These cans may lack design frills and a premium build, but they more than make up for it with sound and comfort.
- Comfortable and lightweight
- Excellent, balanced sound quality
- Clear microphone
- Plasticky build
- Non-removable mic
- Review Price: £47.98
- 50mm drivers
- 130cm cable length
- 3.5mm wired connection
- 50-10,000Hz frequency
In a world laden with 1337 flashing RGB peripherals, multiple braided cables, control boxes and pro gamer branding, you could all too easily find yourself draining your wallet when it comes to accessories – and gaming headphones are no exception. Enter the Asus TUF Gaming H3.
Yes, they sport an awkward name, but we’ve long since forgiven that. Available for just over £45, this no-frills budget set of cans deliver performance and comfort that belies their unassuming looks.
The TUF Gaming H3 headset isn’t ugly by any means, but they’re rather unremarkable – and that’s okay. If you’ve grown out of the aggressive flashy aesthetics normally associated with gaming gear, then you’ll find Asus’ design refreshingly minimalist.
Clad in plastic and faux leather, the headphones do feel rather cheap and light in the hands. However, given the H3’s price, they can easily be forgiven for not having a Rolls-Royce build quality.
Despite this, the aluminium forks connecting the ear pads to the headband are rock-solid. Plus they’re available in various colours, if you want to add a splash of excitement to things.
The H3’s lightweight design may feel cheap, but it also has a huge bonus: comfort. This is an incredibly comfortable model, and I had no problem donning these headphones for extended gaming sessions. However, I did have to let my ears “breathe” once in a while, as things can get quite heated – but this is the case with most over-ears I’ve tried.
Functionality-wise, there are a few niggles. The mic is non-removable, so you’re forced to bend it out of the way when it’s not in use. The 3.5mm audio cable is also firmly fixed in place, which means you’ll be faffing around with replacements or repairs if there’s any future damage to it. Again, though, at this price removable components would be a bit of a stretch.
My final niggle is with the controls. While I have no problem with the volume rocker sitting on the left ear cup, the mic mute button that lies just above it feels just a little too springy for my liking. I’d have preferred a sliding switch that could be less prone to failure; only time will tell how well it holds up.
Audio and features
Comfort aside, the Gaming H3 sound great. They’re not quite as bass-heavy as their advertising would suggest, but I reckon that’s a good thing.
Out of the box, the H3 offers crisp mids and clear highs, with a slightly over-powered bass that brings you more immersion in explosion-heavy shooters, without muddying the rest of the audioscape.
The advertised 7.1 surround sound works well too, although Asus was a bit cheeky when it came to marketing this feature. It makes use of Windows Sonic for 7.1 shenanigans, of which any 3.5mm wired set of headphones can also take advantage. Still, it does an admirable job of simulating spatial audio, especially for this price point, so I’ll let that one slide.
The microphone quality is also surprisingly decent; it managed to clearly pick my screams of frustration and teammate berating out from any background noise. The fact it works with all consoles and PCs is the cherry on top of an already moreish cake.
Should you buy it?
I can confidently say the H3s are one of the absolute best set of gaming headphones you can get at this price – and they could very well be our new budget headphone champion.
The headphones are comfortable, sound great, and capture clear mic audio, while playing nice with any device you care to throw their way. Build quality is the only letdown – and only time will tell how problematic, if at all, that will be.
When it comes to pound for pound value, performance and comfort, however, you really can’t go wrong with the Gaming H3. Nicely done, Asus.