Xiberia K5 USB Gaming Headphones will allow you to get into gaming without breaking the bank.
I have been a fan of video games for as far back as I can remember, starting with the original NES. I steadily progressed through the home and portable consoles and dabbled in PC gaming. Some of my fondest memories, as a youth, were spent interacting with my father, while he played PC games. My favorite memories are of Kings Quest VI and the logic/mythological style gameplay. This pastime is one that my two boys and I enjoy to this day, whether we are playing War Robots, other iOS games or Minecraft/steam games on my PC. We have multiple Bluetooth headsets to use with my iPhone 7 Plus, iPad Pro 10.5 and our pair of iPad Mini 4’s. I have historically relied on desktop speakers for sound during PC gaming, and I was thus very excited to get to try out the USB powered Xiberia X K5 headset.
The headset arrived in an 8 13/16 inches wide by 9 inches tall by 4 3/8 inches thick box. Along the cover is a representation of the gaming headphones, on a flat black background. The color palette is very Ironman-esque, with silver colored edges, black ear cups, chrome inlay and red accents. There is a dark grey appearing microphone that juts out from the left ear cup and a single cord that connects towards the bottom of the left ear cup. Rotating the package ninety degrees counterclockwise, you will notice a few icons detailing the features of the device: 40mm driver, soft earbuds, the utility for music/gaming/movies and some noise canceling properties. The opposing side provides the tech specs for the headphones, which appear to be reasonable. The back provides a multilingual overview of the product features (self-regulating headband, 50mm speaker unit, LED lighting), cautions (use the headset at a reasonable volume) and a poorly translated attention section.
To access the headphones, you will need to remove the slipcover from the box and open up the internal grey box. Inside, you will find a thin felt bag (with handles) containing the headphones. The bag has the Xiberia logo and a very large teal X along the front. Once removed, you can choose to use this to store your headphones, or you can discard it. Besides the headphones, the only other objects inside of the box are a warranty card (Chinese writing only) and instruction manual (English and Chinese). The manual does a good job at detailing the features of the headphones. There is a black soft memory foam headband, microphone off the left earmuff, a 2.2 meter long USB A cable, and volume control box. It is important to note that these are for computer use only and will only work via a USB type-A port on a computer. The main volume box has three features, a microphone on and microphone off button as well as a volume control, which independent of your computers volume settings. There is a red LED ring that is present along the edges of the chrome inlay.
I excitedly removed the headphones from the packaging and placed them over my ears. You will notice an L and R imprinted along the edges of the earmuffs. The soft headband will automatically adjust to the size/shape of your head and should accommodate any sized cranium. The earmuffs are incredibly soft (memory foam) and fully enclose the ears, providing the noise canceling features. It is important to note that these are not active noise canceling headphones (ANC), and are also not surround sound speakers. When it comes to comfort, I do not know that I have felt a more comfortable pair. There is no internal battery to this device, and thus it is lighter than many of the Bluetooth over-ear headphones that I have tried (13 ounces). Plugging the device into a USB port, the LED will illuminate, and the headphones are ready to be utilized.
This device did not directly plug and play on either my MacBook Pro or my Desktop PC. To utilize this device on my MacBook Pro, I had to select the Apple Icon along the top left, navigate to system preferences, sounds and select the USB Audio input and USB Audio output options. I did not mind doing this the first time but was a little annoyed when this was required each time I plugged the device into my computer. ON my PC I typed Hardware and Sound in the bar along the bottom, and then selected “Manage Audio Devices.” Within the sound box, I clicked USB Audio device, selected default and then selected the “okay” option. If you wish to change back to speakers, you will need to repeat the steps for the PC or simply unplug the USB device on the Macbook. The only way you know that the headphones are functional is the red LED along the edges. The microphone along the left earmuff is poseable and you can tuck this upwards into the built-in microphone clip. This feature was really convenient, to prevent dangling of the microphone. I did not notice the LED in the tip of the microphone until the second time that I used the headphones. There is no way to turn on/off the LED, there is also no dimming features. If you press the microphone off button, the LED at the tip will extinguish. However, the LED along the outer edge of the earmuffs will remain on while the device is powered. You will not notice the side lights, but you will notice the light on the tip of the Microphone. Luckily the weight of the cord is minuscule as the microphone light is the only thing you will notice about the headset. The length of the cord is very reasonable and should work very well for most computer users. These headphones only have a USB port and will not work for my Xbox One, unfortunately.
When it comes to sound, the device is stereo and not 7.1 surround sound. The bass is acceptable to good, and the treble/high tones are somewhat sharp at times and muffled at other times. At higher volumes, the quality was very metallic/tinny. There is a difference if you have the sound at max on the headphones and use your computer volume to find a good level as compared to the corollary. This was a moderate let down, as these headphones proved to be incredibly comfortable. I turned to audiocheck.net to test the Left/Right/Center channels and the high and low-frequency range of the headphones. The device tested appropriately, and I was able to hear from 20Hz to 17kHz, which is good for my age (remember upper range diminishes with age and ear trauma). I do not like that the volume of the computer and the headphones are not linked. I can crank up the volume on the computer and turn the volume off completely to the headphones or vice-a-versa. You can adjust them to taste, but you do not get a good representation of the decibel level that you are experiencing. Most sources recommend to not listen to above 85 decibels for very long (can listen for about 8 hours before damage begins). For each 3-decibel increase, you can cut that amount of time into half. For more information about safety, please check out the dangerousdecibels.org website and the Noisy Planet website.
I did listen to my usual test tracks with the headphones and found the sound to be average to good. I was not blown away by the sound output, but they did get the job done. Again, there is no surround sound feature to these headphones. Cee Lo Green “Bright Lights Bigger City,” was not terrible, but it sounded muffled and less dynamic than with many of the recent headphones I have tested. Pentatonix “Bohemian Rhapsody” sounded pretty good actually. However, “Chandelier” sung Acapella by Twisted Measure, sounded just okay. The fullness of sound experienced with my over-ear Bose AE2, and many of the Bluetooth in-ear sets (1 More, iClever), provide a richer, fuller more dynamic sound. The microphone seemed to pick up sound quite well and proved to be omnidirectional. Gaming was reasonable with these headphones, but there is a lack of microphone sensitivity and adjustment that feels lacking. The microphone did work well for Facetime conversations as well as during gaming. I was pleased with the feature and had no complaints. The ability to tuck the microphone along the earmuff is quite convenient and rather ingenious.
The headphones seem to be a rather good deal for the sub $40 value as seen on Amazon at the time of this review. I do not know that I would pay much more than that (listing price $115). I wish that the sound was a little better as the comfort is outstanding. Personally, it felt as if I was not wearing anything over my ears, after 2 hours of listening/use. I have used these headphones for nearly all of my computer work for the past 1 week and had no issues with the cables or with the USB A end. The cable is very thick, yet not heavy. The USB end has a cable protector at the junction point to decrease chances that the cord will snap/break/fray. The buttons are very sensitive and worked flawlessly. It would be nice to be able to turn on/off the LED for the entire device, but they are not obnoxious and really did not notice that they were even on. I would mostly have to agree with others about the sound. Even at this price, the sound needs some work. I could allow the quality to pass if surround, but these are simply stereo speakers. If you are looking for a budget system that will allow you to have a good microphone with passable sound, this kit will likely do you well. The adjustable microphone is an added perk. If you are an audiophile, definitely consider saving money and investing in a higher tier headset. I would rate this device at 3.5/5 stars, with major focus on comfort.
A lapel clip on the back of the button control would be a nice added feature as would an LED off switch. I was torn between a rating of a 3 and a 4. It is better than a 3, but also not a true/solid 4.
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