Creative HS-1200 review

£60
Price when reviewed

With the rise in the number of PC games that can benefit from voice communication and the prevalence of VoIP services, Creative’s HS-1200 headset looks well-placed to take advantage – a decent range of features and wireless connectivity certainly get it off to a good start.

Creative HS-1200 review

Both the headphones and microphone are fully adjustable, and the USB receiver is a simple-one button affair that pairs with the headset in seconds when the requisite driver has been installed. There’s also a separate cable that can be used to charge the headset over USB when it’s not in use.

A major boon is the inclusion of Creative’s impressive X-Fi technology. This proprietary sound enhancement algorithm has a significant effect on sound quality, though we had to increase the level of X-Fi enhancement from the default level to hear the results.

In use, the HS-1200 offers reasonably good quality, although they’re rarely spectacular. We tested the headset with Far Cry 2, Crysis and Call of Juarez and found that sound quality was solid – immersive, sharp and more than loud enough. We did detect, though, a hint of muddiness about bass tones and a slightly processed feel – chiefly due to the numerous effects used to enhance sound.

Using the HS-1200 for voice calls – whether through a service such as Skype or Windows Live Messenger – was fine. Sound quality was good again, with voices accurate and sharp and a pleasing lack of background noise to contend with. Music, suffered from a slightly muddy bass, although it’s not hugely noticeable unless you’re used to more expensive headphones.

Creative’s software is intuitive and simple to use and includes EAX effects, which add location-sensitive modifications to sound, plus X-Fi CMSS-3D, another enhancement which makes sounds a bit more immersive. A graphic equaliser offers the usual selection of presets.

The headphones themselves are on the small side, and we found ourselves wishing that they fully surrounded our ear rather than resting against them. This also meant that exterior noise wasn’t fully blocked out, either. One saving grace is the range, though – the Creatives worked flawlessly from across our office with a distance of more than 30 feet between us and the receiver.

The minor issues with sound quality and design don’t detract from the Creative’s many successes, though. The sound quality is generally more than good enough to cope with gaming and VoIP calls, and the broad range of features makes this headset especially versatile and well worth the £50 asking price.

Basic specifications

Headphones type Closed
In-line volume control? no
Noise cancelling? no
Headphone connector type 3.5mm

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