have turned into a smile. But we’re grinning. Even outside of the VR realm, where you’ll potentially struggle to wear these cans, given the wide-yet-narrow design of their upper band, the turn-your-head effect works perfectly, though it’s only really apparent in front of your monitor if you’re running a huge super-widescreen setup or you wobble your skull around habitually.
Waves Nx extends beyond positional tracking into this headset’s integrated 7.1 simulation. That, too, is sweet, nimbly directing sound around your head on the horizontal axis, with only a slight deviation into weird echo, and a minor drop in quality from stereo. The software-E-Qable soundstage that backs it up is just joyous. It’s not quite the exquisite and intricate mix of 1More’s triple-driver cans, but this is far cheaper, and the 50mm graphene loudspeakers (which, we’re told, use some kind of magnetic levitation) manage a rich experience. It’s spritely on the high end, adequate in the middle, and as brutal as you like on the low—click the on-board volume control, and you can dial up the bass without poking around in the driver, and taking it all the way gives rise to seriously explosive vibration. Extreme bass does squash the rest of the frequencies, though.
Its sound might be on point, but 1More’s design is about as mixed a bag as you’ll find. The head band, topped with reasonably stiff metal and bottomed with an auto-adjusting wrapped band, which stretches in the center, is comfortable, but tends toward tight. The foam inside the earcups, given that tension, is far too soft, causing the speaker cap to press on the cartilage of more prominent ears. We found the slide-out light, a stiff tentacle that extends as far as your jaw, pretty cute, and initially presumed it was a mic. It’s not. It’s a tube that does nothing. The mic is hidden in a tiny dot on the other earpiece, and sounds predictably hollow and distant. RGB lighting around the rear of each earpiece and on the base of the head band is a quality touch, but whoever decided to also add sound-activated lighting to the not-actually-a-mic stalk either deserves a reward or a stiff kicking; it’s utterly pointless, distracting in your peripheral vision, and seems cheap—but from a different perspective, it’s damn cool.
We have other issues. Most of the more special features of the Spearhead VRX are (understandably) unavailable if it’s plugged in via 3.5mm jack, but the micro-USB cable feels flimsy, and we wouldn’t bet our lives on the resilience of its port. Environmental noise canceling is a nice feature, pulling outside sound from mics on either side of the headset, but we didn’t find it made a huge difference, and when you’re trapped in a headset as tight as this, there’s little space for external noise anyway.
Let’s put that aside. Is positional tracking a big enough selling point on its own? Probably not. As part of a predominantly well-built package, with great sound quality backing it up? That’s a different matter. While there are some niggles to overlook, and while this isn’t, as a headset, on the same lofty level as some hardware of a similar price, it’s really a great headset on its own merits. And if the thing that your stream needs is a ludicrously lit microphone flashing as you speak? You’re all sorted. –ALEX COX