Snakebyte is responsible for a wide range of solid gaming accessories, including the excellent Twin:Charge X battery dock for Xbox, and the surprisingly decent budget 3.5mm headset, the Head:Set Pro. Its latest effort is a USB PC headset complete with Dolby 7.1 surround, dubbed the Head:Set Pro. Is it "pro" enough for your money, though? Let's take a look (and listen).
Budget build meets big sound
A bit disappointing
$47The Snakebyte Head:Set Pro has great audio quality, but that's totally undermined by some weak design. Its durability might make it a good option for youngsters, however.
What you'll love about the Snakebyte Head:Set Pro
The Snakebyte Head:Set Pro truly delivers in the sound department, with large 50mm drivers that deliver the boom. For a sub-$50 headset it's rare to expect this kind of sound quality, with thick, meaty bass delivery, with surprising distinction across the mid-range and highs. The inclusion of virtual 7.1 adds extra dimensions to the soundscape, as you'd expect, although there's no information online about the exact implementation Snakebyte used.
|Frequency response||20 Hz - 20KHz|
|Connectivity||Windows PC, USB 2.0|
|Features||In-line controls, 7.1 surround,|
LED mic mute light
The sound on the Snakebyte Head:Set Pro is by far its most impressive aspect. After a while it was easy to forget some of the more disappointing aspects of the headset (more on that in a moment) due to the great sound quality. Not only is it great for games, separating out tactical highs like enemy movements, but the disctintion across the audio range makes music sound truly awesome. I've discovered new dimensions in music I know very well, due in part to its powerful bass boost.
In addition to great audio quality, the Head:Set Pro has a really good microphone, as you can hear in the audio sample above. You could do far worse with headset mics hundreds of dollars more expensive than this one. Sadly it's not detachable, but there are a multitude of reasons you wouldn't want to take this headset outside — despite the fact that it's very good at isolating sound. You can be sure that, while wearing this, you won't be disturbing those around you unless you crank up the volume to uncomfortable levels.
What you'll dislike about the Snakebyte Head:Set Pro
Sadly, though, the great tech baked on the inside of this headset is undermined heavily by the construction on the outside. And there are multiple things that make this headset far too annoying to use for long periods of time, at least for me personally.
While the general construction of the Head:Set Pro feels robust, with a flexible cable-style upper headband and thick, shock-absorbant plastics on the cups, other aspects simply disappoint. The floating self-adjusting headband designed to sit on your head doesn't lend itself well to its intended purpose. Testing on a few head sizes, the headset just doesn't sit well. I'm not sure if it's because the headband isn't taut enough, but simple fast head movements are enough to shake it out of place. Compared to other headsets I've used, like the Turtle Beach Elite Atlas and the Astro A40, the Snakebyte Head:Set Pro simply didn't sit well, despite being relatively comfortable.
The headset has a couple of LED lights on the earcups, which just seem like a waste of electricity. The one LED that might make sense is the microphone light that tells you when your mic is hot. The problem is, this light is far too bright and becomes more of a distraction than a help. Other headsets that popularized this feature tend to use softer lights to offset any potential distraction.
Finally, the cabling just isn't that great. The module for the inline controls and 7.1 processing is absolutely huge, which eliminates the point of inline controls. The cable is also inflexible and hard to position, but at least that makes it tangle-resistant.
Overall, it feels as though this headset was designed by people who don't actually wear headsets, and it betrays the quality found in some of Snakebyte's other products.
Should you buy the Snakebyte Head:Set Pro?
My expectations are generally not super high for a sub-$50 headset, but considering you can grab a AAA game for the same amount, it's not exactly what I'd call cheap. The audio more than delivers on that price, with deep bass and crisp highs and minimal distortion even at the highest volumes, but the way the headset itself is designed simply makes it unpleasant to wear versus slightly more expensive alternatives.
- Solid sound quality.
- Onboard 7.1 virtual surround.
- Feels very durable.
- Good mic quality.
- Headband doesn't sit well.
- Silly design.
- Large in-line controls.
- No mic monitoring.
- Bass boost vibrates headset.
The only way I'd consider recommending this headset is to pick it up for a younger relative. They might find the (useless) LED flashing speaker lights fun, and the industrial-levels of durability should make it last pretty long, plus, they will undoubtedly get a tactical advantage owing to the 7.1 experience with added directional awareness, and the audio quality is simply nice.
Don't get bitten
Great sound meets disappointing design and quality
The Snakebyte Head:Set Pro delivers above its price range when it comes to sound quality, but the weak design undermines the good stuff.
Jez Corden a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!