Logitech offers a cheaper solution for 7.1 surround sound by ditching some bells and whistles and keeping what makes their premium headsets great.
Leather, even faux leather, comes at a premium that most headset buyers aren’t willing to shell out. Luckily, Logitech’s G430 surround-sound headset offers the same quality and comfort as the company’s $130 G35, but at a fraction of the cost ($80).
The color will catch your eye right away. Gone is the sleek black leather, replaced by a vibrant blue “sports performance cloth,” which immediately drew my skepticism regarding its comfort and value. Why would I wear a spongy-feeling clamp on my head all day? Because, it turns out, it’s comfortable.
The cloth is soft and gentle and never irritated or agitated my head even during prolonged use. It helps that the headset is much lighter than most competing high-performance headsets, thanks to Logitech’s decision to shove the bulky hardware into the volume controller along the cord instead of into the headset itself.
Complementing the comfort is great sound quality. I tested the G430 with both music and 7.1 surround-sound audio and found myself thoroughly immersed as a simulated helicopter circled slowly overhead. Its bass was as prominent as the bass from an annoying car that drives down the street with its stereo turned up too loud—but the G430’s was much crisper and clearer (and without the vibrating license plate noise). My only complaint is that the headset don’t block out much noise. Everything sounds fine with audio playing, but if you’re looking to your headphones for a quiet escape, keep running.
The headset use two old-school 3.5-millimeter connectors to attach the headphones and microphone, but it includes a USB adapter for modern-port lovers. The microphone sits a comfortable distance from your mouth, but doesn’t offer much flexibility. You can turn it up and out of the way when not using it, but it doesn’t automatically mute, as the G35 does.
Unlike Logitech’s higher-end headsets, the G430 doesn’t include any programmable buttons. That’s fine for gamers who hate the hassle of setting up each toggle, switch, and knick-knack to perform some minute action; but members of the customization crowd will be disappointed. The only controls you get are a volume control wheel and a microphone mute switch on an inline panel. That’s less convenient than having the controls on the side of your head, but it also means that you won’t be crushed under the hardware’s weight.
The G430 has a lot to offer simple gamers who have an uncompromising need for comfort, quality, and a reduced price tag.