The Sharkoon Xtatic SP headset's build quality is good, with no creak or weaknesses in the plastics. Everything from the headband to the cups, control module and cable feel like they will survive many extended gaming sessions, and adjustments to the headband or cups feel secure. Switches, buttons and dials offer solid, nicely-controlled action.
Comfort is good. The length-adjustable headband is thickly padded with a leatherette finish, while the cups, which can swivel 90 degrees to fold flat for easier transport, are big enough to fit all the way around – rather than partially on – your ears. These too are thickly padded, and sport a breathable cloth finish that will keep your ears slightly cooler than a leatherette finish would have.
Overall they’re comfortable even for long sessions, if not on a level with a set such as the AKG Q701 – but those do cost seven times as much. For its price class, the Xtatic SP holds up well.
It’s worth noting that this headset doesn’t isolate noise much. You’ll still be able to hear everything that’s going on around you, which could be exactly what you want or a major disadvantage. They also leak a little into your environment, though nowhere near as much as an open-backed set of cans like the delectable Grado PS1000.
Thanks to the included adapters, hooking up Sharkoon’s Xtatic SP is simple whether connecting to a PS3, Xbox 360 or PC. It’s worth pointing out that the SP requires power from its USB cable, so if you want to hook up a Wii or other device without its own USB ports, you’ll need a charging adapter or extension cable from a nearby device. This can be quite annoying as most headsets will at least work through just their 3.5mm connector, but the SP needs to power its control module and extra rumble effect, which we’ll cover later.
On a PC, you can choose to use the SP just as a USB headset without connecting the 3.5mm plug at all, but again you’ll miss out on that rumble effect. The simply huge control module offers volume wheels for both the cans and microphone, a microphone mute switch, an Xbox 360 pad audio input and a switch that selects Xbox or PS3/PC mode. The feedback on both switches and wheels is solid. Our only niggle is that there’s no option to turn the rumble on or off except by removing the 3.5mm jack (though if you turn it off you’re missing a large part of what makes this headset worth using).