Logitch’s G35 computer headset was a pretty good full featured 7.1 surround sound USB headset that was released last year. At E3 2010, I was treated to a viewing of their follow up called the G930 and what it had to offer over the G35. Today, we have the G930 headset in house to test to see how the improvements have helped their top of the line gaming headset.
The Logitech G930 is a 7.1 surround sound headset that’s completely wireless. The G35 connected to the computer via a USB port but here, the G930 only needs a USB transmitter plugged into the computer. The USB transmitter is the size of a thumb drive so it doesn’t stick out too much.
Logitech has made some nice improvements with the G930 headset, the biggest being that it is lighter. You would think that with the product going all wireless and housing a battery, receiver, and the rest of the components needed for operation that the G930 would be heavier than its predecessor. Not so as picking both of them up, the G930’s weight is noticeably lighter, which might help in making for wearing long sessions easier.
Design wise, it’s very, very similar to G35 with some minor variances. The large ear cups, complete with memory foam, fit snugly around my ears covering them completely and blocking out any outside sound around me. They didn’t seem to compress too hard on my sides but my wife, who has TMJ, said it felt a little uncomfortable and had to move them up a little. Even then, she didn’t think she could use them for too long though but for me, who doesn’t have that problem, I found them to be very nice fit on the sides and comfortable during long sessions.
The headband isn’t as wide as the G35, but it still feels very solid. Like the ear cups, the bottom of the headband features memory foam as well giving added comfort when worn. Both ear cups extended to a pretty good length from either side of the headband offering a nice range in positioning the ear cups on your head comfortable.
The ear cups can now rotate 180, whereas the G35’s ear cups had a more limited range of rotation. This doesn’t seem to add much in terms of functionality or comfort as I put both on and the range of movement, while limited on the G35, was certainly enough for me. With the 180 degree rotation of the G930, you can turn them around enough to lay the headset flat on the table should you so desire.
The same controls are featured on one side so if you’re familiar with the G35, the G930’s just the same. On the left outer ear cup are 3 programmable buttons, a mute button, a volume dial, and a Dolby switch. The right ear cup is void of any controls so anything you want to access will be on the left side. The G keys are nice if you want to quickly bring up an application and you can adjust what they do via the control panel. Rotation of the volume dial is constant and it’s got a nice click feel to it.
Also on the left side is the flexible noise-canceling mic that has a stiff but movable arm. The arm can rotate all the way up and this is an easy way to mute the mic. When the mic is muted, a nice little red light on the tip of the mic lights up letting you know you’re not broadcasting. Unfortunately, you can’t see it out of the corner of your eye so while it’s a nice visual cue, it’s sort of lost on the wearer. In all reality, once you feel the mic stop rotating up, you know it’s silenced. The mic does a great job in holding the position you place it in and it arm feels solid.
On the bottom of the left ear is a micro-USB port, which you can plug in the included cable to recharge the battery. I’m so happy to see more things moving the micro-USB and I think that’s the movement for other wireless devices sporting charge ports instead of the mini-USB that you see these days. The battery lasts about 10 hours so for heavy gamer, you’re going to be charging them nightly or every other night but the good news is that the G930 can operate with the USB cable plugged in. It won’t send a signal through the cable but it will supply power so that you can keep using the headset while recharging.So the battery doesn’t just discharge when not in use, the G930 will turn itself off after a few minutes should the USB receiver become unplugged or the computer turns off. You can manually turn the G930 on and off with a button but it’s nice to see that the G930 will automatically shut down if needed to.
The control panel is pretty much the same as the G35 with one addition. You can now adjust the volume for each individual virtual speaker when in surround sound mode. For those that think one direction isn’t as loud as it could be or is too loud, just adjust the volume. On the lower left hand corner, you’ll see a battery indicator letting you know how much charge the G930 has left before it goes completely dead. The rest of the features from the G35 control panel is there such as the voice morphing option and G key profile setup. I like the control panel and its simplicity as well as the organization of all the information making it easy to adjust what I need to.
The setup for a regular stereo headset with working voice was as easy as plugging the receiver in, waiting for the drivers to automatically install, and then powering on the G930. If you don’t want to use any of the G keys or Dolby surround sound, you can be off and running in minimal time. Installing the drivers gives you a few more options but it’s nice to know you can just plug them in and go.
For testing, I played a few sessions of Left 4 Dead 2, Team Fortress 2, and StarCraft II. I also listened to some music and watched various scenes of The Dark Knight and Star Wars Episode III. I decided to use the setup in both stereo and 7.1 surround sound mode. Now, there aren’t separate speakers for surround sound like in some headsets as the G930 uses the Dolby software solution to simulate surround sound form the two 40mm neodymium magnetic drivers.
In gaming, the G930 setup really shined. Sound was crystal clear from both highs and lows and in stereo mode, the voices, action, and music sounded really close to the ears. Everyone said I sounded clear and with little or no background noise with my voice. Flipping the switch to surround sound mode, I was treated to a more spacious sounding experience. Some games worked better than others though but if you play something like Left 4 Dead 2, it can certainly pay off to have it on. In some instances, I was able to tell which direction zombies where coming from and sometimes the coughing of the smoker. With that ability, I was able to be more accurate on where I thought the danger was coming from and it allowed me to really use my hearing to an advantage in aiding my gaming. It doesn’t always work out that well in my experience but it does happen more often than not. Depending on the game, I sometimes preferred stereo such as when I played StarCraft II. In both modes, the G930 held up extremely well in testing as I expected coming from the G35 technology tree.
As far as lag goes, I couldn’t tell any from gaming. The set does operate in the 2.4GHz band and my house does have plenty of devices that use that frequency. I never did hear a hiccup or interruption from testing but I’ll be sure to note this review if I do in the future.
With movies and music, it was a hit or miss with the surround sound, just like with gaming. Music, I definitely had Dolby surround turned off as it sometimes distorted the music. Of course, most music is recorded for stereo output anyways so this point is rather mute. On movies such as those that are heavy in action and special effects, the Dolby surround sound does work but I’m one of those that prefer a multi-speaker setup rather than a virtual surround sound setup. Myself, I can tell more distinctly where the sound is coming from with a traditional speaker setup. Just like with gaming, it’s really source dependent but I would definitely turn on the surround sound for action movies if I had to watch it with the G930.
The one thing I wish the G930 could do was turn off the transmitter and re-route the sound back to the main speakers when I powered off the headset. I emailed Logitech if this could be possible, but they said it was a limitation of Windows that didn’t allow for this. I did find a kludgy way of doing this but I had to have the mouse with me to go into the control panel and disable or re-enable the headset.
Now, why do you ask would I want to do this? Wouldn’t it be simple to just unplug the USB transmitter? Well, for my gaming computer, yes it would be simple. For the setup in my bedroom though, where I have a Windows Media Center machine near my big screen TV, it’s not as convenient to reach over and unplug it. Sometimes in the evenings, I or my wife would stay up later to watch or finish watching a movie or TV show. What I would love to be able to do was just have the G930 plugged in and have one of us use the cordless headset so as not to disturb the other person. But, say I’m done or one of us would want to watch the show currently on TV but have the sound come out of the speakers during some other time. A simple switch via software would’ve been a great feature so one of us (most likely me) isn’t forced to get up to pull the transmitter out or plug it back in later. Yes, it’s a lazy factor in there but I think it would’ve been a nice option. It’s too bad that it’s a Windows limitation (stated by Logitech) but I hope Logitech finds a way software wise to accomplish this in the future to make it a little more convenient for those with setups like mine.
At $160, the Logitech G930 is on the expensive side but the set is top notch and sounds awesome while also offering some great features. Having one less cord to deal with is great and the slight modifications to make the G930 lighter make the headset a great pickup for gamers looking for one to get serious with. There are but a few minor quibbles I have with it but for the most part, the G930 has become my main headset of choice for gaming.