From console controllers to the Internet, we live in an increasingly wireless world - and it's no surprise, since wires are a hassle, constantly getting tangled or stuck behind things and limiting our freedom of movement. And if there's one sector where freedom of movement is needed, it's gaming, which is why we're taking a closer look at Creative's HS-1200 Digital Wireless Gaming Headset, powered by X-Fi technology.
In the box you get a quick-start guide, driver CD and manual, and of course the headset and transceiver. The actual HS-1200 set itself exudes quality and style, and is finished in a combination of black, silver and metal. Disappointingly you don't get a carrying case, though that would increase cost significantly.
The transceiver consists of a small rounded unit with two cables running from it. One connects to your computer using USB, while the other plugs into the headset to charge it. This unit has a rubber bottom section to prevent scratching and improve grip, and is constructed using matte-black plastic. In its centre is a large button used for pairing the headset with the transceiver while on its front is a small but bright blue LED power indicator that stays lit when the headset is on and blinks if it's powered off.
The HS-1200 feels quite rugged - a virtue of the strong plastics and metal used in its construction. The flexible headband is lightly padded, and though it's not uncomfortable, it could have done with a little more stuffing. The cups are fully adjustable since they slide up and down on metal rails that feel much stronger than the flimsy plastic implementations on some headphones. However, with this design the cups can't be rotated. The slide action relies on friction rather than a ratchet mechanism and making adjustments was very stiff - but then that's a good thing since you don't want the cups moving after you've found your ideal setup.
The round cups themselves are quite small, measuring only 6.5cm across. This means they sit on the ear (supra-aural) rather than around it, which prevents the ears getting too warm and sweaty as can be the case with circumaural sets. However, despite the cups' thick leatherette padding, foam insides and the headset's overall weight of only 150g, we found that the pressure 'on' the ear can become uncomfortable after around two hours of use. For the gaming sector that's probably no bad thing, as ideally you're supposed to take a break every 45 minutes, but it does limit their appeal for simple activities like music-listening or watching films.