Consumers have a staggering amount of choice when it comes to headsets these days with virtually every major manufacturer offering their own unique take which fits within a unified brand identity. The FLO headset is Bitfenix’s first foray into the audio market which targets good audio quality at an affordable price. Competition within this field is extremely tough so how does the Flo stack up against behemoths of the industry such as Logitech and Corsair? The headset is bundled using frustration-free packaging and easily opens using a loose flap. There are no awkward tabs to pry open or hard plastic to cut which makes the unboxing process effortless. The box art is impeccably designed and shows splashes of paint which signifies the various colour options within the FLO range. The rear outlines the key specifications and bundled accessories in a clear and concise manner.
Included in the package is the headset itself, detachable microphone, 1m audio cable for portable devices, 1m headset cable with inline remote and 2m extension cable. The leads are constructed from a fairly thick, durable rubber and should provide adequate protection against pulling. The phono jacks are made of brushed aluminum and have gold-plated connections to enhance audio quality and reduce interference. The lead isn’t soldered into the unit and can be removed without any hassle. This is a fantastic addition because I’ve used various headsets which end up having a broken 3.55m cable. Being able to simply buy a replacement cable means you can use the headset without worrying about irreparable damage. This level of quality and adaptability is quite surprisingly given the low price point of $60/£50.
There are two cables in the box that are designed for various usages. The shorter lead is perfect for mobile phones or tablets which require a small space between the device and headset. You can also remove the microphone which makes this a versatile unit and suitable as a set of portable headphones. The longer cable is a great length for PC usage and those feeding the cable to a machine positioned away from the user’s seating position. The primary audio cable features a remote control which allows you to mute the microphone or adjust the overall volume. Unfortunately, this remote feels a bit cheap in your hands but nevertheless it does the job.
The detachable Microphone is manufactured from hardened rubber and is remarkably sturdy. However, it is not possible to bend the mic to shape because of this stiff construction. The audio quality during conference calls, streaming and online gaming is surprisingly crisp and clear. There isn’t any kind of noise isolation but there is virtually no hissing or popping which is fairly impressive for the price. The mic is also pretty good at amplifying your voice from low volumes and detects differentiation in audio levels without any problems whatsoever.
Comfort is always something difficult to critique as it is a subjective matter. In my case, I thought the headset was extremely comfortable to wear but could do with having slightly thicker ear cups and better padding. The pads are quite thin and may cause discomfort to consumers with larger ears. Additional support would allow for a more snug fit and reduce earache during prolonged periods. The headset is exceptionally light weighing in at only 200g without the mic. The lightweight nature of this device makes it feel like an extension of your own head and not like you are wearing a cumbersome headset. As a result, this greatly adds to the overall comfort level. The grooved headband is proficient at supporting your head but feels particularly cheap and overly thin.
From an aesthetics standpoint, the FLO headset is a beautiful piece of technology. The lush, lavish colours and aluminum accents around the cups look stunning. You can choose between black, white, red and blue options to suit the colour scheme of various PC builds. Perhaps a green headset would be a good move to try and get the Nvidia customer on board and take away from Razer’s dominance in this field. Another improvement could be the use of braided cables to either match your headset colour or choose another option which would compliment the existing model you own. Obviously, the main issue with this is price so I understand why this hasn’t been implemented. I am hoping Bitfenix can offer premium braided cables as an optional extra in the future.
The headset contains a solid, balanced sound and consistently impressed me during the course of gaming, music listening, guitar playing and movie watching. There is a clear, pronounced mid-range with comes from the 40mm drivers and has a warm, natural tone. The bass sounds are deep and rich which makes you feel every sudden gunshot or explosion during games. Despite this, the bass isn’t extraordinary and feels a little flat in the overall mix. Using software EQ to enhance the bass and bringing it to the forefront dramatically improves the audio clarity and exhilarating feel during games and heavier music.
The lower range tones are crystal clear and surprisingly allows you to hear the nuances of multi-layered tracks and subtle sounds in the background of games. The headset is also extremely loud on full volume despite having a fairly high impedance rating of 68 Ω. As with any 3.55m headset, the sound is only as good as the source being used so an aftermarket sound card is recommended. I tested the headset with a Creative Sound Blaster Z and onboard audio on a Gigabyte Z87-XOC and the difference was night and day.
Conclusion – Is It Worth Your Money?
The Bitfenix FLO headset offers exceptional value for money and finds a suitable balance between performance and affordability. This fantastic bundle features a headset which can become a portable set of headphones, good sound quality, replaceable cables, excellent mic, incredible aesthetics and great build quality. There are a few areas which were scaled back to reduce costs such as the headband but these minor reservations don’t detract from the overall comfort and impeccably balanced sound on offer.