Thermaltake isn't the first brand that springs to mind when you're shopping for a gaming headset, but the manufacturer best known for PC building hardware has a range of accessories.
The Shock is well priced, doesn't hide behind a ridiculous design or a promise of flashy features, it's just a gaming headset for people who like to play games. That's it.
But is it any good?
$39.00 (opens in new tab)Bottom line: Decent headset let down by the quiet microphone and flat surround sound.
- Folds up so great to travel with.
- Solid build quality.
- Lightweight and comfortable.
- Really long cable that works with any PC setup.
- Microphone doesn't detach.
- Microphone sounds OK, but is way too quiet out of the box.
- Sound is a little hollow and distant feeling at times.
What you'll like about the Thermaltake E-Sports Shock
There's nothing flashy about the Shock, but that's also one of its strengths. Thermaltake generally doesn't skimp on the core of a product in chasing something flashy and this headset is a prime example.
It is available in a variety of colors, but even then, you're only getting accents, so you can add a little flair without going over the top. The design is fairly understated, with a mixture of matte and glossy plastic mixing with fabric around the earcups and on the inside of the headband.
At first glance, the Shock looks quite small, but it's deceiving as it's most definitely an over-ear headset. The fit isn't even overly snug, so it doesn't press tightly against the side of your head. And as it's so light, it rests comfortably on your head and you can easily wear it for hours without fatigue.
That extends to going with fabric over leather-effect material where it sits against your skin. What you lose a little in sound isolation you make up in not getting ridiculously sweaty during a long play session in the summer heat.
The hardware as a whole is solid and easy to like. The Shock also folds up for easy packing into your gear bag for some on the road gaming. The cable is also ridiculously long, which is fine because Thermaltake isn't envisioning you wearing this as a pair of regular headphones.
The cable end splits into microphone and headphone jacks, as is common for PC gaming. It does mean you can't use it on a console though without an adapter (opens in new tab).
There's also an inline remote which is the perfect length away from the headphones. When you're gaming it'll basically sit on your lap so you've always got easy access to volume controls and microphone muting.
What you'll dislike about the Thermaltake E-Sports Shock
There are a couple of pain points surrounding the microphone. The first is that it doesn't detach, which isn't the end of the world for some, but if you don't want to use it it's still there at the side of your head. And it sticks out when you fold it up to pack away for travel. When it comes to headsets, I'll always take a detachable one first.
The other issue is with the microphone's volume. Sound quality is actually very good for a fairly affordable headset, but out of the box it's just too quiet. Simply hooking it up to my gaming PC, my sultry tones were almost inaudible without some form of software boost to amplify it.
In my case, running it through the free Voicemeeter Banana program that I highly recommend is a fairly easy way of adding some amplification, but if you just plug it in and go your buddies might not be able to hear you properly. And that's disappointing.
The earpiece sound quality also needs a mention. There are good parts and bad parts. Generally speaking, there's plenty of detail and a pleasant sound, but Thermaltake has gone for a virtual stereo surround sound setup that honestly, just doesn't work that well.
Playing PUBG as a test, directional audio feels on point, but when it comes to the actual sound of shots, vehicles and grenade explosions, the sound feels hollow and flat.
Should you buy the Thermaltake E-Sports Shock?
If you're hunting for a good, very affordable gaming headset there are plenty out there to choose from. If you're a console player, look elsewhere, because the Shock isn't really targeted at you and you shouldn't have to go find another cable.
But, if you can snag one of these cheap, it's definitely worth a go. The sound leaves a little to be desired if you're hunting true surround sound and the microphone could be better, but it's solid, well made and at times a steal. I got one of these for £8 in the UK on Amazon Prime Day and at even the regular local asking price it's a decent shout.
Keep an eye out for a warehouse deal or a refurbished unit and you could get some real value.
See at Amazon (opens in new tab)
Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.
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