It’s always exciting when I’m presented the opportunity to cover a newly discovered brand, particularly one that doesn’t export to the states. As one of the leading Swedish gaming peripherals manufacturers, QPAD has made its name as a prominent affiliate of the Swedish online gaming community and ESports. Their diverse lineup includes high-performance keyboards, mice, mouse pads and gaming headsets.
The QPAD brand has elegance and style written all over it. Their products are geared towards professional gamers who seek more than just exceptional performance. QPAD’s design aesthetic boasts a sense of exclusivity and high-class. By concentrating on quality over quantity, QPAD is able to trim the fat and offer a more focused selection of models within each category. There are no budget or low-end versions of pricier models. The complete absence of cliche marketing jargon suggests confidence and focus. This ideology extends to all aspects of the QPAD brand.
Today, I’m taking a look at the QPAD QH-85 Pro Gaming Premium Headset. It’s a gorgeous piece of tech that stuns the moment it peaks out of the box. Actually, let’s start with the QH-85’s packaging design. As I’ve discussed on multiple occasions before, packaging oftentimes reflects a company’s commitment to their products and customers. QPAD doesn’t seem to take any shortcuts when it comes to presentation. There’s a sense of nobility that accompanies the QH-85 unboxing. For a moment, it feels like you’re awarded a golden fountain pen from some distant emperor.
Every layer of packaging is treated with great care. The container lid features a personal message and signature from Christer “MrMouse” Kornback, the QPAD founder. On the surface, a thick foam layer covers a secondary foam container that encloses the snuggly packaged headset. All cabling is neatly tucked away inside a third container that rests below the headset.
"QPAD doesn’t seem to take any shortcuts when it comes to presentation. There’s a sense of nobility that accompanies the QH-85 unboxing. For a moment, it feels like you’re awarded a golden fountain pen from some distant emperor."
The headset itself is masterfully crafted. The body is constructed with brushed steel components for maximum durability and longevity. The QH-85 Pro is void of shiny surfaces, and is enveloped with a matte, black coat that repels dust and fingerprints. The ear cups are designed with a traditional, elliptical shape, and the cup speakers are covered with a soft, velour padding for extra comfort. The headband is encompassed by a thick, soft leather strap that has the QPAD logo embroidered on the top.
I love everything about the QH-85 Pro’s clean look, but I have to say the included control box is a disappointment. It looks like a cheap container of Tic-Tacs. The entire dongle is covered by a flimsy, felt-like plastic material, and the volume knob and mute button have no indicators on them. The buttons themselves don’t have a proper click to them, and I’m never quite sure whether it’s registering my presses properly. Awkward dongle aside, this is a great looking headset that radiates style.
The quality construction extends to the extraordinary audio performance. This is a no frills, straightforward stereo headset, and it delivers its simplicity with great confidence. There’s no need for extraneous features and software when you have the core mechanics working so well. Some of the tech highlights include: 53MM drivers, 15-25.000 Hz frequency response, 60 Ω per system nominal impedance, 92±3dB nominal SPL and approximately 10 dBA ambient acoustic attenuation. Before diving into any gaming, I skimmed through different music genres of my Spotify library, and regardless of what song I chose, the headset delivered exceptionally rich sound.
"The quality construction extends to the extraordinary audio performance. This is a no frills, straightforward stereo headset, and it delivers its simplicity with great confidence."
My typical gaming tests consist of three distinct genres: racing, fps and survival horror. These genres manage sound delivery very differently, so it’s a good way to see how well the headset handles roaring engines, gunfire/explosions and, of course, something more dramatic and delicate like atmospheric and environmental sounds of horror games. Titles like Alien: Isolation are especially great for testing headsets as the game is filled with orchestral bits, creature screams and diverse environmental sound effects. The QH-85 Pro performs like a champ in these scenarios. It handles sudden volumetric transitions flawlessly, and despite being a stereo headset, it provides a great sense of space and immersion like you’d hear in most surround sound models.
The QH-85 Pro’s strength lies in detail clarity during extreme frequency shifts. This balanced fidelity is great for those seeking reliable performance without the need to fiddle around with settings. As a result, you have a headset that offers audiophile sound quality without any of the extras that normally require advanced technical knowledge for audio tuning.
"A few small gripes aside, QPAD’s QH-85 Pro Gaming Premium Headset delivers performance beyond expectations."
Occasionally, the treble appears a little too low. This isn’t noticeable during gaming, but when listening to certain music genres, like metal. When there are multiple heavy instrumentals present, vocals are slightly muted by the dominant guitar riffs and bass. Compared to Creative Labs’ H5 headset (a similar headset in the same price range), a lot of the higher tonal ranges are much warmer, which is a positive or negative depending on user preference. I'm not going to go into too much detail about the detachable mic, because it performs well, but doesn't bring anything new to the table. It's solid for chatting with friends during hectic multiplayer matches, and it doesn't pick up much background noise.
A few small gripes aside, QPAD’s QH-85 Pro Gaming Premium Headset delivers performance beyond expectations. It’s a quality headset in every aspect, and its slim 99 Euro price tags makes it a specially attractive deal. If you don’t care for extraneous features and are looking for a well rounded headset that can handle all types of media, the QH-85 Pro is an excellent choice.
Review by: Tin Salamunic