Sennheiser GAME ONE Review
Sennheiser is a company that knows a thing or two about designing audio products. They've been around since the middle of the 20th century and their products have been used to create some of the most legendary records in existence. Sennheiser might not be a major player in the gaming world (yet?) but their gaming headsets do see some use in the pro gaming scene.
One of their newest efforts, the GSP 550 received a very favorable review from our resident reviewer and since their GAME line of headsets is still one of the more popular lines out there we thought we'd send one of those over to our reviewer as well. Let's see if this one's worth it!
Sennheiser GAME ONE - First Impressions
The GAME ONE is a wired lightweight professional looking headset that won't turn too many heads (especially not if you're going for the black version) but why should it, right? You can't even see a headset when you're using it properly.
That's not to say that the GAME ONE is ugly though. It's finished in this glossy piano white coat with little chrome red accents throughout and I have to say that I like the way it looks, even though I'd pick the black color if I personally had to choose.
The GAME ONE comes with a detachable cable and a (obviously) a microphone.
When I first unboxed this headset I did a little double take because I thought I had dropped something, but that wasn't the case. Indeed, the only things you'll find inside the box are the headset itself and the connection cables (there's your regular audio/mic jack for the PC and there's also a 3.5mm combo jack for consoles, mobile, and so on) but other than that it's pretty barren in there.
That's fine by me; no one ever reads manuals anyway (and it's not like you need one for a 'simple' headset) but it's still a little amusing to see a product with no marketing materials or what have you inside the box at all.
Build and comfort
This, to me, is one of the areas where the GAME ONE really stands out. It's a very light and flexible headset and this might mean that some people mistake it for being cheaply made but that's not the case.
Some gaming headsets are so bulky and heavy that they make you feel like one of those guys waving around two batons on top of an air craft carrier and while that might make said headsets feel more premium and sturdy it can make them quite uncomfortable for longer gaming sessions. That's not the case with the GAME ONE. It's a nimble, flexible, and lightweight piece of kit, and that combined with the comfy velours ear pads and cushioned headband makes for a headset that you can wear for days without getting the feeling like you want to take it off for a while.
I've been using this headset in a variety of scenarios (including LAN gaming) for a couple of weeks now and still there's no creaking or breakage. Now I obviously don't know how well it'll hold up after years of (ab)use but I can say with quite some confidence that it's a really well built headset.
I'm the proud owner of an almost comically large head, but even for me the GAME ONE managed to achieve a great seal around my ears without annoying amounts of pressure. Thanks to the lightness of the design and the super soft cushioning on the headband I never got that 'headband pressure' feeling that you can get after a couple of hours of using a headset. All in all this is definitely one of the most comfortable gaming headsets on the market right now.
Sound and mic
The GAME ONE features an open-back design. That basically means that there are openings in the ear cups to let the sound that comes out of the drivers flow out. This results in a wider sound stage (because of the fact that the sound isn't 'trapped' in the room between the drivers and your ears) which creates a more realistic sound experience, but this also means that outside noise has an easier way of getting in, though more on that later.
The sound that the GAME ONE produces is absolutely gorgeous. I do have to note that it's a little light on the bass, at least when compared to some other gaming headsets out there, so if you're out for that all-encompassing 'oomph' sound this isn't gonna be the headset for you, but for everything else the GAME ONE is a top tier performer.
Pinpointing exactly where that enemy is cocking his grenade becomes almost as easy as it would be in real life (though I do hope you never end up in that situation) thanks to the clear mids and highs that this headset produces, and the clarity and overall quality of the sound definitely ranks among the best of the best when it comes to gaming headsets. The bass, as I said, lacks that 'oomph' at the super low end, but you don't really need that for competitive gaming anyway and it's not like the bass is non-existent either.
Thanks to the amazing sound it's also a blast to use this headset for watching Netflix or listening to music, which is an area where some other gaming headsets do tend to suffer.
The mic, then, is advertised as being in a class of its own and I have to agree. It does an excellent job at filtering out any annoying background noise and it transmits voices with a clarity and natural full tone that's not often found on regular headset microphones.
Overall, the GAME ONE simply excels in the audio department. If you're often gaming in a high noise environment you may want to think twice about getting this headset, as the open-back design does mean that noise isolation is almost non-existent (that's not a design flaw or anything, it's just something that cannot be avoided with open-back designs) but that same design does deliver an absolutely phenomenal audio experience so we can't fault Sennheiser for this design choice.
Features and ease of use
This is probably going to be one of the shortest review sections I'm ever going to write. When it comes to features on the GAME ONE you get two: you can adjust the overall volume via a volume dial on the right ear cup and you can mute the mic by lifting it in the upright position. That's it.
That's not a bad thing though; this headset does exactly what it has to do without any feature bloat, but if you're after a headset with a lot of controllable functions (or software where you can tune the EQ, for example) this is ain't it.
The functions that are there are easy to use. The volume wheel is convenient to use and there's a little tactile click when the mic passes the mute threshold so that you know that you've gone past it as well. A tiny LED at the end of the mic to indicate its status would've probably been a good addition, and the volume wheel could be a bit tighter and/or have some tactile steps to it but I really am nitpicking when I'm saying that.
Before concluding this brief section I do want to give a quick shout-out to the detachable cable. It's got a long and firm plastic base at the end of it that goes pretty far into the headset so that you have a secure connection and won't ever have any issues with accidentally disconnecting it or anything like that. It's a small, but useful design idea.
The GAME ONE might not be Sennheiser's latest and newest effort, but this headset (along with the closed-back GAME ZERO) still sees decent use in the pro scene, and for good reason. This product might be a little bit older by now but I can say with confidence that the GAME ONE is still one of the finest gaming headsets out there at the moment.
It lacks in the feature department, true, but I never really missed anything when I was testing this headset so I can't say that the GAME ONE is missing some essential features. Gamers who want a ton of customization will have to look elsewhere, as there's also no accompanying software or anything like that, and if you're often gaming in a noisy environment this isn't gonna be your best bet either thanks to the open-back design.
If you can live with those things you really can't go wrong here though, as the GAME ONE delivers in spades when it comes to the most important aspects of a gaming headset, namely comfort, sound, and mic quality. It's top class in all three categories and as such it's absolutely deserving of our Staff's Choice award.