Hands up if you’ve ever heard of the company EKSA? No? Well, neither had I. It’s a company out of Hong Kong and when they sent us a sample of their high-end E900 Pro 7.1 Gaming Headset for PC and console, I was, at best, sceptical. I mean, what else can you expect of a $60 headphone from an unknown Asian brand?
Turns out, you can expect a lot! The E900 has to be my most surprising headset of the year. It’s surprisingly good and I’d like to tell you all about it.
The E900 Pro is a wired headset that uses either USB or standard 3.5-millimetre headphone jack. It’s very well constructed with the mainframe made from light aluminium that’s all nicely hidden behind soft-touch materials that give it a very premium feel.
It’s all black with red highlights around the ear cups, red wires from the headband to the ear cups and EKSA logo on each ear cup that lights up.
Surprisingly well built
The headband has a good clamping force without being overbearing and memory foam padding that eliminates any discomfort on the top of your head. Solid metal hangers connect the ear cups to the headband and they can swivel 10º that helps with fitting on different head types but I’d have preferred a horizontal swivel so you can easily lay it on your chest when you take them off.
The ear cups are large and comfortable thanks to the Premium protein leather earmuffs and I have to say, they are some of the comfiest I’ve ever laid on my ears. They may not be certified as glasses friendly but I had no temple pressure when using them. The E900’s are definitely at the top of my list of comfortable headsets and is most definitely the cheapest on the list.
The main controls for the E900 are found on the left ear cup. You have a volume control, a mic mute button, 3.5-millimetre headphone jack with a twist-lock mechanism I’ve only seen on high-end headphones. This prevents the cable from being so easily yanked out of the headset. There’s also a micro-USB port which is your main connection to PCs for surround sound. Finally, the port for the removable microphone. The right ear-cup is void of any controls.
Sounds bigger than they cost
Once you put on the headset and plug it into your PC, Windows will quickly recognise them as a headset. You will need to download the EKSA 7.1 Surround software in order to get the most out of these headsets. Not only does it enable the 7.1 surround sound but it also gives a healthy boost to the power output of the headsets.
The E900’s have a nice warm and bassy sound profile which you can tweak with the software EQ. The low end is just a hair shy of my personal preference but you do get the rumbly bass.
When listening to music, I found the E900s clear on the highs and mids with just enough bass to get your head bobbing but not enough to really get you jamming. In gaming, I was really impressed with their sound separation. I could very clearly hear running footsteps of opponents in Destiny 2 PVP and positional audio and in-game music and voices all sounded crisp and clear. It often caught me off guard when a sound in-game, like a door knock, would prompt me to take off the headsets just to be sure it wasn’t my actual front door.
In saying all that, don’t even bother with the actual surround sound. It doesn’t sound great in most scenarios and honestly, you aren’t missing anything when it’s off. The stereo reproduction of the E900s is far more excellent than the surround implementation.
No, it’s not malware
One thing I’d like to point out is that this awesome sound experience is limited to PCs with the EKSA software running. I used the E900’s on a Mac and with my Xbox via the 3.5mm cable and the sound efficacy was noticeably weaker, This isn’t a problem unique to EKSA. I found the same with the Alienware AW988’s and other headsets that use a USB dongle and software.
Speaking of which, Windows was screaming at me when I tried to install the software – it identified it as dangerous software which you shouldn’t instal. EKSA’s website instructs you to deactivate your Antivirus software in order to install it which is very dubious to say the least. Once you do get it running, the app just looks rather tawdry and uninspiring. It allows you to manage different EQ profiles, as well as toggling the surround sound.
I spoke to EKSA they assured me an update is coming soon so by the time you read this, things should be much easier to set up.
Get that mic out of my face
The microphone on the E900 is a detachable and flexible cardioid design with a large sponge guard on the tip. The microphone sounds pretty good too and all of that without any fangled software intervention. Just listen to the sample below.
If I had to complain about the mic, it would be with how large that sponge tip is. It just seems to overwhelm the space in front of my mouth making it impossible to eat or drink when the mic is out. Isn’t really a big deal because it’s flexible enough to be bent out of the way and you can also just remove the sponge if you prefer.
And thanks to these COVID19 lockdowns, most of us are working from home and are constantly on Zoom calls. Trying to eat or drink with that huge obstacle in your face is so irritating that I usually couldn’t wait for my workday to end so I can detach the microphone and continue enjoying the comfy headsets.
The E900s come with several cables in the bag. The main one being a 6-foot USB-C to micro-USB cable which is the only way you can use the 7.1 surround sound. There is also a 6-foot 3.5-millimetre cable which you can use to connect to your console or other devices plus a 3.5mm cable splitter. EKSA also throws in a leather pouch to keep your headsets and cables when you’re on the move.
There’s an old saying: “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. This has never been truer. As a reviewer, I’m fortunate enough to test a ton of devices from established big brands and it’s easy to dismiss anything from unknown brands as cheap knock-offs. A company like EKSA will never be able to do marketing blitz the way Razer, Steelseries or HyperX can. It’s for that reason that you can easily miss out on this fantastic headset.
The E900 is very well built, very comfortable and sounds far more impressive than it’s $60 price would suggest. The E900 Pro is an excellent budget gaming headset that would be perfect for PC gamers especially and it won’t break the bank like its competitors. An easy recommend. So much so that we’ve garnered a great deal for you our readers.
Simply go to www.eksa.net to order your set of E900 Pro’s and use the checkout code 20POWERUP for a massive 20% discount making these headsets incredible value for money.
The EKSA E900 Pro 7.1 Surround sound gaming headset was provided to PowerUp! by EKSA for the purpose of this review.