Creative's Fatal1ty headphones may not tout any particularly unique or fanciful design features, but they are comfortable to use over extended periods of time and include a detachable microphone for quick and easy voice commands.
- Good microphone, comfortable, microphone is detachable and easily adjustable, in-line remote
- Audio in general lacks substance, music tests proved these headphones aren't suited to music
Although the sound quality is better than adequate, it's not fantastic. Our main concern is that the audio lacks substance. However, this was more noticeable in music tests than gaming tests, so it's less of an issue here. The microphone is easily positioned and the cushioning makes them very comfortable.
Co-designed with Jonathan "Fatal1ty" Wendel, the Creative Fatal1ty gaming headphones are typical over-the-head style headphones with a cup design for the earpiece. The design is quite comfortable to wear; each cup has a thick padding that does a good job of cushioning the ear and a large, soft cushion protects the top of your head from the plastic headband. We tested them over long periods of time without any notable discomfort or aggravation. This is a simple but important feature because, no matter how good a set of headphones sound, you're not going to be able to wear them for long if they're too uncomfortable.
The cup design aims at passively cancelling external noise sources, which essentially means the headphones try to create a seal around the ear, preventing sound from entering the cup. The Creative Fatal1ty headphones do a fair job of this, though any sharp noise within a few metres will be audible. For instance, clicking your fingers at arms length, while listening to music at full volume, will still be audible.
The sound quality is fairly basic with clear tones in the mid-range, as long as the audio track isn't too bass heavy. We found that using audio tracks with even a small amount of bass tended to flood the whole spectrum with a muddy low-frequency noise. In games it's less of an issue; in fact it's barely noticeable. However, don't buy these headphones with the intention of using them for music as they're not really suited.
We found the clearest audio was in the mid-range and in-game audio never sounded distorted or overly hollow, unlike our music tests. The only thing that really bothered us was the feeling that the Fatal1ty's output was, if anything, light and lacking in substance.
The detachable microphone is a nice piece of hardware. It employs noise cancellation with an easily adjustable and very malleable wire that allows you to position the microphone perfectly for your needs. The 3.5mm jack uses a plastic key, so to speak, to force the connection into one orientation only. This prevents the jack from slipping or twisting in its socket and repositioning the microphone unintentionally.
Our microphone was picked up well in games, transmitting vocal commands in a loud, clear voice. Of course, if you have no need for the microphone then it's quite simple to unplug it and it's gone. Alternatively you can mute the microphone using the Fatal1ty's in-line remote, which also has audio volume controls.
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