Creative's Sound BlasterX H5 Tournament Edition is an all-around decent gaming headset offering tons of comfort, balanced sound quality, and decent quality mic. But, does it warrant consideration over it's heavy competition? That's the real question.
It takes more than being a good headset to draw the attention of most gamers. For that, you not only need to be good, but you need to be priced well. For the H5 Tournament Edition, it's pricing is definitely the biggest hurdle to overcome.
Without drawing this intro out too long, let's get down to business and review the BlasterX H5 Tournament Edition!
Creative Sound BlasterX H5 - Tournament Edition
Creative's Sound BlasterX H5 Tournament Edition gaming headset offers decent sound quality, a great mic, tons of comfort all for a very competitive price.
- Drivers: 50mm Neomydium
- Operating principle: Closed back
- Frequency response: 20Hz–20,000 Hz
- Nominal impedance: 32 Ω
- Mic Sensitivity: 118dB/mW at 1kHz
- Weight: 10.6 ounces / .66lb
- Cable length and type: 2.4m total length, Braided cable
- Connection: Dual 3.5mm 3-pole jacks / Single 4-pole
The Sound BlasterX H5 Tournament Edition gaming headset was recently sent to me by Creative, but you can guarantee that this review will be unbiased regardless of how I obtained it. Over the course of the past week and a bit, I've used the H5 for gaming, VoIP, movies & music, and I've been thoroughly impressed in every area, especially when compared to the standard H5.
Although the H5 TE work great as a plug and play headset, to really get the most out of them you should use the BlasterX Acoustic Engine Lite software. It doesn't give you a huge array of options or access to any advanced EQ tweaking, but it does give you some preset options which really change how this headset performs in different scenarios. Like any headset, running them through an amp/external sound card is when they sound their absolute best.
All-in-all, it's a great headset that definitely offers up a strong level of competition to the other options in the same price bracket like the HyperX Cloud II.
I used the H5 Tournament Edition for a little over a week doing basically everything you could do with a headset. I tested them in a whole bunch of games, the virtual barbershop, different VoIP applications, lots of music, and a few movies. I have to say, I was relatively impressed by how they performed and this was accentuated when using the right settings within the BlasterX software.
The 50mm drivers are very capable of producing a very realistic soundstage with a good amount of width, depth, and height with all effects/enhancements turned off. Once you start using the different preset EQ settings within the BlasterX Acoustic Engine Lite is when they really come to life, I would really recommend using it. At the same time, it's very limited and some of the claimed features aren't actually used by any of the preset options, specifically the bass option.
I was disappointed to see that the microphone doesn't come with a foam windscreen as mics tend to pick up any slight gust of breath without one - this mic is really no different in this sense. The past headsets from Creative that I've reviewed have come with windscreen on the mic, so I'm really clueless as to why the H5 TE comes without one. Other than that it's a great mic, it does a good job of cutting out background noise and could very easily be compared to a Modmic as far as clarity and quality go. With a windscreen, I would have easily scored the mic an 8.5 or maybe even 9/10 instead of 8.
Overall, the H5 Tournament Edition is a solid performer, but it definitely needs a windscreen for the mic and possibly more options built into the Acoustic Engine Lite software.
The BlasterX H5 Tournament Edition offers up a relatively minimalist design and skips the unnecessary LEDs, pointless aesthetic flairs, and pretty much all of the other stuff that's usually associated with a gaming headset. Instead, you get an almost industrial looking headset that not only performs well but looks great and is comfortable as well.
The earcups are held on by really clean looking brushed aluminum forks that have 12 points of adjustment. I always like to see metal components used in place of plastic - not only does it allow for more flex and durability, but metal really adds to the overall look as well.
The in-line control gives you the basics that you'd need to use, like a volume dial, a microphone mute switch, and a button to pause/play music as well as answer/hang up calls if you happen to be using the H5 TE on your phone. It's also placed well, being not too close to the earcup and not too far from it either.
The cable is completely braided and can be used in either single 4-pole or dual 3-pole configs which is really convenient if you want to use the H5 TE on your console, phone, or pretty much anywhere else. Both cables are 1.2m in length, or just shy of 4ft if that's more your measurement.
One downside is that the ear cups don't swivel horizontally, but they do rotate on a vertical axis which lets them form to the shape of your head a little better. The earcups and headband are lined with a super soft leatherette filled with cushiony foam that allows for a crazy amount of comfort.
The design of the boom mic is something that I'm a huge fan of, not only is it detachable, but it's very flexible yet rigid enough that it stays exactly where you put it. I take advantage of this by curling the mic around the front of the earcup when I'm not using it, or just pushing it out of the way when I'm taking a quick drink or something.
Detachable microphones are pretty common among gaming headsets anymore, but what you won't see much are completely detachable cables. Not only does this make it easier to transport a headset, but it also allows you to replace just the cable opposed to the entire headset if say the in-line control was damaged or something along those lines. Cables and mics are probably the most commonly damaged parts of a gaming headset and having the ability to replace them is great.
Creative's Sound BlasterX H5 Tournament Edition is definitely a headset to consider if you're looking for something super comfortable with good sound quality and a good mic.
The overall look and feel is something that definitely appeals to me, and I have no doubt that it appeals to some of you as well. If it doesn't, well, there are plenty of different styles of headsets out there, but not all of them offer the same level of performance for a similar cost.
At the end of the day, it would be nice to see some different options added into the BlasterX EQ software, and the mic definitely needs a windscreen, but the BlasterX H5 TE is still a great option to throw on your list of potential headsets. Keep in mind that my opinion is just that, an opinion, and I always suggest that you research everything thoroughly!