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Saitek Cyborg 5.1 Headset - Saitek Cyborg 5.1 Headset
Portability is certainly a strong point of this headset, considering it is a 5.1 model (hello, LAN-Party!). Rotating cans and a detachable microphone let it get as compact as you can expect, and clicking it into the moulded depressions of the hard case takes under half a minute. In addition it's very light, with the whole bundle including case weighing a mere 482 grams.
When you first plug the headset in using USB, the somewhat ugly Cyborg logo (a half human, half robot face) on each cup gets lit up in two different colours: red on the left, green on the right. Saitek seem to be giving all their recent products multicoloured LEDs, which looks jarring, cheap and inconsistent. It does give Cyborg products a unique look, but it's at best an acquired taste.
A pity too, since the rest of the headset is really quite attractive. The ear-cups are foam with a leatherette trim, and a glossy black hard plastic back with a nice perforation pattern. The hinged cup-holders are silver, while the headband is semi-matte plastic with the Cyborg name in muted grey, with a leatherette-padded section in the middle.
Unlike the solid construction of the excellent Saitek Eclipse Keyboard, these new Cyborgs do not hold up as well. Build quality is not bad, but it's hardly exceptional; there is some creaking when adjusting the headphones, and flex on the plastic of the headband. Frankly, you'd expect a bit better for the price, and overall the set feels 'plasticky'.
When it comes to wearer comfort though, Saitek has done an adequate job. Adjustment is pretty much standard for headphones. The cups (or cans, if you're from across the Atlantic) can be rotated flat and are hinged, so they will always sit close against your ears.
The foam padding is sufficient, and because they're circum-aural (surrounding your entire ear) the cups form a closed sound-stage. The main niggle here is that they don't quite feel large enough to allow my ears to be comfortable for extended periods.
The headband can be lengthened, and thankfully the extending sections are metal, so won't break like cheap plastic ones tend to do. Annoyingly for the perfectionists among us, increments are barely notched, so both sides might not be equally adjusted by the time you're finished. However, this does make it easier to adjust the headband while wearing the Cyborgs. The headband padding is again adequate, but a little more wouldn't have hurt.
It's only when you compare Saitek's most recent efforts to other sets, like the light Icemat Siberia headphones, that you realize the Saitek's are a tad confining, clunky and heavy; putting on the Icemats felt like a relief. A fairer comparison might be with my 5.1 Trittons, which despite being far heavier are still more comfortable, thanks to large amounts of padding. Basically, the Cyborgs are comfortable enough to get by with, but not the ideal set for hours-long gaming sessions.