Snakebyte Head:Set 4
Snakebyte has been making gaming peripherals for a few years now, and while they may not be as well known as some of the bigger names, their range is extensive — including chairs, charging packs, controllers and headsets.
On this last point, Snakebyte recently unveiled new dual platform earwear for both Xbox One and PS4. Previous forays into this sector included the 3300S and 3400S stereo headphones, a range which looks to have been superceded by the Head:Set series. This series is clearly aimed at the budget end of the market given the low price point of £17.99, but Snakebyte is hoping that their sleek design will tempt over undecided gamers.
In this new range, the PS4 gets the Head:Set 4, while the Xbox One receives the Head:Set X. We’ll be testing out the blue PS4 version, but other than the green colour scheme on Xbox One, the kit is identical.
As you may expect, the box contains only the basics: the headset, a removable microphone and a manual. The microphone plugs into the left ear with a satisfyingly tight connection, although the flexibility of the microphone itself caused alarm as it produced some worrying crackling noises as we moved it about for the first time, much like a bendy straw.
Fortunately, this appeared to have no impact on its functioning, and after a minute moving the boom about, all of the odd noises stopped and we were left with a very bendable mic. The manual is a single page explaining how to plug the microphone in, along with a few specs — it’s basic, but then so is the headset.
While the materials of the Head:Set 4 aren’t high-end, they are far from tacky. The band is robust and emblazoned with the Snakebyte logo in a tasteful blue design which matches the trim of the cups and the wire. The material used for the cushioning, while not as soft to touch as the leather and faux leather used in more expensive models, is nevertheless reasonable and doesn’t have the nasty synthetic feel of cheap headphones.
Foldable cans make this a far more portable option than some of its bulkier rivals, but you’ll need to detach the microphone first. Each earpiece clicks out of its locked position when folding, but there is already a little movement on each side to support wear. The connecting cable offers a generous 1.2m of slack, while the 3.5mm gold-plated plug is a welcome touch and the microphone boom is meaty.
The main criticism — and the biggest indicator of cost-cutting — is on the volume adjustment dial which feels cheap and plasticky. Even so, the Head:Set 4 could easily pass for two or three times its price on first glance, so you certainly won’t feel like you’re wearing cheap kit.
We really weren’t expecting much from these headphones when it came to output, but Snakebyte has achieved an astonishing sound at such a budget price. The 40mm neodymium drivers provide rich audio which handled the pomp and fanfare of Ni No Kuni 2 without any distortion, and still managed to pack in reasonable bass at the back end.
While the top of the volume scale may not fully satisfy gamers who are looking to pump huge decibels into their ear canals, we cannot fault the Head:Set 4’s tuning. We thought that tinniness may creep in, but the cans projected the game’s orchestra well. There is no noise cancelling, nor would we expect it at this price, but the headphones are large enough to block out a reasonable amount of background noise and let you concentrate on your gaming. We did experience a few cut-outs during play, but this coincided with the controller’s battery running low and once the PS4 pad was fully charged this didn’t reoccur.
Outside of sound quality, the difference between the high and low end of the market can usually be found after a few hours of wear. Snakebyte’s headset is no exception here, and this model will take a while to adjust to since it is simply not as comfortable to wear as cups which have softer pads.
However, the lightweight nature of the Head:Set 4 works in its favour, since the materials don’t weigh down on your head like more bulky rivals do. The discomfort instead comes from the tightness of the cups pressing against your ears, which even the twelve adjustable positions of the headband struggle to offset at either side. Persevere through the first few hours though and you’ll find yourself becoming accustomed to them, and while the headset isn’t ever going to be your first choice for a whole day’s worth of play, you will definitely be able to enjoy a good couple of hours before needing a break.
As with the headphones, the microphone was far better than expected. Voice quality was clear and without distortion, and outperformed a headset almost ten times its price. The straw-like crackling mentioned earlier when moving the mic around didn’t happen again, and while the robustness of the detachable mic remains to be seen over extended use, you would be hard-pressed to find one of comparable quality for the price. The mute toggle can be found on the volume control and worked without issue.
There’s no avoiding the fact that the Head:Set 4 is a piece of kit aimed at those who are strapped for cash, but that doesn’t mean it should be written off. For under twenty quid Snakebyte has created a pair of headphones which will do pretty much everything a gamer wants from them: great sound, decent microphone quality and a stylish design. While not as comfortable for long periods of play as some headphones, they are lightweight and portable and would make a great addition to your peripherals.