The Swedish company Qpad are probably a new name to most of us here. As their company name would attest they began producing mousepads at first. Now, twenty years later, they have a good range of peripherals all designed for the pro-gaming community.
Today we're going to be taking a look at their premium headset model, the QH-90. Available in both white and black it's actually taking a different slant than the majority of headsets we've come across. Rather than being all about thumping bass, the tagline for the QH-90 is "Brings HiFi to the game". This should give you a nice indication of what we can expect from the Qpad QH-90.
With a very tight marketplace dominated by the SteelSeries Siberia at the mid-range and the Corsair Vengeance Wireless at the higher-end, is the quality of the QH-90 sufficient to challenge the well established brands in the market?
The first thing that strikes you when looking at the specifications for the Qpad QH-90 is the size of the drivers. Most headsets run 40mm drivers, so to see 53mm ones definitely shows the determination to have good audio quality across the whole of the audio spectrum. Utilising 3.5mm jacks means that the QH-90 should be compatible with almost anything you care to plug it into.
Transducer type: Dynamic 53mm
Operating principle: Closed
Frequency response: 15Hz-25KHz
Nominal impedance: 60 Ω per system
Nominal SPL: 98±3dB
T.H.D: < 2%
Power handling capacity: 150mW
Sound coupling to the ear: Circumaural
Ambient noise attenuation: approx.20 dBA
Headband pressure: 5 N
Weight with microphone and cable: 350g
Cable length and type: 1m + 2m extension + 10cm iphone
Connection: Mini stereo jack plug(3.5mm)
Transducer type: Condenser (back electret)
Operating principle: Pressure gradient
Polar Pattern: Cardioid
Power supply: AB powering
Supply voltage: 2V
Current consumption: Max 0.5 mA
Nominal impedance: ≤2.2 kΩ ± 30%
Open circuit voltage at f = 1 kHz 20 mV / Pa
Frequency response: 100 - 12,000 Hz
T.H.D: 2% at f = 1 kHz
Max. SPL: 105dB SPL (THD ≤ 1.0% at 1KHz)
Microphone output: -39±3dB
Length mic boom: 150mm(include gooseneck)
Capsule diameter: Ø6mm
The packaging for the Qpad QH-90 is excellent. So often lesser-known brands can go overboard with their design in an attempt to distract you from the behemoths of the genre, but the Qpad offering is tasteful and has all the relevant information neatly displayed.
Opening the very robust outer packaging reveals an internal box of even higher quality. Everything is made from the finest cardboard, with lots of high-density foam keeping the QH-90 protected from even the most inconsiderate postman.
As well as some hard-wired cabling on the headset itself there are a lot of extra cables in the box. We have a 2m extension cable, a 2-to-1 converter enabling the use of the QH-90 on your phone/tablet of choice, an inline remote for volume, play/pause and microphone muting, and finally the detachable microphone itself.
Photographing white on white is always a challenge, and the QH-90 is certainly white. Everything is white. If you're one of the modern brigade who likes everything in their life to resemble a fridge then you're well covered here. Heavily padded leather cups and headband should keep the QH-90 comfortable in even lengthy gaming sessions. The logo is embroidered on the headband and we can't recall another headset we've looked at that took this approach. It looks brilliant, and really enhances the overall sense of quality.
Adding to this solid sense is the aluminium ear-piece sections. In fact there is very little plastic to be found. Beneath a small removable cover is the location for the microphone. Often microphones are either permanently there, or if they are a removable option then it's obvious that something is missing from the headset. This solution enables you to use the QH-90 as just a pair of headphones if you so desire.
As always when testing a headset we used it in a variety of settings. Everything from films and music to gaming and Skype conversations.
Starting at the beginning there is a real sense of theatre when opening the QH-90. We all like to feel that we've got good value for money and that our anticipation was worthwhile. We can't be the only people who've purchased something, waited days for it to arrive and then been wholly underwhelmed at what turns up. This colours your whole view on the product. With the Qpad QH-90 there is no such drama, as even the most demanding purchaser cannot be disappointed by the packaging. The cardboard is robust, the internal box an unexpected delight, and the headset easy to remove. We've lost count of the amount of cable ties we've removed in our lives, so it was nice to see that Qpad hadn't made getting at the headset a chore.
This level of quality extends to the QH-90 headset itself. The leather on the ear-pads and the headband is soft and luxurious. Couple this to the sturdy metal construction and the high quality soft rubber that covers the cables and you really get a sense that this is a product designed to a level of excellence rather than down to a price. The microphone slot holds it firmly in place and when you're not using it there is a discreet plastic cover so you can take the QH-90s with you outside without it being obvious you're wearing a headset.
The mantra is bringing HiFi to gaming, and the sound quality lives up to that billing. So often gaming headsets are designed to be all about the bass, with the other frequencies an afterthought. Not so with the QH-90. The whole aural palette is beautifully balanced and the midrange in particular is a highlight. The larger than average drivers when coupled to the closed-back design and fully-covered ear pieces mean that no matter what media you run through it, it responds with excellent clarity. No frequencies dominate and even the finer detail is reproduced with far more clarity than you normally see at this price-point. This level of quality extends to the microphone too with speech clearly audible, no problems with the plosive sounds that plague some cheaper microphones, and even background noise kept under control.
There are a couple of niggles. The cabling is needlessly fussy. There is a hard-cable on the headset itself and the inline remote is a separate item. However, it's not an optional item. If you plan on using the QH-90 with your phone or MP3 player then you have the main cable, an additional connected cable for the inline remote, and then a further cable to convert it down to a single jack. There must be a simpler solution. The remote itself is of vastly different quality to the rest of the headset too, built from very hard plastics. The microphone mute button is a little small for grabbing in the heat of battle, and the button for play/pause is anything but robust. Given how fantastic the headset is it's a shame that this important item is of relatively poor construction. Lastly if you're one of those people who demand your audio to be loud enough to shake your teeth loose and with so much bass that trouser changes are a regular occurrence then this probably isn't the headset for you. It's loud, but by no means the most volume happy headset we've tested, and the sonic range is tuned for a more discerning palette than would be appreciated by bass-heads.
However, the quality of the QH-90 is enough to make these issues minor. It's immensely comfortable to wear for extended periods, robust enough to survive almost anything you throw at it, and the sound quality is up there with the very best at this price-point. Only the spaghetti cable issue reminds you that this is a sub-£100 headset. If you require a headset that looks fantastic, is built like a tank and makes everything from Mozart to Motorhead an enjoyable listen, then you could do much worse than seek out the Qpad QH-90, and for that reason we're happy to award it our OC3D Gold Award.
Thanks to Qpad for supplying the QH-90 for review. Discuss your thoughts in the OC3D Forums.