SteelSeries Spectrum 7XB Gaming Headset - User Experience
To test the Spectrum 7XB we listed to sources of varying quality; from games, streaming media and high definition moves. All our testing was carried out on an Xbox 360®, which of course is the primary platform for which the Spectrum 7XB is designed for. (It is also compatible with the PC and PS3 as a headphones)
Playing games with the Spectrum 7XB was an excellent experience. The Spectrum 7XB includes a feature that SteelSeries called ExactSND™. This provides four pre-set equalizer settings which can be used for different types of content. For gaming playing we can use either Performance or Immersion.
When set to the performance ExactSND™ setting the Spectrum 7XB offers enhanced clarity for directional sounds and gunfire. This of course is designed for first person shooter games, and when we used this setting for Modern Warfare 2 we found that we were easily able to identify which direction the onscreen action was coming from.
The immersion ExactSND™ setting offers enhanced bass and is also optimized for in game sound. This setting really had us rocking when we were in the thick of the action with explosions sounding really effective.
Even on normal mode, which doesn't have any equalizer modifications, the Spectrum 7XB sounded great across a number of games.
Voice chat through the Spectrum 7XB was very good. Our voice was captured cleanly via the uni-directional microphone with minimal background noise being heard. The Spectrum 7XB also offers the SteelSeries LiveMix™ feature we saw on the 5XB. LiveMix™, when enabled, will manage the volume levels of voice chat and in game sound on the fly. This ensures that we can thoroughly enjoy the in game sound without worrying that we might miss a key comment from our friends.
Movies & Streaming Content
The final ExactSND™ setting is Entertainment, which is optimized for watching movies or listening to music. The entertainment setting offers enhanced bass levels and environmental sound.
We watched several high definition movies on our Xbox 360® as well as streaming content via Sky Player. The Spectrum 7XB performed well regardless of the type of playback it was being asked to handle.
From big summer blockbusters to live sporting events the sound through the Spectrum 7XB was excellent. The sound tracks were crisp and clean, the explosions and other special effects were well realised through the Spectrum 7XB.
Setting up the Spectrum 7XB to use only took minutes. Once we had unpacked the headset and plugged the wireless transmitter into our Xbox 360® we only had to connect the 3.5mm stereo cable into our TV (via the RCA splitter provided) and install the two AAA batteries we were up and running. The Spectrum 7XB comes pre-paired with the wireless transmitter, so we didn't have to undertake any pairing activity.
Although the Spectrum 7XB offers 3.5mm stereo connection, instead of using the optical link available from the Xbox 360®, we found the sound quality to be excellent. The range of the Spectrum 7XB is approximately 30ft and we found that at around this range the sound became broken and then stopped. Within that range the transmitter works extremely well, and we didn't experience any drop of sound or interruption even if we moved to another room while listening.
Like many other SteelSeries headsets we've reviewed the Spectrum 7XB is extremely comfortable to wear. The large padded headband is comfortable and the large earcups fit comfortably over our ears. During extended gameplay or while watching movies we didn't experience any discomfort.
Unlike other wireless headsets the Spectrum 7XB doesn't have any re-charging capability. The two AAA batteries included are standard and will offer around 20 hours of continued use. To ensure that we get the most out of our battery life the Spectrum 7XB will automatically shut down after approximately five minutes of inactivity.
Breaking down the Spectrum 7XB takes seconds and ensures that during travel we can secure the headset in the minimal amount of space.