Asus Orion Pro (Hardware) Review

Headsets are an important consideration for gamers. If you're using a laptop for gaming, it simply doesn't make sense to buy speakers when you can have a portable headset. Even with a desktop, headsets have the benefit of taking up less space and keeping the sound more personal, protecting you from outside distractions (anathema to gaming) and guarding bystanders from the assault of gunfire sounds and orchestral soundtracks (anathema to non-gamers).

The ASUS Orion Pro, touted as a gaming headset, boasts sound-cancellation, a tab with toggles for different 'modes', and high-end sound quality. The phones are a sleek, red-finished item. They profess that it will provide quality immersion and sound cues for a better gaming experience – that's a lot of nice words, and they don't do too badly at living up to them.

This headset was comfortable, and I didn't notice any weight from it. Furthermore, the sound-cancellation works pretty well. I didn't have to turn the headphones up too loud when there was music in the other room. I never had to take the headset off to take strain off my ears; they fit quite well.

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The manual volume controls work quite well, and the extra buttons – one to enable an FPS mode, one to enable surround sound, and one for an Amp to make sounds clearer – all worked quite well and can be easily toggled on and off. You can even unplug it from the USB tab and plug it in directly to the jacks for sound and microphone; backwards compatibility with older non-PC audio playback devices can still be important.

The audio quality, the real reason anyone buys these things, was quite high. Sound was clear and bass was strong, but didn't drown everything out. I never had trouble hearing what was said, even amid firefights. The Amp function was especially good at making speech audible and clear; Surround worked fine, as well. To be honest, though, I didn't notice a tremendous difference in the different sound layouts. I could hear the music clearly even through the combat, with the kind of audio precision I'd expect from a nice stereo or surround system.

I tried it out on Teamspeak, and the microphone is quite high quality. I could hear everyone clearly, even with my penchant to talk over others. It’s retractable, which for someone who doesn't use Teamspeak all that much, is important. For something that fragile-looking – it's a small, silver pipe cleaner – it worked surprising well for me.

It's about $130 for the Orion Pro, and it seems solidly built. If you're using it for a lot of FPS games, it works great, and the microphone is clear. Sure, it's a bit expensive, but it fulfils the role of a headset microphone and high-quality headphones. If you're reliant on a headset, go with this: it's a really nice setup with a lot of versatility.