I’ve been a big Gamdias fan ever since I discovered their gaming-peripheral lineup back in 2012. The balance between sound quality, comfort and durability has always been the company's strong suit, but sadly, things are shifting into murky territory with the Hephaestus V2. The original Hephaestus remains one of my favorite Gamdias headsets, and it still performs beautifully after countless gaming sessions. Fast forward a few years later, and we’re looking at what can only be described as its devolved brethren.
The Hephaestus V2 doesn’t make a pretty first impression, and it doesn’t fare much better after closer inspection. The drivers still deliver an impressive auditory punch, but the body looks like it belongs in the kids’ toy section. The cheap, plastic shell is grossly unattractive, and the gargantuan ear cups don’t help either. The surround sound is solid, but there's little here that stands out.
The new shift in design is equally confusing. Gamdias has been known for its obscure, power-metal inspired aesthetic, but the Hephaestus V2 is leaning heavily towards the generic. While I typically appreciate the more minimalistic approach, a design has to compliment its materials, and in the case of Hephaestus’ flimsy quality, the end result is equivalent to a cheap store-brand product.
The poor build-quality becomes an even greater issue after extended use. The cushion enveloping the headband isn’t properly stitched around the edges where the fabric meets the plastic. As a result, the material tears easily - even if you’re handling it with great care. I’ve also noticed my ears becoming notably warmer over time.
The Hephaestus V2 is a strange headset, because the disappointing exterior hides some pretty solid tech. Gamdias hasn’t skimped on its driver quality, and the auditory performance is a stark contrast to Hephaestus’ aesthetic identity crisis. The bass delivers a heavy kick when playing action-oriented titles. Guns in FPS shooters have a satisfying grittiness when shots are fired, and even minute details are preserved when all hell breaks loose on-screen.
As with all Gamdias products, the Hephaestus V2 works in combination with the HERA software. Here you can make all the typical EQ tweaks, LED adjustments and save profiles, but it’s all just basic stuff that comes with most of these free programs. It doesn’t add anything to the overall quality, but the extra flexibility is always a welcome feature.
I’m struggling to find any other noteworthy features. The Hephaestus V2 seems like a very sloppily-designed and manufactured piece of shovelware. I completely understand having to find a workaround when the budget is tight, but sometimes it’s better to promote the good products that have already been received well, rather than introduce a new, poorly-made item that will impact the overall lineup. That’s precisely what happened here. New customers will automatically assume that the Hephaestus V2 is an improved version over the original, when in fact, it’s a substantial step back. The original Hephaestus may be a few years old by now, but it’s a much better headset and its price has dropped tremendously.
Gamdias is a great brand. I still use their keyboards and headsets on a regular basis, and would recommend them to any gamer seeking great performance at a reasonable price. Unfortunately, the Hephaestus V2 sticks out as a sore thumb from an otherwise solid lineup. I’m hoping it’s just an unintentional hiccup, and not a new direction for the company.
Review by: Tin Salamunic