The HC5 is yet another beautifully crafted and well manufactured headset from our pals at Gioteck. Ranging between the £40-£60 mark, it’s an affordable headset compatible with not only the Xbox 360 but the Xbox One, PC, PS3 AND PS4. This is a headset for all your gaming needs! Do be careful, if you’re reading this with the intent on using it with your Xbox One controller, you WILL need to purchase Microsoft’s own Xbox One adapter, setting you back a further £20. Luckily I had one handy, but do be wary as I didn’t feel this information was given clearly whilst researching the headset.
To look at, the headset is a thing of beauty. It’s high gloss black finish and crimson red accents really gives this rugged headset a powerful look. It’s large buttons, located on the side of each headphone are easily accessible and after a few tries you’ll figure out which side controls which aspect of the audio. Each button gives a definite “click” when pressed, however on my particular headset all buttons did this apart from the power or “On” button. Whether this was a faulty button or simply part of Gioteck’s design is left to be seen, however this did not affect the usage or performance of my HC5s.
The size of the HC5s is very easy to adjust, simply pull down the adjustable slide at each end of the headband to the desired size. Admittedly, for a larger-than-average cranium the size of mine, even on the largest setting, the HC5s were quite a snug fit. But if unlike me, you’re not a freak to nature and have a normal sized skull, this headset will be very comfortable. It’s lightweight design soon had me forget I even had them on as I was immersed deeper into the game. The large leather ear pieces began feeling great, however after a little while of gaming, with the headset pressed down firmly against my head, my ears soon became quite warm and began to get a little (sorry for this mental image, guys) sweaty. A couple of times throughout my session with the HC5s I had to physically take the headset off to give my little sweaty ears a breather. This wasn’t ideal, mid-Crucible on Destiny.
The mic has a nice feel to it and is a great size and length. It’s rubber-like arm bends with ease, so adjusting it to be positioned directly in front of your mouth (the ideal place for a microphone like this to be) is easy. Although adjusting the mic is easy, it seems however to struggle picking up or registering sound. Several times whilst trialing the headsets, a number of colleagues commented on how quiet, or “distant” I sounded. This was with the microphone pressed firmly against my lips. Any closer to my mouth and I would’ve run the risk of inhaling it! I soon found that speaking with a raised voice helped, but of course, shout louder and you’ll always get heard. Shouting louder, however is not always a possibility as it will soon end those quiet midnight gaming sessions. I was a little underwhelmed by this as in my past experience Gioteck mics have been great, picking up any level of voice with ease. I’ve never had to shout at a Gioteck mic before which could well indicate a faulty mic in my particular headset.
Alongside the headset, the box comes with a number of cables and USB dongles, some of which you’ll need, others you may as well throw. The wireless element comes in to play whilst using a TV with a “TV OUT” function (do be sure to check your TV has got this before you take the plunge and buy it). I’m not the greatest whiz when it comes to TV/audio set up, but I had searched for a “TV OUT” function on the back of my Samsung TV for a decent 15 minutes before eventually admitting defeat. Thankfully, for TVs that don’t have this function, Gioteck offer an alternative function and in my eyes, a better option. Simply plug your headset into the (this is where that Microsoft Xbox One adapter comes in again) Xbox One microphone adapter (bought separately for roughly £20) using the cable provided in the box and away you go. Using the headset this way disables the need for you to charge your headset, which in my opinion is a great pro. I had not tried the headset whilst using a PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 or PC, so understandably I will skip over commenting on their performance on other said platforms.
Finally, the sound. I’m no audio engineer so what’s the first thing I notice about the sound? Well I found it pretty good. In fact, it’s great. It’s everything you’d expect to hear from a headset of this size. Typically, when gaming I’ll use a sound system rather than a headset, however with the headset there are so many sounds that during a playthrough on a sound system are lost. It always proves to be a more immersive feeling playing with a headset (so long as they don’t slow roast your ears).
In summary, the headset looks amazing. It’s heavy-duty almost futuristic army design gives it a very omnipotent feeling. Although, looks can at times be deceiving and although the HC5 is a beautiful headset, sadly it lacks many features which make a great headset notable. The comfort of the headset was a problem for me. I have a larger-than-average skull which meant I had to have my ears forcefully pressed into the side of my head, causing a tremendous amount of discomfort and sweaty-ear-syndrome during my playthrough. My previous Gioteck headset and still to this day, my favourite headset of all time, the Gioteck EX-O5 (Xbox 360) didn’t seem to suffer with all the same problems as this model. Secondly to that, the EX-05s never had a problem with the cheap leather headphones, as they used a more material like product, which instead of blocking the airflow, the padded cushion of the material seemed to encourage the refreshing breeze of air, without causing any noise pollution to the other people in the room.