Creative Sound Blaster Arena Surround USB Gaming Headset
A soundcard and headset combo which is comfortable to wear but feels flimsy and cheap
- Comfortable, good sound quality, nice software features
- Flimsy build, wobbly microphone
Creative's Sound Blaster Arena Surround USB Gaming Headset is two products in one -- a pair of headphones and a soundcard -- at a reasonable price. It's a good buy.
Price$ 169.95 (AUD)
Creative’s latest foray into the headphone market, the Sound Blaster Arena Surround USB Headset, offers the features of a Sound Blaster sound card — such as X-Fi, Silencer, EAX and VoiceFX audio technologies — in a comfortable headset.
The headphones are attractively designed, with black pleather over the ears and on top of the headband and white plastic for everything in between. Unfortunately the build quality leaves something to be desired, with the plastic feeling thin, flimsy and cheap. The in-line controls include a microphone on/off switch and volume buttons. A circular red LED pulses slowly when the microphone is off and stays solid when it’s on. It’s also worth noting that the volume controls will change the system volume directly, which helps streamline things.
As the headset is aimed at the serious gamer, it also comes with a detachable noise-cancelling microphone that can be rotated upwards when not in use. While the microphone is a welcome addition, it felt a little bit too flimsy and was prone to swinging around and smacking us in the face with any sudden head turns. Gamers who will be staring straight ahead for the majority of their time with the headphones may find this only a minor gripe, however.
The Sound Blaster Arena Surround Headset was comfortable to wear for several hours of music listening and sounded good out of the box when we listened to a selection of tunes from different genres that had a variety of bass levels. After installing the included software, however, sound quality improved noticeably, with heavier bass and a more obvious surround effect thanks to the software’s audio adjustment options.
The accompanying software includes Creative MediaSource 5 — a media converter and organiser — and a trial of Creative Media Toolbox 6 which can be used to tag, record and clean up music by removing noise, hisses and pops. The Creative Entertainment Console is where you’ll find all the options for EAX effects, X-Fi surround and clarity controls, as well as microphone effects such as voice distortion and noise cancellation.
The Sound Blaster Arena Surround USB Gaming Headset is available now for a recommended retail price of $169.95, which, considering you’re paying for a USB soundcard and a comfortable and good quality pair of headphones, seems pretty reasonable.
Follow GoodGearGuide on Twitter: @GoodGearGuide
Join the PC World newsletter!
Gadgets & Things
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 2 Huawei Nova Plus smartphone review
- 3 Apple iPhone 7 Plus review: including Portrait Mode
- 4 Google Daydream View VR full, in-depth review
- 5 Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: Phones just got smarter
Latest News Articles
- Judge paves the way for British hacker's extradition to US
- FBI faces lawsuit because it's stayed mum on iPhone 5c hack
- Early iPhone 7 reviews: You'll miss the headphone jack, but the camera and battery life are tops
- Toshiba's new SSD line features rock-bottom pricing
- Watch out: iOS 10 install is reportedly bricking some iPhones
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- Time to ditch Foxtel and the iQ3: How to replace Foxtel packages with cheaper alternatives
- The top 10 best and worst tech gadgets and products of 2016
- TV of the year award 2016
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTBrand Marketing Manager - Premium Entertainment BrandNSW
- CCTechnical Business Analyst-DevOpsNSW
- TPPL/SQL DeveloperNSW
- TPBusiness Project Manager IntegrationNSW
- CCSenior IT Domain Specialist - Integration - CloudVIC
- CCCloud Solution Architect - Financial Services - Continuous IntegrationNSW
- TPSenior Test Analyst - TAFEQLD
- CCSenior Solution ArchitectVIC
- FTSenior Systems AdministratorWA
- FTProject Control AnalystSA
- FTLevel 3 Support ConsultantNSW
- FTLevel 2 Service DeskNSW
- CCMaster Planner /SchedulerQLD
- FTSecurity Incident / SOC Analyst (Tier 1) - Permanent - North Ryde BasedNSW
- CCSenior Business AnalystSA
- FTCheckpoint Firewall and VPNNSW
- CCProject ManagerNSW
- CCLead DevOps Architect l AWS- Cloud- Linux- Puppet Ansible- JIRA-DatadogNSW
- FT.NET DEVELOPER | MID-SENIOR LEVEL | MEDIA INDUSTRYNSW
- CCDevops EngineerVIC
- TPProject CoordintorVIC
- FTAutomation TesterVIC
- CCWebMethod DeveloperQLD
- CCProject Manager - TelcoVIC
- FTIT Field EngineerNSW