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Saturday, 28 May 2016


Corsair Gaming H2100 Dolby 7.1 Wireless Gaming Headset Review

Ever since last year's Computex Corsair seems to be determined to overhaul its entire range of products filling the gaps with new offering and revamping the old one's for a possible second leash on life! Though we've been aggressively reviewing products from the former segment but today for a change we'll take a look at something from the later. Today thanks to Corsair India we have with us the Corsair Gaming H2100 Dolby 7.1 Wireless Gaming Headset for review!
The H2100 is basically the successor to the older Vengeance headset and a cheaper option for those who can't afford the Corsair Void! Corsair also launched the H1500 along with this offering and to make things clearer the only technical difference between the two is that the H2100 is wireless whereas the H1500 is hard wired.

The Corsair H2100 is a wireless headset powered by two massive 50mm neodymium Drivers with a Frequency Response of 20 – 20,000Hz topped up by support for genuine Dolby 7.1 virtual surround sound. The headset also features a boom style, swivelling microphone, micro-fibre ear-cushions with memory foam, and a dedicated volume control found on the left ear-cup.
If all this doesn't impress you from the get go then its price will as the H2100 comes in at just $100 or Rs 9000 in India!

What's in the Box?

Corsair seems to have adopted the new yellow and black theme permanently and the same story continues for the Corsair Gaming H2100 aswell. The box comes in a yellow and black accent all over along with all the vital details neatly enlisted especially that it is a Wireless Dolby 7.1 Gaming Headset, featuring 7.1 channels and 0.0 wires!
A peak through window gives a sight of the actual product inside the box and completes the simple yet effective packaging.

Open the box and we are greeted by a set of accessories apart from the regular stuff like a Quick Start Guide, Safety Leaflet, Warranty Guide and disposal leaflet. The key accessories include the wireless USB adapter, a 1.5m USB extension cable, 1.5m long charging cable and the H2100 headset itself.

Looking at the H2100 itself and taking it into your hands the first thing you'll realize is that its heavy and robust! Weighing in at approximately 320g the headset aren't actually heavy given they are wireless with one cup holding the battery and the other a counter weight to balance things out.
The yellow and black theme looks not only attractive but imparts a retro look to the entire package. I personally love those yellow stitches done on the textured top leatherette!
Made out of solid plastic the headset has a high horizontal swivel than vertical swivel making it adjust and fit on almost all head sizes with perfect snugness.

The cups rotate to a full 180° and are huge to entirely cover your ears. The right cup is plane and simple whereas the left one has the unidirectional noise cancelling mic along with the power button and volume controller. The USB B connector for inserting the charging cable is also present at the bottom.

Corsair has used a metal wheel for volume control on the H2100 on top of which is the chunky power button and the LED indicator. It blinks blue when you power-on the headset, orange when on low battery, red when discharged and green when the battery is fully charged while connected to the charger.
The mic when brought down to the mouth automatically switches on and goes off when put back up, how cool is that!
I personally miss a channel switching button since one needs that with a headset of this octane.

The micro-fiber coated memory foam is a bit on the harder side but doesn't really hurt once worn. I'm not a fan of cloth rubbing against my ears but this one is a different story, the fiber is smooth and doesn't feel cheap and definitely not like a Nike jersey on my ears!

The wireless adapter is probably a C-media chip and works flawlessly with the Headset on a variety of OS including Windows 10. The transmitting frequency is 2.4Ghz which I speculate might lower the total range if you are working near a WiFi router since they commonly transmit at 2.4Ghz aswell!
We'll come to know the truth in our testing though.

Making it Work...

Using the Corsair H2100 is fairly simple pretty much like a plug and play device. You just need to insert the USB wireless adapter and power-on your headset, make sure you've charged the headsets for a good 4-5hours prior to its first use for longer battery life.

Windows will recognize the device as a normal audio device and make it work at 2.0 channel configuration. Also if you have speakers plugged in just go to the devices and printers section, right click on the Corsair H2100 icon and select Audio settings. Over there the headphones will show as ready simply right click over the icon and select Set as default audio device, that's it!

From the official Corsair website just download the Corsair Gaming Headset Control Panel to unleash the full feature set of the product. Not only can you select the source type like 2.0 channel. 5.1 channel and the 7.1 Surround but also the Dolby sound function can be switched on and off from a simple switch. Volume control for the mic and headphones are also provided.
Sadly you can only use the Dolby Pro Logic system when on the 5.1 Channel source for the 7.1 it doesn't imply!

A plethora of audio profiles are present which can be switched on the go from the drop down menu. The default profile like its name flattens the chart and sets everything to 0db. The Audiophile 1 and 1+ are aimed at an open or broader sound experience making it perfect for R&B genre whereas the Audiophile 2 and 2+ are softer/shallow presets ideal for soft melodies and slower beats.
FPS increases the bass to be precise making it easy to listen to ambient sounds and assist in positional awareness. MMO does nothing more than slightly tweaking the mids making the communication over the mic with your teammates a clearer experience.

Time to hit the cords!

Gaming Performance 

Since the H2100 aims at gaming we tested it with three of our all time favorites, Crysis 3 for its excellent blend of audio, Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor for its pitch perfect environmental sounds and NFS: Rivals well simply 'coz I like that game!
In Crysis 3 we had no issue whatsoever in listening to or understanding what Prophet was saying and noises were greatly distinguished in the heat of battle, even of the crickets in the NY jungle! The FPS preset works well no doubt and hearing the footsteps of everyone was not an issue. In Shadow of Mordor we could really feel the voices coming from someone standing right behind our character a testimony to how good the 7.1 virtual surround sound is. The engines of Bugatti or Lamborghini never revved any better and we were blown away by the deep bass these cups had to offer. Cops or racers from the left or right could be heard of in the precise direction thanks to the 7.1 support and at times the headsets did vibrate due to heavy bass!

Music, Movies & Miscellaneous

Switching over to movies and music we used our custom preset for the testing.
For movies we went in for a wide variety like the dialogue intensive Schindler's List & 12 Years a Slave to high pitch titles like Avatar and The Avengers, all came out in exceptional quality.
Bryan Adam's Heaven and some of my all time favorite Bollywood songs sounded great with exceptional mids and lows accompanied by a good treble. Eminem Legacy and Rap God were as clear as they can be with bass nearing perfection, even at full volume songs from 3 Doors Down, Motorhead or Metallica didn't crack displaying the true power of the 50mm drivers that it uses.
One thing worth noticing is that the 7.1 virtual surround sound kind of hampers the audio experience while listening to music or watching movies over the 5.1 channel settings so its better that you stick to the latter than the former for a pleasant & soothing experience.
Mic on the H2100 is static free and does cancel out most of the noise doing a great job at voice reproduction.

Wireless Range and Charging

As mentioned earlier about the use of 2.4Ghz frequency the Corsair H2100 gives me a total range of 20 feet in an obstruction free hall when my WiFi router (also working at 2.4Ghz) is on, which is kept right next to my PC monitor. Once turned off or switched to 5Ghz the range saw an increase and I was listening to songs sitting in the other corner of the hall at near 30 feet!
The battery once fully charged lasted for a good 8 hours and the best part is that you can even use your normal cell phone charger's wire for charging the headset.
Comfort factor is high and I didn't feel the headsets to be heavy at all during my long session of near 2 hours with it. I did feel my ears heating up mainly due to the high ambient temperatures in the summer but no sweating was observed thanks to the breathable material on the cushioning.

My Verdict

Corsair in its crusade of reinvention and rejuvenation of itself has yet again brought out a victor in the form of the Corsair Gaming H2100 Dolby 7.1 Wireless Gaming Headset. Apart from the fact that it performs well and ticks all the right boxes in terms of mic performance and wireless fidelity you have to consider its robust build quality, innovative mic on/off switch and a fresh new color combination imparting retro looks which is something diminishing in today's world dominated by vinyl coated gaming headsets with a bunch of wild LEDs that make one look like wearing a Christmas tree on their heads!
But all this is not the main selling point for this product, the biggest and truly undeniable fact is its wireless nature coming in at sub $100 price tag! Its possibly one of the best headphones we've tested but definitely the best wireless headphone we've tested in this price range. What more? The virtual Dolby 7.1 surround sound just makes its tad bit sweeter!
I give it a 8/10

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