Cheap in price doesn't have to automatically equate to cheap in quality. Few have the luxury to afford a fancy headset like the Recon 3D Omega Wireless or SteelSeries’ Siberia Elite Prism. Fortunately, Creative Labs knows that, and that’s why their product lineup offers a wide range of flexible pricing options. Creative’s latest Draco HS880 is a new and improved version of the previously released HS850. The HS880 improves several key areas, such as overall build quality and a deeper bass for enhanced audio depth. If you’re looking for quality sound at an extremely affordable price, Draco’s $50 price tag is tough to beat.
As with anything made by the folks at Creative Labs, the headset design is stunning and makes an attractive first impression. The red and black color combo is stylish, and the new rectangular ear cup shape is both more comfortable and better looking than the elliptical shape of its predecessor. The tangle-free cord is very practical if you’re taking the Draco on the road, and the included carry pouch is a nifty extra. The leather ear cups and cushioned headrest are pleasantly comfortable. The headset is very light, making long game or music-listening sessions extremely comfortable. Draco’s headrest has broad adjustability that suits heads of all sizes, and the earcups are spacious enough to never overlap your ears.
"If you’re looking for quality sound at an extremely affordable price, Draco’s $50 price tag is tough to beat."
The Draco HS880 is a no-frills, plug-and-play gaming headset. There is no software to install, and there are no extra EQ settings or gameplay modes. Having said that, The Draco sounds spectacular right out of the box. The bass is heavy and deep, and high frequency sounds are crystal clear. The Draco uses the PC standard, dual 3.5 mm stereo connections for the mic and audio, allowing connectivity across most devices. Unfortunately, the Draco doesn’t come with a 4-pole adapter, so if you want to use the headset on consoles, you’ll have to either purchase one separately, or stick with only using the audio jack. If you do use the mic, you’ll be happy to know that it works flawlessly without any distortions or grain.
Most of my testing was conducted on the Playstation 4 and PC. Even with the PS4’s limited sound controls, Draco’s inline volume control unit offers additional adjustability for those who like their audio levels higher. I’ve spent around ten hours using the Draco while playing Metal Gear Solid V, and at one point I completely forgot that I was using budget headphones. I’m not sure what kind of tech went into making the Draco sound drivers, but things like explosions and gunfire are delivered with unbelievable accuracy. Subtle sound crackling can occur on rare occasions, but it’s always temporary and lasts no longer than a fraction of a second.
"Creative Labs has managed to deliver an exceptional product. Budget-priced headphones aren’t typically known for their wow factor, but the Draco headphones are likely to exceed your expectations."
The Draco may be labeled as a gaming headset, but it works just as well as a general purpose headphone. Music and movies sound fantastic, and the thumping bass impresses when listening to things like electronica or hip-hop. It can’t rival higher end headsets when it comes to minute details, but keep in mind the Dracos can be purchased for less than the cost of a video game.
If you’re on a budget, the Draco HS880 is an excellent choice for all-purpose headphones. They may lack advanced tuning options of higher end models, but when it comes to out-of-the-box audio quality, Creative Labs has managed to deliver an exceptional product. Budget-priced headphones aren’t typically known for their wow factor, but the Draco headphones are likely to exceed your expectations.