Whilst not as well-known as some of the big kids on the gaming peripheral market, QPAD have been making waves recently with their high quality products. The QPAD QH-85 is being sold as a premium gaming headset for both the professional gamer and everyday user alike, but does it live up to this bold claim?
From the word go, the QH-85 lets you know that you’re dealing with a quality product. Once you get into the box you are greeted with the matt black casing for the headset, featuring the tagline “QPAD brings HiFi to the GAME”. The box is very minimalistic and professional, giving you a real sense of quality before you’ve even made it inside to the headset itself. Open up the casing and you’re greeted to a well packaged and well protected QH-85 headset along with all the accessories that accompany it.
Whip the headset out of its box and you’ll immediately notice that the QH-85 is chunky piece of hardware. She’s got some weight to her, but not so much that wearing the headset feels like an effort which is nice. The frame is constructed from solid aluminium, which makes the headset durable without having it weigh several tons. The headband itself is covered with a soft, padded leather to ensure that it sits comfortably, whilst the flexible aluminium frame means that the QH-85 will fit almost any head size. The ear cups themselves are constructed from a tough but lightweight plastic and padded with the finest velour (Zapp Brannigan would be so proud). Velour padding can be a little itchy, especially in hot weather but the large, open cup design means that your ear is entirely within the open space of the headphones, not being irritated by the edges.
The QH-85 comes with a detachable microphone, allowing you to remove it if you just wish to use the QH-85 as headphones rather than a headset set. There is also a headphone adapter, allowing you to use the QH-85 as a pair of headphones for an MP3 player or smartphone. The connection lead for the headphone and microphone plugs is about 1 metre long; though QPAD supply 2 extra extension leads as standard. One of these leads is just a straight up extension, whilst the other contains a control box. The control box houses a volume control wheel, a microphone shut off switch and a mobile phone button, which will answer a call or play/pause a song on the fly. This control box is a nice, if somewhat standard addition as the control wheel is a necessity when dealing with volume control as the alternative is the computer volume controls, which takes time and tabbing out of your game to adjust.
Now we move onto the most important part, the sound quality. The QH-85 delivers crisp and clear sounds, without drowning you in bass. Some people might miss this extra bass, but the overall sound quality that the QH-85 kicked out was great without it. Part of the lacking bass comes from the headsets open cup design, which helps to maintain the sound quality but at the cost of noise exclusion, both in and out. This means that you will still be able to hear outside noises whilst wearing the QH-85 and, importantly, others will be able to hear whatever you hear. Because of the open cup design, you’re going to want the volume up pretty high to really get the best from this headset (I had my iPod at about 80% volume), so whilst you can use the QH-85 as a normal pair of headphones, the poor folks on the bus will hear everything almost as clearly as you do.
The detachable microphone is built to the same high quality as the rest of the headset, with a bending, adjustable attachment that allows you to easily position the microphone for optimal use. The microphone provides clear communication with no background noise, tested both in multiple in-game chats and over Skype. You have to be careful with the microphone positioning as the foam cover can pick up and amplify breathing noises, but this is alleviated by simply moving the microphone to a more optimal position. Detachable microphones have a tendency to break quicker than normal mics as the connection socket becomes worn over time and whilst the headset, the microphone and the connection all seem to be built to a high standard, only time will tell on this issue.
The QH-85 is an extremely well-built and well-designed gaming headset, though it stretches it’s capabilities a little too far by attempting to function as a normal set of headphones too due to its poor noise cancellation. Still this is an auxiliary feature and as a gaming headset, the QH-85 is very hard to fault. The only real concern is the price, coming in with an RRP of around £85, though it can be found on Amazon for £71. This is a pretty hefty price tag when there are cheaper headsets available that still offer great quality. That said I’d happily pay the cost for this headset, just for the sheer quality and comfort it provides.