Fnatic REACT Gaming Headset Review – The $70 Logitech Killer
Cheap gaming headsets are finally getting good, but what is it like using an e-sports targeted gaming product in your everyday life? It’s actually okay. I’m really hoping the Fnatic REACT headset is starting a trend where you don’t have to be embarrassed by the sound quality, the mic quality, or the appearance of your gaming headset. The REACT ticks the first two boxes, and despite the branding all over the place they look pretty good to me.
My first impression when I saw these was that they are a HyperX knockoff, and Fnatic are not afraid to reuse existing frames to save on tooling. Instead they invest that money into sound tuning for the drivers and I can appreciate that. This also allows Fnatic to reduce their costs to hit that $69 USD price point, which means they are cheaper than the HyperX Cloud Alpha or the HyperX Cloud II yet target the same audience. Honestly, it is kind of refreshing to see a gaming brand focus on the barebone essentials when it comes to a gaming headset.
Design & Build Quality
All right, so first let’s go over the basics. The frame feels very familiar with a semi-robust build quality. The ear cups don’t swivel, so it’s not a comfortable fit around your neck, especially given the tight clamping force out of the box. Size extensions are a bit on the short side, I have to wear them fully extended. They are pretty flexible, but unfortunately they do make a bit of noise right at the joints, especially on the left side.
The pop of color inside each air cup is a nice touch, and the memory foam on these is awesome to create the perfect seal around your ear that sits okay with glasses too. However, all three of us found the clamping force a bit too tight. I’ve intentionally been trying to stretch the frame over the past few weeks to loosen them up a bit. Compared to my Logitech G Pro X headset, I find the ear padding on the REACT so much better, but the slightly looser frame on the G Pro X is a better fit for me. However, I’m pretty surprised at the comfort and fit of the Kraken X by Razer. These are $49 USD per pair and I find them a bit more comfortable because the clamping force is not as tight as the REACT, but the REACT sounds so much better.
Cable & Microphone
The cable is non-removable. It’s a pretty short 1 meter full pole connection with inline controls, plus an extension is included. I do like that the cables are not braided because this minimizes cable noise. Obviously the mic is detachable, but there’s nothing to cover that input jack.
I love the rigidity of the mic arm, it’s pretty serious, it’s definitely not going anywhere without our standard foam filter included. For $69 I really love the audio coming out of this thing. I’ve gotten a few compliments in CS:GO in competitive matches. And to be honest, I prefer this over the G Pro X headset, which is so much more expensive. The problem I have – because it’s a closed design – is that I just hate not hearing myself. There’s no way to add a voice feedback into the headset, so that’s my only complaint. The funny thing is the G Pro X headset plugged into the same source sounds so much worse, and while this Logitech headset has Blue Voice functionality it’s still is a pretty poor microphone that ends up sounding very similar to the $49 Kraken X. My current benchmark for mic quality for under a $100 USD on a gaming headset is the MH751 by Cooler Master. They really found a fantastic microphone capsule and so did Fnatic. It’s definitely in my top five with regards to microphone quality.
With regards to sound quality the REACT has great passive noise isolation thanks to awesome ear padding, and whatever bass these push out is all trapped inside the ear cups. The drivers are specifically tuned to flatten the low-end, which is necessary to emphasize other frequencies that actually matter for competitive play. They are intentionally bright, with lots of detail and clarity in the mid and high ranges. It’s exactly the signature I prefer in multiplayer, since hearing someone reload around the corner is crispy AF. However, I also found it to be slightly too sharp outside of competitor gameplay. Not that my ears were ringing after Red Dead Redemption 2, but I prefer a slightly smoother delivery like my Sennheiser HD 58X. The REACT is also a closed design, so environmental and soundstage expansion is of course limited, but that is not necessarily a negative when it comes to wanting to hear only the sound cues that are relevant to finding where your enemies are coming from.
Now just for reference, between the $49 Kraken X and the $69 REACT, the sound difference is just insane. The Razer’s sound muddy, there’s no control in the bass department, they are very harsh on the high end if you crack the volume. On the other hand, while the REACT are tuned to be slightly flatter in the bass department, they still feel much tighter than the Kraken X and have so much extra clarity and detail out. The important fact to recognized with the REACT headset is its competitive sound advantage for multiplayer, its awesome microphone, and killer price point. It’s not trying to add surround sound, RGB, software, USB dongles, other features, it’s bare bones nature is what makes it so appealing and almost so perfect for $69 per pair. This is definitely one of the best in its price class. I do wish that they minimized on the branding though. It’s a bit too much and also loosen up the clamping force, because out of the box it is way too tight. I really love what Fnatic is doing in terms of that whole bare bones direction, they’re giving us products without any bling, just performance.