From across the room, the Trust Carus GXT 323W headset looks like it came as part of a bundle with my PS5 — the contrasting black and white looking as striking as the controller and console each. When you get up close, you’ll notice a very different quality finish. Unlike the PS5, which is a statement piece as much as it is a console, the GXT 323 just looks and feels cheap.
I’ve reviewed a fair few headphones over the past few years, and only twice have I had headphones so uncomfortable that I struggle to wear them for prolonged periods of time. This is one of those two pairs of headphones.
It’s not so much the weight of the Trust Carus GXT 323W that’s the issue — though at 318g, they’re a little heavier than most – the problem is that padding around the ear isn’t nearly generous enough for a comfortable fit, fatiguing your ears almost instantly and becoming almost unbearable within half an hour.
The 50mm drivers packed into each earcup protrude far more than you’d like, hidden behind a convex piece of hard plastic. Given that these circumaural can sit around your ear, not on top of them, the lack of padding means you get that wonderful feeling of hard plastic pressing up against your cartilage. The only thing that removed this vice-like grip was playing on the PSVR, which gave some slight respite, but this isn’t the solution you should need to make headphones hurt less.
If the foam around the ear cups were twice as thick, this headset would be far more comfortable, so it’s weird to find generous and chunky foam on the headband. Although weight is always a consideration when building headphones, sacrificing comfort around the ears to increase comfort on the cranium is a very weird choice. Their build quality is such that you hear them creaking and rattling under the strain of just putting them on and taking them off.
Even giving Trust the biggest benefit of the doubt and assuming the 323W will fit your head and ears better than mine, this headset is far from perfect.
First, we have the sound quality, which leaves a little to be desired. There just isn’t an amazing range to them. Although they’re strongly weighted towards bass, it doesn’t deliver any real oomph, and this leaves the middle tones a little lacklustre, without any real benefit.
They also didn’t copy too well under pressure when the action kicks off in your game. Scenes of heavy gunfire quickly fall into crackly static, for one of the worst performances I’ve had from budget headphones.
But listening is only half of the fun of using a headset — there’s also a microphone for the benefit of any teammates you might have. There were no problems with the quality of the mic itself, which sits on a non-removable flexible arm, but it would never quite stay fixed in position. Instead, it would slowly drift away from your mouth, making you sound ever further from your teammates. It isn’t necessarily a dealbreaker for those who only occasionally party up, but it is annoying if you regularly head online. You can talk louder or you take a quick second to adjust the mic — neither of which are ideal.
Last, but not least, we have the controls and cables. Here, at least, we have almost no issues. The 1.2m braided cable is totally fine for reaching your gamepad’s audio jack, and the volume/mute controls are pretty well positioned behind the left ear. The only issue would be the finish on the mute switch, which looks slightly melted. That may or may not bother you, so take it at face value.