It's tough to stand out in the world of gaming peripherals these days, and headsets are no different from keyboards or mice in that way. There are a million headsets, each with a slightly different set of features from the others on the market. Thes best way to stand out right now, though, might be pretty straightforward: make something that looks good.
That's the idea behind the Logitech G433 headset, a set of cans designed to work both in-game and out, at home and on the street. Logitech breaks away from matte black and tries to bring some style to the table with this headset. But there's more to hardware than looks. It has to sound good. It has to be sturdy. It has to work well.
Can the G433 stand up enough to get a chance to stand out? Let's dive in and find out.
You can be a gamer without being a Gamer
Logitech sent me a pair of the red G433s. They also come in blue, black, and blue camo, though I think the red is the most visually interesting of those options.
Instead of going with a plastic look, the G433s are covered in a mesh fabric that gives them a look closer to that of something like the JBL E55bt headphones I looked at this spring. The default ear cups are made of the same mesh material. It looks good, but some people are finding it rough to the touch. I didn't mind it. There's a second pair of earcups with a microfiber texture – I'll get into just how many bits and pieces this headset has in a moment – and they feel much better to the touch. They're a huge pain to swap, though, so don't expect to do this more than once or twice in the lifetime of these things.
Yeah, these are good-looking headphones, and I've worn them in public a few times. Despite the slightly-conspicuous hole left by unplugged microphone, I don't feel silly wearing them the same way I would just about any other gaming headset.
The only question I really have about the cloth material covering the headphones is how it'll hold up over time. Plastic doesn't absorb grime, making it a good fit for something handled as much as a headset will be during its lifetime. That's tough to simulate in a short time, though, so it's more of a warning than anything.
Light and sturdy, but at a cost
While I do have some concerns about the fabric used to make the G433s, the headset itself feels sturdy and light. They can be twisted around and stretched with enough flexibility that I feel like they'd only break if I was actually trying to break them.
This ultra-light construction, though, has the side effect of not offering a very tight fit. Alone in my home, that wasn't too much of a problem. Wearing them at a busy cafe, though, quickly revealed that they aren't up to the task of disconnecting me from the world the way I expect headphones to. When a particularly noisy group ended up seated near me, I quickly switched to my Shure SE215 earbuds to properly isolate myself. This is a consistent problem with headphones that are designed with looks and lightness in mind, rather than sound, and the G433s are no different.
Fully modular headphones
The other thing that sets the G433s apart from other headsets, both in Logitech's line and in general, is that they're pretty modular, similar to something like the fan-favorite Audio Technica ATH-M50x headphones. Like those, the G433s come with a bag full of parts.
I mentioned the extra set of ear cups before, but the set also includes two cords – one for use as a pair of headphones and mobile headset, and one for use as a gaming headset – a detachable mic, a splitter that breaks the cable out into mic and audio inputs, and a USB digital-audio converter.
On the one hand, that's pretty cool. This headset can be used as headphones, as a mobile phone headset, as a USB PC-gaming headset, or an analog gaming headset for console or PC. That's a good set of options. On the other, it's a lot of stuff to keep track of, and a bunch of pieces to lose. The bag, made from the same mesh-textured material covering the headphones, alleviates that, but it's still something to keep in mind if you're the kind of person who chronically forgets and loses stuff.
Sounds like a headset
While the G433s stand out in looks and modularity, they get lost in the crowd when it comes to sound.
I checked the headphones out in a variety of settings. I used them as an Xbox headset for both gaming and movies, both using the Xbox's Sonic tech and a trial of Dolby Atmos for Headphones, which costs $15 for some reason. I also used them as a pair of headphones with my Galaxy S6, and as USB and analog headset with my Windows 10 PC.
In all cases, the audio sounds fine. It's not great. I prefer my higher-end Logitech headsets and dedicated headphones over the G433s. The sound isn't quite as rich and satisfying. I suspect this is partly due to the poor seal the headphones offer, resulting from the material and the build, which focus on lightness and comfort, rather than sound.
If you plug them in with that USB dongle and install the latest version of Logitech's gaming software, The headphones offer 7.1 Surround sound through Dolby's Headphone:X technology. You can set up audio balance presets and toggle that surround sound on and off. The surround sound works well, but is once again neither the best nor worst sound you'll get out of a pair of headphones.
Mic quality, too, is acceptable. It's not best-in-class, but it gets the job done.
At $99.99, the G433s are sitting in a pretty specific place. They're not high end, and they're not low end. Logitech is offering the G433s up as a stylish solution for those who need one set of cans for every situation. Not everyone can afford a set of headphones for music and one for gaming. For that audience, the G433s are worth a look. They buck the trend of gamer-styled hardware and will blend in nicely on a bus or in a cafe. Plug in the microphone and that USB dongle, and you're ready to jump into League of Legends. The headset is a compromise of flexibility, quality, and price, but it's not a bad one at all.