Sennheiser has coupled today’s unveiling of its noise-cancelling G4ME Zero over-ear PC gaming headphones with an open acoustics option, the G4ME One.
Note: this article intends to outline how the G4ME One headphones differ to the G4ME Zero, and what advantages and disadvantages they present. As such, we recommend you use our review of the G4ME Zero headphones as a reference point.
The G4ME One headphones are very similar to the G4ME Zero, and at first glance, present only minor aesthetic differences. The shape, size and colour scheme of the two devices are virtually identical. When you look closer at the G4ME One, you will notice the G4ME Zero’s leatherette-coated padding (surrounding the earcups and on the underside of the headband) is replaced by a slightly firmer foam which employs a material skin. We found it to be no less and no more comfortable, but it’s a little less manipulative in that it doesn’t absorb pressure as easily.
The G4ME One also lacks the T-joint which joins the G4ME Zero’s earcups with their headband. As a result, the G4ME One’s earcups cannot be folded inwards, and are more restrictive when it comes to fitting them on your head. Fortunately, Sennheiser has ensured they remain comfortable, so the only real hindrance is that they take up more space if you need to pack them in a bag. The exterior of the earcups retains the same volume wheel and microphone (which also has mute functionality when rotated to face upwards and away from the mouth). The key missing piece -- and this is the big one as it has a direct impact on the gaming experience on offer by the G4ME One -- are the rubber slits that sit on the outside of the G4ME Zero’s earcups, which make way for, well, nothing; they are open, designed to let both sound and air move beyond the enclosed design of the headphones. In layman’s terms, you will hear everything around you when you wear these headphones.
“Why would I want anything interfering with my gaming?” I hear you ask. Let’s first tackle the elephant in the room: yes, if there’s a lot going on around you, it will no doubt impede a fully immersive experience (unless of course you set the volume to 70 per cent or more, at which point the output of the G4ME One headphones will drown out surrounding noise.
In saying that, there are two usage scenarios in which we found the G4ME One headphones open design to be useful. Firstly, if you’re gaming with friends in the same room, you don’t have to run any additional software which means you can communicate clearly while still being able to hear what’s happening on your screen. Secondly, it allows you to communicate with others around you without taking the headphones off; the most you ever have to do to hear others speak is turn the volume down momentarily.
Another benefit of the open design is that air is not trapped within the earcups, allowing you to stay cool for long gaming sessions. This is unlike the G4ME Zero headphones, which make your ears feel warm after a while. But, what comes in must come out; the G4ME One headphones do leak significantly more sound than their brother device, which means you’ll have to keep them quiet if you’re in an environment that demands it.
Despite the open acoustics of the G4ME One headphones having an impact on your overall sound experience, they don’t damage the quality of the sound produced. To grasp the full capabilities of the device, you will have to really turn up the volume. We found the G4ME One produce the same crisp, clear, and detailed sound, and have the same volume and directional management as the G4ME Zero. One area in which they were slightly weaker is the reproduction of deeper and more bass-heavy sounds. (Again, for more information on sound quality, please see our review of the G4ME Zero headphones.) The Sennheiser G4ME One headphones retail for $369.95, compared to the $399.95 of the G4ME Zero.
Which version do you prefer? Let us know in the comments below.