Published on August 10th, 2012 | by Cameron Woolsey, Editor-in-Chief0
Tritton Warhead 7.1 Wireless Surround Headset Review
Platform: Xbox 360
Release Date:Aug. 7, 2012
Reviewer’s Note: Sample hardware was sent to GAMINGtruth for review.
Tritton is one of the top suppliers of high quality gaming headsets, and many regular and professional gamers will swear by the company’s products. Yet even with such a pedigree, the company can only look toward the future and ask, “How can we outperform not just our competitors, but ourselves?” Tritton’s answer to that question is the Warhead 7.1 Wireless Surround Headset, which is spearheading its latest line of wireless gaming headsets.
The Warhead 7.1 is built from the ground up exclusively for the Xbox 360 and brings a host of unique features not found in other headsets.
What’s in the Box?
Inside the pristine white box is the headset, the base station with a snap-on stand, an RCS cable adapter, a digital audio adapter for older model Xbox 360s, an optical cable (about 3 feet, or 1 meter, long), the power adapter for the base (with three international connectors), and two rechargeable battery packs. I’d like to make a note about the international connectors. There are many gamers out there who travel often or take part in international gaming events. With the Warhead 7.1, you will never have to game in another country without a quality headset in tow.
The base is triangular in shape and doubles as a stand to hold the headset in place. It actually takes some adjusting to fit the headset onto its stand. Once it’s there it looks pretty good, but I would have rather had something to support the set by the headband, much like what Turtle beach offers for the company’s wireless devices. Removing the magnetic cover on the base reveals the handy slot to house and charge one of the two high-capacity 3.7V 1,800 mAh batteries.
On the base are several indicators: a sync status indicator on the bottom left and a battery charge indicator on the bottom right which glows red when charging, green when fully charged. The ring of light in the center of the base mimics the one on the Xbox power button. The numbers 1-4 printed on the four corners around the ring indicate which controller the headset is currently connected to. Above is the EQ mode indicator which glows in conjunction to the different selected modes: music, gaming or movies.
Above that are four Dolby indicator lights that illuminate when a Dolby mode is selected. At the top of the base are four indicator lights for Dolby Headphone, Dolby Digital, Dolby Pro Logic IIx, and Digital, that illuminate based on which mode is enabled or signal that’s received.
The back of the base has the AC power input, a line in for a 3.5mm audio jack, a digital optical input and a sync button.
I love my Turtle Beach gaming headsets but one of the downers to owning one is the need to buy large packs of batteries to fuel the ravenous beasts. Not so with the Warhead. Here is one of my highest praises going for the Warhead: throughout any gaming session, no matter how lengthy, you will always have a spare battery to swap for a drained one.
If your headset dies, only a few seconds are needed to pop off the magnetic covers on the headset and base and exchange the batteries. Boom. Done! The high price of the Warhead may become a moot point if you spend a lot of money buying batteries, especially in the long run. Buying a rechargeable battery station for your headset would be a smart investment, but with the Warhead you don’t even need to worry about it.
When charged the batteries seem to take forever to lose their power; I’ve been gaming with the Warhead for about 15 hours and it’s still going strong!
The batteries take around five to seven hours to charge fresh out of the box. The manual itself says that it will take around eight hours for a drained battery. When charged the batteries seem to take forever to lose their power; I’ve been gaming with the Warhead for about 15 hours and it’s still going strong! The charged battery fits into the right cup of the headset. The cover plate is magnetic and is strong enough to cover the battery, but weak enough to be pulled off by your fingers.
The headset and base sport a glossy black finish that matches the Xbox 360 “Slim” model released a couple years back. Personally I would have preferred the headset in matte just to ward off the inevitable greasy smears, scratches and dust (keep a microfiber cloth handy) as my Xbox 360 “Slim” model and PlayStation 3 can both attest to. In fact, I barely went through the first day with the Warhead before I put a small scratch on the side of the left cup thanks to a clumsy microphone insertion.
Other than that gripe, the Warhead does look great. It has a sleek futuristic look that I fell for the moment I unpackaged it. When on the base, the headset certainly draws the attention that you would expect out of such a pricey peripheral.
The Warhead has a solid and weighty feel to it, but it doesn’t feel heavy when strapped to the head. The cans have faux leather cups that fit snugly over the ear and form a seal that blocks quite a bit of outside noise. Unlike Turtle Beach sets, the cups are not rounded and don’t leave a lot of extra room around the ear. My only real issue that I had was that the faux leather caused my ears to build up some mighty sweat. Of course living in Central California doesn’t help any, but some long game sessions got a tad uncomfortable.
When not being hot and gross, I found that wearing the Warhead became nearly unnoticeable even after gaming for a long period of time. The device feels heavy, partially due to the thick plastic design and rechargeable battery, but I didn’t feel any neck strain. This might not be the same for everyone though.
The Sound and Function
Much like every time I open up a brand new piece of gaming headset goodness, I felt a little giddy as I planted the Warhead on my dome and powered it on for the first time. I was a little surprised to discover that the audio quality of the Warhead was less than what I had hoped for. Compared to Turtle Beach’s current front runner, the Ear Force XP500, the Warhead 7.1 is lacking, but not by much. Even my old Ear Force X41s boasts a clearer sound, and those things are nearly three years old.
That’s not to say that the Warhead 7.1 doesn’t produce some great audio–it does. Oh yes, indeed, it does. The Warhead’s 50mm speakers produce a surprising amount of bass, and my nights of Gears of War 3 multiplayer were only better as I nearly felt each shot of my Retro Lancer pound in my head. The stereo headset simulates Dolby Digital 7.1 surround-sound and is supported by Dolby Headphone technology.
Pairing the headset and controller is a remarkably simple task, and with just a few button presses you will have complete wireless chat through the Warhead.
Among the several new headsets on the market today, the Warhead 7.1 is easily a top contender. Every fleeting gush of wind or clank of clashing swords in Skyrim, every footfall or missed reload by your enemy in Gears of War 3, and every busted nose in Batman: Arkham City is presented in stunning Dolby audio.
The headset runs at a 5.8 GHz wireless frequency which means that the audio streaming to the headset will almost never be interrupted by irritating pops or scratchy sound. I used the Warhead for hours at a time and not once did I hear a single interruption. The headset has a range of 33 feet, or around 10 meters.
I ran into an issue with audio quality happened during second run of Batman: Arkham Asylum. The vocals during the interview recordings were so tinny that I couldn’t hear anything and had to change the audio input to Digital just to understand the dialogue. When speaking to my friend in party chat I also noticed that the sound broke momentarily when his voice became too high pitched. Luckily, there are many audio profiles to accommodate varying environments.
The headset offers three different equalization (EQ) modes: one for music, one for gaming and one for movies. You can cycle through the modes by a button on the right cup where, if holding it in your hand, your right forefinger could reach. The headset also expands native 5.1 audio to Dolby Digital 7.1. I liked the fact that Tritton included the option to change the EQ, but it is limited compared to the XP500, which allows you to create custom presets.
On the other hand, where the XP500 falls short, Tritton picks up on the opportunity to outperform.
One of the most unique functions of the Warhead 7.1 is its ability to link with the Xbox 360 and a controller to offer completely wireless chat. This is an exclusive function by the Warhead; other headsets require to be tied to the controller via chat dongle or wireless receiver, unlike the XP500 which still requires either setup. Pairing the headset and controller is a remarkably simple task, and with just a few button presses you will have complete wireless chat through the Warhead. To mute the microphone, the button lies on the end that snaps into the left ear cup.
The headset has something called SVM, or Selected Voice Monitoring. This feature allows you to hear your own voice chat through the headset. To activate it, simply press the chat audio control, located on the left cup, down like a button. As I played online with my friend, I actually liked keeping SVM on. I just couldn’t get used to hearing my muted voice through the cups. The right side of the cup has a game audio adjuster that can be pushed in to mute or unmute said audio.
I find it appropriate that Tritton chose the name Warhead because with the company’s latest offering, Turtle Beach should now feel it has a target locked on its position. The XP500 offers great sound, but it can’t match up to the Warhead 7.1 in terms of true wireless gaming.
I still believe Ear Force XP500 is still the pinnacle of wireless gaming headsets in terms of audio quality, but the Warhead 7.1 Wireless Surround headset offers one of the finest and most complete gaming experiences on the Xbox 360. Plus you can take it anywhere in the world and still expect it to work. My fellow haters of wires will hardly be able to contain their joy of never having to physically connect the headset to a controller again, and if this is your first gaming headset you buy, I wouldn’t be surprised if you never go back to TV speakers.
+ Wireless chat syncing
+ Good sound and strong bass
+ Three different EQ modes
+ Snug and comfortable fit
+ Insanely long battery life, with rechargeable batteries
+ 5.8 GHz frequency means no popping or scratchy sound
- Not the best audio on the market
- Glossy finish means dust, fingerprints and scratches