Published on February 26th, 2011 | by Bryant Kazmerzak, Contributor
Hardware Review: Plantronics GameCom 777
When Cam and Greg went to CES 2011 and Cam brought home some Pelican Bay Ear Force PX-5’s, all we saw and heard for a few days were “OMG THESE ROXXX!!1!”. And, from what Cam’s review on the aforementioned cans indicate, they are, indeed, the bee’s knees.
Fast forward to last week, when I was informed that there was a pair of GameCom 777’s on their way to my house from Plantronics. Plantronics is the maker of fine Bluetooth earpieces, hands-free units, and gaming headsets, and where it comes to the latter, they do not skimp one bit. Sporting 7-channel speakers, a noise-cancelling microphone on a concealable boom, and some very, very comfortable padding with a rugged design and strong-as-hell cables, these cans can take a beating while delivering sweet, sweet ear candy in it’s purest form.
Also included is an in-line USB Dolby 7:1 surround sound card, which is… Well, to put it simply, I actually made a girly squealing noise when I saw it the first time.
I have officially put these cans to the test, and my findings are thus:
I am an avid fan of the workings of Deadmau5 and Pendulum, so when I received these cans, the first song I plugged in and listened to was “Ghosts ‘N Stuff” featuring Pendulum vocalist Rob Swire. The song kicks baby ninjas by itself, but crappy laptop (AKA “craptop”) speakers do not do it enough justice.
Listening to this song, the deep bass, the synth and the auto-tuned vocals all collide together in perfect chaos with this headset. It’s actually kind of hard to describe the sound quality when I don’t have much to compare it to; Suffice it to say that I have never heard a home or car stereo that is able to deliver such a great listening experience.
I’m not all techno and dubstep though – I have a classical side, too. I struck up some Halo music, with the string and wind sections going strong, and the cans are able to make “Deliver Hope” even more emotionally damaging to my well being than Sarah McLaughlin’s “In The Arms Of An Angel” that plays companion to those sad ASPCA commercials. Don’t believe me? See for yourself.
For this test, I chose movies with a lot of sound effects, the tops being The Dark Knight and Inception. Everything, from the sound of The Tumbler’s engines roaring to the freight train crashing through downtown Dreamland was amplified to the point of being deafening and soothing at the same time. Soft sounds, like whispers and rainfall, were easily picked out over harsher, more obvious sounds, something that I loved immensely. Sadly, the 777’s couldn’t fix Christian Bale’s horrible Batman voice – Just because it bears the number of the Holy Trinity doesn’t mean it can work miracles.
This is what you came here for, so here it goes: The cans deliver a solid gaming sound experience. Everything from EVE Online to Starcraft 2 to Battlefield: Bad Company 2 sounded awesome. On a couple instances I could hear bad guys sneaking up behind me, trying to kill me – Which they did. I will be the first to admit that my “freak out” response is quicker than my “whip around and kill bitches” response.
The microphone is clear and picks up everything your teammates want to hear, and leaves out the crap they don’t – Like dogs whining, women nagging (Am I right, fellas?) and toilets flushing. So, all around, perfect for Skype calls. My alliance-mates on EVE were relieved to learn that I got a new headset, because they were tired of hearing their own voices looped back into their speakers whenever I keyed my push-to-talk for TeamSpeak 3.
The headset came with a 50% off code for Dolby Axon, which is their own TeamSpeak/Ventrilo of sorts, but I have to say that a pay-to-use chat client that has a 50 player cap isn’t really of much use in games like EVE that has hundreds of players in-channel at a time.
+ Loud and easily adjusted with in-line volume control/mic mute
+ 7:1 sound card is amazing – Makes laptop sound card near-obsolete
+ Mic is crystal clear and the concealable boom is a godsend
– Pretty bulky
– Holds heat too well – Makes my ears hotter than a panini press
All in all, the cans are solid, sturdy, and they do a great job of delivering what Plantronics set out to do: Meld superior sound quality with comfort and functionality. I recommend the GameCom 777’s to anyone who is tired of their old standby and who wants to invest in something a lot more substantial.