I am going to talk about these headphones from a gamer perspective. This is due to my judgement on this product during purchasing and use are all from this point of view. Don't worry if you are not a gamer this should still make sense ;)
My criteria for purchasing these headphones:
- Wireless - This is a complicated one!
- Battery Power Mangement
- Surround Sound / Sound Quality
- Microphone Storage / Quality
- Ambient noise level (low)
Ok, so I gave the quick bullets above on what I was looking for. After reading many different review sites and comparing my "short list" of contenders, in the end I choose the SteelSeries Siberia 800 Wireless Gaming headset with Dolby 7.1! To help explain my decision and thoughts on this product after using it for a few months I am going to go through my bullet points with detailed explanation on how each pointed me towards this product.
- Wireless: I wanted to ditch the cord without sacrificing the quality or usability. Sound quality was my biggest concern, but I took a leap of faith thinking back that wireless headphones are not a new technology, and someone must have found a way to do it without sacrificing quality of the signal from the computer. As I came across these headphones I noticed a lot of positive reviews surrounding the distance these headphones could move away from the base station, I have been pleased with the distance they achieve, about 2 rooms worth of space. They also do automatically reconnect, although it does unmute the mic, careful there! The same reviewers also exalted the sound quality, and here I also agree these are great sounding. I thought ok but how long will these amazing sounding headphones last before I have to stop and charge them... After further reading the answer was simple and these headphones had it!
- Battery Power Management: These headphones use a dual battery system. The best part of a two battery system, is that you can charge the empty one while you are enjoying the headphones. The even better part about these headphones is that the charger for the battery is in the head unit connected to your computer, and in my case it is right on top of my desk under my monitor. The battery switches out with a simple twist on the headphones, and then a few seconds later you have a fresh battery and the old one charging. I have even switched batteries mid video game without anyone noticing, well at least they didn't comment ;)
- Surround Sound / Sound Quality: I previously was using a headphone product with 5.1 surround sound, and my goal was to match those or improve. I should have guessed since I don't replace my headphones that often that the technology had drastically improved in that arena as well. I can say I perceived a noticeable upgrade in the surround accuracy, and the sound quality was much clearer! For those interested my old headphones, they were the Corsair HS1 headphones, and I loved them dearly for a few years I think it was, but there is a new sound quality leader in the SteelSeries!
- Microphone Storage / Quality: First I needed to have the ability to swivel or move the mic out of my view when I wasn't using it. Secondly I needed the mic to have an easy to use MIC mute button. I had planned on walking to the kitchen and such and just leave the headphones on while I was working/playing. In the scenario I was on voice chat with friends the MIC mute was essential. These two requirements were met with these headphones, again perfectly designed and implemented. The MIC mute is on the headphone without the mic, and is a simple toggle that ALSO lights the mic RED to let you know it is muted, perfect simple solution for those than have open voice chat! For storage, the mic retracts into the base of the headphone. The motion of the headphone also feels smooth and even after months of use I don't feel any loosening of the mechanism. Both of my requirements nailed, perfect!
- Comfort: I know, I know, when it comes to comfort we are all of different sizes and shapes! For me, these are excellent as they do cover my ears completely, so there is no fatigue there. The top band has some very nice cushions, which are not made with a material that collects detritus which is also a plus! Those cushions are also excellent for those long couple hour sessions, I forget I am wearing them sometimes actually ;) Take that information as you will, I rate them 100% Excellent in comfort!
- Ambient noise level (low): The best I could describe the noise blocking, if someone was speaking in the same room as you it is muted, and if they were in another room it is next to impossible to hear them. There is no voice cancellation on this model, so it is basic muffling from the headphones covering your ears, but it does help! My next headphone replacement may add the noise cancelation as a must have feature ;)