Local audio firm Creative's Super X-Fi (Sxfi) headphone holography technology recreates surround sound with a realistic sense of depth, space and detail.
While many of Creative's Sxfi headphones can be used for gaming, there has not been a dedicated Sxfi gaming headset. Not anymore, with the release of Sxfi Gamer.
Finished in black, this wired USB-C over-ear gaming headset with Sxfi technology is almost a carbon copy of last year's Sxfi Air Bluetooth over-ear headphones.
Each ear cup has a replaceable leatherette memory foam cushion, with a ring of RGB lighting (choose from 16.7 million colours) on its exterior. By default, it is lit in a turquoise hue when powered on.
The left ear cup houses all the buttons and ports, including the Sxfi button, volume dial, microphone mute button, RGB lighting button, USB-C port, 3.5mm jack and microphone port for the included detachable microphone.
This microphone has Creative's Sxfi inPerson technology, said to make human voice sound natural while suppressing background noise. It has a red LED light to indicate if the mic is turned on and which blinks when the microphone is muted.
Also included with the Sxfi Gamer is a 3.5mm audio cable, a braided Kevlar USB-C-to-USB-C cable and a USB-C-to-USB-A adapter. This adapter comes in handy when you are using the headset with devices that do not have a USB-C port, such as the PS4 gaming console.
The braided Kevlar construction of the USB-C cable prevents entanglement, but can be a source of microphonics, or the irritating rustling sound you hear when a cable is moved or brushed against a surface.
While the ear cups cover my ears nicely and feel comfortable even when worn for hours, the headband's padding can be thicker for better comfort as you can feel it pressing down on your head.
If you have not used an Sxfi product before, you have to download the Sxfi mobile app (available on Android and iOS) to set up an Sxfi personalised profile before you can use the Sxfi Control app (available on Windows and Mac).
As Sxfi optimises audio based on each user's ears and head shape, you will need to use the mobile app - together with your smartphone's camera - to map your head and ears to create your personalised profile.
• Great audio output
• Realistic surround sound
• Works with any USB-C devices
• Superb value for money
• Not wireless
• USB-C cable has microphonic tendencies
DRIVERS: 50mm neodymium
CONNECTIVITY: USB-C, 3.5mm jack
VALUE FOR MONEY: 4.5/5
Since I already have an Sxfi account and a personalised profile, I just have to download and install the Sxfi Control app on my PC, log in to my account and select my personalised profile, and the app automatically loads it into the Sxfi Gamer when it is connected to the PC. Once loaded, you can use the headset with any device and enjoy its surround-sound output.
The Sxfi Control app also lets you tweak the equaliser settings and customise the colour and effects of the lighting rings around the ear cups.
The headset has a Battle mode, in which the Sxfi technology is said to be tuned for first-person shooter (FPS) games. You can toggle through Sxfi mode, Battle mode and Sxfi-off function by pressing the Sxfi button on the left ear cup.
Battle mode really helps, as I can sense where enemy fire and footsteps are coming from when playing FPS games such as Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Remastered on the PS4.
Audio quality is superb, with the 50mm neodymium drivers pumping out thumping bass, clear mids and detailed highs. When playing games, I can discern my virtual teammates' cries amid the mayhem of explosions and bullet screeches, and watching Avengers: Endgame (2019) on my MacBook Pro is a cinematic experience in which I can hear where the action is coming from.
On the downside, the surround-sound capability works only when you connect the headset via the USB-C connection - not with the 3.5mm connection.
Not to mention, the Sxfi Gamer has no wireless option. There is no built-in Bluetooth capability or a USB dongle option for wireless connectivity.
But at $179, the headset offers superb value with its audio quality and surround-sound capability. By comparison, some wireless gaming headsets with virtual surround sound can cost over $400.