Cougar Phontum Review 3

Cougar Phontum Review

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Value and Conclusion

  • The Cougar Phontum is available online for $50.
  • One of the best build qualities and overall aesthetics in the $50 price bracket
  • Solid audio performance for the price
  • Very comfortable (with thicker ear pads)
  • Detachable microphone
  • Replaceable ear pads
  • Underwhelming in terms of spatial positioning (not very suitable for multiplayer shooters)
  • The in-line remote control can only be used when connected to the PC
  • Thinner pair of ear pads reduces sound quality and comfort
The Cougar Phontum is a fine new addition to the $50 gaming headset bracket. For the price, it's surprisingly well made—so much so that there's no way someone's going to be able to guess how much it costs just by looking at it. The manufacturer aimed to make it as versatile as possible, which is why the Phontum is bundled with two pairs of ear pads of significantly different thicknesses. One of them can be used at home and the other one on the go, although my extensive testing showed that using the thicker pair of ear cups leads to better, more airy audio performance, as well as better comfort.

The overall sound performance of the build-in dual chamber speaker drivers is good. The Phontum holds its own pretty much everywhere except in multiplayer shooters, where its incapability to precisely pinpoint the exact location of enemies proves to be somewhat of a crutch. Luckily, for other types of games and for music, the Phontum offers a solid, weighty, fun sound with plenty of bass and a satisfying amount of clarity. Its overall sound quality is better than what you'd expect after paying only $50.

As for the microphone, it's perfectly usable for casual Discord and TeamSpeak chatting, which is pretty much the only thing you'll be interested in when buying a gaming headset on a tight budget. You should be aware, though, that there are gaming headsets with better microphones even in the $50 price bracket. For more details and sound samples, refer to the microphone performance section of this review.

The Cougar Phontum can be combined with PCs, consoles, and mobile devices, but it should be said that you only get an in-line remote with a volume dial and a microphone mute button if you connect it to a sound card with separate microphone input and headphone output—in other words, your PC. That's a bizarre design choice on Cougar's part.

Still, if you're after a good $50 gaming headset, the Phontum doesn't disappoint. It's definitely better than the original Immersa, which was widely regarded as one of the best $50 gaming headsets in the market.
Budget
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