I’m not one to drape myself in clothes from the most cutting edge designers, but even I know that most gaming headsets are about as stylish as the sale rail at Primark. Logitech have clearly taken this all on board for the release of the Pro X though, and while it’s got a bunch of smart features for, you know, listening to games, it is without a doubt one of the best looking gaming headsets ever created.
No matter what anyone says, black has in fact always been the ‘new’ black, so it’s a good starting point that the Pro X is fashioned from nearly wholly black components, with the sole exception being the silver metal discs with the Logitech logo etched onto them that adorn each earcup. You’ve then got a smart, expensive-looking leatherette headband that’s wrapped around steel in case you’re going to give them a real going over. They’re not quite the lightest headset out there, but at 320g they’re not unwieldy, and they feel utterly rock solid, from the earpiece joints through to the sliding headband adjustors. Great if you’re the kind of person that doesn’t really look after their stuff, or is planning to cart them everywhere with you, and well worth a few extra grams for the quality of the components.
Logitech at least provide you with a nifty, and surprisingly thick, carry bag to put all of your bits and pieces in. Besides the headset themselves you’ve got a spare pair of cloth-covered memory foam ear pads if the leatherette ones are too warm for you as well as a choice of cables; one for mobiles and one with an inline control to make the most of being plugged into your PC or console. There’s also a PC splitter attachment for the purists, and most importantly, the external USB sound card. Why’s that important? Because it’s going to allow you to get far more out the Pro X than you will without it.
If you plug the Pro X into pretty much anything via it’s 3.5mm connection it’s going to give you a good audio response. It’s very good in fact, but not incredible. The Pro X is natively a little subdued considering the quality of components that are lurking within it, and whether you’re gaming or listening to music the 50mm hybrid mesh drivers seem to lack the sparkle of some top-end detail that separates the good headsets from the remarkable ones.
However, if you plug them into the provided USB DAC they suddenly become vibrantly alive, and elements of the audio mix that weren’t apparent before became obvious. Lows sound deeper and fuller without becoming overwhelming, while the middle and top lose the slightly middling muddiness of the 3.5mm connection and simply sing. I’m not saying that the Pro X won’t suit Switch, PS4 or Xbox One users just using the 3.5mm jack, but PC players are definitely going to get the best out of them thanks to the GHUB software that opens up a suite of options including a variety of preset and community-created EQ settings.
With esports now firmly in the public consciousness – especially after a fifteen year-old walked off with $900,000 at the Fortnite World Cup – the Pro X is another in the line of headsets that sets out to satisfy the needs of this particular sort of gamer. They’re light and comfortable for a start, so if you’re going to be playing all day, every day they’re going to stay comfortable. They also have what must be one of the most expandable – and retractable – headbands out there, and they’re going to fit everyone from small kids all the way up to top-heavy adults.
Their passive noise isolation is good, with a firm seal around your ear helping to cut out extraneous sounds, and with a bit of volume pumped into them you’ll definitely be able to drown out the sounds of an esports arena while the audio stays crisp and clear. The microphone has clearly been a main point of focus this time out too, with Logitech teaming with Blue Vo!ce on the detachable mic and its associated software.
Tucked away inside the GHUB app – which unlocks all of the fanciest stuff within any Logitech headset – you’ll find an included Blue Vo!ce setting that lets you add a variety of remarkable real-time filters to your vocals. Besides the fairly standard noise reduction option, you can add high-pass, compression, de-essing and more which really helps to tighten up your microphone output. It’s an incredible addition and makes the Pro X ideal for streamers and podcasters as much as gamers who don’t want to torture their buddies with poor chat quality. You can even record your voice in-app to see how your particular set-up sounds. It easily makes the Pro X my top choice in terms of microphone output, just pipping previous favourite the Turtle Beach Elite Pro with it’s additional noise-cancelling mic.
GHUB also gives you access to the latest version of Logitech’s chosen virtual surround sound solution: DTS Headphone: X 2.0. Depending on your outlook on surround sound it does a decent job of opening up the Pro X’s soundscape and creating the impression of a 360 degree field of audio. Overwatch, Monster Hunter World and Just Cause 4 all benefitted from using it, helping to pinpoint gunfire and monster attacks alike. Dolby Atmos is still my go-to for virtual surround, and that’s an option that’s available for both PC and Xbox One owners to consider regardless of the headset, but the DTS offering is very good indeed, allowing you tinker with each of the virtual speaker levels to get things just right.
It’s worth noting that all of these wonderful extra enhancements are PC only. Despite there being a Mac version of the GHUB software, all of the Pro X’s fancy accoutrements are missing, which is slightly more than a huge disappointment if you’re a Mac gamer. On top of that, and as I’ve said before, the PC edition of GHUB is a deeply unreliable piece of software; I had to re-install it three times during my review of the Pro X. With so many features locked behind it, it’s currently a defining problem for this beautiful headset.
Given the difference in audio quality between the 3.5mm connection and the USB one, console gamers may want to consider a couple of other options instead. If you’re wanting to look at something else with an esports bent it’s well worth considering the RIG Plantronics 500 Pro Esports or the Lucidsound LS25, while PC gamers looking for an alternative should take a look at the fantastically comfortable Razer Kraken TE – just don’t expect it to draw the admiring glances the Pro X will.