Gaming headphones need to accomplish two main things: audio quality and comfort. But with so much competition on the market, superior audio performance isn’t always enough. Hoping to offer gamers a unique niche feature, newly founded manufacturer GamesterGear designed a headset with a powerful rumble effect that creates tangible audio feedback while gaming. While lacking in build quality, the Cruiser XB210 boasts a powerful punch, both in its impressive rumble ear cushions and explosive bass. The lack of equalizer settings may be a turn-off for some gamers, but the Cruiser’s low asking price of $69.99 (at the time of this review) is an attractive incentive for such solid audio performance.
The Cruiser XB210 is primarily an Xbox 360 headset, but also works with Xbox One with the appropriate adapter. Installation is similar to other last-gen headsets with red/white audio inputs connecting to the TV, and a USB going straight into the console. Gamers wanting to use the detachable mic also need to connect the voice chat cable between the Xbox 360 controller and the XB210 dongle. The dongle is used for controlling volume, chat and bass levels, and includes a nifty clip that can be fastened to players’ pants or shirt for easy access.
"While lacking in build quality, the Cruiser XB210 boasts a powerful punch, both in its impressive rumble ear cushions and explosive bass."
Despite lacking equalizer settings and surround sound features commonly seen in today’s gaming headphones, the Cruiser XB210 is expertly calibrated and provides excellent sound across varying frequencies. The balance between small environmental details and thunderous explosions is excellent, and the added rumble effect gives FPS games a sense of tactility without inducing headaches. For a stereo set, the sound directionality is fantastic and there are times when the audio depth even rivals virtual surround of higher-end models.
The rumble effect may seem like a gimmick, but it’s surprisingly effective. Sensing the vibrations of a crumbling building in Battlefield adds a layer of dimensionality and thrill. The heightened environmental awareness is a valuable perk when playing competitively, allowing players to analyze incoming enemies with greater precision. The auditory accuracy highlights echoing sounds flawlessly, allowing players to differentiate between enemies running through buildings or someone approaching from behind. The Cruiser’s detachable mic performs equally well, although it tends to pick up surrounding noises too much.
"The Cruiser XB210 is a superb headset for gamers jumping back and worth between old and new consoles."
The Cruiser is remarkably comfortable and the cushioned ear cups do a great job of preventing heat generation. The leathery strap on the headband is a nice touch too, supplying further coziness for long gaming sessions. On the down side, the overall build quality is underwhelming. The plastic is cheap and the ear cups are attached rather loosely, making the entire headset feel wobbly. It’s odd that GamesterGear hasn’t invested in better materials, considering how much effort went into fine tuning the sound. Maybe it’s to keep the costs down, but if GamesterGear hopes to compete with the likes of Turtle Beach and SteelSeries, a little extra sturdiness can go a long way.
The Cruiser XB210 is a superb headset for gamers jumping back and worth between old and new consoles. The audio performs beautifully for such an affordable peripheral and the rumble effect feature is more than just a gimmick. With a little better build quality and more customization options, GamesterGear has potential to be the next big name in the gaming headphone industry. At only seventy bucks, the Cruiser is a steal and definitely worth picking up for anyone curious about GamesterGear’s new rumble effect technology.
Review by: Tin Salamunic