Despite lacking the aesthetics, the Plantronics GameCom Commander is a premium gaming headset. Featuring top-notch noise cancellation and 7.1 Dolby Digital surround sound, the Commander is designed to let gamers be immersed in their gameplay.
But with a hefty pricetag, is it worth every single cent? Terence Huynh and Ashton Bernard both tried the Plantronics GameCom Commander for themselves.
Terence: Premium in cost, not in design
The Plantronics GameCom Commander is definitely a premium headset, but it doesn’t look like the other premium headsets. The design doesn’t have any of the pleasing aesthetics you may find in headphones in its price range; instead it is designed to be functional and durable, with its design based on headsets for the military. Given the pricetag of $349 (at JB Hi-Fi), you would expect them to have a decent build quality.
Despite looking a tad cheap, the build quality is pretty good. The earcups are held to the headband by thin metal rods, and are surrounded with leather padding; and the headband come with a detachable velcro band so you can add your own branding, or just remove it entirely.
The Commander features Plantronics’ QuickDisconnect connector, which allows you to use one of two cables – one with two standard 3.5mm jacks for the headphones and microphones, designed to be connected with its USB Dolby adapter; and another with one single 3.5mm jack for smartphones. However, for the latter cable, it suddenly becomes useless when you notice that the microphone isn’t detachable.
One of the biggest problems with the headset is that they are just uncomfortable to wear. The Commander is large enough to fit most head sizes, but it does not let you adjust the size to add a bit of extra space. For me, they did fit but the sides started hurting my scalp after a couple of hours use – which becomes a problem if you’re planning to spend hours playing Call of Duty, Battlefield, World of Tanks, etc.
The audio quality is pretty good, with music sounding clear and not over-the-top with the bass. However, it’s not enough to justify spending $349 for the Commander. I should note that I didn’t really experience them while playing games because I’m not really much of a gamer – that job was left by Ashton, whose review of the Commander is below.
Ashton: a “lackluster” pair compared to others
Given the price tag of the Commander Headset I was expecting a high end gaming experience on par with many of its competitors, but I was ultimately disappointed from my hands-on with the headset.
Headsets of a similar price range usually feature cross-platform capabilities or additional features such as bluetooth integration or at the very least an unparalleled audio experience, unfortunately I cannot say the same for Commander Headset. While it does have the unique capability of being adaptable with both mobile phones and PC (with its own external Dolby Digital surround sound card) the adapters, mute and volume controls and wires felt cheap and flimsy and are difficult to quickly access.
The headset is also incredibly irritating to wear for extended periods of time mostly as the ear cuffs rest on the ears rather than around them. Not only does this take away the immersion experience of the game, it becomes a distraction and I found myself consistently removing them just to give my ears a break.
Although the build quality is top notch, the adjustments on either side of the headset were quite difficult to adjust and the overall design was rather unappealing. On a more positive note the headset comes with a nifty carry case that’s ideal for gamers on the go and the overall audio quality was able to pick up many of the more subtle sounds, such as footsteps or the movement of wind but nothing truly ground-breaking.
For the price I was expecting the Commander Headset to come choc-full of exciting features or at the bare minimum to create a solid product with great comfort and looks rather than allow the audio experience alone to drive the experience. The crisp sounds of the Commander headset is its saving grace where even high pitched squeals and pings are not irritating but I feel that the overall package was rather lackluster compared with other headsets of a similar price range.
Sound quality was great, with high-pitched squeals and pings not irritating; top-notch build quality; QuickDisconnect lets you connect the headphones to your PC or your smartphone easily
Price tag is very expensive; not comfortable to wear during prolonged use
While sound quality is great, it doesn’t justify the expensive pricetag
The score listed above is the average between the scores given by Ashton and Terence. Ashton gave the Commander a 6.0, while Terence gave them a 7.0.