If you’re anything like me, you’ve purchased a ton of headphones in your life, all of them for a different purpose. You’ve got headphones for music, headphones for gaming, headphones for your phone, headphones you don’t mind if you lose, expensive headphones for those few records that demand crystal clear sound – it’s all too much.
Logitech has tried to ease that burden with their new G433, a headset designed to be used in all of those aforementioned scenarios. Is this the One Headphone To Rule Them All? Or are audiophiles still stuck owning eleven different pairs of cans?
You can pick up the Logitech G433 headset for $99.
Design and comfort
Logitech makes the G433 in several different colors, including red, black, and blue. My review model was red. The colors on the G433 are bright and solid – the red might be a little too devilish for some, but I like the simplistic and colorful, look.
Both the microphone and the headphone cables are detachable on the G433. I love detachable cables – it makes travel and storage easier and it lets you use your own custom cables if the cable is too short or too long. I loved that I was able to take out the microphone for when I took the G433 out on my commute, for example.
However, along with the detachable cables comes the flip side, that there are many different cables to attach and worry about. Since this is a multipurpose headset, Logitech has included a whole bunch of cables. There’s a USB DAC for connecting to your computer and enabling DTS Headphone:X surround sound, a rubber cable with an inline microphone for your phones, a braided cable for connecting to consoles, and a splitter on top of that for connecting both the microphone and headphones to your PC’s sound card. It’s a lot to keep track of, and a lot to store. And I can’t even imagine losing one of these cables and crippling what makes the G433 so great.
If you’re an organized person, however, this shouldn’t be a problem. The G433 also comes with a great color-coordinated carrying case you can use to store your extra parts.
The ear cup coverings on the G433 are removable too. In keeping with the theme of being the only pair of headphones you’ll ever need, Logitech has included both a pair of cloth and microfiber earcups, depending on your preference, and both can be hand-washed if needed. Both the cloth and microfiber earcups are nice and large, and the seal around my ears was tight without feeling oppressive. However, I wish there was more padding on the earcups and the headband. I could feeling the headset press into the side of my head, and after a couple hours of use, I definitely needed to take a break. The microfiber cups felt slightly more breathable and helped mitigate this issue, but your mileage my vary. The earcups also swivel inward to rest nicely around your neck, but the headset itself doesn't fold inward or collapse in any way.
The G433 are circumaural headphones, meaning the earcups rest around your ear rather than sit on top of it. Personally, I find this design to be far more comfortable, and there aren’t a ton of headphones at this price point that are circumaural. For me, this is a big selling point, especially for a pair of headphones vying to be my everyday pair.
Features and performance
The big feature on the G433 is the 7.1 virtual surround sound. On paper, it sounds (pun intended) great. Experiencing a wider and more immersive soundscape at just the fraction of the cost of a “true” 7.1 surround sound setup sounds too good to be true. And in practice, it is. While the DTS Headphone: X surround sound worked as advertised, everything felt a little too echo-y for my tastes. I can’t deny that it was cool in some FPS games, where I could really get a sense of where my opponent's bullets and footsteps were coming from, but in other games I didn’t really feel the difference, and in some it was a clear negative that I chose to disable. This is partially because virtual surround sound can only works directionally with left, right, and center audio, but not with audio sources that’re in front of or behind you. Therefore, it’s kind of a mixed bag as to how good it’s going to sound.
If you’re a FPS gamer this feature is worth it, but if you never touch shooters, you probably won’t need it. Console gamers should also note that virtual surround sound only works on PC, as you need the USB sound card to get it working.
Logitech’s software is both easy to use and comprehensive. After selecting which color headphones you have, you get a kind of cool-looking picture of your headphones, and can start tweaking your audio. You can adjust the EQ, either manually or with several included presets. I didn’t notice much of a difference between the presets, and preferred to keep the EQ flat. Still, it’s a nice option to have. There’s also the previously-mentioned surround sound, and you can adjust the “room profile” that in practice just felt like I was choosing between slightly different versions of reverb. All your settings can be saved to different user profiles, which is handy if you’re switching between listening to music and playing games.
Both the headset microphone and the mobile microphone are top notch. The headset microphone had great clarity and a good amount input gain. The mobile microphone worked well enough, but I wish there was some sort of volume control. It’s a frustrating omission, as most other headphones designed for phones feature a volume knob of some sort.
So how do these headphones sound? They're good, but not a replacement for your audiophile headphones. I was impressed with the low end, which had clarity and punch without feeling overpowering. The mids were a little thin and flat on some songs for my tastes, however. For games the G433 sounded great, leaning me to recommend the G433 more for gamers looking to listen to some music on the side than to someone who games and enjoys music equally. I think what you gain in having a pair of headphones meant for traveling, playing games, and listening to music, you lose in overall sound quality.
While the G433 is a good enough headset to use in a variety of settings, it’s not that perfect pair that can replace everythign else. But what headset is? For those who don’t mind the trade off and just want a stylish jack of all trades headphone, the Logitech G433 won’t do you wrong.