Many wouldn’t have heard of the EKSA brand; less still would be familiar with their gaming headsets. But if truth be known, they are capable of providing a reasonably decent little alternative to the main brands that dominate the scene. They are certainly focused on a market that is a mile away from that of SteelSeries, and they won’t be troubling Turtle Beach for honours anytime soon. But for those gamers who are just after a simple headset which can keep them gaming, EKSA are worth a consideration.
We’ve been heads-on with a few of their headsets in recent years, fairly impressed by what they’ve been able to push to market, with the E900 and E910 possibly two of the best examples. Now though EKSA are back, with the brilliantly named EKSA Star Engine E5000 Pro Gaming Headset.
A mouthful, but anything that can worm ‘Star Engine’ into its name must be something of interest. That’s the case here and once more from the outside looking in, EKSA have been able to create a well rounded headset. But that cheap price point always rings alarm bells and that’s the case with the E5000. For as nice as it looks and as cheap as it costs, there are things you should consider before purchasing it – especially if you’re an Xbox gamer.
The EKSA E5000 Pro is a big old headset. All black in design with lime green trim in the stitching, detail and external cabling, many may like the look of this one. We’re pretty happy with it and think that the oversized nature is exactly what a gaming headset should well be – it’s loud and proud.
It’s well padded too. The headband (adjustable in the usual push-pull-slide- way) has some serious squish on the underside, whilst the top is logo’d up with the EKSA branding. It feels nice to the touch and as that padding moves down to the large rounded earcups too, it’s easy enough to wear this headset for a good few hours without worry. Comfort is something that EKSA properly excel at with their headsets and that’s the case again with the EKSA Star Engine E5000 Pro Gaming Headset.
The externals of the cups come with a beefy sci-fi Star Engine mesh design, ensuring that this feels pretty mechanical in looks and whilst the right cup is naked of buttons, there are a ton on the right. You’ve got the usual volume dial on there, a mic mute button and a depressable multi-function button. From there a detachable boom mic pops on and off, whilst a USB-C port enables use on all manner of formats.
With multiple cables in the box, picking the cable of your choice and utilising the EKSA E5000 across Xbox, PlayStation, Switch, PC or mobile is easy. For us, this has mostly been worn as an Xbox headset and so the USB-C to 3.5mm jack cable attaches straight to our Xbox controller. If you want to run USB-to-USB on PC for instance, you can.
Plug it in via USB-C and you’ll be able to light the E5000 up, as the Star Engine comes alive with pulsing green earcups. Actioned by a hold of the multi-function button, it’s a shame this doesn’t work when used with Xbox (the 3.5mm jack won’t power it), but the option is there for those on other formats. The same goes for the 7.1 Surround Sound that EKSA sell this with. A single press of that MFB will toggle Surround Sound on and off – again, not when used with Xbox.
We’d say that the E5000 is massively letdown when plugged in via 3.5mm and the soundscape that the 50mm drivers inside are capable of delivering when attached to our favourite console is most certainly of a lesser quality. It’s just about clear enough at normal levels, but rarely does the E5000 get loud enough for our liking. Even when you do turn it right up to the max, it’s not as crystal as a top-end headset is able to provide. But then, the Star Engine is a million times cheaper.
Another issue is the boom mic. Fully detectable should you so wish, we’ve found that the mic is only just able to provide what is pretty much standard in gaming terms nowadays. No matter how we’ve amended the console settings, there’s been crackle, there’s echo and it’s not a particularly great mic for use in party chat – at least not for any length of time. You may find it to be suitable for a seriously quick chat between friends, but we’ve had to ditch the E5000 for those longer evening gaming sessions we like to take in.
It’s that which is the real killer here. Any headset, no matter what the price, should be able to do the basics right and whilst the EKSA Star Engine E5000 Pro Gaming Headset looks good and feels great, it’s let down in audio terms – both that going in and that coming out. Perhaps the audio found in a headset that costs a mere £57.78 should allow for some degree of lesser quality, but we’d much rather a headset that sounds good than looks good. But hey, at least EKSA are keeping up with tradition and throwing in a rather lovely, soft carry bag to store the headset in. We love EKSA’s carry pouches and a similar one is found boxed here.
Remember though, we’re coming from an Xbox background – power the Star Engine up through USB-C on PC and things are a different matter – it gets louder, Surround Sound kicks in and you can pulse your ears with green hues. What’s not to like about that!?
Huge thanks go out to EKSA for providing us the E5000 Pro Gaming Headset for review. You can grab a unit for yourself from EKSA direct.