Acer Galea 350 Gaming Headset Review – So Much Right, So Much Wrong
Acer Galea 350August 11th, 2019
Acer is no stranger to building quality PC products. From their laptops and desktops to their long line of monitors, mice, and headsets, Acer has what you need. So for a quality gaming headset to use across a variety of devices, Acer seems like a safe choice, and you won't find many better deals for a 7.1 surround sound gaming headset on the market than the Acer Galea 350, a gaming headset which boasts powerful sound and use across multiple devices.
But after getting to grips with the Galea 350, I have some reservations. Perhaps a few of the boasted features aren't quite what they seem, and overall, while it makes a compelling argument for its place in the market, this headset probably shouldn't be the first you look at when shopping for something new.
Design and build
The Galea 350 is a sleek over-head over-ear headset with a retractable microphone for ease of use. Aesthetically, it looks lovely. An incredibly appealing, simple design, there's a fairly thick and strong headband to join the cups with a decent amount of length for adjustment, and the cups are smooth and stylish. This is a headset that is easily sleek enough to use while walking through a mall or city center or even to use at the gym. The microphone even tucks away to the point of being barely noticeable.
Overall, the headset is very comfortable. I am an edge case, in that, I am both bald, and I have fairly large ears. This combo makes me sensitive to wearing over-ear headsets for a long time if they're even mildly uncomfortable, and the fact that I'm bald allows me to feel how comfortably the headset sits on my scalp. While this headset is, overall, very comfortable, the plastic-covered foam on the headset strap will make anyone with, especially short hair sweat. The same goes for the foam over the cups - the plastic coating will make your skin sweat, especially in the current Summer climate.
The cups do sit on your ears very comfortably, however, and very tightly. I did find the cups to grow uncomfortable after long periods of use, so while the headset is certainly a good option, it's not something I would recommend to anyone who intends to use their headset for multiple hours every day. This is a very good fit for a headset, but if you intend to have daily extended sessions while gaming and listening to music, it's a tough sell.
Overall this is an incredibly stylish headset which is ideal to use for a few hours a day, but if you intend to use it for more than that, it might be worth looking into something more comfortable and robust.
The Acer Galea 350 comes with a 3.5mm to USB-A converter for plugging into your PC, and this converter has an equalizer on it, allowing you to swap between Movie, Music, and Game presets. This equalizer is perfect for PC gaming and definitely improves the sound overall (at least in two of the presets) but would make playing on a console just more awkward since you can plug your 3.5mm jack into most controllers, laptops, mobile devices, and consoles.
When playing in the Music preset bass comes through clearly, but the equalizer ensures that the sound level is balanced so everything sounds vibrant and easily identifiable. You will be able to pick out individual instruments in even the most complex of tracks. Much the same goes for the Game preset, though here the bass has obviously been cranked up, highlighting atmospheric background noise - though that is, of course, ideal for listening for enemies in shooters.
The Movie preset is where the equalizer truly lets us down, where vocal tracks are clearly boosted, but people with nasal or treble-heavy voices will just end up sounding produced to the point of being robotic, a problem which entirely disappears with the other presets. Game is a much better preset to use when actually watching movies and TV.
But by far the most disappointing aspect of the Galea 350's functionality is the 7.1 surround sound - or lack thereof. On the packaging and on many retailer listings I was led to believe the Galea 350 had full 7.1 surround sound capabilities, but in reality, it's a virtual 7.1 surround, which is significantly less impressive. Regardless, I played Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice to put the "surround sound" audio to the test, and while I certainly never was actually convinced of sounds being truly behind me, and I couldn't detect any variations in elevation, the entire experience was incredibly crisp. This was exactly what I would expect from a very high-quality stereo headset.
And that is essentially what the Acer Galea 350 is - despite several complaints here, I can't brush away the fact that this headset is powerful and sounds great. I massively enjoyed listening to my favorite songs while using the music preset, and regardless of what device the headset is plugged into it's loud and powerful, but especially when connected to your PC via the USB equalizer: the added power can make the headset incredibly loud, and I found myself turning the volume down to just 10% of maximum.
So the sound quality is clearly the best part about this headset, as the microphone is a letdown. The fact that it is retractable and tucks away nicely is a plus, but it certainly isn't all that useful. While teammates in parties online could hear me, they reported that I was much quieter than usual, and with a lower level of quality. I recorded myself and the sound levels were low - likely because the retractable microphone doesn't extend to actually come near my mouth. Instead, it sits beside my cheek and only gets snippets of audio. In addition to this, it claims to be a noise-canceling microphone, but I could hear plenty of background static on my recording. This is certainly not a headset to be sold on the virtues of its microphone, and the fact that it isn't detachable means you can't swap it out for something more fitting either. A shame, because it looked incredibly tidy when retracted, and seems very convenient on the surface.
The Acer Galea 350 is loud and sounds great, making for an excellent accessory to play through atmospheric games - but if you intend to play with pals, the microphone will ultimately be a let-down. Combine the lackluster microphone with the lack of a true 7.1 surround sound experience, and this headset has a fair few negatives to its name. Still, despite the issues, it's a very attractive and powerful stereo headset at a competitive price point - if only it were wireless, too...
Review unit provided by the manufacturer. You may purchase the headset for $99 via the official website.
The Acer Galea 350 isn't the perfect gaming headset and I wouldn't want to be wearing it for long and intense gaming sessions, but if you intend to spend a few hours a day on your favorite games then this headset is powerful, comfortable, and priced competitively. A good choice, though probably not the best in its league.
- Loud, clear sound
- Two excellent sound presets on the equalizer
- Tidy, sleek design makes it perfect to wear in public
- Wired, not wireless
- Poor microphone quality
- One poor sound preset on the equalizer