I just took the SteelSeries Fnatic-theme Sensei Laser Mouse through its paces. No other rodent could get to the cheese quicker or as gracefully. Could the audio equivalent perform on a equal level or even match the quality found in its sister offering–the SteeSeries V2–which we pitted against the Astro Gaming liege lord? These questions and more are what we address here, as we take a peek at SteelSeries new 7H Fnatic-inspired gaming headset/mic.
Like the mouse, the Fnatic 7H struts around in a sporty white and orange-on-black motif. SteelSeries uses SNDBlock ear cushions, which are workaholics when it comes to canceling out ambient noise. The unit comes fitted with a bright orange cloth set and a black leather replacement set of ear cushions. The sound isolation is phenomenal and completely trounces that of both the Astro A40s and the previous V2 SteelSeries headset/mic.
The 7H unit plugs into 3.5mm line-in and mic jacks on your motherboard, computer case or soundcard. I tested the 7H in a few different configuration options. I connected them to my motherboard’s on-board Realtek audio, then with my Creative X-Fi soundcard and with the Astro Gaming mixamp, while it is passed through my X-Fi soundcard. The 7H headset/mic impressed in each and every combination. Bass is modest, without being overbearing and obnoxious as it can be in many gaming audio headsets. Positional audio is most revealing, as I could identify the location of every player within earshot, which is crucial for that extra edge needed to compete professionally or to just enjoy a steady kill count. the clarity and precision of it all, is really astounding. (note: quality was superior using the the mixamp passed through the X-Fi soundcard!)
To achieve this SteelSeries makes use of a 18-28.000hz frequency response, 32 ohm impedance with the SPL at 1khz over 112 decibels. I’m barely an audiophile and definitely not a musician. So I can’t speak to the “wow” factor of those numbers. But I can tell you… When listening to music, the 7h comes close to the performance of dedicated music solutions from Beats by Dr, Koss, Harmon Kardon and Logitech. I tested reggae, ska, soca, samba, rock, metal, classical, Asian acoustic, Punjabi traditional and pop and more. In games, the 7H is an overachiever. I heard oddities in the night on The Witcher: Enhanced Edition, that had gone inaudible previously. I hear ambient sounds and weapon-reload switching/clicking that I hadn’t before in Battlefield 3 and more newness in other games, which was very pleasant surprise.
SteelSeries also tested and retested the 7H with a well-rounded entourage of musicians and professional gamers. The result as well balanced audio solution that offers wholly perceptible and distinctly recognizable sounds in game and music.
The uni-directional mic is no slouch either. It is fully retractable into the left earphone and can be molded and bent to a desired distance from the users mouth. With a -38 decibel sensitivity you can rest easy that even the softer spoken gamers can be heard and heard clearly with the retractable mic. I tested the loopback and also listened in on the receiving end of these at a recent LAN party. Voice clarity is a nonissue.
So is comfort during those prolonged gaming sessions. The unit is noticeably lighter than the Astro A40 headset and mic, feeling almost weightless when worn due to the padding at top and the feather-like girth.
That girlish figure means hassle-free transport, too. The SteelSeries 7H very easily breaks down into three smaller pieces. You can fit all of them in a pair of baggy pants pockets or easily in a backpack for simplified travel.
Indeed, the limits of SteelSeries 7H are few. The mildly annoying crumbs from this immaculate table include a flimsy volume/mute control module. It feels overly light and airy, where the volume wheel almost rattles in the base when if shook. And the volume control could also use a clip to keep it close and in place as it dangles on approx 10ft of braided and unbraided cord. Finally the price takes a right-turn from modest to mildly exorbitant. You gotta pay to play like a pro!
All-in-all, those are low-raised speed bumps on an otherwise smooth and audibly splendid trip. The SteelSeries 7H is the aural candy your gaming ears have been craving!
The Bottom Line: The SteelSeries 7H packs top-tier performance and voice transmission into a stylish sporty lightweight solution, that will wow the most discerning set of gamer ears.
- Fantastic audio in games and music
- Enhances games with stellar positional audio
- Lightweight comfort and portability
- Sporty and stylish Fnatic theme
- Flimsy/cheap volume/mute control
You can buy the SteelSeries 7H Gaming Headset – Fnatic at Amazon for $139.99.
Shawn loves gadgets, literature, history and games. For 10yrs+ he's straddled both the comic book & video game industries, as a writer, editor, marketing officer & producer. Shawn got his start in tech & games as an editor & Hardware Director for GameRevolution.com. More notable accomplishments include Executive Producer on mobile games Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved & The Shroud.