Gaming Headset Final Thoughts
This is my first experience with a headset that uses 50mm drivers. I didn’t quite know what to expect, but the sound stage feels more “open” compared to other headsets I’ve used in this category (the ear cups and overall material choice also plays a factor in this). Using the Func HS-260 became a better experience after a full day of listening, so I’d recommend allowing some time for the drivers to settle in before forming an opinion of your own. EQ curve, as far as I can tell, is a little more flat – which was a nice experience. Certain frequencies weren’t over-emphasized, and everything sounded…cleaner? The “expanded sound stage” adapted very well to games, and DICE’s excellent sound work with the Battlefield series was an excellent depiction of the Func headset’s abilities. Switching between my Razer Tiamat 2.2 and the HS-260 during rounds of Battlefield 4 and tracks from The Glitch Mob, I found myself preferring the sound from the HS-260s.
Func HS-260 Conclusion
Before I conclude, there’s a few things to keep in mind. This is the first headset Func has ever produced, and headsets in general are pretty subjective. All the graphs / curves / features won’t make a difference if you don’t like how they feel on your head (or if you don’t want to be seen wearing them!). Everyone has different tastes and opinions for how their favorite music and games are supposed to sound, so personal preference ends up playing a big part with any headset. If you demand the absolute best sound, you really shouldn’t be looking at devices under $300 anyway – there’s obviously better sounding headphones available if you’re willing to pay for them, but this review was written with computer enthusiasts in mind that want a single device to game/chat with their friends/listen to music. With those things in mind, let’s talk about the HS-260.
First up, performance. To me, rating performance of a headset means asking the question, “how do they sound?” The answer? The Func HS-260 were clear, the sound “stage” felt expanded over other headsets I had on hand, and the tuning seemed flat enough to bring out the best in whatever I was listening to (rather than being overwhelmed with a specific frequency). In other words, they sounded pretty good! I would caution you to take the time to allow the drivers to “break in,” leave them playing music overnight before you form an opinion. In my case, after a 24-hour break-in period the sound substantially improved. The sound stage sounded better than the other headsets I had on hand, but music sounded “tinny” at first. Not at all what I had originally expected from 50mm drivers, but allowing them to settle a bit revealed a richer quality to the sounds produced by the HS-260. This was before any equalizer tweaking, mind you. After breaking them in, I was very satisfied with the sound quality compared to other options in this price range – again, before any EQ curve adjustments. You should be able to get your preferred sound out of the HS-260s without a problem. I don’t use microphones that often, but I did make a few phone calls using the mic on the HS-260; I had no complaints from the listeners on the other end. Similarly, squad mates on Battlefield 4 or Steam’s voice chat didn’t have a problem hearing my voice, it came through clear and static-free.
Func brings their now-signature style to the HS-260s, and the result is stunning. The soft-touch finish returns to the outer surfaces of the ear-cups, and distinctive angular accents provide an attractive frame for the pivoting earcups and articulating joints. Even the perforated leather headband pad isn’t left untouched, and the entire product exudes a fresh, subtle style that is very Func-y (no, I won’t apologize for that one). I said it for the KB-460, and it applies here too: Func is one of those companies that manages to find that perfect balance of style and subtlety, and the HS-260 is made all the more attractive for it. It’s a really refreshing approach to design for the gaming peripheral market, and I hope to see more of it.
Func uses composites and plastics to great effect in the construction of the HS-260. You’ve heard me rave about their soft-touch finishes before and I’m glad to see them used here. The one-piece strip that spans the length of the headband ties it all together well and lends a feeling of durability to the whole thing. The hidden rubber dampeners behind the articulating joints help keep any contact between the moving pieces subdued, and the articulating “armor-joints” on the ends allow for flexibility while keeping a solid feel to the entire unit. The HS-260 feels as durable as any headset in this price range, if not more so.
I mentioned this in my KB-460 review, but with a company motto of “Functionality. Perfected.”, Func doesn’t have much wiggle room in the functionality department. Fortunately, the HS-260 follows suit again (like the MS-3 and KB-460) and offers a level of functionality that is impressive among the competition. 50mm well-tuned drivers, swappable/detachable headset/mic cables, volume/mic controls on the headset itself, additional ear cushions included…this is a very functional headset, in the purest sense of the word. No gimmicks, no software to configure, it just functions the way a product like this should.
The Func HS-260 is releasing January 27th for $79.99 (Newegg), placing it in a common price point for gaming headsets. What’s uncommon at that price point is the level of finesse, functionality and quality of sound that the HS-260s possess. I’ve owned a few headsets over the years that sold for about that price and none of them match the overall value and included features that are standard in the HS-260. Some may have been slightly more comfortable; my Razer Carcharias felt like wearing a cloud, but the sound or build quality weren’t even close to the HS-260. The Tiamat 2.2 was more comfortable, more expensive and the quality – while better than the Carcharias – still didn’t match what Func has done here. The HS-260 is an excellent choice for this price range, offering as much or more than the competition for the same or lower price.
At the end of it all, I really only have one complaint, and it isn’t much of one: to enhance comfort even more, I would have liked a bit more padding along with a softer/memory foam for the ear cushions. After a week of constant use the materials softened up enough to make them comfortable, but they were pretty stiff initially. Many products need a couple hours of use to break in, but a couple more millimeters of padding would have done wonders. The reason I say it isn’t much of a complaint is because the HS-260s weren’t uncomfortable at any point – if comfort were the sole factor considered, the more expensive Tiamat headset is a better option if only for the suspension-type headband and slightly thicker ear cushions. However, given the choice between the two, I’d still choose the HS-260 for it’s detachable cables, headset controls, better microphone, impressive build quality, better sound and superior looks.
Everything you need, nothing you don’t. Another solid offering from Func. There’s a blend of design and function here that seems pretty rare among gaming headsets, and it’s their first one. I’m not sure if I’ve seen a company execute so consistently, especially on their first attempt at a line of gaming peripherals. It seems Func is serious about living up to their “Functionality. Perfected.” motto, as the HS-260 is one of the best headsets I’ve tested in this price range. I’ve tried to justify giving the HS-260 anything other than a Golden Tachometer award (like the MS-3 and KB-460 before it), but the fact remains: I feel they’ve brought a product to the market that’s better than anything else in its category. I appreciate that they don’t waste my time with anything I won’t use, but include common-sense features that actually improve my experience at a computer – and they’re doing it better than anyone else at the moment.
+ Volume adjustment on headset, not inline
+ Detachable AND swappable cables/mic
+ Absolutely beautiful design, subtle and eye-catching approach unique to Func
+ Soft-touch finish on earcups
+ Additional leather pads included
+ Flexible, feels durable in use, accommodates multiple head sizes
+ Easy to swap ear cushions
+ Comfortable to wear for extended periods of time after break-in
– Drivers may require a “burn-in” period (like many headsets)
– Needs more padding in ear cups / different foam material for initial break-in period
– May place more pressure on top of head than suspension-type headset bands
Final Score: 9.40 out of 10.
Excellence Achievement: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award.
COMMENT QUESTION: What gaming headset is the best you’ve ever used?