Hello, and it’s time for some more hardware reviews here at Iamthink.com! You may have caught our PAX East coverage of SteelSeries here and heard us talk about their new Siberia 350’s. Well, due to their popularity we couldn’t get a hold of one of those. However we were able to secure their little brother, the Siberia 200. This is a mid-entry level gaming headset that comes in at $79.99 MSRP at the time of this review (May 2016).
So what are you getting for your money? A pretty good package actually. The headset itself comes with a retractable mic, inline mute slider, and a nice long cord ending in two 3.5mm jacks, one for the headphones and one for the microphone. In addition it also comes with a small adapter, turning those 2 jacks into one 3 pole 3.5mm jack. And the nice thing is, it isn’t one of those cheap, one piece plastic adapters. It’s a nice, flexible cord. It’s a small touch, but a welcome one to be sure.
Starting off with first impressions, the headset has a nice clean look to it. Not boring, but not flashy either. I happened to get the white model, which stands out nicely, especially with the black headband and earcups providing a nice contrast. When retracted, these can easily pass for regular headphones, making them useful in more situations than your average headset. I’d feel a lot less weird wearing these around than I would one without a retractable or removable mic.
As far as the physical feel and fit of the headset, this is we first start to have a few problems. There’s a few little things such as I would much prefer to be able to pull out the microphone with one hand, but in my attempts to do that, I would pull the earcup off my ear before I would get the microphone extended. This may be something that changes with time, but after about a week of use I still had to use one hand to hold the headphones on, and one to pull out the mic. To be clear, it is by no means difficult to do, it’s just not a one handed affair. Also, due to the nature of the suspended headband, when shifting the headset around on my head I needed to lift it up off my head a bit and place it back down rather than just rotate because that band would stay put due to my hair and it just felt weird. This one is probably worth the trouble for the comfort the band provides, however if you frequently adjust your headset during play you may find this to be more of an issue.
Once the headset was on, I noticed a few other things as well. There is almost no pressure from the top band, which is nice, but it seemed to have much more clamping pressure than I was used to. It didn’t start off too bad, but in my case it did end up causing discomfort after about an hour or two of gaming. In an attempt to remedy this, I left them in a position slightly stretching them out overnight. This seemed to help, giving me 3-4 hours before I had to take a break, but was still far from ideal.
The rest of the fit was a pleasant surprise however. Being a circular design, I was concerned that they may end up as “on-ear” headphones rather than “over-ear” but that was not the case. Although I do have to slide my ears in, they do fit nice and snug fully in the ear cups. The protein-leather earcups are nice and soft, and seal very well around the ear. This helps with sound as well as comfort, since these do have what I can only describe as a semi-open back design, so you’re still able to hear the world around you. This isn’t inherently good or bad, and there’s no problems with it here, but it is important to be aware of while shopping around.
So we should probably get to the sound at some point huh? Well, simply put, it’s great. Everything comes through clear, with the background noise allowed through due to the semi-open nature of the headphones being very distinctly background noise, and never overpowering what’s actually playing on the headset. Stereo works just fine as well, making it easy and clear when things are happening on your left and right. I’m no audiophile, and chances are if you’re here reading this you aren’t either, so I won’t bore you with all the technical aspects. I can just tell you that you that you’ll feel like you’re getting your money’s worth with the sound quality from these.
The microphone is much the same way. It performs quite well, clear voice production, without much, if any, static or background noise. It compares very well with other headset microphones, and is only definitively beat out by stand-alone options.
So overall, is the Siberia 200 worth it? It’s tough to say. As far as build quality, features and sound from both the headphones and the microphone, certainly! It performs at or above this price range in all of those metrics. For me the killer was comfort. The clamping pressure was just too tight for my head. Your head almost certainly WILL vary though, and if you are able to try on these, and don’t notice any pressure, go for it! These won’t be my daily drivers, but if they fit your head, I can certainly see you making them yours.
Want more info on the Siberia 200? Take a look at the official site here!