I’ve been gaming for longer than I care to remember, decades in fact, enjoying near on every single minute of it. But for the last few years or so I’ve ensured that my gaming sessions have been taken in with my trusty PDP headset in tow, with the Afterglow AG9 set right up there with my absolute favorites. Over the last couple of months though PDP have come to market with a new range of headsets – the LvL range – with the LvL50 Wireless topping the range, and the LvL40 Wired running in just below it. Coming with a seriously sleek and super clean design, this LvL range is certainly one that many gamers will want to take a look at, particularly if they are after a well priced, well designed bit of kit. Sitting at the bottom of the range though is the PDP LvL30 Wired Chat Headset for Xbox One. Is it another great entry into the market by PDP?
Well, I’m afraid not. And even though I’m not much of a fan of chat headsets per se, even if I was then the LvL30 wouldn’t be the one I’d go for.
The LvL30 Wired Chat Headset for Xbox One is PDP’s attempt at delivering chat options to those who prefer to hear their game audio pounding out through their own unique sound system. This means that this cheap one-eared cup option doesn’t need to worry itself with any form of game audio, instead concentrating its efforts on the chat side of things, delivering and providing voice audio between a group of online friends. And in that respect, it does the job. Just. But anything more than that? Well, it struggles.
Taking the best bit of the LvL30 first though and in terms of the design it is yet again super sleek and absolutely clean. Taking cues from its bigger brothers, the matt grey and black look is one that I adore, with just a small PDP logo adorning the outer side, and the inner material of the single cup has been treated to some lovely Xbox/PDP green coverage. With a simple sliding headband allowing it to fit any sized head, I’ve got nothing but praise for the design angles that PDP have taken here.
It’s also extremely light, with just a 76 gram weight ensuring that you’ll rarely even notice that this headset is on your head. Unfortunately, from there it goes downhill.
See, that sliding headband is absolutely bereft of any form of padding, and whilst I’m completely aware of the fact that these chat headsets rarely come with much in the way of comfort, I really do fail to understand why PDP have forgone the option to add even the tiniest padding. Yes it’s light, and yes it’s not ever going to really make a dent on your head, but padding should be a gimme in my eyes.
Thankfully the grip which sits on the opposite side of the headset to the single left ear cup comes with a little pad, and this happily grips the right side of your head, ensuring that there is no chance this piece of kit will slip from placement. There’s just about enough padding on the cup itself too, with the tiny breathable on-ear cushion right on the border of being comfortable enough for use. Again though I’d have much preferred to have seen an over-ear design as opposed to the on-ear decision delivered here. It would have also been preferred to see a bit of an upgrade on the measly 30mm high definition driver. Whilst it strangely sounds a bit too bassy, this headset struggles to get any real form of decent volume into play. And when things are dialled up to 11, the audio being pumped out fast becomes muffled and confused, with little in the way of decent top end.
Whilst this driver does what is needed of it, and it provides just enough chat capabilities to warrant being included, when the likes of the LucidSound LS1X Chat Headset throws a bigger cup and huge 50mm driver into action, it seems as if PDP have possibly missed a trick here.
That left earcup also plays host to the single volume dial which allows for you to dial up or down your teammates whenever the need arises, and this is simple enough to gather up, working well in its job. There is also the much-needed flexible boom mic contained here too. This is – as you would expect – noise cancelling to make sure that your own vocal tones are delivered in the best possible way. Highly flexible and able to be flipped up to mute, I’m quite the fan of this mic too, with others happy enough with how it handles the audio going out.
With a 3.5mm jack attached to the single wire which runs down to your Xbox One controller, the PDP LvL30 Wired Chat Headset is a pretty simple, fairly low-tech headset. It’s certainly not one that is going to get gamers gasping in amazement though, and it really does fall short of the rest of the PDP LvL range. That said, it’s cheap enough to pick up, and taking that into account I guess you really do get what you pay for. Personally though, I wouldn’t pay for any chat headset, especially not this one, and instead would go all out for a proper set of cans, with the PDP LvL50 Wireless the stand out winner from the range. If you really must go down the chat headset route though, then you’ll certainly be able to purchase something better, even if it does mean splashing out a little more cash.
Related: UNBOXING and First Look – PDP LvL30 Chat Headset for Xbox One