This large but surprisingly comfortable headset provides excellent audio quality and fairly convincing surround sound, but its 5.1 predecessor is cheaper.
The latest version of Plantronics’ Gamecom 777 headset comes with a 7.1 Dolby Surround Sound dongle. This USB audio device hat uses Dolby Headphone technology to output virtual surround sound through the stereo headset. The dongle can also be unplugged to reveal 3.5mm headphone connectors for use with any audio device.
A switch to swap between virtual surround sound and normal output is on the dongle. This isn’t too handy if you have it connected to the back of your PC, though, as the dongle’s USB lead is very short, so you’ll have to reach around to turn it on or off. The headset itself has a reassuringly thick 2m cable and an in-line volume control and microphone mute switch.
We expected the chunky headphones to be uncomfortable for long gaming sessions. At first, they pressed uncomfortably against the jaw, but loosened up after the first couple of hours’ use. They also proved to be surprisingly light and we didn’t get a sore neck even after a long late night session.
We weren’t particularly impressed by the 5.1 upscaling of standard stereo audio soundtracks in games – sound seemed to come from all around us, but its directionality was poor, making it hard to spot where it was supposed to be coming from. However, true surround sound games and movies sounded remarkably good ; it’s not a patch on a set of headphones with real multi-speaker surround sound, but it’s nonetheless convincing.
Audio quality in general is excellent, whether you’re listening to music, watching a movie or hearing distant foes creep up in an FPS. Open headphone drivers help to provide a sound with a real sense of space. The microphone also does a great job, picking up a minimum of interference and recording voice clearly. When not in use, it folds back almost invisibly into the headband.
This version of the headset is an update of the previous 5.1 edition. They have the same name, so check the part code to be sure of getting the right version. The older version is still available for around £20 less, so is currently a better deal unless you have an irresistible desire for virtual 7.1 sound.
|Plug type||USB, 3.5mm stereo mic and headphone plugs|