When a gaming headset’s pricetag climbs into the triple digits, it needs to be able to do more, and do it well. More platforms, more inputs, more options, and a better build. With the G933 Artemis Spectrum Gaming Headset’s $199 price, Logitech is shooting for some of the bigger kids on the playground. It works with just about every modern platform, it has all kinds of customization, specialized software, and other premium features.
It’s up against some stiff competition from vendors like Turtle Beach, Corsair, and Astro Gaming. How does it stack up?
There’s a lot to love with the G933s. Many of its best features lie in how open it is, meaning that if you like the headset, it should last you a long time.
While the headset is wireless like so many others, one thing that sets it apart lies in the design of the earpieces. The covers that clip onto the outside of the headset remove easily thanks to the strong magnets that hold them on. I never had problems with them popping off, but when I wanted to take them off, it was extremely simple to do so. Under those covers, you’ll find the replaceable battery in one ear and a spot for the headset’s USB dongle in another.
That replaceable battery is a rare but massively appreciated touch. Not only does that mean you could theoretically replace the battery if you wore it out after years of daily use and recharges, you could even keep a second one on-hand if you’re planning a marathon gaming session.
The ability to hide the USB dongle, too, is appreciated, as it helps make the headset more portable without it feeling bulkier.
Usually features like these make a headset feel big on your head, but they compared well with the myriad headsets I’ve seen and worn this year.
The G933s, while wireless, don’t have to be wireless, and that means they can plug into just about anything. On the left ear, there’s a standard audio jack, and accompanying cord, that will allow you to plug it into anything that has an audio jack.
When using it this way, the headset can be turned off and you can use the headset as a set of passive headphones. The cable the headset comes with is of the mobile headset variety, meaning they can work as a hands-free set with any mobile phone on the market. I wouldn’t exactly pop these on for having a chat while I’m out walking, but having them hooked up while I’m gaming means that I can take a call without pausing. I’d also think that that shouldn’t affect the wireless battery life, either, if you use that feature while using them for gaming as well.
That wire also works with the newer Xbox One controller’s audio jack or older ones with an adapter.
There’s a third audio option, as well. On the USB dongle that the device users to interface with your PC, there’s a 3.5mm audio jack. Included in the box is a RCA stereo-to-headphone adapter that can plug into this. Using this cord or, really, any audio cable ending in a headphone jack, you can pump stereo audio from just about any device you can think of through the headset over the wireless signal.
The headset works with PCs as well as both the current and previous generation of consoles, though there are some important caveats to that.
While some other platform-specific headsets or higher end gear do things like interface directly with the console or use an optical audio jack, the G933s have a variety of ways they can connect.
Using that mobile cable, as mentioned before, you can connect to the Xbox One or the PlayStation 4 controller in passive mode. If you plug the USB dongle into the PlayStation 4, you can also use them wirelessly, though in this case and the others above, the headset will be in stereo mode, meaning two audio channels instead of 7.1. That means it won’t stack up against something like the more expensive Astro A50s that not only work with those platforms but do so with the option for surround sound thanks to the optical audio connection available through the mixamp.
Even without that option, though, the availability of these features puts the headset at parity with a whole bunch of different headsets with a price tag lower than some of the more premium competition. You could easily spend $300 or $400 to get a headset for each console and PC, while this one works for five different platforms.
Where the G933s surprised me was in the elements that disappointed me as I experimented with them. While setting them up and also reading the official forums for the headset, there are a few elements that have been confusing to consumers – myself included. Some of these are out of Logitech’s control, and some not.
To many experienced headset users, it looks like the headset doesn’t support the 7.1 surround sound it advertises on the box when you plug it into your PC.
Microsoft has forced a change in the way audio processing is handled in Windows and that means Logitech had to make a change to adjust. The new audio processing method results in a better experience overall with less crashes, but it’s caused some confusion in use.
The headset requires, as with so many other headsets, that you’ll install their configuration software. In this configuration software, you can toggle the surround sound on and off. It’s easy to see whether it’s on or not, and it’s just as easy to toggle.
When you look at the Windows menus that show how it’s setup, though, it will say that it’s a stereo headset, even when it’s working as a surround sound set. Previous headsets mirrored these settings so they showed identically in both places, but that seems to no longer be possible. To many, it seems like the headset isn’t functioning correctly. This is something that’s out of Logitech’s control for the most part, but it still harms the user experience.
One thing they can control but haven’t yet addressed either with a patch or with a statement to consumers is that the headset turns off after just five minutes of idle. It’s nice to have it turn off to save battery, but five minutes ends up feeling like the blink of an eye, and I found the headset turning off quite often. What’s weird is that the headset has an on-off button that you switch into on mode or off mode, rather than a toggle.
There’s no adjustment for this in the settings, and hacks that worked with previous versions of the headset (The G930) no longer appear to work. The headset was designed, according to Logitech, with lots of input from gamers, but this was somehow overlooked. Once it goes idle, it can take a really long time to boot up, as well. The short idle time is frustrating, but I didn’t personally find it to be a deal breaker.
I also have to mention that I had a bit of difficulty charging the headset through the front jacks on my PC when I started testing them. I switched to a new PC case part way through, though, and the problem went away, meaning this was an issue with my setup more than with the headphones.
With all this stuff specific to the headset, it can easy to overlook the basics. How does it sound? How is the mic?
These are some of the more comfortable headphones I’ve ever worn for gaming. They’re light, and the mesh material used on the cushioning kept air moving. The seal is still good, though, so audio is clear and the sound setup you select in the software feels accurate, but you can’t see steam coming out of the cups when you pull them off your head like with some headsets. They’re mostly plastic, but use metal in the right places. The band that goes over the head has a soft undercushion, but the inner structure is sturdy, notched metal to ensure that they’re easy to adjust and tough to break.
The boom mic folds up against the headset and becomes all but invisible, meaning they don’t look as much like a gaming headset as many other models. If you wore these in public, you wouldn’t feel any goofier than wearing any other beefy pair of headphones. Once you pop the mic out and bring it out for use, it folds out easily and has a flexible arm that lets you line it up with your mouth. It could be a bit longer, but that didn’t affect my experience.
The mic quality is solid and comparable to other units – I didn’t get complaints from friends while gaming or talking on Skype. A nice, easily overlooked feature, is that the mic has a light on it that will turn on when you mute your voice, making it easy to tell at a glance whether anyone can hear you. It’s subtle and unobtrusive but highly functional.
Logitech’s software used to manage the headset works fine. I’d like to see a better visualization for the battery in future versions, but it works fine as it is. It’s easy to program the custom lighting and the customizable buttons on the back of the headset, which can do anything from modify which equalizer you’re using in active mode to pasting a keyboard macro or copying and pasting. I’m not sure why you’d copy and paste with a button on your headset, but you totally can, and I won’t judge you for it for even a second.
The 12 hour battery life advertised on the box is pretty accurate if you keep those custom lights off – they look cool, but according to even Logitech’s product page they can ding the headset’s battery life by as much as 30 percent.
When using them as passive headphones, I still enjoyed the experience with my Audio Technica ATH-M50x headphones and Shure SE215 earbuds more – this headset isn’t going to replace a good pair of dedicated cans – but they sound very good all the same, and the surround sound felt great in games. The customizable EQs available in active mode mean that you can get the most out of any game if you’re willing to take the time to mess with the settings, without sacrificing how they sound with music or movies.
If you game on just one platform – PC, PlayStation or Xbox – then there might be a better headset out there for you. These are solid on all fronts, but something built specifically for the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One may offer something like total wirelessness (such as some of the Turtle Beach Elite line). If you game on multiple platforms and want a headset that’s going to serve you just about everywhere – gaming, music, chat across PC or on mobile – these are tough to beat. Astro’s A50s are nearly as universal, but without the additional input and configuration options, and for a much higher price. While the headset is designed for and provides the best experience on PC, it works just about anywhere you can hope for, and provides a solid, even experience across every platform. Features like a replaceable battery, multiple inputs, passive listening and tons of customization give the headset a level of flexibility simply not seen with any other gaming headset.