The latest version of Sennheiser's premium gaming headset brings unparalleled comfort, but not without some considerable drawbacks.
Headsets are becoming an increasingly more vital component of every gamer's setup – not only offering an immersive experience but also providing a competitive edge in multiplayer titles. With this increased appeal, more audio hardware manufacturers are starting to offer a range of headsets tailored to gamers. One of the more recent additions to this lineup is the reworked Game Zero headset from Sennheiser; a well-established veteran in the audio space.
Among Sennheiser's gaming offerings sit two premium headsets: the Game One and Game Zero. Both of these are marketed as higher-end devices, touting their comfort and general immersive capabilities. We've managed to spend a few weeks with the better of these headsets, the Game Zero, to see how it fairs with the ever-growing competition.
The Sennheiser Game Zero is presented as a luxury piece of hardware, stored inside a protective fabric carrying case from the outset. This case houses the headset itself, alongside the two supplied cables.
At first glance, each of the included components exhibits high quality, from the leatherette padding, strong hinges, and braided cabling. Sennheiser has gone out of its way to display the Game Zero in a presentable fashion, focusing on an overall sleek presentation which stands out from the crowd.
Sennheiser Game Zero specifications
- Compatible with Xbox One, PC and PS4
- 1.2m 3.5mm cable / 3m 3.5mm Y splitter cable
- 2.1 Stereo
- 15–28,000 Hz frequency response
- Adjustable microphone
- Premium hard fabric carrying case
- Retails for $279.95
Digging deeper into the headset's design, the Game Zero's greatest strengths lie with its general comfort. The core frame of the headset is made from a strong but flexible plastic, making for a lightweight but sturdy design. Although this results in cheaper feel in-hand, the structure makes for a truly ergonomic device which comfortably molds itself around the player. This design choice also helps the headset withstand bumps and drops you might expect from daily use.
My only gripe with the Game Zero's design is the reliance on light plastic on the outer casing, which leaves a cheaper feel than most headsets at this price point. Our review unit had a glossy white finish that diverged from the premium Sennheiser feel. A matte black finish is also available, which offers a more professional, first-class style.
A truly ergonomic device which comfortably molds itself around the player
The Game Zero is also laced with several useful but uncommon features that, while not outstanding standalone, help add extra value to the device as a whole. An example of this is an inbuilt volume dial on the right ear of the headset, which controls the headset's master volume. This is extremely convenient for changing volume during a multiplayer session or to avoid the sluggish Xbox One interface. The headset also comes with an auto-muting microphone, which automatically deactivates when rotated away from the face.
As previously outlined, the accompanying components that ship alongside the Game Zero are also of high quality, which speaks for Sennheiser's commitment to upholding presentation. All of the headset's external wiring is fully braided, adding an additional layer of protection to the 3.5mm and 3.5mm Y cables included with the headset. As replacements for these cables aren't easily available due to their proprietary 2.5mm locking mechanism, it's great to see Sennheiser protecting the cables that ship alongside the device.
The headset also ships in a fabric hard shell carrying case, which is great for taking the headphones on the go. With a simple hinge on either ear cup to shrink them into a more reduced size, the Game Zero can be compacted into a more discrete case.
The Game Zero isn't hugely consistent, often resulting in a noticeable lack of clarity in certain scenarios
Although Sennheiser has excelled with its approach to the Game Zero's design, the same level of quality isn't found under the hood. I found the performance of the headset to be hugely varied – often outperformed by other headsets at a similar price point (or even cheaper). Although a huge effort has invested into the style of the Game Zero, a majority of its successes are diminished by its shortcomings in performance.
I'll admit that I'm no audiophile and come at the Game Zero headset from the perspective of a passionate gamer. As someone who is frequently drawn towards competitive online shooters, high-quality headphones are a must-have accessory for that additional edge in multiplayer. During my time with the Sennheiser Game Zero headset, I spent time playing a range of titles with different audio styles. These ranged from competitive shooters such as Battlefield 1 and Overwatch to other top releases of the year including Forza Horizon 3.
During my play sessions, I found the performance of the Game Zero wasn't consistent; there was often a noticeable lack of clarity in certain scenarios. Although scenes with prominent bass sounded rich and accurate, those with vocals and ambient noises usually sounded hollow and weak. This left lower tones feeling much less defined, leading to a generally tinny output from the headset. Although the Game Zero headset performed well in some environments, the required consistency just isn't present in today's model. Despite these issues, the headset's microphone records satisfactorily, with the added bonus of efficient noise cancellation.
Retailing for $279.95 from Sennheiser, the performance offered by the Game Zero headset just doesn't live up to the high price tag. Sennheiser's attempt to create a premium headset hasn't gone unnoticed, but with such an ever-growing competition, higher-performing headphones are available at this price point and even lower.
After testing the headset's capabilities on both Xbox One and PC, the Sennheiser Game Zero headset has emerged with some great features that stand out against today's lineup of premium headsets. However, while Sennheiser has gone the extra mile to present the Game Zero has a premium headset, several unfortunate shortcomings hold back its potential. Even with attractive hardware and unrivaled ergonomic design, the Game Zero's internals don't stack up to the expectations set by the high price tag.
- Comfortable, light design unmatched by similar headsets
- Several small touches which feel truly premium
- Great microphone
- Sound quality overshadows its successes
- Performance issues struggle to justify high price tag
This review was conducted using a review unit provided by Sennheiser