Ozone Oxid Gaming Headset Review
Reviewed by: Indybird
Reviewed on: September 26, 2010
A headset is a key part in any PC gamer's setup. They offer hands free online communication and clear, personal audio, while staying relatively cheap. Most gamers will find themselves with a basic wireless headset that probably doesn’t completely fulfill their audio needs. Generic headsets commonly have terrible microphone quality and mediocre audio quality at best. Buying a premium and/or gaming-oriented headset guarantees a more desirable gaming experience. You’ll find better mic and audio quality, along with other features such as better comfort, inline controls and more.
Today we have the Oxid Professional Gaming headset from Ozone, maker of professional gaming products. The Oxid takes the premium and/or gaming route and offers an adjustable headband, padded ear-cups, retractable microphone and a built in USB sound card. This sounds like perfect addition to a standard gaming setup. Let’s see how it fits in with the already populated gaming headset market.
The Ozone Oxid comes in medium sized box with a red and black color scheme. Around the front you get the name and a nice large picture off the headset in action. Around the back you get a very detailed diagram of the headset. Along the bottom you have the basic specifications in five languages. The left side gives you a quick run-down of the Oxid’s special features while the right side has a window to the inside of the box. The front opens up to reveal a full-on view of the headset.
Inside the package you’ll find the headphones, manual and drivers CD. Being that the headphones are USB powered and have integrated audio processing, the whole package remains fairly simple.
Opening up the box you find the headset all by itself; no driver CDs, manuals, extra cables, etc. So without further ado, let's check out the actual headset.
The Ozone Oxid is a pretty solid looking headset upon first inspection. The outside of each ear is coated in a smooth rubber texture, which provides a premium feel. In addition to the large O3 logo on the outside, each ear has a soft ear-pad. The head-band also has a soft leather-like padding and is supported by a plastic band. Each ear is adjustable by about 1.5” or (40mm).
The microphone is definitely the most unique feature of the Oxid. When not in use you can “retract” the microphone into the earcup, to keep it out of the way. The mic itself is on a flexible boom. On the end there is a white ring that lights up red when the mic is in use.
Though an inline volume control isn’t uncommon, the Oxid’s inline volume control (with a rubber texture) also has additional media controls. This makes it perfect to control your music while gaming, you don’t have to even worry about keyboard media controls. Another interesting thing about the inline volume is that the volume up, volume down, and mute simply control the windows volume instead of adjusting it only on the headset. Around the back you have your mic-mute toggle. On the end of the cable you’ll find a gold-plated USB connector (the gold plating is just for looks, it technically does not make a difference in performance).
The headset overall is quite light, giving an initial impression of being cheap. The headset otherwise seems to be built solidly. Installation should also be as easy as it gets being that it does not need special drivers. Let's see how it performs.
6.0 x 2.8mm
- Inline controller with volume, mute, subwoofer, media and micrphone control
- Adjustable Headband
- Perforated material in headband
- Gold Plated USB
All information courtesy of Ozone @ http://www.ozonegaming.com/product.php?id=3
To test the Ozone Oxid Gaming Headset I’m primarily play some games, but I’ll also test some music for pure sound quality. Since the headset has integrated audio processing, I won’t have to worry about the influence of the test system’s audio card.
- Processor: AMD Phenom II X4 955 BE
- Cooling: Noctua NH-U12P
- Motherboard: ASUS M4A89GTD USB3
- Memory: Mushkin Blackline 996782 PC3 12800 2x2GB
- Video Card: XFX HD5870 1GB
- Power Supply: OCZ 700W Modular Power Supply
- Hard Drive: 1 x Seagate 750GB SATA
- Optical Drive: Lite-on DVD-RW SATA
- OS: Windows Vista Ultimate 64-Bit
To test out the Oxid’s gaming performance I started up Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 for PC. When I got into a match, I was pleasantly surprised by the clarity of the Oxid. Low explosions, mid gunshots, and high bullet sounds all came through quite clear. As far as I could tell, there was no major imbalance. The explosions went pretty low too; enough to shake the ear pieces at full volume. Other players voices also came through as clear as their own mic-quality permitted.
Lastly I threw on various types of music to test the pure audio quality; some classical pieces, some 70's rock, and some electronic music. I started with Camille Saint-Saëns’ Samson and Delila. This song was pretty clear. Violins and woodwinds came through as clearly as they should. The booming timpani and string basses also sounded quite good. Even with the great highs and lows, the mids were not lost, so the cellos and brass were right up front. Moving onto the 70's Rock, I threw on Us and Them from Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon”. I was fairly impressed by the clarity of the vocals here. The saxophone stood way out as I can only assume it was intended to. Guitar and chorus vocals were also very balanced. Lastly, I put on some electronic music; and for that I put on Propane Nightmares from Pendulum’s “In Silico”. The headphones continued to perform pretty well. It is the same case as with the other songs; balanced highs, mids and lows. I did however notice that the deep bass wasn’t really there, but then again not many headphones can produce that.
Testing the microphone quality I found it to be fairly bad. During online chats, friends said that my voice sounded broken up and even muffled. Performing a simple recording with Windows Sound recorder yielded the same results.
In audio quality the Ozone Oxid definitely holds its own, despite the bad microphone performance. Comfort wise the headset is not quite as spot-on. Being fairly light weight you can’t really feel them resting on top of your head. However the ear-cups seem to be half-way between circumaural and supra-aural. The don’t really go around your ear, but are too big to simply rest on your ear. Being that the top band doesn’t “clamp” much they end up resting awkwardly on your ear and easily falling off if you move your head.
The Ozone Oxid proved to be a fairly even mix of pros and cons. On the upside you get great audio quality. Games and Music sounded about how they should. The inline controls were also a very welcome feature. Even during testing I found the media controls to be quite useful. The retracting mechanism on the microphone worked pretty well, keeping it out of the way when it was not needed. The lack of need for drivers and literal plug-and-play installation were nice, making it a very versatile headset.
However, the headset was not with out its downfalls. The first and main issue is the microphone quality. It was very much below par, and with even the slightest compression, such as in online gaming, your voice becomes garbled and intelligible. Next was its ergonomics. Despite being a light-weight headset, the half-way clamping design of the ears make them rest awkwardly on the top of your ear. Aside from the comfort issue, this design makes it easy for the headset to fall off of your head.
Overall, the headset is decent. For around $45 you’ll get a set of features not typically found in that price range, and well above average audio quality. But even with these desirable pluses, the microphone quality, and comfort issues make this a tough buy.
- Good Audio Quality
- Solid Appearance
- Retractable Microphone
- Inline volume AND media controls
- No drivers; literally plug-and-play
- Microphone quality is poor
- Not particularly comfortable
- Falls off of head easily