Sennheiser PC163D G4ME headset
Sennheiser PC 163D G4ME review: This headset from Sennheiser has a USB dongle that delivers virtual 7.1 Dolby surround sound
- Comfortable, good sound quality, Dolby Headphone USB dongle adds a nice soundstage to gaming audio
- Open design leaks a fair amount of sound, the surround effect is poor for music
Sennheiser's PC163D G4ME headset is not for music listeners -- the surround sound effect of the Dolby Headphone USB dongle altered our music in a way we didn't like, and with the setting turned off we still found the audio a little dull. For gaming, though, it's an excellent choice -- it's a relatively lightweight headset that responds well to the booming bass and loud sound effects of PC gaming audio, and the microphone is of decent quality.
Price$ 259.95 (AUD)
Sennheiser's PC 163D G4ME headset is a solid product for a gamer looking to embrace 3D positional audio — the bundled Dolby Headphone USB dongle simulates 7.1-surround sound. We preferred playing fast-paced PC games with the software boost enabled, but it did strange things to our test music. The headphones are comfortable, have good audio quality overall and are comfortable, although they leak sound at high volumes.
Sennheiser PC 163D G4ME: Design and construction
The Sennheiser PC 163D G4ME headset is an on-the-ear design, with the ear-cups resting against your ear rather than your head. This means it's smaller and lighter than a headset like the Sennheiser PC 360 G4ME, but it's also marginally less comfortable. The headset is sturdily built, but our one concern is with the small range of movement offered by the headset's earpieces — they don't swivel and only have a small range of motion away from the headband. The band itself is flexible and easily adjustable for larger or smaller heads.
Sennheiser PC 163D G4ME: Sound quality
Like the Sennheiser PC 161 headphones that have been our long-time beater PC headset around the office, the Sennheiser PC 163D G4ME has good sound quality that's well suited to the punchy audio of PC games and blockbuster movies. It's not as clear or as deeply bassy as the Sennheiser PC 360 G4ME headset we tested at the same time, but it's also half the price. We'd say that bass is overall the strongest aspect of these headphones — explosions are well represented — but this has the effect of drowning out a little of the clarity of mid-range and treble.
Because of the on-the-ear design the Sennheiser PC 163D headset has an open ear-cup and leaks audio. It won't be a problem at moderate listening volumes, but if you're blasting out some PC games at full volume your boss or co-workers might not be impressed.
The swing-down boom microphone of the Sennheiser PC 163D is good — our test recordings were entirely audible and no clipping occurred — but in comparison to the Sennheiser PC 360D it's slightly muffled, with less overall clarity. It'll do a perfectly acceptable job for team chat and video calls, but we wouldn't use it to record a podcast.
Sennheiser PC 163D G4ME: Dolby Headphone 7.1 sound
As well as its microphone/headphone jacks, the Sennheiser PC 163D G4ME comes with a USB sound card supporting Dolby Headphone and 7.1 virtual surround sound. The virtual sound setting can be enabled and disabled easily via software — it basically mixes stereo audio to a virtual surround sound mapping, downmixes it to stereo again and outputs it to the headphones. The Dolby Headphone mix adds a small amount of extra separation between audio channels — it's easier to hear what's behind you, what's to your left and to your right. It's an audio processing trick that purists will find tiresome — and it doesn't have a pleasant effect on music — but gamers will appreciate the increased in-game awareness it fosters.
Sennheiser PC 163D G4ME: Conclusion
The Sennheiser PC 163D G4ME headset is a competent headset for gamers, and the inclusion of the Dolby Headphone-enabled USB sound card makes positional audio in games a little more realistic. We wouldn't pick them for music listening, but otherwise the Sennheiser PC 163D G4ME is a decent choice for PC use.
Become a fan of GoodGearGuide on Facebook
Follow GoodGearGuide on Twitter: @GoodGearGuide
Stay up to date with the latest reviews. Sign up to GoodGearGuide’s Gear Daily newsletters
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Bose SoundLink on-ear Bluetooth headphones
- 2 Apple iPhone 6 Plus: An in depth review
- 3 Medion Akoya P2214T (MD99430) hybrid laptop
- 4 Motorola Moto G (2nd Gen.) android smartphone
- 5 HTC One Mini 2 android smartphone
Best Deals on GoodGearGuide
Latest News Articles
- Apple to stop SSL 3.0 support for push notifications soon
- Xiaomi moving data outside China following privacy concerns
- At Austin airport, Wi-Fi predicts how long the security line will be
- The best Apple iPad Air 2 plans: Vodafone v Telstra v Optus
- Twitter weaves Fabric, but will developers be drawn in?
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.
- FTBusiness ManagerNSW
- FTMarketing Communications Operations Manager - Global Tech Market leaderNSW
- FTDigital Account ExecutiveNSW
- FTBusiness Development Manager | Sales ManagerNSW
- FTPartner Marketing Communications Manager - Leading Global Tech BrandNSW
- FTTechnical Marketing ManagerNSW
- FTSales Account ExecutiveNSW
- CCConsumer Product Marketing ManagerNSW
- FTAccount ExecutiveNSW
- FTBusiness development manager - retargettingNSW