Zowie Gear Hammer e-Sports Headset Reviewhardnrg - November 23, 2009
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You know what, it's very hard to fault the Hammer headset at all. It doesn't require drastic EQ adjustment to sound good, and sounds better still with a touch more bass and treble. The mic boom and mic housing are very solid and look and feel like they could take a beating as well as hold up during regular usage (I'm looking at you, Medusa!) The circumaural design means that the Hammer doesn't press down on my ears, which doesn't lead to the ear pinnae fatigue I get from wearing supra-aural headphones and headsets for several hours. Being able to adjust the headband infinitely meant that I could get the earpads in exactly the right position on my head, and the headband does not flex inwards so much to produce too much pressure either side of my head, but is not too loose, so it feels comfortable and secure on my head. The microphone picks up my voice very clearly and certainly proved to work very well whilst playing games online. I feel like I could go on for ever listing the merits of this headset, but I should stop, it's Hammer time (sorry... couldn't resist, again!)
This headset isn't perfect though. The fact that the headphones provide almost no level of sound isolation could pose a problem if you have a noisy computer, have an air-conditioner running nearby, if there are noisy kids in the house, etc etc. If you are playing a game where you need to keep your ears peeled, listening out for footsteps or other distant/feint sounds, having the real world intrude upon your ears could mean that you don't hear the subtle sounds, and possibly lose your competitive edge. Playing in a quiet room would solve this, but we all know this is not always possible (maybe not ever for some people!)
The high frequency response was a little disappointing, and I think the headphones would be more engaging if the top end performance was improved, as they would seem more bright and lively, rather than performing very well only in the bass and mid frequencies. This is, admittedly, a bit of a harsh criticism. I realize that the retail price of the Hammer headset means that the headphones aren't going to be reference-class quality, but I hope to see Zowie Gear develop more headset products in the future, and have some higher end headphone speaker drivers on offer.
If the headphones provided decent sound isolation from the real world, and the high end response was a bit better, I would recommend the headset as the best you can get. As I've tried to stress in this conclusion, the shortcomings are actually minor, and I found the headset hard to fault. You can really tell a lot of thought, design and consideration went into developing the Zowie Gear Hammer headset, and it all paid off as Zowie Gear have produced a headset worthy of the professional gamer. I have never played games professionally, but I used to play Unreal Tournament (99 and 2k4) on the European leagues for about a year, and I understand the importance of a decent headset when the matches matter. I would personally use the Hammer headset over any headset or headphone+mic setup I own when playing online games, and I hope Zowie Gear continue to grow and produce further outstanding headsets.
- High quality sound without requiring EQ adjustment
- Heavy duty mic boom and flexible headband design can withstand rough handling
- Comfortable fit and feel for extended gaming sessions
- Included alternative velvety earpads are even more comfortable
- Very good value for money, especially when compared to similarly priced products
- Sound leakage into the headphones could be distracting/confusing when playing games