Getting the best out of your gaming set-up isn’t often a cheap deal. Controllers, monitors and other essential equipment generally means your bank account will resent your very existence, but it doesn’t have to be this way.
Peripheral manufacturers know that there’s a market out there for good quality equipment at a lower price point. When looking at headsets, that will mean you won’t get the gel-cooled, haptic motor rumble, or bass-bin-on-your-head effect of the top flight, but you can still get some perfectly decent gear.
Roccat’s Noz headset is their mid-level offering, with an RRP of £59.99. It’s a simpler, more stripped back headset compared to their less wallet-friendly options, but it still has plenty of similarities.
It’s black for a start, which you can never go wrong with, and made from a combination of matte and gloss plastic, with a fabric and foam headband. Compared to the similarly priced options from brands like Turtle Beach and Logitech, the Noz is immediately a more tempting product, purely on the basis alone that it doesn’t look, or feel, particularly cheap. Branding is minimal, with the Noz logo on one earcup and Roccat on the other, while the headband features a further embossed Roccat logo.
There’s some slight rotation from the earcups, which is good for getting a decent fit or for wearing them with one cup off the ear, but they don’t go flat to rest against your chest when you have them round your neck. When you actually put them on your head, the Noz provides a snug and comfortable fit, with adjustable metal sliders keeping things strong and the earcups provide a good level of isolation from external noises. Connection is via our old friend the 3.5mm jack, meaning it’ll work with pretty much anything, and there’s an in-line split for connecting the mic and headphones up to your PC separately.
The Noz boasts a nice and strong braided cable, something that is often missing at this price, but there is the annoyance of a needlessly chunky jack. While this wasn’t a problem when using it with my PC or Switch, but it did mean I had to remove the case from my phone. Given that the NOZ has an aesthetic that’s subdued enough to wear out of the house, it’s a shame that its uses could be limited purely because the connector is a touch larger than it needs to be.
As with Roccat’s other headsets, one of the key features of the Noz is its dramatically low weight. At only 210g I was able to wear them for many hours of Overwatch and Madden with no fatigue or hint of soreness, and the soft fabric of the earpieces and inner headband are more than gentle enough to keep things comfortable for as long as you need to wear them for. The lack of weight is one of the reasons that the Roccat Khan Aimo has remained my top wired choice on PC, but the Noz is even lighter.
Another big tick for the Noz is the inclusion of a removable mic. Clicking in via another 3.5mm connector, it’s not going to be falling out at any point, even if you throw your headset across the room after yet another Overwatch loss (this may or may not have happened). It’s not got the best mic arm in the world, but you can angle it in a variety of ways and it will settle of its own accord into a very close approximation of where you wanted it.
It does exactly what you need it do though, and the audio it spits out is solid enough for chat, whether it’s reasoned and measured or not. The box proclaims that it’s a Real-Voice mic that covers the full vocal range, but it is probably a little on the thin side, and doesn’t have the highest output. A little tweaking can help offset this though.
In terms of controls you’ve got an ordinary volume dial and a mute button for the mic, both of which live on the back of the left earcup. It’s not that surprising to find that’s all there is. They’re functional, and don’t feel as though they’ll break after months of use, and that’s about as much as you can say about them.
What is surprising given the price is just how good the audio response actually is. The 50mm drivers do a perfectly decent job of bringing highs, mids and lows to your ears, and while they don’t quite have the near-magical crisp top-end or bone-rattling bass of the absolute best headsets, they put in a very good performance for the price. Audio is perhaps slightly airy, but not in any detrimental way. If anything it adds some separation to the audio as well as widening the soundstage.
Paired up with a spacial sound option like Windows Sonic or Dolby Atmos on PC or Xbox One, they’re capable of doing even more, and whether you’re playing something like Overwatch or Call of Duty or listening to music they’re thoroughly useful, providing enough detail to pick out footsteps, gunshots or vocal cues.
In its price bracket, the £59.99 Roccat Noz is a clear winner, beating out both Turtle Beach’s Atlas Three and Logitech’s G332 for audio, looks and feel. If you’ve got a little more in your pocket though you might want to check out the Razer Kraken which will get you 7.1 audio, and a touch more comfort.