At $99, is this wireless 3D headset worth the cost? We wander around the house finding out.
By Tim Colwill on January 25, 2013 at 6:12 pm
Creative’s Soundblaster Tactic3D Rage headset, contrary to its name, neither makes you angry OR makes you a great tactician. “But wait!” I say, as you pick up the phone to call the Competition and Consumer Commission. “It’s still a good headset! Just… just put the phone down, and we can talk about this like normal people.”
God, what is with you? You’re so on edge lately.
Wireless headsets aren’t everybody’s cup of tea. They don’t look, smell, or even taste anything like tea, and they don’t come in a cup, but check this: with these on, I was able to get up, go to the kitchen, and make a cup of tea, all while still continuing to listen to phat beats and make shrieking noises to Cas over Skype.
The Tactic3D Rage has a range of about 15 metres, and gives you a nice little warning beep when you’re approaching the edge of its signal. Testing the headset in rooms such as the kitchen, bedroom, toilet* and standing in the garden outside the window I was able to enjoy clear, crisp beatz without any crackle or distortion, and even closed doors offered no obstacle to the signal. I managed to pull about 16 hours between charges, which matches up with Creative’s claims as well.
50mm Neodynium magnet drivers power the sound on this enragingly tactical offering, and as a result the notes booming through the speakers are rich and deep, with good quality at both the high and low end. Sadly the 3D seems a little vague, I found it hard to pick directional sound especially at the rear. Still, the 3D is serviceable enough for nearly every gaming situation and certainly leaves you in no doubt about whether enemies are to the right or left, which is enough to get you swinging the mouse and holding down the trigger, in any case.
The only truly enraging part of Creative’s offering is, perhaps, the size of the the whole thing. Placing it on my head for the first time resulted in an impressive headache after about an hour of use, even with it extended to full length. Eventually this faded as I got used to it (or perhaps as the headset quietly snapped in response to my obnoxious cranium) but it certainly didn’t put me off to a good start.
Additionally, each leatherette-earcup is adorned with what Creative promise are “16 million colour LEDs”, but in practice it’s more like six colours: red, green, blue and a dirty mix of any two. Presumably you use this to customise yours and make sure nobody else mistakes it for their Creative Soundblaster Tactic3D Rage headset, but since the headset is already decorated in other places with black-and-red plastic, picking any colour other than red makes it look a bit ugly.
In fitting with the pick-up-and-go philosophy of the wireless headset, the Tactic3D Rage features a detachable microphone. I often find that the microphone is the weakest point in any gaming headset and, while the included one isn’t too bad and certainly not as quiet/crackly as the CM Storm Sonuz, the ability to just hot-swap your own in if it fails (rather then trashing the whole headset) or if you simply like a different one better, is a big plus. Slap that Zalman in there, clip it to your shirt and you’re good to go — and you’re still just as wireless as before.
On the back of the left earcup is both a volume control and a mic mute button, both of which are easy to find and snappily responsive. In terms of installation and setup, it really couldn’t be simpler: the box ships with a USB transmitter, a charging cable (USB to micro-USB, on the headset) and the headset itself. Just plug in and you’re away, although Creative recommends charging it for eight hours to start with. The software that you’ll need to download includes voice-changing options on top of your standard audio adjustment, so if you want to sound like an elf, orc or even emo (yes, really) you can do that too.
Retailing at $99, you’re basically paying a wireless surcharge tax on top of the standard price of a decent pair of gaming cans. So you have to ask yourself — is being able to get up from your desk/couch for a bio break and not miss a minute of your guild’s voice chat worth the extra $10 or $15? Sure, it’s nice to be able to pee and chat at the same time but, social ramifications aside (use the mute button, you pig) many gamers might be better served by a slightly less convenient, cheaper stereo sound option.
- Good sound from 50mm drivers
- Excellent wireless range and signal strength
- Detachable microphone
- Battery life is very good
- Tight construction, perhaps not for those with big heads
- 3D isn’t as good as it could be
- LED options very limited
- Driver Units: 50mm Neodymium magnet
- Frequency Response: 20Hz ~ 20kHz
- Impedance: 32ohms
- Sensitivity: 102dB/mW
- Microphone Type: Noise-canceling condenser
- Frequency Response: 100Hz ~ 6.5kHz
- Impedance: <2.2kohms
- Sensitivity: -40dBV/Pa
- Connector: USB
*Not really, but I went into the room and stood there. For science.