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Corsair Vengeance H2100
Sturdy and affordable, the no-frills Corsair H2100 suffers from mediocre audio fidelity, background hiss and a spartan feature set.
A middling contender for comfort, the H2100 offers enough padding and ear space for hours of gaming. Admittedly, the fit seemed awkward at first. The pressure applied by the ear cups was uneven. It stayed this way over days of use, so it didn't seem to "break in" like I had hoped. The cloth cushions are a bit scrubby but breathe better than leatherette. There's significant sound venting, so others around you can hear what you hear if you've got it turned up to 11. The ear cups were spacious and deep enough to contain my ears, but not as large as the Logitech G930 or Astro A50. The adjustable headband was second only to the G930, allowing a good fit for extra smart gamers and semi-giants. This is the heaviest headset and although the difference is small, I would have liked to see more padding at the top.
This is not an audiophile's headset. Audio playback was clear but not rich. The bass is definitely a weakness here. With 50mm drivers, the lack of bass was surprising. By comparison, the Astro A50 and SteelSeries H Wireless both have 40mm drivers but deliver much better low-end. The mids/highs distort slightly, particularly at higher volumes. Corsair's software EQ did little to make H2100 shine, but the utility is a welcome feature all the same. There was a faint static "hiss" that frequently showed up, especially when things got quiet. This noise was apparent on multiple computers in different areas, so this appears to be how its designed. Bummer.
There were no connection hiccups during normal usage, but this was the only headset to start breaking up while intentionally generating interference. This suggests (but does not guarantee) susceptibility to interference in dense Wi-Fi environments. Just something to consider. Range of freedom from the transmitter was great. It was basically a toss up between this and the Logitech G930 for top contender. Longer wavelengths offer better penetration and distance, so it was not entirely surprising to see these 2.4GHz headsets perform best in this regard. I could use the H2100 two (small) rooms away from the transmitter well. The H2100 was a middle performer for latency at roughly 150-200ms for round-trip communication, as measured from mic to ear. Playback times, subjectively, were near-instantaneous.
The microphone on the Corsair Vengeance H2100 isn't my favorite, but it is functional. Friends immediately noticed the difference after switching from the Logitech G930 saying I sounded "less clear" and "quieter" even with the mic volume maxed. To be fair, the G930 has an excellent mic. But playback of H2100 recordings revealed slightly muffled input. The inflexible mic boom sits further from your face than any other mic in this comparison, so perhaps this accounts for part of the problem. One quirk about the raising and lowering the boom is how much it shakes your head as it passes each notch along the way. I felt like I had adult-onset shaken baby syndrome after raising to mute. I will say this though – it doesn't feel like it is going to fall off. Like the G930, the mic mutes without raising the boom the whole way. By contrast, the Astro A50 has to be raised a full 90-degrees until it is vertical.
Features and Value
Features on the headset itself are short and sweet: a volume roller and a raise-to-mute mic. Mic monitoring is present here, a feature which allows you to hear yourself so you don't sound like a weirdo while talking. The H2100 is not firmware upgradeable. Corsair also included a software EQ utility, but it can only do so much to improve an otherwise mediocre-sounding headset. A USB stand is included, allowing owners to connect the transmitter and place it near them if they wish. Keeping it close by and in line of sight should help reduce hiccups and increase range.
With 10 hours of battery life advertised, I received just over 10 hours of continuous operation during the synthetic test. There is no battery indicator, but the H2100 allows for charging during usage via a standard micro USB cable.
Overall Quality and Impressions
The Corsair H2100, like the G930, opts for simpler packaging than that found on its pricier competition. However, the H2100 feels (and perhaps looks) higher-end than its relatively low price tag suggests. All mechanical aspects of this headset (e.g. volume roller, headband adjustment, mic boom, power button) feel solid. The look is clearly inspired by gaming but steers away from being too flashy for everyday use. Although I feel this is the most unremarkable headset here, the H2100 is a solid option under $100 for non-audiophiles with straightforward needs.