Gioteck EX-06 Wireless Headset Review
The Gioteck EX-06 Wireless headset will be the first product that we have seen here at pcGameware from British company Gioteck. The EX-06 Wireless is deigned in the UK and manufactured in China. The headset is a stereo headset with 40mm Drivers features virtual surround sound and is compatible with both consoles (PS3, PS4 & XBox 360), Mac and PC. The wireless capability is handled courtesy of 2.4 GHz technology and the headset can also be folded for ease of transportation. The Gioteck EX-06 Wireless also comes with its own carry case.
The EX-06 Wireless came well packaged in an orange and black box, with a large image of the EX-06 on the front. The front of the box also highlights various features of the EX-06 (see above left).
The back of the box goes on to highlight the features listed by way of various images of the EX-06.
Within the box we find a black and red carry case with its Gioteck logo and a user manual.
Within the carry case we find the EX-06 Wireless headset itself along with a wireless transmitter, USB charging cable, audio/XBox chat cable, RCA to audio cable and removable microphone boom.
At the time of review the Gioteck EX-06 Wireless is retailing for approximately £60 on Amazon and comes with a 90 day warranty! (Really just 90 days!?).
courtesy of Gioteck
|Dynamic Chat Boost||x||Mic Input||3.5mm|
|Amplified||x||Independent Game & Chat Volume Controls||x|
|Speaker Size||40mm||Condenser Microphone Frequency Response||50Hz-15KHz|
|Speaker Frequency||20Hz – 20KHz|
Opening the smart (and no doubt useful) carry case for the first time allows you to see the folded EX-06 within. First impressions of the Gioteck EX-06 Wireless are good, the headset looks good, seems very well made and also sports a nice soft touch surface coating. But as soon as you go and try to open the headset up (like you were going to put it on your head), it quickly becomes apparent that the headband is very stiff and I already have concerns regarding comfort…
Looking at the left ear-cup (side) we have the main (red) power button and just below this is the charging LED indicator. In the first shot you can also begin to appreciate the build quality of the Gioteck EX-06 which appears to be very high, helped by a very good soft touch surface coating.
The right side is the same as the left but the side is devoid of any controls. Both ear-cups feature a large amount of horizontal and vertical tilt, in an attempt to aide in overall comfort (and it’s going to need it!).
Taking a look at back of the ear-cups on the left we find dedicated buttons for Game volume up/down (black) and a central surround sound button in the middle (red). On the right we have the same button arrangement but this time the volume controls Chat volume (X-Box only) and the central red button is a microphone mute.
Looking at the ear-cups from the front we find additional features of the Gioteck EX-06, on the left there’s a microphone port for the supplied microphone boom and here we also find the main USB charging socket. On the right (rather cleverly) we have another microphone port (covered by a small blanking plate), useful if you prefer the mic on the right and also a dedicated XBox Chat Input (no idea what this is really for, sorry we’re all about PCs here!).
The headband, while looking quite cool with its red Gioteck top, is rather uncomfortable; not due to bad cushioning, that actually seems quite adequate. But due to the tension that the headband puts on the head, it’s just too damn tight and not only that; the force that it does place on the head is not necessarily around the ear but above the ear, making the headset even more uncomfortable. To be fair there’s no need for the tension to be this high, it’s a definite oversight on Gioteck’s part, shame! Let’s hope it eases over time…
There Gioteck EX-06 Wireless does cater for the larger head though, with approximately 30mm of adjustment per side.
Each ear-cup features a very small amount of highly compressible foam within each cushion, and unfortunately due to the high compression nature of the headband this further contributes to more discomfort. There’s simply not enough good quality padding here given the force that the headband places on the side of the head. The cushions themselves also seem to be badly fitted to the ear-cups, suggesting that they could easily be dislodged (although during the review they were fine). This seems so at odds with the rest of the headset as the build quality elsewhere is extremely high.
The boom and its associated condenser microphone, also seem a little odds as it’s one of those bendy, non-bendy varieties. Meaning that it doesn’t want to stay in the position you bent it to, in fact I wouldn’t call it bendy at all, more floppy I feel! Of course the worry here is that if the microphone cant be placed close to the mouth then the pick-up may be poor, we shall see…
Overall the Gioteck EX-06 looks good and seems surprisingly well made, but is let down by an overly tight headband and a floppy microphone. Let’s get in to some testing to see how it performs…
As the Gioteck EX-06 Wireless comes with its own transmitter, this was simply plugged into one of the spare USB 2,0 ports on the back of the MSI Z87-G45 GAMING test motherboard.
The Gioteck EX-06 does not require any Drivers or software for complete operation therefore no new install of Windows was performed. The headset was tested with the following games using Windows 7 64Bit Home Premium.
GAMES/BENCHMARKS USED IN TESTING:
- BattleField 4
- Splinter Cell: Black List
- Survarium (BETA)
- BattleField Hardline (BETA)
- Metro Last Light (benchmark)
- Unigine Heaven (benchmark)
- Unigine Valley (benchmark)
The performance of a headset is predominately based upon what it sounds like, therefore what we have here is my opinion on what I think about the audio performance of the Gioteck EX-06 Wireless Headset; of course this is somewhat subjective…
The performance overall is good, and to be fair better than I was expecting. There’s plenty of volume and a good deal of bass (maybe a little too much), giving those more intense moments in game that extra punch! The other sounds are all present and correct too, meaning that sounds like ricochets, gun-fire, fire and flames can all be heard during the Metro Last Light benchmark. You can also really appreciate the bass (when it kicks in) during the Unigine Heaven benchmark.
No while there’s plenty of volume I did find that if pushed hard (and I mean hard), the Drivers seem to get a little bogged down especially while trying to keep the bass levels so high, but overall the sound produced (via on-board sound) is surprisingly good.
One oddity though is that despite the Game volume controls being clearly marked on the Left ear-cup, for me the right ear-cup controls (marked Chat) were the ones that actually changed the volume while using the EX-06 with Windows 7!? Now whether those dedicated controls only work for consoles, I’m not sure, especially as the User Guide is also a little unclear. But that’s what I found…
Unfortunately, it seems clear even before you put the Gioteck EX-06 on your head that it’s likely to be uncomfortable. The headband is just too highly sprung and the pressure exerted on the heard just too high, the force is even in the wrong place. It’s not around the ears but above them, high on the side of your head. This is then compounded by the poor ear-cushions that feature very thin highly compressible cushions, hardly ideal for a headset with a high clamping force. Wear this headset for more than a couple of hours, and you’ll know it I’m afraid.
NOTE: I did find that over time the tension on the headband did ease, meaning that the comfort levels did improve a little. And, I assume, the longer you wear the headset for (well you get the idea)…
- Wireless Connectivity/Range & Battery Life
Wireless connectivity while sat near my test Rig was fine, the Gioteck EX-06 paired within seconds and never disconnected or stuttered while playing. Try and walk around the house with it though and you’ll be in for a shock. Gioteck claim a range of 20-30 metres, but put a wall in the way and this is reduced to less than 10m!
Battery life seemed good with the headset lasting 10+ hours, enough for a good few evenings of play before a recharge is needed. Of course the headset can be plugged in and used while still charging, although with a charging cable length of just 1m you’ll need to be close to a USB power source.
Despite the microphone’s floppy nature and its unwillingness to stay where it’s positioned the Gioteck EX-06’s microphone worked well. I had no complaints from my online friends while using our VOIP (Razer Comms).
The Gioteck EX-06 Wireless headset is a bit of a mixed bag, not from an audio point of view, where it performs well, but from a general design point of view. This is probably down to the multi-platform support making the EX-06 a jack of all trades and, well you know the rest…
The headset came well packaged and it comes with its own carry case too, the headset is foldable and can therefore be easily transported. There’s not much else in the box other than the headset and the transmitter, which is no bad thing, after this experience is all about being wire free. The Gioteck EX-06’s strongest feature is its build quality, the headset design and build suggests this thing was made by the Germans, but it was actually made in China! The headset is extremely well made and very robust, and the overall design is also very good. To be honest I’m shocked at how well made it is.
Pairing the headset up was easy and performance was good, it’s a little bass heavy but we know that’s what a lot of Gamers want. The sound quality itself is impressive with all sound (Low, Mid & High) being well represented. Push it hard (and I do mean hard) though and things start to get a little messy, with an overall loss of quality becoming apparent. This of course is not helped by the strong bass, which at high volumes just begins to kill the other sounds. Turn on the Virtual Surround Sound (something I’m not a fan of, to say the least) and as per usual the sound changes and not for the better either! Best use this headset as a stereo headset I think! But to be fair at the asking price (around £60) the overall sound quality is actually pretty good.
Being a multi-platform headset, there’s also an oddity or two; the first being that while using the headset on PC (obviously!), the volume control is controlled by the button marked Chat on the headset, not the ones marked Game!? The volume control in Windows also has no bearing on the headset at all!
The microphone while too bendy for its own good and while refusing to stay where it’s bent, actually worked well, there were no complaints from my online friends either. And don’t forget (you have been reading right!?), due to the clever design the microphone boom can be placed in either ear-cup!
The Achilles Heel of the Gioteck EX-06 is the comfort level which is poor (especially when the headset is new!), this is down to two design flaws. The first is that the clamping force (exerted by the headband) is just too high, clamping very tightly around the head just above the ear. The second which doesn’t help the first, is that the ear cushions are also somewhat non-existent; very little foam and too easily compressed. The end result being a headset that’s uncomfortable after only a couple of hours use. Things did improve over time; as I write this I’m aware that either the headset’s clamping force has lessened, or my head is now a slightly different shape!
I’ve used these words recently and I’ll use them again here ‘Flawed Gem’. There’s obviously issues with comfort, we know, and some other oddities regarding volume control. But the headset’s beautifully made, and the sound quality is good. There’s real potential here, come on Gioteck let’s get it sorted…
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Many thanks to Gioteck for providing this sample for review