Last year, I had the pleasure of reviewing the TRITTON Detonator headset for the Xbox 360. Though it was, for the most part, a great entry-level headset, long-term use has uncovered an unfortunate structural weakness: it doesn’t maintain integrity when used by someone with a big head. Now, I have what I feel is a larger than average sized head (I need to store all of this incredible brainpower somewhere). This has caused two problems with the old Detonator. First, it has become, as my wife so delicately put it when she tried to use it last week, “stretched out by your massive head.” Second, it has caused the headband to snap. Luckily, the rubber casing around the plastic headband is keeping the unit together, so it is still functional. This year, I have the pleasure of reviewing another TRITTON headset; this time, the Ghost Recon: Future Soldier 7.1 Surround Sound headset, branded (obviously) for use with Ubisoft’s upcoming title.
This is not to say that the headset can or should only be used with Ghost Recon: Future Soldier. You’d think I wouldn’t have to say that, but this being the Internet, you’d be wrong.
Moving on…the TRITTON Detonator was my first real headset outside of the basic Xbox 360 wired chat headset. As far as full headsets capable of conveying game audio as well as chat, it was definitely the first. The TRITTON Ghost Recon: Future Soldier 7.1 Surround Sound headset (hereafter referred to as “the headset” or “the GRFS headset” or perhaps “the magical noise machine,” if I’m feeling saucy) has sparked an epiphany: headsets can have great tactical value. The sound quality of the Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound is incredibly wonderful. When playing a game like Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, sharp and clear directional hearing can save your life more than once. I was able to test the magical noise machine with the Ghost Recon: Future Soldier multiplayer beta and Skyrim, and found it to be both aurally pleasing and incredibly helpful.
Visually, the GRFS headset is very appealing. The backlit Ghost headset pieces add a distinctive visual flair that cannot be denied, while the bright blue wire and blue headband accents tie in to the product quite nicely. The headset comes complete with the installed set of pleather ear cups and head cushion, as well as a full bonus set of “velour” mesh ear cups and head cushion. The tool is included to change, so if the pleather ends up getting a bit warm, you can try a more breathable fabric. The construction of the magical noise machine itself seems quite sturdy and rugged, so far. It definitely has a stronger and more flexible feel to it than the TRITTON Detonator, and hopefully long-term use won’t result in the same snapped headband.
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Now that we’re sliding our way into potential negatives with the GRFS headset, let’s get into a few other areas of concern. This may have been an issue that has other contributing factors, but placing my iPhone near the volume control module resulted in occasional interference with the headset output. Moving on, the backlit earpieces only turn off when you either unplug the headset from the volume control module or turn the hub itself off. If everything remains plugged in, and the Xbox is off, the backlit earpieces still remain active. Unfortunately, unplugging the headset from the volume control module results in you having to power cycle the hub to return functionality to the headset, meaning that the only easy, functional way of turning off the backlit earpieces is to turn off the hub itself. While we’re talking about the hub, there is a very poor design choice. The hub can either lay flat, or be propped up vertically with an included stand attachment. Unfortunately, this stand attachment results in the headset plugin being at the top of the hub, which throws it off balance. A simple tug or adjustment to the headset cable can result in the hub toppling. This doesn’t affect the headset functionality, but it seems to be a very poor design choice. All in all, these are minor inconveniences, however, and hardly deal breaking issues.
The functionality of the headset itself is wonderful. The headset is crisp and clear, with excellent directional sound. The visual flair is very appealing, while the total package includes quite a bit more than just a headset. Built rugged and sturdy, one can only hope that it is capable of sustaining a long and full life. Certain design elements, like the hub when using the stand, seem to be either poor choices or oversights, and it could be more convenient as far as turning it on and off is concerned, but in the end, the headset itself functions wonderfully and the concerns are minor. At $179.99, it’s a big step up from the TRITTON Detonator’s entry level price, but if you play often, and you play seriously, this headset may just save your e-life.
|Excellent directional sound|
Great sound quality
|Poorly designed hub|
Can't turn off backlight without turning off hub
Slightly inconvenient power on/off