SteelSeries Siberia v2 Frost Blue ReviewManufacturer: SteelSeries
UK price (as reviewed): £99.98
US price (as reviewed): $139.99
It was only a few months ago that we last looked at a SteelSeries peripheral, the Kana
mouse, which impressed us with its back to basics form. The Siberia v2 Frost Blue is one of the latest headsets from the Danish manufacturer, so named for the light blue glow that emanates from the outside of the ear cups (other designs are available). It'll take more than some lights to win it a bit-tech seal of approval, however, as our current favourite headset, the Asus Vulcan ANC
, retails for £20 less.
The Siberia v2 has a fairly unique look to it, not just thanks to its white and light grey finish, but because of the headband design. In place of the usual single padded headband we're so used to, the Siberia v2 features a set of stiff rubber coated rails which house the wiring and provide support for the two massive earcups. Underneath these is the headband itself, which attaches to the earcups via two wires along which it can be adjusted for height.
The result of this is a headband which is lightweight and comfortable, as most of the weight of the headphones is supported by the wire tension, meaning that the headband never feels tight around your head – in fact, you'll hardly notice it. Its design also allows it to be stretched forwards or backwards along your head without affecting where the earcups rest, so you can find the optimal place for it to be positioned.
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The earcups themselves fit very snugly as well. Their size meant that they cleared and covered our ears easily, and the circum-aural ear cushions are soft and very comfortable. The pressure they exert is also well-balanced, as they're tight enough to not fall off your head even during violent head movements (we tested). Equally though, they're not too tight, which prevents them from turning your ears into mini-ovens, even after prolonged use.
Sound quality is the all-important factor with headphones, and with its 50mm drivers the Siberia v2 headset doesn't disappoint here. It boasts a pleasing reproduction of sounds across the bass, mid-range and high-end frequencies. The bass is full with a pleasant warmth to it, although it's not quite as punchy as we'd have hoped. The high-end is well defined but doesn't dominate, and the mid-range is likewise clear even in heavily distorted songs. The clarity is lost only at the very highest volumes, but is otherwise consistent, and the overall result is a sound that strikes a great balance whether in music, games or films.
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The ear cushion material is advertised as noise deadening and though your ears won't be in a vacuum, there is a noticeable reduction in external noise once you pop the Siberia v2 on, which is always nice. It's certainly not as apparent as the active noise cancellation found with the Asus Vulcan, however.
Voice duties are covered by the retractable uni-directional microphone, which rests in the left earcup. It's easy to adjust and can be stashed safely out the way for those all important mid-game snack times. The voice quality isn't quite as sharp as we've heard before, but it's clear enough over Skype and games and the active noise cancellation does a good job of eliminating background noise too.
The line-in controller can be used to mute and unmute the microphone, as well as to adjust the headset's volume. However, the sliding switch mechanism for muting the mic can be a bit stiff, and it isn't that clear upon a quick glance if the microphone is muted or not as it is only indicated by a thin red line under the switch, although this is a minor niggle.
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Fans of the Cyberman look will be thrilled with the glowing blue earcups, which although not particularly useful don't look as tacky as they could. Nevertheless, the option is there in the downloadable software to turn them on or off, and they can also be set to pulse at varying frequencies or trigger based on the intensity of the audio output.
The software is also used to control the built-in sound card, which resides inside the USB connector. This does bulk up the connector somewhat, but a 2m USB extension cable is supplied for those who the 1m cable isn't long enough. The software is rather simplistic and limited in its options, but contains a number of equaliser presets and the capacity to create your own custom EQ settings along with your favourite exterior LED look. You can save up to eight profiles if you so choose, although it's necessary to open the software to switch between them as there's no quick switch button on the hardware itself.
The £100 Siberia v2 had some stiff competition from the start with the excellent Asus Vulcan ANC available for £20 less. While the Asus headset remains our top choice for a gaming headset, the Siberia v2 puts in a great showing. Comfort is its major selling point, as its very adjustable, lightweight and a snug fit for most ears. Sounds quality is great too, but it lacks the active noise cancellation and portability of the Vulcan. As such, it remains a solid choice, just not the best.