Asus ROG Strix Fusion 500
a fine example of the Australia tax at work. In the US, the Fusion 500 headset is $179.99, or about $228 locally. Because we are where we are on the globe, when the headset launches locally in April, it’s going to be valued at $329. Way more than the exchange rate, equating to about $259 USD. That’s a problem, because the headset goes from being at the top end of PC gaming headsets to the realm of Sennheiser, Bose, Audio Technica and the like – companies with decades of experience creating high-end headphones. When compared to the sound quality of headphones in the price range, like the excellent Sennheiser 373D, Ars Technica ATH-M70X, Bose QuietComfort 25. Granted the Ars Technica and Bose headsets don’t do virtual surround or have a mic, but the Sennheisers do, and they’re cheaper to boot.
Don’t get us wrong. The Fusion 500 headset sounds great thanks to a HiFi DAC and amp tuned by Bongiovi Acoustics. Leaving aside the opportunities for Living on a Prayer jokes, the headset delivers some excellent stereo as well as virtual 7.1. As is the case with most virtual surround, it does sap some power from the bass, but not to a degree that it becomes problematic. The on-ear touch controls are a little too fiddly to be satisfying, and the lighting, which can be synced up with other Fusion 500 headsets (for Esports teams and the like) is a cool, if somewhat targeted idea. The Fusion 500 is a very good gaming headset, but it’s way too expensive for what’s on offer. DANIEL WILKS