Raptor Gaming H3 Headset Review
Gaming headsets are a dime a dozen these days, so finding that perfect pair is a fairly challenging task. There are so many options out there to choose from and the headsets themselves are now divided among Stereo, 5.1 and 7.1 surround channels. To make matters worse, prices are also dropping quite rapidly on premium brands making it difficult to determine which headset really offers the best value in terms of comfort, performance and price.
Raptor Gaming is no stranger to quality gaming headphones. They have a large portfolio full of headsets for a number of different target markets ranging from Stereo to 7.1 channel surround sound. While you may be tempted to opt for a higher number of channels, you should keep in mind that the affect of having more than 2 channels in a headset is almost negligible in most cases. In fact, a good Stereo headset would perform a lot better than an entry level 5.1 surround piece.
Today, I’m going to be reviewing the Raptor Gaming H3, which is a Stereo headset with a couple of unique features, and costs around EUR 50. Lets find out if the headset actually offers the performance which its rather bold price tag promises to bring.
Primary Cable Length
Weight (w/o cable)
39.8 x 8.8 mm
Speaker Frequency Response
50 Hz – 20 KHz
121 dB ± 3 dB
Max Power Output
Rated 20 mW / Max 50 mW
S:(f=1KHZ,S.P.L=1Pa)N:(A-Weighted curve ) Min 60dB
Microphone Frequency Response
100 Hz – 800 Hz
-40 dB ± 2 dB
While we usually start off the design section with commentary on the package design but unfortunately, the courier really messed up the review unit’s box while in transit. That’s why I’m going to jump straight to the the design of the headphones themselves.
The H3 is made out of a light weight plastic material, though the headsets themselves don’t feel cheap in any way. The large circumaural ear cups have a faux leather coating to provide ultimate comfort as well as good noise cancellation. Since this is a stereo headset, it only has two drivers in each cup, though volume to these both can be adjusted independently – a feature what Raptor call Enemy Location Mode. I’ll describe this feature in more detail when I get to the performance section.
The noise cancellation microphone can be rotated over 180 degrees. But while its position can be adjusted freely, the distance from the lips is hard to adjust.
The control unit about three feet down the line allows you to switch the microphone on and off independently. There’s also a global volume adjust present here which can control the volume to both drivers. The back of the control unit has a pocket clip though there isn’t much use of that.
The wires on the headset are about 2 meters long and have gold plated connectors for the input and output. There’s also a 2 meter extension cable included in the box which supports both the microphone and the headset input, and also comes with gold plated connectors.
Other content in the packaging includes a manual and a headset carrying bag.
The Raptor Gaming H3 is a gaming headset and our gaming headphone evaluation policy is pretty straight forward. The headset would primarily be tested for its performance in game. Anything beyond gaming (which includes movies and music) is a bonus and wouldn’t affect the overall opinion (and rating) of the headset.
For my test run, I would be running a number of different popular games to see just how the headset fares against a couple of other pieces I’ve reviewed over time. My test run includes Grand Theft Auto IV: Episodes from Liberty City, Left 4 Dead 2, and Counter-Strike: Source.
Episodes from Liberty City is the collection of both DLCs for GTA IV, and is thus set in the same Liberty City we have come to know and love. Even though the H3 wasn’t a 5.1 gaming headset, its directional audio was still accurate in the game though I did notice a drop in the number of internal voices, like the sound of the radio playing when you are standing next to a vehicle.
Left 4 Dead 2 is cooperative FPS depicting a Zombie Apocalypse. So while being ambushed by the horde is just another day in the post apocalyptic New Orleans, a good audio experience goes a long way in alerting the presence of a Charger, or a Jockey even before they are in visual range. The H3 did perform well when it came to determining when one of the special infected is nearby, but the stereo speakers weren’t enough to single out the position from the horde.
Counter-Strike: Source, the classic tactical shooter which defined the online FPS genre is the only game in my test suite which relies on audio as much as it relies on visuals. In fact, most people would argue that correct positional audio is more important in CS:S than visuals because you can hear the opponents approaching or reloading long before you can actually see them around the corners. The good news here is that for regular gamers (read: who have never used surround sound before), the audio experience in Source would feel right at home. You could easily tell if the approaching footsteps are coming from the left or the right, and experienced players can also make out if they are actually behind them.
I really didn’t find the Enemy Location Mode feature useful in game. That was because most people prefer a balanced audio input into their ears and offsetting the volume on either cups just distorts the game experience. The noise cancellation Microphone performed real well during voice chats. Friends on the other end confirmed that my audio was very clear and easily distinguishable.
Performance: Movies and Music
I don’t really expect an outclass performance from a gaming headset when it comes to movies and music. That’s because my past experience with other gaming headsets tends to be mediocre at best when it comes to music or movie experiences. For movies, I tested the Blu-Ray version of Avatar and Robin Hood, both of which were run at 5.1 Channel DTS Surround, along with an episode of Dexter which was also in 5.1 AC3. Since the H3 is a stereo headset, I had to rely on the audio drivers to mix down the audio channels which could be played by a stereo device. As for music, since it was already in stereo, no special configuration was needed.
Movie experience on the H3 was pretty much in line with other gaming headsets I have encountered in the past. While the audio did have a satisfying level of appeal, I never really felt immersed in the environment. That’s mostly because the headsets only support dual channels, while most movies demand a 5.1 setup at least. It would be interesting to see how Raptor Gaming’s higher end headsets perform in this category.
Music on the H3 did turn out to be a pleasure. Thanks to the circumaural noise cancelation design, the environmental noise was almost nullified when listening to music on the H3. I listened to Linkin Park’s A Thousand Suns and Eminem’s Recovery on Zune and the experience was as good as you’d get on a music headset.
While its not a beefed up 5.1 or 7.1 Surround channel headset, the Raptor Gaming H3 also doesn’t demand a premium price which is the norm for that category. In fact, the H3 actually has a quite reasonable price tag of 49.90 EUR for what it offers. A highly comforting design with gold plated connectors, a 2 meter extension cable, and even a carrying pouch. And all this comes with a good gaming and music performance.
On the flip side of things, the headset still might be a bit pricy for those on a very tight budget. If you actually do fall in that category, then I’m willing to bet that you aren’t a serious gamer anyways and would be much better opting for a cheaper solution that gives an acceptable all around experience in gaming, movies and music.
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