Manufacturer:SteelSeries UK Price (as reviewed): TBC US Price (as reviewed): TBC
I have a tough time with peripherals. In fact, I have a hard time with lots of things, like shoes and jeans, mainly because I manage to combine three very difficult to accommodate traits into my personality.
First, I’m very demanding of my kit. I need them to perform in very specific ways and fulfil my needs exactly – anything else is useless to me. Secondly, I have a sense of style which can only be described as…unique.
I’m the man responsible for introducing Cardigan Wednesday to the bit-tech offices, and I love to accompany my cardigan with a Chav-tastic hat and a set of cheap, blue aviators. Lastly, I’m quite hard wearing on the things I use. I rip my jeans, spill milk inside my keyboards and wear the skates off my mice. You don’t even want to know what sort of state my underwear ends up in.
So, now you know why I have such a problem with my peripherals and you can appreciate why I have such a tough time with headphones and headsets. What’s an easy purchase for most people is a delicate process of pros and cons for me. I need something strong and hardy, with decent performance and preferably lots of bling.
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Thankfully, there are a few places which cater to my needs. SteelSeries is one of those places and the company has a reputation for making some of the most high-end gear in the peripherals market. Over-sized steel mouse pads, are just the tip of the iceberg...
Under the iceberg
The new Siberia neckband headset from SteelSeries is a little different from the last few headsets I’ve reviewed and that difference is manifested in the headstrap because, well, it’s not a headstrap. It’s a neckband. If you’re unfamiliar to the concept then allow me to indulge you. The strap goes round your neck. Simple, isn’t it?
I got a chance to catch up with some of the guys from SteelSeries not long ago and had a look at some of the early manufacturer's samples for the Siberia neckband headset (I’d call it a neckset, but that just sounds wrong somehow). During the meeting the guys told me that a substantial portion of all the headsets sold in the west used a neckband strap, but this is honestly the first time I’ve had a chance to use one.
Given my tastes in fashion though, that’s not really all that surprising.
The new Siberia headset is, because of the fashionable origin, therefore clearly targeted at both gaming and music needs. It has a microphone on it, but it’s on an incredibly discrete retractor which can pull the entire thing out of view – perfect for when you want to stop fragging and start frolicking to some of your favourite chords.
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The neckband design affords the Siberia headset some other advantages too. The combat design is obvious, but slightly more appreciable to hip, young metrosexuals is the fact that you can easily where a hat over the top – even one like mine which just screams ‘council estate sociopath’.
The earphone themselves are a ear-cup design, which fully surround and encompass the ear with some soft black cushions. Ideal for keeping your ears warm in the cold British winter.
The Siberia comes packaged with a few accessories too to help round out its claim as “the first circumaural neckband headset created for professional gaming”. There’s a cable extension first of all. The cable on the headset itself is 125cm long, which is fine for listening to your MP3s on, but probably not up to the task of reaching behind your computer to the soundcard. The PC adapter adds another 165cm to this.
There’s a Xbox 360 headset adapter too which is, quite frankly, massive. It’s a little over ten feet long, or just about as tall as Tim is, so you can be sure you aren’t going to run out of cable slack no matter how riotous you Guitar Hero 3 techniques are. Oh, and there’s a nice SteelSeries sticker in the box too. Nevermind that though – let’s just get on with looking at the performance of the Siberia.