It’s been around 18 months since Nintendo launched their mobile powerhouse and yet it the Nintendo Switch continues to shake up the gaming market. From surprise indie hits to masterful revisions of gaming classics, the Switch has no end of software to keep you busy. Now, Snakebyte is looking to fill a hardware hole with a range of new peripherals, including the HeadSet S, a compact headset for the Nintendo Switch.
The Snakebyte HeadSet S follows the recent release of the German manufacturer’s Tough:Kit series, designed to protect your Nintendo Switch from the rigors of day to day life. Much like the Tough:Kit, the HeadSet is clearly designed to support a mobile mindset. It’s lightweight construction and inexpensive price tag should hopefully make it a purchase that doesn’t weigh on your wallet or your bag. Coming in at around the £15/$20 range, this is an inexpensive piece of kit compared to other console cans, like the Turtle Beach Stealth 700. That does mean that expectations do have to be tempered by the price point but it seems that the Snakebyte HeadSet S has plenty of things in its favor.
The exterior packaging is, as you’d expect at this entry point, entirely function. The white and red pack successfully keeps the headphones secure in transport and doesn’t prove to be any particular problem to get into. Upon sliding the Snakebyte set out of its cardboard skin, you’ll find the red and black headset, a detachable microphone, and an audio extension cord for the accompanying peripheral. All of these are individually wrapped so they are pristine coming out the box.
The HeadSet S is crafted to tend to the needs of Switch owners and, as such, comes with the following specifications:
- Plug type: 3.5mm gold plated
- Speaker diameter: 40mm
- Impedance: 32Ω ±5
- Frequency response: 20Hz~20KHz
- Sensitivity: 100dB ±5dB
- Size: Ø9.7 x 4.5mm ±0.2mm
- Sensitivity: -37dB ±3dB
- Microphone direction: omni directional
- Impedance: 2.2KΩ
- Frequency response: 20Hz~20KHz
The HeadSet S looks surprisingly well put together for a gaming headset that comes in at the bottom price point of the market. Far too many entry-level headsets come out covered in cold plastic and a slither artificial leather. The HeadSet S comes with a headband draped in a grained PU leather and a flash red rubberized interior. Padding is adequate for a headset that is already extremely light, weighing less than 250 grams. The 40mm Neodymium drivers are encased in a plastic housing that has a matt finish to it, while the fabric ear cushions top off this on-ear design.
Follow the rubber cable as it slides down towards your Nintendo Switch and an analog in-line volume control joins a mic mute switch about a third of the way down the 1.2-metre cable. This length can be easily extended by plugging the 3.5 mm jack into the 3-metre extension for when you might want to kick back on the couch. The left side of the two folding ears of the HeadSet also houses a socket for the detachable microphone, just at the bottom of the housing.
Getting between the drivers, I found that the HeadSet S presents no problems in terms of comfort. The padded ear cushions instantly feel inviting against your skin and such a lightweight peripheral would be hard pressed to put any pressure on most temples. We might normally bemoan the lack of a PU leather cover for the ears, but unless you intend to get really mobile, it’s unlikely you’ll work up a sweat on your Switch sessions. The central headband feels adequately firm and I have to applaud the design decisions here. The mix of materials, color, and logo choice have a premium feel that makes it just a little easier to wear this headset out in public. It also manages to provide decent support to the rest of the HeadSet S which can easily adjust to fit a reasonable range of head sizes.
The sound produced from these headphones is surprisingly good for a device that comes in at such a low price point. Intended for use with the Nintendo Switch, I found that performance was admirable given the right situation. As a gaming headset, it works best when used as intended. Plugged into shooters like Fortnite and Splatoon, it provides good clarity and a balance between the game action and chat. Gunfire in Fortnite sounded crisp and I was surprised by how well it managed to provide directional audio as I parachuted into my own battle royale. When reviewing Gal Metal and cruising through Doom I did find that the headset lacked some bass and didn’t have as much punch as I’d like, but this musical tale is more the exception than the rule as far as console shooters got.
If you are jumping over to a more musical mode of entertainment then the HeadSet S provides a decent mid-range, but, again, this is definitely a headset that works best with gunplay. Take it to task on Fortnite or Paladins and it will balance the need for concise communication and audio updates from the game well. Communication can be key in online modes, and the microphone does an acceptable job of letting players talk in game. It won’t blow you away or give a Yeti Nano a run for its money, but it does the job on the go.
The sense of situational awareness that is crucial in these types of environments was somewhat undermined, however, by the first of a few niggles I had with the HeadSet S. A well hidden set of left and right ear indicators evaded me for several days. After locating these on the innards of the headset, however, the real limitations of the HeadSet S become apparent. The HeadSet S is an entry-level device. It is fantastic to just fold up and throw in your bag but it comes with comprises. It is always wired, and where the Arctis 3 can handle more than one audio input at a time this connects to just one device. This means anybody wanting to use the microphone for voice chat will need to utilize in-game functions, which are few and far between on the Switch. The old school analog volume control feels cheap and the lack of premium PU Leather might not be to your liking. In contrast to the premium feel of the headband, I found the plastic enclosure for the speakers to feel flimsy and a real indicator of the Headset S price point. Finally, the on-ear design does not enclose the ear, resulting in more noise infiltration than a closed cup design and a potentially smaller set drivers than you might like.
Despite some shortcomings, the 40mm drivers are far from weak and the HeadSet S is a solid piece of kit that doesn’t bear many quibbles over buying. It has great design aesthetics that won’t freak out your fellow commuters and the Snakebyte Headset S won’t take a bite out of your wallet. If you need a headset for taking your Nintendo Switch on the move then Snakebyte’s newest provides fantastic value. You can find out more about the Snakebyte S over at the official website.