Every company even remotely involved in personal audio has a get of “gaming headphones” geared towards a younger user. Logitech, a company renowned for their excellent gaming mice and keyboards, is not immune to the lure of quick and easy money from less discerning customers. The Precision Headset might better be named a Muddy Head-Vice, with uncomfortable ergonomics and poor sound. Read on to see why you need to avoid these headphones.
Features and Design
There is very little we can say that is positive about the Logitech Precision PC Gaming headset, although those shortcomings might be slightly offset by the low MSRP. Logitech makes some of the best gaming mice, keyboards and speaker systems on the market, but their headphone selection has always been somewhat sub par. Unfortunately the Precision Headset continues this tradition. Did the pressure to hit a specific price point cause Logitech to cut too many corners? Does the average gamer, with perhaps less experience using high quality audio equipment, give a product designer the license to push a low quality product through the doors?
Aesthetically, the Precision Headset makes Princess Leia’s head-bun hairdo look small and unassuming. The enormous ear pieces are 80% head-clamp, 20% driver and are a failed attempt to get away from the over-the-ear headset design. Instead, you get large donut-shaped foam padded pieces which angle outwards from the front outside surface. With this design, the outer ear is supposed to pinch between the donut and driver piece. The microphone boom comes off the right earpiece, and swivels just enough to be considered to be in front of your mouth. The microphone lacks a foam windscreen (which impacts sound quality) and is not flexible. The headband wraps around the back of the head, but lacks any adjustability.
While it is hard to put the actual visual design into words, the wearing experience is much easier. There are only two things keeping the headset on your head: the vice-like grip of the intentionally narrow band portion and the top edge of your ear pinched between two foam surfaces. If you wear glasses, you can image that the pressure of the ear pads on the temple pieces digging into your head after an hour to two. Without glasses, the experience isn’t much more enticing. Of course, with zero adjustability, this headset will not fit many people, though it is sized to fit most people over 18 years old.
The audio cord terminates into standard 3.5” jacks, one for the headphones and one for the mic, and features an inline remote. The remote can be used to adjust volume or mute the microphone, and can be pretty handy in general. But, the volume control is annoyingly difficult to move, and feels very cheaply constructed. The mute button is made of the same material, and feels flimsy as well.
Image Courtesy of Logitech
Audio quality of the microphone was acceptable. We tested VoIP calls through Skype, Yahoo! Messenger, and TeamSpeak2. We were annoyed by the microphone which needs exact placement to pick up voice with any volume. As mentioned earlier, there is no foam cover on the end of the microphone to screen out pops when saying the letters “p” and “d”, or to help muffle the letters “s” and “f”.
In our music tests, the Logitech Precision PC Gaming headset fell flat. We used the same music selection as with the pricier Sennheiser PC145 and PC160 headsets. A broad array of techno, synthpop, jazz, Britpop, and alternative music was tested from two sources: an Audigy 2 ZS Platinum Pro and a 4th generation Apple iPod. Highs sound like they are being played inside a Campbell’s soup can, and produced distortion at modestly high levels. Treble rich portions of techno and synthpop songs were simply unbearable. Mids were recessed and poorly represented in high energy music, with lows muddy and inaccurate. The sound stage is decisively split, with nearly no sound appearing directly in front of the listener. Overall, techno and synthpop sounded flat and uninspiring. Stereo effects were wasted on slurred acoustics, and 3D sound localizing plug-ins for Windows Media Player did absolutely nothing to give the music any depth. With the techno/synthpop tests in mind we thought industrial and noise selections might actually shine on the Precision headset. It made sense at the time. Unfortunately, we were wrong and more industrial/mechanical sounds sounded like a combination of steel wool on a cheese grater mixed with the random humming of a goat, except for the steel wool/cheese grater and random humming of a goat sounds, which sounded like an off tune fiddle. Ironically, rock and ethereal music fared the best with this headset. Though not great, the quality was acceptable for the price of this headset.
And how about gaming? Surprisingly not as bad; but not very good either. We chose Doom 3, Unreal Tournament 2004, City of Villains, and Half-Life 2 to test the Logitech Precision Gaming Headset. Much of the realism to the various atmospheres was ruined by the poor sound representation, but gunfire and other special effects were decent. The muddy bass didn’t ruin any satisfying explosions, and the shrill treble made scraping sounds even shriller. Sound localization was pretty poor due to the extreme sound separation, so don’t try to target enemies using the sounds of their footsteps. They’ll generally be 5 feet from where you shoot. The microphone quality, once placed correctly was adequate for gaming, but won’t win any broadcasting awards. Our teammates said it sounded “about average” over Teamspeak.
The Logitech Precision Headset is a rare Logitech product, in that it is remarkably poor in ways that Logitech is usually strong. The plastic construction feels cheap, the fit uncomfortable, the appearance downright embarrassing; and the sound quality is simply unacceptable. The downfalls are only countered by the acceptably low price and convenience of a built-in boom mic. The only real saving grace is that the gaming sound quality is better than some other options within the price range.
• Low price
• Integrated mic
• Sub par sound quality
• Unappealing design