We've been long awaiting the arrival of the Thermaltake Tt eSports Level 10 M Gaming Headset
, and yes, that's quite a name. The Level 10 M Headset is the fourth product to come out of Thermaltake's Level 10 family of designed products.
The Level 10 family originally started with the creation of the Level 10 case
, which Thermaltake designed jointly with BMW Design America. This case was absolutely stunning in terms of looks, but really lacked true functionality, even at an $800 pricetag. As such, Thermaltake ended up releasing the much more affordable and practical, Level 10 GT case
which is still available for about $199. Following the Level 10 GT, Thermaltake decided to take the Level 10 brand over to their Tt eSports division and to introduce them to more hardcore gamers. With this, they released the Level 10 M Gaming Mouse, which we reviewed late last year
Now, we've been waiting for the Level 10 M Headset since before Computex this year (June) and it was officially unveiled there and a big deal was made about it. Originally, I wasn't sold on the Level 10 M headset's design because I thought it was too blocky and rigid and didn't feel or look like something people would be comfortable wearing for hours. And once I saw it at Computex, my opinion had changed slightly. However, until I actually held one in my hands I didn't realize how much I actually liked how the headset looked. Furthermore, it really followed the previous Level 10 design principals, especially when you look at the Level 10 M Mouse.
Now that you can see some of the design principals that went into making this headset, we wanted to give you a closer look at the headset itself and how it looks and feels. For that, we actually did an unboxing of the headset when we got it from Thermaltake. This gives you not only a feel for the packaging and accessories included, but a good look at the headset as well.
Now that you have a pretty good idea of where the headset comes from and what it looks like, we figured that we would tell you what you can expect from the headphones.Reviewer Experience and Impressions
The truth is that with this headset, Thermaltake has gone for the barebones analog approach and have decided not to do any fancy software for fake surround sound or any kind of software at all. The Level 10 M Gaming Headset is in fact devoid of any software and only plugs into the 3.5mm jacks in your computer or mobile gaming device. As such, this headset's sound quality will mostly depend upon the quality of the sound card in your computer. If your sound card is garbage, don't expect an improved experience.
In my case, the PC that I was using for the PC testing did not have a good sound card and there was plenty of noise on the line out as well. As such, one must take into consideration the quality of their sound card before getting a headset like this. However, when I swapped the cables for a single 3.5mm cable I was able to get significantly better quality audio from my phone while listening to music. I actually took the Level 10 M Gaming Headset with me on a few transatlantic flights and was incredibly impressed with the ability of the headset to stay on my head for a long period of time without fatigue. To me, this is a huge factor because if you're a gamer you don't want to think about or feel headset fatigue when you're at a LAN or in a long gaming session. Part of this can be attributed to the really nice leather ear cups and the customizable headband of the headset which you can adjust and then lock in very easily.
I also used the headset for some mobile gaming on my Nvidia SHIELD
and was incredibly satisfied with the gaming experience that it provided. I would definitely recommend that if you are a gamer on the go, these two are a perfect fit for each other. You can basically game anywhere and get the full experience without annoying anyone that's around you, that is until you start yelling at the console.
As stated before, the headset comes with a really convenient carrying bag which also works great for carrying all of the extra cables that come with the headset as well (for mobile and PC gaming). It also does a great job of protecting the headset from the outside world and is a definite good call on Thermaltake's part. The headset itself also seems incredibly durable from the short time that we've had with it. From what we can tell, there aren't any fatal weak points on the headset that would make it give out, but whenever it comes to longevity it's always hard to tell. You basically have to base your expectations of longevity on initial build quality, which from our perspective seems do be pretty good.
Now, if you really care about how these headphones sound in terms of sound quality they seem to be pretty accurate in their highs, mids, and lows. Thermaltake didn't overdo the bass on these headphones unlike a lot of their competitors. If you've got a good song with a pretty high quality bit-rate, you can expect a pretty decent audio experience from these headphones, even though they're not really intended for that. This is clearly Thermaltake recognizing that gamers love to listen to music and that in many cases they might even be playing music in parallel with playing their favorite games. This is possible due in part to Thermaltake's choice to opt for a 40mm driver, which should allow for some decent audio quality. The headset's stated frequency response range is between 10 Hz to 22 KHz, which seems like a pretty decent and reasonable range, well within what you'd want from almost any pair of decent headphones.
Another important feature of the Level 10 M gaming headset is the ability to move the cable to either side of the headphones. This is a great little feature that the headset has since it allows for users to use whatever makes them happy, however, for some reason Thermaltake opted for a rigid non-movable microphone, which I thought was a bit bulky and inflexible when compared to the rest of the headset. Other than that, it would also be nice to have the headphones to fold into themselves for more easy transportation since they tend to take up a lot of space in their fully folded-out form. This may be a good product for Thermaltake to consider for future revisions, but I really think that they need to consider a folding headset as a next update.Conclusion
Overall, my experiences with this headset have been great and I was really happy that Thermaltake didn't try to do something that they didn't understand. They stuck to what they're good at and they did it in a pretty elegant package.
If you head on over to Newegg.com
you can see that the headset is retailing for a pretty reasonable $99.99 or a solid $100. While some may say that this is a bit on the high-end, one must consider that Thermaltake is not only giving you a headset, but they're also giving you both sets of cables that essentially make this an all-purpose headset. It can even be used as a headset for making and receiving calls when you're not gaming. It also comes with a pretty high quality carrying bag as well.
Taking all of those things into consideration, I think that Thermaltake has priced this headset pretty fairly priced headset. They've done a pretty damn good job with the design and functionality as well as the accessories, so I see no reason to knock their $100 pricetag. According to Newegg's own listing the expected release date of this headset will be November 19th, which is in about three weeks.
Based on our experiences and the product's overall value proposition, we've decided to give it our Editor's Choice award for Home Entertainment. We also wanted to thank Thermaltake for sending over this headset to us for testing and we were really impressed to see how much the company's audio offerings have improved over the years.
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