To get fully immersed in a long gaming session, there is nothing better than sticking a set of cans on your ears, cranking the volume up to eleven and settling back for a few hours.
The experience heightens immensely on a cold dark evening and the latest headset from PDP, that of the Afterglow Karga, helps brighten things up in more ways than one.
Designed specifically for use with Xbox One, the Kargas are a chunky set of phones that look smart, sound superb and fit over the ear perfectly. And whilst they may be well made and rather on the stocky side, the 320 gram weight feels like next to nothing.
There are two colours available, both of which are mostly black with some lovely accented colour sweeping through the ear pieces dependant on your choice of design. From a personal point of view, the lime green headset goes perfectly with the whole Xbox image, but if you decided to purchase the blue set, then you’d definitely be happy with your choice.
Depending on which you decide to roll with, the cups that fully encase your ears can, if you so wish, light up either green or blue…hence their name! The light they produce isn’t overly bright and being completey honest, doesn’t show an awful lot during the day but will happily tinge your world with a lovely glow come the night. With the light emitting from the side of your head it doesn’t in any way affect your gaming, but is a nice touch that fans of Twitch streaming will probably want to show off to their viewers. Of course, if you don’t want the lights to show, then a quick flick of the switch on the main adapter can kill them for good.
As is the way with Xbox One stereo headsets, the Afterglow Kargas connect to your Xbox One controller via a 140cm long cable, which has an integrated adapter on the end. This contains the relevant buttons and switches to fire the lights on and off, adjust the game volume to your liking and alter the amount of party chat that comes through to the headset. Of course, a big old mute button sits centre stage for those times when you don’t want the online world to hear everything that is going on in your life.
To communicate online, a retractable and flexible noise cancelling mic emerges from the left earpiece and gives you the chance to share your wares with the world via some superb crystal clear communication. In testing, friends who I have gamed with for many a year couldn’t tell a jot of difference in my voice when using the Karga mic as opposed to the normal great clarity that comes about via the Xbox One chat system.
However, the cans that the Karga contains throw a great deal of bass into your head and it is here that I notice a big difference in the voice of my party members over the bog standard Xbox One ear piece that many of us have grown to love. It’s by no means a poor sound, but it is different and takes a few sessions to become fully comfortable with.
It is the amount of bass on offer however that helps you become fully immersed in everything that every single Xbox One game has to bring your way. Whether it’s a full on clubs match in FIFA 15 with opposing fans singing and chanting for 90 minutes, a blast round the United States in numerous vehicle specs in The Crew or going out on a rampage with Sunset Overdrive, the sound the Afterglow Kargas bring you is top notch and once you’ve used them, you’ll never want to go back to playing without a set of cans strapped to your ears. The custom built 50mm drivers and finely tuned acoustics do a bloody good job!
Additionally, the Kargas come with a separate 140cm jack-to-jack audio cable that gives you the chance to listen to your music and use the headset with your mobile phone, tablet or PC. I’ve been using a fairly decent set of Sennheisers as my headphones of choice for the last couple of years but these have been put to one side for the time being whilst I have been checking out the Kargas. Again, like with the game party chat I mentioned earlier, the sound that comes through now is much bassier than what I have been used to, but everything is clear and precise, with any number of musical genres being a joy to listen to through PDP’s headset. Unfortunately, due to the lighting control being present on the cable that contains the Xbox One adapter, you can’t wander the streets basking the world in a green or blue glow whilst you take in the tunes. But then, maybe that’s not a bad thing!!
One of the best things about the Karga however is all this can be obtained without the need for any additional batteries. Power is taken completely via the connection to either your phone, PC or indeed Xbox One controller and so as long as you run your gaming sessions with a rechargeable battery pack (and let’s be honest, that’s something we should all be doing), then after the initial purchase, the Karga will ensure your wallet doesn’t get dented even more. And as long as that controller battery has a decent charge left in it, then the sound is clear throughout. It’s only when the battery starts dropping to a near critical level does a bit of static start to creep in through the headset.
Overall then and the Afterglow Karga Xbox One Stereo Headset has been a joy to use. It’s now my main Xbox One headset and accompanies me on both 20 minute sessions and 7 hour gaming marathons with no issues. The design and shape of the cups when integrated with the dual cushioned headband allow for many hours of comfortable gaming and I couldn’t imagine going into battle without them.
I’m still unsure whether they’d fully replace my Sennheisers for my musical needs though as the inability to swivel the cups means they don’t fit brilliantly round my neck for those rare moments of silence.
But then, do we really want silence?
We don’t tend to give our accessory reviews a score, instead preferring to give you a good solid yes or no as to whether a purchase would be suitable. So would it? Well, if you’re looking for a new Xbox One headset and don’t want to go spending stupid money, then the Afterglow Karga Xbox One Stereo Headset for around £80 is a more than viable purchase option.
Thanks go out to Jake at PDP for providing us with both a unit for review and another for our recent competition. You can check out the guys at PDP either at pdp.com, on Twitter, via their Facebook page or on that good old image share, Instagram. They’d love to hear from you and you should be more than interested in their products…especially the Afterglow Karga!