The Gameskulls GS-1
Three things are very important when you enter the virtual battlefield; the ability to hear your enemy's foot steps, the ability to communicate with your fellow combatants, and protection from a flying energy drink can when you frag the guy two rows away from you. I know you are all thinking... does such a thing exist? It does now my friends. Allow me to introduce the Gameskulls G-1 Tactical Gaming Helmet. And at $69.95 this kind of protection comes cheap, much cheaper than the lunch money pilfered off you in school all those years... nerd. Bet you wish you had this helmet back then, I know I do.
Solid Plastic Design
Fully Adjustable for Any Size Head
50 MM Speaker Magnets
Gold Plated 1/8" Jacks
Compatible with all Modern Sound Cards
The helmet is packaged in a shiny black box with the Gameskulls logo proudly emblazoned upon on it, but one of the first things I noticed about my newly acquired package was that it was a bit heavy. I didn't expect that. I have to admit that when I first saw the helmet on the Gameskulls website I thought it was going to be an thin plastic shell with some headphones attached to it; boy was I surprised... but more about that later on. Upon opening the box I noticed that the helmet is very well protected.
Not only does it come protected by a plastic liner, it is also inside of a very handy Gameskulls drawstring bag. What better way to protect your sound investment (Get it?) than to have a soft cloth bag to store it in.
Inside the box
Now let's get to the helmet itself. No flimsy thin plastic shell here, the plastic helmet is just a tad shy of 1/8 of an inch thick and is matte black with the Gameskulls logo front and center and an aluminum Gameskulls name badge fastened to the back of the helmet.
I was rather impressed with length and thickness of the audio cable used to wire this guy. It is just a few inches short of 12' long and is not the usual thin, afraid you are going to break it wiring. It has the usual green and pink jack colors for easy identification of the speaker and microphone jacks.
Who came up with this color scheme anyway? Why pink? Out of all of the colors to choose from, who said "Hey pink is a cool color"? I guess what I am trying to say here is that it is a very well made, sturdy helmet that could take the abuse of several thousand flying energy drink cans... or bottles for that matter.
Sound Quality: AudioAlright enough about that. Let's talk about the headphones and their sound quality. The ear cups on this headset are large and made to fit over your ears so that outside sounds are not a distraction. I mean really who needs to hear what your wife or parents have to say... errrr, I mean, what a great way to drown out your kids or brothers and sisters. I think you get the point. I hope you get the point before I get myself into any more trouble.
For the testing I employed the use of my trusty media PC:
AMD 9600 Quad Core CPU
MSI K9A2 CF V2 Motherboard
Western Digital 300GB 10,000 RPM Velociraptor HDD
Soundblaster X-Fi Extreme Music
4GB OCZ 1066 Memory
EVGA 9800 GTX+ Superclocked
Liteon DVD Burner
With Windows 7
My wife's IPOD Nano (No specs here)
and my kids' portable DVD player
I started the testing with my favorite subject of all time... MUSIC. Starting with my PC and the IPOD the music was muddy with the EQ at the flat setting; this was easily fixed on the PC, a few tweaks to the EQ and I was off and running. The IPOD did not fare so well. The speakers chosen for this headset seem to have a strong emphasis on the bass frequency and this leads to the mids being louder than in most other headsets and due to this I was not able to get an acceptable sound from the headset using the IPOD... but hey, this headset wasn't meant to be played on an IPOD -- it was made to frag.
Sound Quality: GamesThe gaming part of this review was a blast. There were rich encapsulating sounds. Don't get me wrong this was not even close to the spacial sound of an environment created by the surround sound headsets available today that will cost you much more money, but it is definitely a great contender in its $69.95 price range with it 2.0 brethren.
Footsteps were loud and clear, cries for help from my team mates were easily distinguished from the air strikes and mortar fire from all around us (I guess I should admit that my team mates heard my cries loud and clear, and I guess sniveling into the microphone had something to do with that), gunfire was crisp and.... well for me it was actually quite deadly, because I found myself paying more attention to the way things sounded than I did playing the game and well... it got me in the dead position more than I cared to be.
And as mentioned in my admission to being a crybaby a few lines up my fellow soldiers were able to respond to my needs due to the superb sensitivity of the microphone included free of charge on this headset (OK it's really not free but you get the picture). Don't take this as a negative comment because even though this isn't a surround setup the environmental audio supplied by the headset will definitely draw you into the game and not disappoint. Just don't follow my lead and sit there and become a blood splatter on a wall because you wanted to listen to all the pretty sounds.
Sound Quality: Movies and Comfort
For the DVD movie portion of the review I decided to watch, or rather listen to Star Wars. That's right, the original Star Wars. Hey.... I never said I wasn't a nerd. Believe me I have had plenty of cans thrown at me. The difference is these days, I grew into my awkward body and I can crush most of you can throwers now. Again, much like the Ipod the mids in this headset seem to stand out more than any other sound range. That didn't distract me from enjoying the movie nor did it diminish the great sound effects created in the Star Wars series. OK I am going to admit it, not only did I watch Star Wars I also watched Revenge of The Sith too. So what, you want to make something of it? Oh hey, what's that? Yep, it's a can flying towards your head. Bet you wish you had my helmet now, huh?
The most important part of any headset is the comfort factor. This is where the review takes a slight detour. Although the G-1 Tactical Gaming Helmet is adjustable via a drawstring type adjuster at the top of the inside of the helmet, it just gets too darn uncomfortable to wear for extended periods of time. After about 45 minutes I had to fold together a grip of paper towels and stick them on the inside of the helmet as the strapping on the inside of the helmet felt like it was digging into my scalp, perhaps some sort of padding covering the webbing would resolve this issue. The worst issue I had with the helmet was how hot it got after just a short period of wearing it. After 30 minutes of gaming I literally had sweat coming off of my head, and if there is anything I hate worse than n00b's... it is sweating while I am gaming. I myself am going to go ahead and drill four holes into the top of the helmet, and I hope this will eliminate any overheating issues.
ConclusionAt $69.95 in their online shop you truly can't go wrong for this very original and unique headset. Speaking of protection, the Gameskulls GS-1 Tactical Gaming Helmet comes with a full one year warranty, covering any and all manufacturing defects. So.... no this doesn't cover using a Dremel tool to carve your favorite "My Little Pony" picture into the helmet and cracking it because you got so excited that it was "turning out just the way you wanted it to". But it does cover the headset not functioning as it was intended to function. The user manual that comes with the helmet explains all of the terms and conditions of the warranty.
In conclusion I have to give major props to Gameskulls. This is a one man operation and he is doing it out of his garage, by himself. He had a dream and he is making it come true. He is not some corporate giant trying to sell you a shoddy piece of........ I'll leave that one alone. He is one of us, he is a gamer, a computer enthusiast, and a nerd just like you and me who thought to himself "Hey what would make me look like a total nerd at LAN's?" (Just kidding Gus). He had a need for something, he created it, he took it to LAN's and the people spoke. They wanted a helmet/headset just like his too. And so my friends we need to stand together strong and proud and salute our brother in battle as he has seen the mountain top and created not only something that gives us the sounds we want from a headset... it gives us the protection we want from rage quitters and the pwned masses worldwide.
Legit Bottom Line: The Gameskulls GS-1 Tactical Gaming Helmet is a breath of fresh air from your run of the mill standard configuration headset. Not only does it catch the attention of everyone around you, it will catch your attention with its sturdy design and above average sound quality, this is of course after a few tweaks to the EQ. While the helmet does tend to make your head get really hot and the webbing in the top tends to dig into your scalp with prolonged use, I think this can be resolved with the addition of 4 or 5 holes in the top of the helmet and some type of pad to cover the webbing. Other than that I had a great time testing the helmet and I am sure you will see me "geeking" around with it at a LAN near you proudly displaying my "Little Mermaid" stickers.