Upon first look at the F.R.E.Q.5, you’d easily discern that this comes from the same manufacturer as the almost cyberpunk-esque R.A.T mouse. Almost every angle is extreme, making the headset look like it has come straight from a futuristic sc-fi film. Black leather this certainly isn’t and the plastic hexagonal cans lack subtly, but this was never meant for use on the train. Everything here has been turned up to the nth degree of quality and substance. The F.R.E.Q.5 has also been on sale for a while now, so it can be found for prices as low as £80 in some places.
Packaging and Extras
On first unboxing, the unit is securely housed in its packaging, with a long and thin cardboard box containing all the necessary cables. You’ll find the detachable microphone in there as well, and it’s a good place to keep the plastic microphone socket cover. One thing of note is that it seems next to impossible to get the unit back in its box as securely as it was originally.
Available in a variety of colours from Black, Silver and Red to this Blue and Yellow combo.
This is no doubt a gamer’s headset, designed to cater to the player at his desk as he destroys Nexuses or constructs additional pylons. To that end, there are quite a few handy features on the headset. The F.R.E.Q.5 has an EQ button, detachable microphone, volume roller and a mute button. If you’re in the middle of a game and quickly need to adjust any of these settings, then you can. The position of the buttons will require some getting used to though, as they are placed all over the unit.
There’s a perfectly good reason for this, however, as they couldn’t have gone on the cables due to the fact that they’re covered in a sturdy shoelace material. This sturdiness of the unit makes it a good choice to bring along to LAN events or tournaments. There’s also a substantial cushion on top of your head when wearing them, and the headphones themselves feature soft leather padding. Both of these serve to make the headset a comfortable wear over long periods.
The headset can be plugged in using either USB or 1/8-inch jack. This is achieved by giving you both wires separately and allowing you to attach one end to the headphones and the other to your device. This means that you can leave the USB cable hanging out of your PC while the 1/8-inch jack can be left in your iPod, for example. If you want to quickly change device, you can literally leave the headset on and just change wires, which is a very nice convenience indeed.
The buttons dotted around on the unit can be finicky. which will mean you only have as much control as you want using software. The EQ button requires a very hard press to register, and offers three options of Game, Music and Voice. However, there’s no way to tell which is which because the F.R.E.Q.5 doesn’t come with any software to speak of. Scrolling through the three options sounds like “muffled, muffled, perfect,” with only one of the three settings sounding any good.
The volume wheel under the right ear is also not as precise as using the volume control in Windows. You can increase the volume by one increment in Windows but using the wheel on the unit places the setting at arbitrary values, meaning that unless you use the Windows slider the device will either be too loud or too quiet.
The mute button is on a part of the headset behind the left ear, and toggles the microphone on and off. When the mic is off, it lights up. This may seem counterintuitive at first, but is actually a genius decision. When partying up on an MMO, you’ll want to be in constant communication, so you’ll want the light to be off as you’ll need the mic for the majority of play time. Also, frantically searching for settings and sliders wondering why your mic doesn’t work is easily remedied by just looking at it. It’s detachable using a standard 1/8-inch jack so it can be plugged into any similar slot, such as the microphone jack on the front of most PCs.
For all the problems the FR.E.Q.5 has, it hits hard where it counts: the sound quality.It’s excellent, and hearing it through two very comfortable cans helps drown out the outside noise. When you have the correct EQ setting, you’ll hear deep bass, clear mids and trebles, and an overall rich sound, which is where this headset shines. It’s a shame it only offers three pre-defined EQ settings, and two of which that seem to be of no use.
The F.R.E.Q. 5 certainly looks the part, and also has a selection of colours if you’re so inclined. Some of the buttons leave a lot to be desired and the EQ settings aren’t great, but the sturdy, comfortable unit and the convenient cables coupled with the great sound quality make this headset a good choice for the hardcore MOBA/MMO player, who spends long periods of time in the gaming zone.