If first impressions are anything to go by, then the money saved on packaging definitely has gone towards the headset itself. Sturdy doesn't begin to cover it. Thankfully this high build quality hasn't come at a hugely weighty cost. The headset is fabulously light which is fantastic, especially for those long sessions. Nothing worse than finding your ears have died or your neck is aching just at the important part. I'm not too convinced about the large logo. Doesn't seem in keeping with the simple nature of the rest of the headset.
The microphone is definitely a serious piece of kit. If you ever wanted to play at being an Air-Traffic Controller, or pretend it's the early 90s and you're a Superstar DJ, then this is definitely the headset to do it with. The LAN-Party design shines strongly here and I'm in no doubt you could stand on them, run your chair over them, whatever, and they'd easily take the abuse.
On the left is the USB adaptor for this particular variant of the Zowie Hammer headset. By putting the soundcard side in such a portable format it helps those who have rubbish on-board sound, and also ensures that you get a consistent sound quality no matter where you take them. On the right is the in-line volume and microphone control that is available with both the standard and USB versions. A definite boon by ensuring that you can quickly adjust the volume, or mute your microphone for those moments when real-life intervenes.
Zowie provide two extras in the box, and both of them are welcome additions. The first is a 2m extension cable and this is an excellent piece of thinking. If you have front audio ports then there is nothing worse than having tons of cable you don't need cluttering up the place. Alternatively, if your PC is a reasonable distance from your monitor, then it's great to be able to use the main ports on your PC and still have plenty of cable to make sure you can game as comfortably as possible.
Secondly Zowie provide two choices of ear covers. A leather pair that are currently fitted in our shots, and the sponge type we're all familiar with. Both of these are supremely comfortable, although whilst Zowie recommend the leather ones for movie and music use and the sponge for gaming, neither make a marked difference in quality as you'll see on the next page.
Time to plug these puppies in and see how they perform.