Online gaming and communication has long been a staple of our hobby, and the dazzling range of related accessories shows no sign of slowing down any time soon. Even if this aspect of gaming hasn’t usually been for you, the current shift to virtual socialising and meeting up may be enough to push you towards purchasing the necessary kit. With that in mind, there’s a huge market for reliable and comfortable headsets in an affordable price range. Rather than appealing to a hardcore who may think nothing of spending triple figure amounts on their cans, the PDP LVL50 headsets are aimed clearly at a more thrifty gamer. As an entry level headset, then, how do they feel and sound?
There’s several versions of the LVL50 to consider, with both wired and wireless models – coming in at around £50 and £70 respectively – and versions of these for either PlayStation 4 or Xbox One. Our review headset was of the wired PlayStation variety.
The design is minimalist and classic, avoiding the excesses of many cheaper headsets that look like props from a bad sci-fi movie. The matte black and greys are attractive and modern with an effective use of platform specific blue or green for the interior of the earpads and the spring-loaded wire on the adjustable headband.
One of my biggest issues with many headsets is the comfort level, but I’m happy to report that the PDP LV50 is a definite winner in this respect. Lightweight and nicely fitting – for me on the smaller end of the adjustments – there was no problem with wearing these for extended play sessions, and also whilst working from home using them as PC headphones. They don’t have the same level of isolation and passive noise cancellation as more expensive options, but when in use they block outside interference pretty well. Except for when my kids get hungry of course, but then nothing stops that.
The build quality is surprisingly good given the entry level £50 pricepoint, as they feel sufficiently sturdy to put up with regular use and being taken on and off at regular intervals. The earpads in particular are wonderfully comfortable and work brilliantly when wearing glasses – another bugbear of mine with many headsets. These merrily replaced my previous working headphones due to not leaving my ears aching after having the arms of my glasses pressed against them. The audio cable feels well connected too with none of the wiggle that so often plagues headsets and no fuzziness to the audio from a low quality cord.
As the set under review is clearly designed for use with the PS4, there are some things that make them less attractive for alternative use. The cable is pretty short, designed as it is to plug into the socket on the DualShock 4 in your hands, but since it’s a standard 3.5 mm plug, it means it can be used in a wide range of other devices. You could commit the ultimate sacriledge of using it with an Xbox One controller, for example, and the cable length could be just long enough for PC players, depending on how far away your PC is! It won’t stretch to wearing with something in a backpack though, and outdoor use is clearly not an issue right now.
The audio quality is good in both directions, with the 50mm drivers pumping audio into your ears (though not as effective as more expensive headphones can be) and a microphone that’s nice and clear. The microphone benefits from a nice mechanism that enables it to be switched off and placed out of the way whilst it is turned on by simply moving it away from the mouth, and vice versa. This hardware solution of switching the mic on and off is welcome but does feel a little stiff at first.