Steelseries Siberia 200 Headset Review
The Steelseries Siberia line are some of the most popular gaming headphones on the market today. The company has worked to engage with the eSports community, spreading its products and branding among some of the world's top teams. The Siberia 200 is their value gaming headset, priced at $79.
The Siberia 200 is the successor to the popular Siberia v2, and comes in seven different colour options. The 200 shares its predecessor's basic shape, with a flexible and adjustable headband sitting below low-profile tubes covering the cables. The plastic construction is lightweight, and time will tell how it holds up to consistent use. Some users had problems losing audio in one ear or microphone functionality on the v2, and SteelSeries says they tried to address those in the 200. If they have, it hasn't changed much externally on the headset.
The earcups flex back and forth - they're not foldable, unlike the Logitech G633 Artemis headset we reviewed a few weeks ago - and should fit well on most people. Because the headband only has a few inches of adjustment, however, those with bigger heads might be in for a tight squeeze. The ear cushions look thin, but they work well in keeping your ear separated from the headphone speakers. They also breathe a little bit, which is good for those who work up a sweat while gaming.
The low-profile flexible microphone hides in the left earcup and extends out with a simple pull. The mic is always on, and can be muted with the in-line remote, which also includes a volume wheel. Unlike some other headsets, however, there is no off switch. Scrolling the volume wheel all the way down doesn't mute the device, it only makes it very quiet. If you're turning down the volume to pay attention to something else, it might be easier to just take off the headset altogether.
The microphone is the worst aspect of the Siberia 200, with weak and thin sound that will get your point across but won't work if you're looking to record any sort of audio. SteelSeries says the mic's frequency response covers much of the range of the human voice, from 50-16000 Hz, but vocals sound as though they've been compressed into a narrow band. The mic is also unidirectional, which means it can pick up ambient noise that you don't want to broadcast.
SteelSeries claims the headset's 50mm drivers have a frequency response of 10-28000 Hz and sensitivity of 112 dB, and to really test the audio quality we put the Siberia 200 in an unfair fight. We played Fallout 4, first with the Sennheiser HD 800 headphones that are the gold standard for headphone audio (and have a cost to match) and again with the 200s to see what we were missing.
It turns out we weren't missing that much--compared to the price difference, at least. The v2 headphones had good sound quality, and SteelSeries has upped their game with the 200s. The sound is bright and clear, and the headphones did a good job of demonstrating the wide post-apocalyptic soundscape of Fallout. In CS:GO, the good stereo separation between the earphones and the clear treble helped us navigate the conflict-filled corridors with a true sense of space.
At the $79 price point the SteelSeries 200 headphones do a solid job in terms of audio fidelity, yet the company really needs to improve the quality of the microphone. If you're more of a single-player gamer, you could do a lot worse for a lot more money. But those looking for a well-rounded headset at a value price for multiplayer use will be disappointed.
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