ProsAwesome styling; great LED lighting effects; most comfortable headset we've ever used; incredible wireless range
ConsSound quality is just average; initial device connection in Windows is harder than it should be
So we're going to be frank here. Generally speaking, we don't like headphones. Sure, we use them at the gym, on planes and trains, and maybe once in a while when listening to short clips on our PCs, but the truth is, speakers are more comfortable. Obviously. We don't like being tied to our PCs, and we don't like the somewhat claustrophobic feeling that sometimes accompanies wearing headphones. And we don't like bass thumping in our ears. It just doesn't feel like a good long-term solution for continuing to use them (our ears, that is).
But we like sound. A lot. And that's why we've been using a set of Logitech Z5300 5.1 Speakers for the longest time, long enough for the model to be forgotten in the annals of PC gaming as one of the best mid-priced surround setups ever created for PC users. We think the advent of compressed MP3s and streaming music had a lot to do with the speaker market dying off, and sure enough, Logitech only has one surround set still for sale, its awesome but monumentally-expensive Z906 kit. That solution isn't for everyone, so for people who want a high-end user experience in a headset, Logitech has the answer in the G933 Artemis Spectrum Wireless Surround Gaming Headset, and we've given it the hands-on treatment to let you in on all its strengths, as well as its handful of weaknesses.
We'd like to extend a special thank you to Logitech for providing this review sample.
Description and Features
First off, the G933 Artemis Spectrum (which we'll call the G933 from here on out) has a retail price of $199.99, which puts it firmly at the very high end of gaming headsets. In fact, we're not sure there's a more expensive headset out there. But there are two things to keep in mind before you dismiss it out of hand as too expensive. First off, like all Logitech products, the G933 has radically dropped in price since its introduction. Logitech likes to hit the market with a somewhat inflated price, perhaps to secure a "premium" market placement, and then allow retailers to discount its products aggressively. Less than four months since its introduction, the G933 has dropped nearly 25% in price. Secondly, this headset really is a cut above just about everything else out there in terms of functionality and comfort, which we'll discuss more on the next page.
But we're getting a bit ahead of ourselves here. Let's go over some of the basics first. The G933 comes in at 12.9oz on our scale, which is simply astoundingly light. It's actually the very first thing you'll notice once you pick up this headset. That's all the more impressive given that the G933 has a wireless receiver and a lithium battery good for 12 hours of listening time built in. The battery can be recharged via micro-USB cable, just like a smartphone, and the headset can either be used wirelessly in combination with its USB dongle (about the size of a large thumb drive), or in wired mode via the included stereo cable (which conveniently includes an in-line mic for use in phone calls). The G933 of course also has a flip-down boom mic, which is one of the best we've had the pleasure of using. It really does fold right into the body of the headset, disappearing when not in use, and can be dropped down and extended when the time comes to use the mic during a gaming or chat session.
Another major feature on the spec list is what makes the G933 part of Logitech's "Spectrum" line of gaming peripherals: RGB lighting. Now, we think the RGB craze will likely be short-lived, but right now every gaming accessory has to sport some lighting, and at least the G933 does a pretty good job of integrating some cool effects. We really like the light band that Logitech has integrated, although it's a bit odd that it's only on the back of the headset. And that begs the question, what good is lighting that the user will never see? Maybe it's really all about making the wearer look cool during LAN gaming sessions or e-sports tournaments... we'll leave that up to you to decide!
Logitech has also licensed two surround sound codecs: Dolby Headphone and DTS Headphone X. We found the two to sound identical, but for fans of one or the other, the choice is there. Note that we're talking about virtual surround processing here, given that the headset has just one 40mm driver per earcup, and that means it requires Logitech's Gaming Software to function. Surround effects are thus limited to PC users, but at least Logitech's software is first rate. In fact, it's by far our favorite among all the major gaming peripherals suites on the market. You can see a shot of it below, along with the G933 lit up in one of its millions of possible colors.
One last feature we'll mention, also visible in the photo above, are the programmable "G" keys on the left rear of the headset. You have four keys, along with a rotary volume knob (our favorite kind!) and a sliding on/off switch (infinitely better than a push button for telling you whether it's on or off!). You can assign functions such as stop/start and forward/back for use with music tracks, or alternatively for push-to-talk functionality. We didn't make use of these keys in our testing, but they are definitely a unique add-on that the G933 offers versus the competition.