Reviewing the Game One from Sennheiser after having just tackled their Game Zero model is a difficult task indeed as they’re incredibly alike, meaning I’ve already said many of the things that could be talked about here.
Still, there are so differences worth chatting about, starting with the all important issue of comfort, which for this reviewer was a bit less impressive than the Game Zero. There’s a full 55mm of adjustment on either side of Game One so that heads of any size can fit, although oddly tweaking the headset while it’s on your head is next to impossible as it simply won’t slide along its runners, so you’ll need to take them off to fiddle around with them. The earcups themselves offer 30-degrees or so of movement and the headband is also quite flexible, so there’s no issues there. But the padding here is of the velvet variety. While this was initially comfortable I found that after a short time it would become overly warm and bothersome on my skin, a problem quite likely only to affect some people. Furthermore the headset was just a bit too tight as well. With this combination the Game One isn’t uncomfortable, but it also is far from the comfiest set I’ve ever had perched atop my noggin.
This velvet padding coupled with the fact that the Game One doesn’t have the same white rubber on the outer side of the earcups also means the Game One doesn’t attempt to block outside noise, which isn’t exactly surprising considering the headset is advertised as being open. Entirely personal preference here but I’ve always been an advocate of headsets with good noise cancelling as it helps me get further immersed into games or movies or music. Still, open headsets do have advantages, like if you happen to be a family man/woman and need to listen out for the telltale signs of a child getting into trouble. The downside is the Game One isn’t great for travelling: not only will you hear every sound from the outside world but whatever racket you’re listening to will also seep outwards, potentially irritating other people.
The open design affects the audio, providing lovely clarity and warmth to the sound that makes the audio sound quite natural. This does, however, mean the bass, which I described in the Game Zero review as merely being adequate, suffers a tad, becoming somewhat weak. In return, though, the mids, where the Game Zero sounded somewhat hollow, are much warmer and clear. The tradeoff is interesting as the Game One feels better for movies and music thanks to its better mids, bringing out dialogue and lyrics wonderfully, but when in comes to gaming that lack of punchy bass hurts in shooters and action games. The overall audio quality, however, remains brilliant and that lack of bone shuddering bass behind explosions doesn’t overly damage the gaming experience. The positional audio is also one of the best examples I’ve heard from a straight stereo headset, and that of course can be boosted by using something like Razer’s software to create a surround sound experience. Sennheiser have long been well-regarded for their ability to craft quality audio devices, and the Game One continues that legacy nicely.
Once again there’ a volume adjustment located on the right earcup, a simple wheel that you spin to crank the sound up or down accordingly. It’s considerably better that the in-line control system so many other companies opt for that leave you fumbling around for the controls so you can mute the audio or quickly turn the sound down during a surprisingly loud moment.
The mic is done in a boom arm style, with black plastic mid-way down allowing for a small amount of adjustment closer to or further away from the mouth as needed. A handy feature means the mic is automatically muted when you push it up past a certain point, and then reactivated when you bring it back down. The audio quality of the mic is pretty solid, replicating my admiteddly bloody awful voice nicely and with minimal background noise.
Below the mic is the cable which comes in at an impressive 6ft in length, ending in a standard 3.5mm jack for audio and a second 3.5mm jack for the mic. Such a length should be more than adequate for the average user. The cable is wrapped in a nice, tight-knit weave which is flexible, doesn’t get caught up in things and is also seems pretty strong. Sadly it’s not a removable cable so you can’t swap sides or replace it if it somehow gets damaged.
The headset comes in two colors: straight black with red highlights or the white design I was sent that you can see adorning this page. Personally while the white design matches my NZXT H440 case it’s just no doing it for me. It’s not that the Game One is bad-looking as such, it’s just….eh. The black version has the nicer aesthetic, but still doesn’t amaze. It neither draws the eye with extravagant design, nor impresses with its simplistic sleekiness. It sits in the middle, and doesn’t really have much to say for itself.
The Game One has the same major flaw as its counterpart the Game Zero, which is to say a high price-tag for relatively little features, a price-tag that puts it on par with other gaming orientated headsets which are, quite honestly, better suited to their advertised task; gaming. Much like the Game Zero it feels like Sennheiser set out to make something geared toward gamers, but ultimately made something for audio lovers. That’s not truly a flaw because they do sound great, but like any type of audio gaming does have specific demands and the Game One doesn’t quite manage to meet them. Does that mean games sound bad with them? Nope. They sound really good, but other gaming orientated headsets not only sound just as good or better at the same price, but also offer more features like surround sound and adjustment which are useful when trying to shoot strangers online. However, this does of course mean that the Game One is a good multimedia choice, so if you want to use them to watch a love of movies and listen to a lot of music then they’re an outstanding choice.
To put it simply if you want a headset purely for gaming the Game Zero is the better choice, its punchier bass and impressive noise cancelling winning out. The problem, of course, is that even in my review of the Game Zero I admitted there’s other gaming orientated headsets on the market that are a wiser choice for the same amount of cold, hard cash. But the Game One is the one to go for if you want a more rounded headset, and in that category it’s one of the best I’ve heard, especially when paired with a decent sound card.
And for the record, just like the G4me Zero, the G4me One is a bloody stupid name.