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Sennheiser GAME ONE Review

If you want the best of the best, the GAME ONE should be your number one choice
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:   $170 List | $120 at Amazon
Pros:  Comfortable, great microphone and audio quality
Cons:  Expensive, doesn't block background noise
Manufacturer:   Sennheiser
By David Wise and Austin Palmer  ⋅  Aug 29, 2018
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75
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 11
  • Comfort - 40% 7
  • Audio - 30% 8
  • Microphone - 20% 8
  • Ease of Use - 10% 7

Our Verdict

Finishing at the top out of all the headsets we have tested, the Sennheiser GAME ONE is our absolute favorite, earning it the Editors' Choice Award and title of Best Overall Gaming Headset. This model is exceptionally comfortable to wear, even for marathon gaming sessions. It was always easy for anyone else we were playing with to understand what we were saying. The sound quality of this headset is phenomenal, doing justice to rich orchestral soundtracks, all while transmitting our teammates voices loud and clear. The only downside? The GAME ONE couples its excellent performance with a premium price that might be a bit more than most people will want to spend on one of these products.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Editors' Choice Award  Best Buy Award Best Buy Award  
Price $170 List
$119.94 at Amazon
$100 List
$77.62 at Amazon
$100 List
$84.99 at Amazon
$50 List
$49.99 at Amazon
$350 List
Check Price at Amazon
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Pros Comfortable, great microphone and audio qualityExceptional sound quality, very comfortableIncredibly comfortable, great value, solid sound qualityInexpensive, exceptional microphone qualityAmazing audio, microphone quality
Cons Expensive, doesn't block background noiseMicrophone quality is so-so, not as convenient to use as other productsHarder to mute, no mic sidetoneNot the most comfortable, sound quality could be betteExceptionally expensive, not amazingly comfortable
Bottom Line If you want the best of the best, the GAME ONE should be your number one choiceIf you love games with rich soundtracks and want the most immersive experience possible, the Kraken is the headset for youIf you are looking for an excellent, all-around gaming headset without breaking the bank, the Cloud II is a great choiceIf you are on a tight budget and want a solid gaming headset, the Cloud Stinger is a great choiceWhile this headset does deliver exceptional sound, it is exorbitantly expensive compared to the rest of the group
Rating Categories GAME ONE Kraken 7.1 V2 HyperX Cloud II HyperX Cloud Stinger MMX 300
Comfort (40%)
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
0
5
Audio (30%)
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
8
Microphone (20%)
10
0
8
10
0
5
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
8
Ease Of Use (10%)
10
0
7
10
0
5
10
0
6
10
0
7
10
0
5
Specs GAME ONE Kraken 7.1 V2 HyperX Cloud II HyperX Cloud Stinger MMX 300
Wired or Wireless Wired Wired Wired Wired Wired
Measured cable length 9.65 ft 6.7 ft 10.6 ft 10.5 ft 8.6 ft PC
4.4 ft console
How to mute the mic Lift mic Button on the mic Switch Lift mic Switch

Our Analysis and Test Results

Claiming the top spot overall, the GAME ONE narrowly edged out the Razer Kraken and the HyperX Cloud II. The Kraken is the undisputed champ for audiophiles that want to get the most out of the soundtrack to games, but its microphone quality isn't the best. The Cloud II did a little worse than the GAME ONE in terms of microphone and audio quality, but is a bit more comfortable. However, the GAME ONE and the Cloud II both retail for about $70 less.

Our Editor's Choice award winner the Sennheiser GAME ONE.
Our Editor's Choice award winner the Sennheiser GAME ONE.

Performance Comparison


To rank and score these products, we did tons and tons of research, then bought all of the best headsets on the market today to test side-by-side and compare their performance to see which is truly the best. We tested out both the microphone and sound quality of each headset, as well as how comfortable each one is to wear and how convenient it is to operate, with the GAME ONE's full results shown below.

The GAME ONE let sound in as well as out with its open back design.
The GAME ONE let sound in as well as out with its open back design.

Comfort


Accounting for the largest percentage of the overall score at 40%, Comfort is our most important testing metric. Many people will wear these headsets for quite a long time, meaning that even the most crystal-clear audio is totally useless if the headset is too uncomfortable to wear. We had a panel of judges try out each headset for an extended period of time, rating the overall comfort of each product, as well as focusing specifically on the ear cups and the headband. Additionally, we also had testers that wore glasses try on each headset, to see if any unpleasant pressure points were created. The GAME ONE scored quite well and is one of the more comfortable headsets that we have seen, but it isn't quite the best, earning it a 7 out of 10 for its results.


The velvet-padded headband is quite nice, holding the headset very comfortably on your head, while also securely holding the GAME ONE on your head without any wobbling.

Pivoting ear cups help reduce pressure points.
Pivoting ear cups help reduce pressure points.

The ear cup padding is also covered in velvet and is a bit on the firmer side, but the vast majority of our judging panel was more than happy to wear the GAME ONE for extended periods of time — even for upwards of 10 hours.

One of our testers wore this headset for over 13 hours.
One of our testers wore this headset for over 13 hours.

We found the ear cups to be plenty spacious, measuring a little over 1.25" across and about 2.6" tall.

The velvet ear cups felt nice and helped keep our ears cooler.
The velvet ear cups felt nice and helped keep our ears cooler.

We also liked that the open ear cup design kept you from getting overly sweaty when wearing them for long periods of time.

The open back design of the GAME ONEs allow sound to flow through.
The open back design of the GAME ONEs allow sound to flow through.

Audio


Moving on to how the GAME ONE actually sounds, we put it through a set of benchmark tests, as well as judging how clear voice and music sounded and how accurately it could convey the position of a sound. Additionally, we also scored it on how well it did at blocking out external noise. This headset again delivered an excellent performance, earning an 8 out of 10 — although it couldn't quite claim the top spot.


The GAME ONE did alright with positional sound that was originating in front of you or to the sides, but it can get a little muddled when the sound is behind you, with a handful of testers incorrectly identifying the location of the sound.

Voice from other players comes across exceptionally loud and clear, though the deeper tones sounded slightly more muted. However, the open back design on this headset makes them abysmal at blocking out any external noise, allowing you to hear every side conversation or noises like fans or music playing in the same room you are playing in.

This headset also does a great job when listening to the soundtracks or music, delivering well-balanced sound with only a slight emphasis on the mid-range tones. It has a slightly airy sound due to its open back, but provides an exceptionally immersive experience, especially when playing games with a rich, orchestral soundtrack.

Moving on to our suite of benchmark tests, a bass quality test, driver matching test, binaural test, and a wiring test. The GAME ONE didn't do the best when the bass was boosted to the max, failing to display any parasitic buzz, instead actually rattling the headset around. The frequencies both sounded extremely centered in the driver matching test and all of our judges were usually able to identify the location of the sounds in the binaural test, again, much more accurately when the sounds were in front of you, rather than behind.

The GAME ONE has an excellent microphone.
The GAME ONE has an excellent microphone.

Microphone


Moving on to the microphone quality, the GAME ONE again scored very well and meriting another 8 out of 10 for its top-notch performance, putting it right at the top of the group in this set of tests, which are worth 20% of the overall score.


We started off by having a panel of listeners rate how a recorded message of the same person reading the same script sounded, without knowing which headset generated the recording. We also gathered the opinions of the recipients of our messages when using a common voice chat program. In both cases, almost all of our judges thought the GAME ONE sounded exceptionally great. Only a few judges noticed a tiny amount of buzzing and one noted that the recorded voice sounded slightly flatter than it did in real life. There was only a small amount of feedback when the microphone was tapped and it doesn't overemphasize "T" or "S" sounds.

Lift to mute mics were by far the easiest to use.
Lift to mute mics were by far the easiest to use.

The microphone also does a solid job of only picking up your voice and filtering out external noises. While it will pick up sounds of you eating or a background fan, you can type away on a mechanical keyboard without issue. There is only a slight amount of noise on the other end when you mute the mic and while it will pick up the sounds of other people talking in the room with you, the side conversations are transmitted at a much lower level and won't overpower the sounds of the game you are playing.

Quick adjustments were preferred while deep into a game. You don't always have time to futz with programs to get the sound right.
Quick adjustments were preferred while deep into a game. You don't always have time to futz with programs to get the sound right.

Ease of Use


For our final testing metric, accountable for 10% of the total score, we looked at how easy it is to actually use and operate each of these products. We based the score for each headset on the presence of onboard or in-line controls, the cord length and if it is detachable, and the convenience of using the microphone. The GAME ONE again is one of our favorites, earning a 7 out of 10 for its excellent performance, again putting it near the apex of the entire group.


This headset has onboard controls right on the headphones, allowing you to both adjust the volume and mute the mic, which is done by simply lifting the mic up and out of the way. The cord on this product is plenty long, measuring in at 9.65 ft. and is detachable. However, the mic is not detachable and it doesn't have the ability to enable a mic sidetone, but we never really found this to be a problem with the open back design.

Value


While this is an excellent headset, it isn't the best value option, pairing a premium performance with a premium price.

Conclusion


All in all, you can't go wrong with the GAME ONE — if you can afford it. It's comfortable, has great audio and microphone quality, and is incredibly easy to use. Additionally, you can also consider the GAME ZERO — essentially the identical headset with a closed-back design, if you are too bothered by ambient noises while playing.


David Wise and Austin Palmer