Logitech has already produced one of the best gaming headsets on the market, in the form of the G933 Artemis Spectrum ($200), but what the G933 offers in functionality, it lacks in simplicity. Enter the Logitech G533 Wireless Gaming Headset ($150), which streamlines the whole experience while knocking a hefty chunk off the price. Not only does the G533 sound great across a variety of genres, but its generous battery life, comfortable fit and bevy of useful audio options also make this headset a very attractive choice for those who've had their fill of wires.
Although the G533 is large (7.8 x 7.4 x 3.3 inches) and fairly heavy (12.5 ounces), it doesn't waste any space. This all-black gadget is a plain, functional, refined peripheral with no extraneous flash or frills. It has black, glossy ear cups, each adorned with a Logitech G symbol. Other than that, there's no real decoration. While it's a bit too big to drag around on the subway (and you can't do so, as we'll discuss shortly), it's a good-looking device that eschews a lot of the "overdesigned gaming peripheral" baggage.
You adjust the G533's fit using a standard notch system, and the mesh padding around the ear cups and headband is comfortable. The left ear cup is home to a boom mic that extends out with a flexible arm, as well as a programmable button and a volume wheel. The volume wheel is positioned a little higher than on most other headsets I've used, so there was a bit of a learning curve, but the wheel's coarse texture makes the control easy to find.
The only major shortcoming of the G533's design is that it doesn't have a 3.5 mm audio jack. As a result, this headset works for PC gaming and PC gaming only, which is a bit hard to stomach for gear that costs considerably more than $100. While the G533 is a bit too big and bulky to take on your commute, it's disappointing that you could dish out $150 for the device and still have to buy a separate headset for your phone or tablet.
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When you've got a good game in front of you, spending a few (or a dozen) hours in front of your computer is a foregone conclusion. Most of the time I was wearing the G533, I didn't even notice the headset was there. Although the headset is fairly heavy, an even weight distribution makes the G533 easy to wear for hours on end. The mesh-fabric ear cups felt especially soft, plush and pliable.
I handed the G533 off to a co-worker, who generally shared my sentiments. He said that while he found the headset a bit heavy at first, the feeling disappeared as he settled in with the peripheral. He said that although the mesh fabric was a little rougher than on other headsets, he found the G533 easy to wear and comfortable overall.
I tested the G533 with four different games under a variety of audio settings. The G533 has settings for both stereo and surround sound in addition to a variety of equalization options. As such, I tested Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, The Witcher 3: Hearts of Stone and Marvel Heroes, each with different profiles.
While it took some time to tweak every setting — you can select between surround and stereo sound, as well as from among different equalization options for particular genres — I was extremely pleased with the result. Using surround sound in Overwatch let me hear where my enemies were coming from, which helped me absorb incoming fire as D.Va. In The Witcher 3, surround sound made the stirring music and engrossing dialogue that much more immersive.
Meanwhile, the stereo settings worked just fine for Heroes of the Storm and Marvel Heroes on the MOBA and Flat equalizations, respectively. There was some real depth to the sound, whether I was pitting Jim Raynor against other Blizzard heroes in a deadly tug-of-war or taking on the Hood and his minions as Captain America. The G533 handled every genre with equal grace and fidelity.
Since the G533 lacks an audio jack, you probably wouldn't want to use this headset as your primary pair of music headphones. That's a shame on the one hand; the G533 sounds great overall, for both music as well as games. Still, it's not a huge loss, as the software doesn't offer any special equalization options for music genres.
I played selections from The Rolling Stones, Planxty, Old Crow Medicine Show and G.F. Handel's Messiah on the G533, and found the sound balanced and vibrant, although perhaps a bit less rich than on a dedicated pair of music headphones. (That I can compare them at all, though, is praiseworthy in itself.)
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The G533 works in concert with the excellent Logitech Gaming Software, which is a one-stop hub for every modern Logitech gaming peripheral. Without going into exhaustive detail about everything the program does, I'll mention that you can monitor battery life, modify equalization options, turn surround sound on and off, and link profile settings with individual games. Everything is easy to do.
Where the G533 excels is in the sheer variety of surround-sound and equalization options it offers. You can use DTS 7.1 surround sound in either default or Logitech-specific profiles, from either a front or wide configuration. Equalization options consist of FPS, MOBA, Cinematic Gaming and more. It's all nicely nuanced, and it provides a suitable solution for just about every game.
The headset's microphone also works well, combining a silky voice pickup with a built-in pop filter that really does eliminate the harshness of "s" and "p" sounds. While the mic is good at eliminating background noise, it tended to be on the quiet side when broadcasting my voice. You'll need to either speak up, or position the mic very close to your mouth.
As for the wireless features, they work just as advertised, with about 16 hours of battery life on a single charge, and a range of about 30 feet. It just works, perhaps the biggest compliment I can give a wireless product.
Although you can't really use it for much beyond gaming, the G533 excels at what it does. It's comfortable; it handles every genre well, and it features excellent wireless functionality. The price is hardly prohibitive, and you could easily get much worse sound from much more expensive options. While the music performance and overall versatility leave something to be desired, the G533 is an easy recommendation for anyone looking for a wireless gaming setup.
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