As audio has become more and more advanced over the years, its importance to gaming has increased exponentially. Games today have effects and soundtracks that are on par with the best the film industry has to offer and game designers have found ways to integrate that into the actual gaming experience. Nothing comes close to utilizing a fully equipped and expertly designed surround sound system but headset maker Tritton has done a good job of bringing the next best thing to gamers with its stellar line-up of high quality headsets. Their latest entry, the Warhead 7.1, easily meets the standards gamers have come to expect from the company, albeit with a few minor caveats.
The Warhead 7.1 is the crown jewel of Tritton’s lineup of exclusive Xbox 360 headsets. Utilizing Microsoft’s proprietary wireless technology it lays claim to being the “first and only truly wireless” headest for the system. While one might expect set-up of such a device to be overwhelmingly complicated, the Warhead 7.1 set-up is easy, and the headset will be talking to the 360 console in a matter of minutes.
Considering hardware manufacturers are getting skimpier and skimpier with what set-ups they include in the box, Tritton surprisingly offers everything any 360 owner could possibly need to get the Warhead up and working with their console. Even those lucky enough to still be operating a legacy Xbox 360 have been thought of and depending upon how those operators connect their console to their television, they will be able to make sure the Warhead will work with their system. Syncing the headset to the console itself is as simple as syncing a wireless controller and requires just two button presses, one on the headset and one on the console.
One downfall of the full wireless integration is that the Warhead requires a rechargeable battery pack to operate and as such, the headset was not operational directly out of the box. That said, after a full charge on one of the two included battery packs, the Warhead can operate nearly without interruption. Each battery pack offers up to 12 hours of use between charges and Tritton claims that each battery can be recharged hundreds of times giving the Warhead a nice long life-span.
Using the Warhead is a mostly pleasant experience. Tritton went all out with their design of this headset and it feels comfortable on your head. Despite being a pretty substantially sized headset, it is noticeably light weight making long play sessions using it simple to carry out. One aspect I did notice about the set though is that it is somewhat top heavy and tilting my head back, in a sigh of frustration, the set slipped backwards slightly. Despite being adjustable for different head sizes, and I don’t have a small head (that’s for sure- editor), I was unable to establish a setting that held on my head when tilting back. While not a big deal, I was cognizant of it potentially happening and it mentally kept me uneasy.
Headset slippage aside, the real purpose of the Warhead is to offer top-notch audio quality to Xbox 360 players and it does so. Testing out the audio capabilities I utilized a sampling of different 360 games, Netflix, an audio CD and a DVD movie. Being as the 360 is primarily a gaming device and the Warhead a gaming headset, let’s start there.
In an effort to push the Warhead to its limits I played Forza Motorsport 4, Gears of War 3 and Halo: Reach, as all three titles offer top of the line audio quality. Playing the campaign in both Gears 3 and Reach offered different experiences, both of which were excellent. Gears 3 features some amazing positional audio which can be fully sampled by directing Marcus around a battlefield. Reach on the other hand, while also featuring some great positional audio gave me more of a feeling of being Noble 6 than I had previously experienced. The verbal communication, which would in fact be pumped into Noble 6’s helmet, felt appropriate. Despite the increase in the fidelity of the vocals, the rest of the game sounded just as great as it should as well.
Competitive play is a big deal with both those games though and the Warhead continued to shine when taking it into multiplayer. For the most part I only game with a headset when playing multiplayer games and because of the need to talk with teammates. The chat functionality worked as advertised and the ability to independently adjust both game and voice volume was a huge plus.
Unfortunately the Warhead faltered a bit when I tried out Forza 4. Car noise, like engines, tires and other opponents, is a big indicator for driving game enthusiasts, especially those playing simulation driving games like Forza and sadly the Warhead, like my everyday use Tritton ax720, seems to jumble this audio a bit. Whereas the positional audio in Gears 3 and Halo: Reach was superb, everything in Forza 4 just seemed muddled together in the headset. While using the in game audio option can fix some of these issues, it is not ideal and if you are used to playing Forza 4 with a proper surround sound system I wouldn’t recommend using the Warhead for that purpose. Still despite my issues while sampling Forza 4, the Warhead is a top-tier audio delivery device for gaming.
In an effort to sample the rest of the audio features on the Warhead I also gave it a go with some of the 360’s entertainment delivery sources. I watched an episode of Breaking Bad using Netflix and the audio was crisp and clear. I also popped in the new Slash album into the tray and everything sounded great. Finally I sampled my DVD of Saving Private Ryan, specifically the opening battle sequence and the positional audio was great. That said, I personally would not use the Warhead, or any headset for that matter, to do these things on a regular basis, still it is nice that it operates at such a high quality in all of its uses.
Aesthetically the Warhead and its base station are slick-looking pieces of hardware. When not in use the headset can rest within a pair of wings extending from the base station and with their glossy black finish the device fits in perfectly with other entertainment technology devices. Overall it is beautiful-looking piece of tech.
For as much as I like the Warhead 7.1 set I cannot recommend it wholeheartedly to everyone. To be fair, it is clear that the device was not designed with everyone in mind. At a retail price tag of $299.99 it costs the same as the 360 console itself. Additionally, being an Xbox 360 exclusive headset, it limits itself to audiophiles and the upper crust of competitive gamers. For those that do not fit into either of those categories, Tritton offers some other great headsets that might work out better.
- Slick design fits in with today’s entertainment technology devices
- Lightweight feel
- Dual batteries provide near uninterrupted gaming audio
- Excellent audio quality and superb positional sound in most cases
- Pricing makes it not for everyone
- Awkward backward slippage
4 / 5