Online gaming is a regular part of life for most gamers, both young and old. For those looking to chat with friends, have a more immersive sound experience, or simply keep the sounds of explosions and power-ups from invading the rest of the house, a headset becomes a critical part of the gaming experience. If you’re a parent of a young kid who games, there are other matters to factor in, too: the safety of your child’s hearing, and the price of the hardware you’re giving to your little tyke. Kidz Gear tries to provide a solution for both of those latter problems with the Kidz Gear Deluxe Stereo Headset Headphones; a basic headset that provides the connectivity your child wants while protecting younger ears.
Physically, the headset is designed with durability and comfort in mind. With a basic, plastic band for the top, the two cups slide down to allow the headset to fit tightly on the head. As an on-ear headset, the cups feel slightly smaller than other on-ear headsets. Lightweight and made with a minimal amount of material, they won’t weigh down a kid’s head too much or feel uncomfortable after hours of time. Though they’re certainly not as stylish as a high-end gaming headset might look, the translucent plastic (available in blue, gray, and pink) over the sides of the ear cups should be enough to make kids feel a slight cool-factor when using the gear. The microphone, a flexible boom mic, rotates 270 degrees to allow players to put the mic up, bring it down to mouth level, or even put it behind them (if one were inclined to wear the headset backwards). It also comes with a drawstring bag for travel use, and its light form makes it almost unnoticeable in a bag.
As a basic stereo headset, it plugs into devices via 3.5mm headphone jack, making it ideal for PC, mobile, and compatible gaming consoles (such as the PS4 and Wii U if using the gamepad). When it comes to chat quality, I’ll admit I was fairly surprised; microphone quality was actually much better than I’d have given it credit for. On PC and over the phone my voice came across clearly and crisply with no complaints on the receiving end. Kidz Gear is definitely pushing these headphones towards test-taking and language learning (as in Rosetta Stone or similar programs), but gamers shouldn’t have any problem communicating with the players on the other end of the line.
There’s no question that the sound won’t rival a Turtle Beach or Astro, but there’s still a decent amount of sound to get out of what Kidz Gear is offering. Foam earcups provide slight passive noise-cancellation, enough to keep you immersed in the game experience, but not enough to keep you from hearing the Call to Dinner while playing Call of Duty. As a gaming headset, bass is important when you want to experience explosions; though this headset is a little more treble-focused, I still picked up most highs and lows when playing various titles, while getting enough bass to satisfy. I’ve even spent a couple hours listening to music through them and enjoyed the experience. But most people will pick this headset up not for its sound quality, but for its sound reduction capabilities; included with the headset is a noise-reduction cable that limits sound output significantly.
There’s no special technology necessary: simply plugging the male end of the cable into your device and the male end of the headphones into the cable instantly caps sound output at around 90 dB, keeping kid’s ears safe. There’s nothing to prevent the kid from simply removing the noise-reduction cable and carrying on, but the cable is also transferable to other devices that use a 3.5mm jack, toning down other headsets and sets of headphones with an easy swap.
The Kidz Gear Deluxe Stereo Headset Headphones gets the job done for young gamers looking to get their start in the virtual world, or even older folks looking for a lightweight budget headset. Though teenagers will likely look for devices with more features and style, young children can game to their content while parents know that their hearing is safe due to the noise reduction cable. These are a great entry-level headset on all counts, ones both parents and kids should be satisfied with the purchase at $29.99.