When you take away audio quality and comfort from a set of headphones or earbuds, there isn’t much left for discussion. Thermaltake's ISURUS Pro gaming earbuds come with a pretty exterior, but none of the essential features that make up functioning earbuds. It’s surprising too, because Thermaltake has championed many gaming peripherals since they were originally founded in 1999. Advertised as professional Tt eSPORTS earbuds, the ISURUS Pro seems geared towards gamers mainly concerned with branding over function.
During testing, I switched back and forth between the ISURUS Pro and a pair of cheap, generic five dollar earbuds , and I could barely tell the difference in quality. In fact, the generics delivered more robust sound, even without the massive drivers. To add insult to injury, after thirty minutes of use, the ISURUS Pro made my ears swell up, and I was left with an unbearable headache for the rest of the day. In all my years of testing audio equipment, I’ve never had this kind of experience.
"To add insult to injury, after thirty minutes of use, the ISURUS Pro made my ears swell up, and I was left with an unbearable headache for the rest of the day."
The ISURUS Pro comes with a substantial amount of extras at a relatively reasonable price of only $40. The package includes the earbuds, a 4-pole adapter, additional earbud tips, a detachable microphone and a gorgeously designed carry pouch. This makes for a great first impression, but sadly the ISURUS Pro fails where it matters most.
The rubbery hook is supposed to wrap snugly around the posterior ear wall. Once they’re in, the massive drivers feel like someone is constantly trying to pull them out. They’re bulky, they leak sound and they don’t perform as advertised. I can’t imagine anyone who games professionally to be ok with this type of discomfort.
When testing audio, I typically have specially selected media for analyzing product quality. I play a couple of loud FPS titles to determine bass and depth performance, then mix in some atmospheric survival horror games to see how minute details are handled. Multiplayer matches are used to test mic quality for grain and distortion. Finally, I shift between different music and movie genres to test sound delivery outside of gaming.
"During testing, I switched back and forth between the ISURUS Pro and a pair of cheap, generic five dollar earbuds , and I could barely tell the difference in quality."
In all of the different tests, the ISURUS Pro disappoints. Explosions and gunfire sound mild and lack that certain punch that’s usually expected from quality audio equipment. Music and movies just come across as shallow. As I mentioned earlier, my other pair of generic earbuds deliver better audio, and they have none of the large drivers or extra features. The microphone is probably the ISURUS Pro’s most impressive component. It functions flawlessly, and there’s no grain and distortion when chatting with other players online.
I really wanted to like the ISURUS Pro, I really did. I was in desperate need for a smaller alternative to my large gaming headphones, and this was precisely what I was looking for. Unfortunately, I’ll have to stick with my cheap generics for the time being. The ISURUS Pro just doesn’t do what’s it’s designed to do.
Review by: Tin Salamunic