Review by Nick H.
There is one immediate theme that rises to the surface during my time with Roccat’s new Noz Gaming Headset – comfort. The price pushes this one out of the low-end range and more towards the middle, with a lightweight design that actually looks pretty sharp while making some good design choices as well. The only real drawback is the sound quality, which is not bad by any means, but not as sharp as some other headsets in the same price range.
The design is actually really nice, with simple lines and curves with a black plastic framework. There is padding on the underside of the headband, a simple connection for plugging in your sound cable and the earphone are covered with a soft, breathable padding. Personally however, I prefer a more padded, leather-like material, but I understand the design choice here. This headset is really very light, and the microphone is removable. These two things actually make the Noz a suitably comfortable set of headphones for on the go as well as sitting in front of your favourite screen and gaming device. The earcups also deserve commendation for their wide, encompassing design. They comfortably fit around the ears and have a bit of room to wiggle while moving about. They certainly look heavier than they are in reality.
Beyond the detachable microphone, there are a couple of other quality of life choices made that stood out. The volume dial and microphone mute/unmute controls tucked behind the ear on one of the cups are nice touches that compliment the mobile nature of its design. The cable is plenty long at eight feet (perhaps a bit cumbersome for on-the-go, but it can be wound up and tucked easily enough) ends with some splitter options that make it suitable for a PC, gaming controller or your phone – whatever device you have in mind. As always, a more durable braided cable is also welcome over just a plastic insulated one that is prone to bending and breaking over time. Given the lightweight nature of this headset, it would be easy to mistake the build as being cheap, but the flexible headband, cloth cup pads and braided cable look capable of getting a lot of use before they show signs of wear and tear.
Given all of the design features discussed above, I can say that the Noz is one of the most comfortable headsets I have worn to date. Ideally if you are in for a lengthy trip where you are relying on hours of music or are just hunkering down for a marathon gaming session, you want a headset that you almost forget you are wearing. Roccat’s Noz fits that bill perfectly.
In terms of the audio, I will start right off by stating that the microphone just sounded a bit flat or tinny. When I was in groups talking to my friends, they were able to tell that this was not the premium headset I had been using the day before. It’s functional, just not perfect. The audio is where things take a slight turn for the worse, depending on your intention with it. Given the seventy dollar price point, the 50mm drivers are a welcome improvement over the 40mm found in most headsets in this price range. I expected oodles of bass when rumbling through explosions in my games, but I felt as though this headset was targeting the midrange more than any extreme. From a gaming perspective, that is probably a good choice when you are trying to mix in dialogue, music, sound effects and so on.
Here is where the Noz suffers just a bit of an identity crisis. With the focus on mobility and wearing it comfortably for hours, actually using this headset for music is probably not ideal. If you are looking to blast some bass-heavy music, or something that really pushes up into the higher ranges, I was picking up on just a bit of scratchy distortion. Again, this was only when pushing extremes, and given that this is a midrange headset I do realise that there will be audio limitations. Those limitations just feel slightly odd when compared to the mobility of this particular headset.
The Roccat Noz Gaming Headset does some really great things for a headset in its current price range. It is comfortable, lightweight, suitable for gaming and has some nice design features not commonly found in midrange gaming headsets. The audio of both the microphone and headset itself are decent, quite suitable for gaming if not best-in-class, holding it back from greatness while still providing excellent value.
– Nick H.