Sennheiser is well known for premium studio headphones and well-balanced sound, but taking that tech into Sennheiser gaming headsets (opens in new tab) is a different thing altogether - particularly given the 2020 rebranding and merger with EPOS.
The Game One gaming headset sits alongside the GSP line and the Zero model, and while it may not be one of the absolute best gaming headsets (opens in new tab), the Sennheiser Game One does offer a powerful audio experience, and you can sometimes find it going pretty cheap these days as well.
Those looking in the gaming headset market may also be looking for a relaxed design ethos. There are no strobe LEDs, particularly fancy cooling vents or heavy futuristic effects here, but a simple red chrome accent around an all-black plastic shell does the trick nicely. It's a refreshing simplicity that epitomizes the less is more approach from Sennheiser, but there are some ideas that other gaming-specific brands could do well to adopt.
Like the ear cushions; plush velvety sponge pads that have a supremely comfortable fit, lasting for a good session without pinching or overheating. It's a material we haven't seen much of in the gaming headset arena, but one we'd certainly like to see wrapped around more of our ears in the future. Dust and hairs do seem to cling to these cups, however, so be prepared to spend some time with a lint roller to keep them in tip-top condition - and God help you if you have a cat.
Type: Wired (3.5mm / 2 x 3.5mm)
Sound output: Stereo
Microphone: Flip-up boom mic
Compatibility: PC, Mac, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, mobile
Impedance: 50 Ohm
Frequency response: 15 - 28,000 Hz
The Sennheiser Game One can be used with pretty much everything you'd need it to, giving it the versatility that not every $150 - $200 (roughly the same in the UK) gaming headset can boast. We'd hesitate to call it plug and play, though, because of the split 3.5mm audio cable that's required to use the mic alongside your headphones. Spending this much on a gaming headset and then needing to pick up a splitter or adapter to be able to use it with most devices is a little frustrating, but if you can forego the mic, a single 3.5mm cable is also included.
Aside from the ability to play on anything, there's not much to sing about in the way of features. These are open back acoustic headphones, so there's no active noise cancellation up for grabs, and that includes the naked mic affixed to the side.
The Game One headset is stripped of the usual RGB settings, 7.1 Surround Sound, or EQ software you may expect to find in a gaming headset at this price point, then. But there's still a market for a gaming headset that offers exceptional audio quality instead of all these fancy features.
There's a lot to be said about the Sennheiser One's HiFi audio systems, and it's clear that the learnings of Sennheiser's main station in studios across the world have been applied here. Audio quality is exceptionally well-balanced, offering up just as much detail in the whispers and footsteps of The Last of Us Part II as it does the pitchy screeches of the infected and bellowing rifle shots.
It's clear that you're hearing these games nigh-on exactly as they were intended to be experienced, and there's a clarity in every range that you don't seem to get from some gaming-focused brands. Jumping into a Doom killing spree and there's just as much joy to be gleaned from the fully loaded soundtrack as there is the squelch of demon brains, and picking out these hell-shrieks and roars in amongst the thrash of Mick Gordon's heavy metal binge.
However, there are moments when you can tell this simply isn't a headset built for gaming and gaming alone. You'll usually find these for about $170 / £150, which is still a lot to pay for a set of headphones without any kind of noise cancellation or isolation these days, and you'll certainly notice it with the open back acoustic design.
The lack of 7.1 Surround Sound also dampens your value for money considerably and, despite the excellent attention to open-world soundscapes, you're still missing that pinpoint accuracy seen in other models available at this price.
Plus, you're not exactly picking up the most powerful mic in the world. It functioned well for calls or the odd one-on-one session but put it in an arena of more than two players and you'll struggle to be heard during more frantic gameplay moments.
Overall, then, if your niche is mainly single-player games combined with a desire for audio made by and for purists, then these might be for you - beyond that and we'd struggle to justify the price tag in today's market.