The EasySMX ESM-V350 is a budget friendly headset that will set you back £17.99, but are they worth your attention?
In the box
Included with the headset you get a users manual and a 3.5mm microphone combo cable. The cable will allow you to use the headset with PS4, Xbox One and PC.
Design and Build
The style of the V350 is definitely orientated towards gamers, as its a gaming headset. Looking at the housing and the first thing a large mesh section with a tasteful Red accent. Honestly I know I’ve complained about Red as an accent colour before and its the same case here, I wish it was a different and perhaps a little more colour neutral. That way it would appeal to more people as it would fit in with more setups. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate Red as a rule, but its far too overdone at this point.
The previously mentioned mesh is made from metal, which is a surprise at this price and to be honest not what I was expecting (but in a good way). This mesh is surrounded by a glossy Black finish and more mesh accent pieces. The mesh is also hiding away a logo. This is hard to see until you plug in the USB and see it glow Red. Its a nice touch and ties in well with the overall theme of the headset.
The one thing that I’m not keen on is the faux brushed metal accents. It sticks out from the design too much and makes the design look a little incoherent. If they would have stuck with the glossy finish it would have looked a little nicer. But that’s just my opinion and you may quite like it.
On the left side is the microphone, I’ll tell you about the quality later on, but again its design and build surprised me. Its made from metal and is very flexible. You can pretty much move it into any position and it’ll stay there. Its honestly much better designed and built than would have expected at the low price point. My only criticism again is the colour finish. Its Silver so it matches the accents, but to be honest I would have preferred it if it was Black. But again that’s just a personal preference.
Also on the left side is a volume control wheel. This again is finished in Red and its made from plastic. But as scroll wheels go, its quite decent. Its easy enough to adjust the volume and because its textured its really easy to locate and use.
Moving round onto the headband and there is a bit of branding on the support arm. Its not too in your face and doesn’t stand out too much. This section is also glossy Black and made from plastic. Its not the highest quality plastic, but it feels solid and robust.
This then moves around onto the headband. Its a split design with a metal bridge and and soft suspension style support. This looks nice and fits the overall design quite nicely.
There is some branding on the top side of the suspension section and also a Red section on the inner side. This also has some padding, but I’ll tell you have that affects comfort in the next section.
Onto the cable next and there is plenty strain relief at the top. This means that its unlikely to break during use. The cable itself is quite thick and feels pretty durable. Its also around 1.7m long before it reaches the split section. So its plenty long enough for use at PC and for console if you have a smaller room.
The split section is again surrounded by some nice strain relief and here its splits to a USB and 3.5mm jack. This can be used with console. You then have the option to use the included adapter to get microphone on PC. If you don’t want to use the mic, then you don’t need to use the adapter.
As a whole the design is pretty basic, but they look quite nice and are very well made for the low cost.
Is a big selling point for these and they are much more comfortable than I thought they were going to be. The earcups have some nice soft and deep padding. Its finished in a faux leather, which is surprisingly smooth. Usually on cheaper headset the finish is rough and quite fatiguing, but not here and they are the exact opposite.
The opening is fairly large and fits over my ears quite nicely. I don’t have the largest of ears so for me it’s okay, if you do have larger ears then they might be on the small side.
Clamping force is also quite well judged. Its not overly tight and not too loose. This means that they sit well and don’t slide around during head movement. Plus they don’t squeeze your head and cause any fatigue or discomfort.
Onto the headband next and its pretty good again. The suspension design works well and it sits comfortably on your. The padding isn’t amazing but because the suspension isn’t rigid, it flexes around your head quite nicely. It also does a decent job at distributing the headsets 305g/0.67lb (without cable) weight across your head.
My only slight criticism of the comfort is how warm they get. After around 2 hours of use they can start to get a little warm. So regular short breathers is something you should do.
Isolation and Leak
Isolation is okay, they manage to block out typing noise from my Coolermaster Masterkeys Pro L mechanical keyboard and also the noise from my PC. Even when my PC is at full tilt you can’t hear it. Keep in mind that this is whilst gaming and there is audio playing. If there in no audio, then of course you can hear background noises more prominently.
Leak doesn’t matter over a lot in a gaming headset as you’re likely to use these solo in your room. So if that is how you use them, then there is nothing worry about. Even so the leak is not unbearable and in the acceptable range.
The mic has one issue that I’m going to outline before I start. The mic has a small Red light on the end that is supposed to glow when the mic is active. However, when you plug in the USB, the mic lights up, even though the mic cable is not plugged in. This could be pretty bad if you want a chat and then release that the mic is not even plugged in, even though its illuminating. What I think they should have done is only allow the mic to be lit up when the mic cable is present and connected. That way there is no confusion to whether the mic is on or off.
But once you’ve figured out that issue the mic quality isn’t too bad. I’ve done a recording below and that is unedited. So you’ll get a rough idea of what the mic sounds like. I think its decent. I had the gain set to +10dB with volume set to 100%. The low end frequency pickup isn’t amazing and there is a fair amount of noise, but for a quick Skype chat or game chat with your friends, its not too bad at all.
I have also done another sample with a keyboard pickup test and you can hear just how little keyboard noise the mic actually picks up. Again the mic was set to +10 gain and 100% volume.
I am having one serious issue with the mic though. Whenever I plug the audio and mic in at the same time the PC goes a little nuts. I get a lot of pop ups via Realtek audio that says I’ve plugged in a sub. It then carries on in this cycle until you’ve unplugged them. It doesn’t do this if they are plugged in on their own, its only when they are both in my PC at the same time.So maybe there is a fault with the cable adapter or possibly the headset. I did rule out any software issues by trying a similar headset in the same scenario and that didn’t bring up the same problem. I’m thinking its a isolated incident as I haven’t seen anyone else reporting this issue.
Gaming with this headset is a mixed bag. Some games are fine, while others they don’t cope well. The games it did okay with are Batman Arkham Knight and Rise of the Tomb Raider. These games don’t require as much awareness of your surroundings as a game like Overwatch or PUBG. For Batman they were pretty good, they have enough bass to keep things interesting and you can pick out where things are happening. In more intense situations they don’t cope too well and can be quite easily overwhelmed. This makes hearing certain things a little more difficult. Luckily Batman is a type of game where this is less frequent. The same can be said for Tomb Raider as well.
They also did fairly well for PUBG, as long as there wasn’t a plane overhead or explosion. Most of the time PUBG is quiet, unless you’re being shot at. But they cope well and they did a decent job of being able to pick out enemy positions. Again if there is a lot of noise this can be a bit tricky as plane noise and explosions can be overwhelming. So if you’re using them, you have to rely more on sight in noisier situations. To clarify. If you’re in a house and all is quiet, then you can pick out where the enemy is quite easily. But as soon as there is a lot of noise, they fall apart and it becomes hard to pick out enemies positions and makes you feel a little more vulnerable.
Its the exact same thing in Overwatch too. In a six vs six match there is a lot going on and there is noise everywhere. With the headset its too hard to pick up where things are happening and again it puts you at a disadvantage. If you do get a moment of peace then things become a little easier, but in OW that is not often, especially when you’re in the thick of it.
So if you play casual games that are slower paced and don’t need as much awareness of what is happening, then they are good and fairly enjoyable to use. They aren’t going to blow you away with amazing quality, but for the price they are good.
As a whole these are a decent headset. Yes they have their issues and in my case, one quite severe one. But as I’ve mentioned that I think this is an isolated incident. The other issues include the mixed gaming experience and some design elements.
Other than that they are solid budget headset. They are well built, comfortable, perform well for isolation, don’t leak too much and have a decent mic for the price. The sound is okay depending on the type of games you play. If its games like CSGO, OW and PUBG, then you maybe be better off looking elsewhere. But if you play titles like ROTR, Batman, Grid etc then they are decent.
So should you buy some, its tough. For casual use in games that are less competitive, then they’re worth a look. If you play co-op games and titles that require situational awareness, then I’d look elsewhere.
Pick up a pair here via Amazon UK
EasySMX V350 3.5mm Wired Gaming Headset