A couple of months ago, I tested and reviewed the Sennheiser GSP 301. It proved to be a great no-frills $100 gaming headset that didn't focus on slapping a ton of bullet points on its list of features, rather choosing to excel in three aspects that make any headset great - comfort, sound quality, and microphone performance. The same could be said of the $230 Game One, one of the best gaming headsets in Sennheiser's current lineup. In case you're unfamiliar with the brand, which is highly doubtful, let it be said that Sennheiser makes some of the best hi-fi headphones in the world, as well as professional microphones and other audio equipment.
The Sennheiser Game One, available in black-and-red or white-and-red, is a rare example of a gaming headset with an open-back design. That means that the rear sides of the built-in speaker drivers, one on each side, aren't sealed off inside the ear cups. Instead, the ear cups are perforated, which lets the sound leak out freely. The main goal is to achieve a more airy and natural sound with a wider soundstage and less distortions that could otherwise be caused by having the ear cups sealed, especially present in the lowest part of the frequency spectrum. In videogames that mainly translates into precision - the ability to pinpoint your enemies as naturally and as quickly as if you were there in person. There are other benefits to using an open-back headset, sound-quality and everyday-usability-wise, but that insane accuracy and spatial awareness is what will initially impress you the most.
Why aren't all gaming headsets open-back? Because they're less convenient to use - as simple as that. Anyone sitting anywhere remotely close to you will be able to hear what you're listening to. Likewise, you'll hear and get distracted by everything that is somewhat loud in your immediate surroundings. Even your mechanical keyboard will be audible and potentially annoying while playing a quieter game. With all of that being said, it's quite obvious that the open-back headsets are meant to be used by gamers who have their own rooms and don't have anyone in their proximity while plowing through their favorite games. If I had to pick my perfect headset, it would definitely be open-back, although I can certainly appreciate that not everyone has the ability to use one. When it comes to the Sennheiser Game One, its $230 price tag is yet another factor that narrows its potential audience. The real question, then, isn't if this is a gaming headset for everyone - it obviously isn't - but whether it offers enough to justify the cost for those who can afford it. With that in mind, let's dig in!
Dynamic drivers (neodymium magnet)
50 Ω impedance
15-28,000 Hz frequency response (specified by the manufacturer)
Open-back, over-ear design
Pivotable noise-cancelling microphone
3.5-mm connectivity (TRRS and dual TRS)
3 m detachable, braided cable (dual TRS) + 1.2 m detachable, braided cable (TRRS)