Review Price £189.99
Sennheiser G4ME One Compatibility: PC/Mac/PS4 – 3.5mm audio and microphone jacks. Adaptor required for PS4 use (£8.99)
Sennheiser has transferred its excellent acoustic knowledge of headphones to gaming headsets for several years now. Its latest top of the range offerings come in the form of the closed-back Sennheiser G4ME Zero and the open-back Sennheiser G4ME One, which we are looking at here.
You may expect a bucket-load of bells and whistles for the £189.99 price, but the Sennheiser has kept the G4ME One minimal, and that can sometimes be a good thing.
Made of white plastic with red and black trim, the G4ME One headset is more a design statement than the grey and black headsets Sennheiser usually makes. It's not bad looking at all – one small gripe is that the velvet ear pads collect a lot of fluff in use.
At a little over 300g the G4ME One is not too heavy but the build quality is solid. The plastic is high-grade and the ear cups have thin grooves carved into the metal side grilles, opening them up to improve the acoustics.
Spending hours at a time gaming in front of a PC with an uncomfortable headset is no fun at all. But Sennheiser has equipped the G4ME One headset with huge circumaural, velvety-soft over-ear pads that feel great for long hours of gaming. The open-back design means air gets in so your ears breathe and you don’t end up feeling too hot and sweaty. We’ve played long sessions of Titanfall and Battlefield 4 without needing to remove or adjust them at all.
The fit is good too. The headband offers plenty of adjustments, and they stay when set. The ear pads clasp your head firmly and securely without being too tight, and adjusting the headset once it’s on your head is easy.
Controls couldn’t be simpler. A large volume wheel sits on the outside of the right earcup, which is ideal for on-the-fly adjustments. One thing we should point out is that the quality of wheel isn’t on par with previous Sennheiser gaming headsets. It’s a little flimsier and has some points where it sticks a little as it turns – it’s an irritant rather than a deal-breaker. The only other control is on the chunky mic. Lift it up and a click will signify that you’re muted. Fold it down in front of your face again and the mic is back on. Simple but effective.
If you want any more controls to tinker with you’re out of luck. Far cheaper headsets offer a lot more features, although how useful these are for the vast majority of gamers is debatable. For example the £70 Turtle Beach PX22 has bass, treble, voice chat and mic volume controls, although adjusting volume or muting in game is a more intuitive on the G4ME One.
The final issue is that the mic and the 3m-long cable are non-removable. It’s unlikely you’ll want to take a headset this large out with you to listen to music, so the fixed mic is less of an issue, but we’d prefer to have a removable cable. This would open up being able to choose which earcup it plugs into, and reduce the risk of damaging the headset by yanking the cable accidentally. That being said both the mic and audio cable are very robust and it would take serious force to damage either.
Sennheiser has pedigree in producing quality sound and the G4ME One does not disappoint in this area.
You’d rightly expect excellent sound quality from a headset at this price and the G4ME One delivers. Music sounds warm and clarity is solid. You won’t find any fizziness or distortion even at high volumes and we found the bass to be thorough without being overwhelming. In addition our bass-shaker test, designed to weed out poor quality headphones, was pure throughout and lacked any annoying rattle.
The experience is similarly encouraging with film. The fight scene between Batman and Bane in the Dark Knight Rises lets the G4ME One show that it can deliver clear and detailed dialogue without losing any of the background noises of the clanging metal walkway or the dripping water. This is a benefit of the open, wide sound you get with a good open-back headset like this.
Gaming is what the G4ME One was made for, though, and we tested it with a couple of fast paced FPSs and the more atmospheric Bioshock Infinite.
First up was Titanfall, EA’s recent high-octane shooter. The G4ME One manages to keep the many crashes, bangs and wallops clearly defined while away from the action you can hear quiet footsteps approaching from cloaked enemy Pilots – useful for giving you that slight edge.
It’s when you’re in the massive robotic Titans that you appreciate what the G4ME One adds to the action. You are rewarded with a great sensation of scale as each massive footstep clangs weightily to the earth. This headset is good at sounding big.
In Battlefield 4, whizzing bullets and explosions are well defined and you have a decent idea of the direction of gunfire by sound alone thanks to the good spatial imaging of this headset.
One thing to consider is that while the open-back design helps the acoustic fidelity of the G4ME One it also means that sound leaks out and plenty of ambient noise gets in. It’s useful if you want to keep an ear on what’s going on around you but you will find that a closed-cup design is preferable in noisy environments.
Just like previous Sennheiser headsets the G4ME One comes with a noise cancelling microphone on a thick, flexible boom. It manages to capture and convey voice clearly and really keeps background noise to a minimum, ensuring your teammates won’t get annoyed by what’s going on in your house.
The Sennheiser G4ME One falls a little short of achieving a recommended award mainly because the Sennheiser PC 363D headset is available for just £10 more. It’s comparable in terms of sound quality and, while uglier, boasts 7.1 virtual surround and acts as a USB sound card.
If you want to go wires-free you could also consider the Creative Sound Blaster EVO ZxR, which comes with a host of extra bells and whistles but costs £40 more and doesn’t quite match the G4ME One for sound and mic quality.
You won’t be disappointed with the G4ME One headset. It’s comfortable, sounds great and is as much at ease with music and movies as it is with gaming. We do feel that it could come with a few extra features (such as a PS4 adapter) for the price and if you have a little more to spend and aren't fussy about looks we recommend you opt for the Sennheiser PC 363D instead.
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