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Steelseries Flux Headset review

An excellent option for the gamer on the go

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Our Verdict

For

  • Comfortable
  • Durable
  • Built-in splitter
  • Concealed mic
  • Tangle-free cords

Against

  • Average audio quality
  • No in-line volume control
  • Dull looking
  • Luxury set a questionable value

Features

The Steelseries Flux headset has two audio jacks, one on each earpiece. This way, you can switch sides, depending on where your machine's audio jack resides. This is great for keeping cables out of the way of your mouse.

Steelseries Flux headset review

The basic Flux set, which goes for $99/£79.99, comes with two different cables. They're both made of the same high quality rubber, but one has an in-line mic mute switch, and the other has a pause/play button that works with an iPhone 5 or Android phone. The Flux's mic is also built into the cable.

The best part about the dual jack setup is that it lets you share audio with a friend. A pal can plug his earbuds, headphones, whatever, into the spare port and the two of you can enjoy some Spotify music or giggle at a YouTube video. Of course, this tethered-to-the-head setup requires you to be almost hip-to-hip, depending on how long your buddy's cables are, but it's perfect for an airplane seat. This make the Steelseries Flux an even better choice for frequent travelers.

Steelseries Flux headset review

The soft, padded ear cups are also removable. They come off easily, but putting them back is enough of a challenge that you won't want to do it often. Steelseries also sells spares, in case something were to happen to yours, or if you simply want a different color.

It should be noted that the standard flux cables are too short to comfortably reach the back of a gaming rig. The standard cables are fine for a laptop or smartphone, but if you're going to be using the Flux with a desktop, you'll want to spring for the Luxury set, which comes with an extension cable.

Steelseries Flux headset review

The Luxury set also comes with an extra pair of faceplates for the ear pieces, and travel bag to tuck everything into. However, at $129.99/£104.99, we're not sure if these extras warrant the extra coin. We'd say the most important accessory is the extension cable, and you can get a third-party one on Amazon. Also, the cables in the Luxury version come in a traffic cone orange that's less than subtle.

Fit

Thanks to a light grip and soft ear cups, the Steelseries Flux is a very comfortable headset. Anyone who's spent long hours gaming or watching a movie with phones on knows that feeling of achey, smooshed ears.

Steelseries Flux headset review

This is definitely not a problem with the Flux, which has one the gentlest touches of any on- ear headset we've worn. We spent hours watching DVDs and playing games while wearing the Flux and never experienced any discomfort, nor did they slip off while we lounged around or walked down the street.

However, they're less than ideal for exercising or doing household chores. Given the travel-ready design, hidden mic and smartphones compatible in-line controls, you may be tempted to let the Flux double as travel headphones. While the fit is good enough for walking around town, running or moving your head up and down while, say, washing dishes or using the treadmill, will cause them to slide around to an annoying degree.

It's too bad the Flux is not more gym-ready, since the removable ear cushions would make it possible to keep a separate pair for sweating in at the gym. Unfortunately, the Steelseries Flux just isn't designed for that.

It is designed to be a comfy, durable headset that fits any head. The stretchy build of the Flux fluctuates, easily conforming to any dome, large or small, while retaining an excellent degree of comfort and stability.

Audio quality

The all important section, how does the Steelseries Flux sound? Pretty good, we'd say, given the size of the headset. While there's not a lot of range in the mix, there's a surprising amount of power, thanks to the industry standard 40mm drivers crammed into Flux's compact earpieces.

The most important thing for a gaming headset might be sound localization, which helps you determine where enemy bullets are coming from, hopefully before its too late. While its no 5.1 surround sound headset, the Flux gets the job done.

Testing them out with some Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, we could quickly identify enemy footsteps, preventing terrorists from getting the drop on us too easily. It took the larger, more chaotic showdowns of Battlefield 3 for us to realize what we were missing with the Flux, compared to a much more expensive 5.1 headset like the the Tritton Pro+ or the Astro A50. The Flux certainly beats the former for comfort and ease of use, though.

Steelseries Flux headset review

The Flux headset is also surprisingly loud. It can crank out explosions and tunes at levels that'll make your next ear check up at the doctor rather interesting. Things do tend to distort at the highest levels, and levels of bass the Flux puts out won't satisfy hip-hop purists, but there's enough for the average music consumer streaming his music off Spotify or Pandora.

Finally, the in-line mic proved capable. Our online teammates never had trouble hearing us. When we used it for phone calls with an iPhone 5 and HTC Droid DNA, our friends reported crystal clear sound. The cable mic did occasionally drift under our chin, where it would pick up some breathing, but the twin audio jacks made it easier to rearrange.