The HEPHAESTUS by PC accessories manufacturer, GAMDIAS, attempts to win over PC gamers with its ear cup vibration, virtual 7.1 surround sound and cooling system.
At first glance, one may think this unit would be heavy and bulky. However, the comfort in wearing the HEPHAESTUS for long amounts of time is quite surprising. The leather ear cups are extremely soft and large while a nice portion of padding surrounds the head band. In one intense gaming session lasting around two hours, there was little to no fatigue around the head, neck and shoulders. For those more sensitive to weight, it may take a little getting used to, but in the end, the HEPHAESTUS is pretty comfortable to wear.
As with most headsets on the market, the GAMDIAS HEPHAESTUS is made from hard plastic, but you never think for a second the unit is going to easily break or fall apart in your hands. One of the more striking aspects to the GAMDIAS HEPHAESTUS is its look. The unit is white with grey and orange accents and illuminates when plugged into the USB port.
The included microphone is attached permanently to the base unit. With its wide range of motion and flexible build, the mic can be placed almost anywhere along the headset. The flexibility gives just enough slack without the potential for breakage. Technically, the mic did a good job in capturing voice recordings via Skype and Audacity. Afterwards, there was not a whole lot to do from an editing standpoint to remove hissing or other background noises. Sometimes when gaming for a long time, your ears can get hot and uncomfortable. Thanks to an aluminum heat sink, the GAMDIAS HEPHAESTUS touts a cooling system designed to keep the ears from getting hot and sweaty during those long marathon gaming runs.
While testing other headsets along side the GAMDIAS HEPHAESTUS, there were minor differences in the amount of heat and perspiration felt on the ears. This particular aspect is one where results can widely vary depending on the person using the headset. The headset also sports an 8 foot braided USB cable so being too far away from the PC is not a concern. One downside to the overall construction is the large switch that handles muting and volume/vibration control. Often times the placement just gets in the way and it can become frustrating trying to find a nice place where it does not interfere with gameplay.
The HEPHAESTUS handles virtual 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound fairly well with all channels working in harmony to provide a engrossing audio experience. You can feel the bullets whizzing past your head in shooters or road signs flying by as you play the latest PC racer. A selling point of the HEPHAESTUS is a distinct vibration from explosions and gun fire. Each time a detonation went off, a hard vibration would be heard from the corresponding speaker. With the audio control unit attached to the USB cable, you can choose to disable the vibration or minimize its impact. There was no noticeable lag between explosions and what you saw on the screen. You can think of this new aspect to headset audio as the rumble in a gamepad. The vibration and bass were surprisingly not as annoying as one may think from the outside looking in.
For a unit that is put together as well as this, the software is a essentially useless other than setting up to perform in virtual surround sound. You can make changes and adjust settings, but the experience is pretty terrible. It looks like something you would find in an audio program released as part of Windows 95. It is quite baffling that GAMDIAS would ask customers to use such a low quality piece of software. Another annoyance is the application installs into the directory of its choice leaving the user no options for a custom installation folder.
Conclusion – Is It Worth Your Money?
GAMDIAS has attempted to throw a lot of new features into this headset and could have easily fallen on their faces. Instead, they have developed a piece of hardware that PC gamers should embrace. While GAMDIAS is new on the PC gaming hardware scene, this headset is a step in the right direction. The HEPHAESTUS will be available from online retailers next month for the price of $99.99.
Time Used – 30 Days
Cable Length – 8 ft (2.5 m)
Weight – 1.3 lbs (0.589 kg)
Availability – Coming In March
Official Site – GAMDIAS
Acquisition Method – Review Unit
Connection – Wired USB 2.0