Date: January 17, 2017
Author(s): Tom Roeder
The world of eSports is huge, and growing in popularity with impressive speed across the planet. One of the biggest names in eSports is FNATIC, and today we are looking at a couple of offerings from FNATIC that are used by its players every day; A modular gaming headset and the Clutch G1 mouse.
FNATIC is an eSports team that plays in games such as League of Legends, Battlefield 4, DOTA 2, and CS:GO among others. Based in London, FNATIC is a serious contender in the world of eSports, currently with 38 professional gamers in over 15 countries across the globe.
FNATIC has its own line of gear, from clothing, peripherals, and even complete gaming PCs. Today we are looking at a couple of new pieces from FNATIC: the Duel Modular Gaming Headset, designed in collaboration with AIAIAI, which is known for their incredibly modular headsets, and the Clutch Optical Gaming Mouse.
Both of these new peripherals are what the actual FNATIC athletes use in competition, so they certainly deserve a good look.
Let’s take a look at the mouse first.
FNATIC has chosen an aesthetic profile that appeals to my taste, which is ‘less is more’. Overall very muted, clean, single color matte black. The lines are clean and flowing, just a solid, no frills mouse.
On the top we find the left and right buttons. These are connected as a single piece of plastic that runs the entire length of the body.
In the middle we find the scroll wheel/MMB. The scroll wheel has a nice ribbed rubber covering, and a more-stiff detent feel when scrolling than some mice I have used. The detents are not loud like some mice, but still have a good stiffness ensuring accurate scrolling.
This is a good feature for me, as I have found that with other mice that have scroll wheels that require less force, I inadvertently switch weapons in the heat of the battle, something that didn’t happen with the FNATIC Clutch Mouse.
The scroll wheel is also home to some RGB lighting, which is fully customizable with the companion software. We also find three red LED indicators on the left hand side to indicate your DPI shift.
Just south of the scroll wheel, we find two round buttons which like all the other buttons, can be reprogrammed. On the left side towards the front we find the FNATIC GEAR logo, and two standard forward/back buttons.
The cord is a standard length of 2-meters, and covered in the low-drag braid that we find on most gaming gear these days, along with a gold-plated USB connector.
On the bottom we find three PTFE feet, insuring low friction movement along your gaming surface, whatever that might be.
I put the FNATIC Clutch Mouse through quite a workout since I received it. I used it extensively in gaming, from DOOM, to CS:GO, to Battlefield One. I also used this mouse at my day job, where I am at a computer all day.
I found that the mouse is great if you have large hands and/or long fingers. My hands are more of what is called a “bear’s paw” which is large palms with shorter fingers proportionately. I tend to prefer mice that are shorter in length, but this was not a problem for me at all.
The braided cover helps the cord glide across your desktop with ease, making the mouse really feel like it is wireless. I found that long gaming sessions using this mouse went very well, and I don’t have any complaints at all, especially considering the price point of $59.90 USD.
On the next page, we take a look at the Duel Modular Gaming Headset.
FNATIC teamed up with AIAIAI to create the Duel Modular Gaming Headset.
AIAIAI is well-known for making modular headphones that not only sound great, but the modularity offers several advantages allowing you to tailor your headphones to suit your preferences best. This is no different with the FNATIC Duel Modular Gaming Headset.
As I mentioned, FNATIC and AIAIAI came together to make this headset, and the genetics of AIAIAI are certainly present. This headset is completely modular, coming out of the box as a completely build-it-yourself kit.
The headband is a matte finish plastic with a leatherette inner headband with the FNATIC logo embossed in the top.
Two orange coiled connectors are located just at the bottom of the headband and feature a locking connection type. You just insert the connector into the speaker and rotate 45 degrees to lock it in. Make sure you pay attention to this, as it wouldn’t be difficult to damage this function.
The speakers slide onto the headband and lock in place with a ball-and-socket style connection. This brings a very secure and widely adjustable function to the headset.
You can choose the over-the-ear or on-the-ear earcups, they just snap into place with the same style ball-and-socket type of connection.
Both the over-the-ear and the on-the-ear earcups are covered with leatherette and a plush foam under that.
The speakers themselves have the FNATIC logo carved into the magnet cavity, and are matte black.
You can also choose to use the boom-style microphone that is included. This connects directly to the headset on the left side, comes with a mute switch, lapel clip, and 4-pole connection allowing the same connection as we saw with the inline microphone option.
Everything that comes with the FNATIC Duel headset fits into the included cloth bag.
I will admit, when I first opened the box these came in, my initial impression of these wasn’t favorable. In fact, it all seemed quite gimmicky to me. Once I got everything assembled (which went together with ease) and tried these out, my opinion started to turn.
Firstly, this headset is light… impressively light, making them feel very, VERY comfortable. The headband has just the right amount of spring to it, making it hug my head at just the right pressure. It kept them in placewithout squeezing my head, making long-term wearing of these very comfortable.
The way the speakers attach to the headband as I mentioned earlier, is the ball and socket style, and this allows the speakers to easily pivot on the headband. Even as you move your head around, they feel very natural, which really surprised me as my initial impression left me wondering if this was just a gimmick, but with use, made me a believer. The over-the-ear earcups provide excellent sound dampening, isolating ambient noise considerably.
When it comes to sound quality, the modularity of this headset gives it more range than a standard headset. I first tried these with the large over-the-ear cups installed. I immediately noticed that these headphones are very bass-centric. The range is a little narrow as the mids are present but slightly out of balance, and the high-end of the spectrum is even more absent, making these sound a little muffled.
This muffled profile is only accentuated if you install the on-the-ear earcups. The bass is completely gutted, and the mids and highs are even more muted, somehow. Don’t get me wrong, at no point did this headset sound bad. With the over-the-ear earcups installed, you have big, boomy, rich bass, but the mids and highs are a little lacking for my taste.
When we move from music to gaming and movies, there is a serious shift. This FNATIC Duel Gaming Headset really, REALLY shines when gaming or watching movies. The thunderous bass fits so well, and only in gaming and movies does this headset really come into its own. I found myself continuously cranking up the volume, as the fidelity of the sound was so impressive, I kept wanting MORE!
I don’t think I have ever owned a headset with a contrast this wide. When I first listened to them, I was really unimpressed as I just listened to music for a few days, also to help break them in. When I finally moved to gaming and movies, I was really taken aback… impressive, most impressive.
The bottom line is this: if your needs are gaming and movies, this FNATIC Duel Gaming Headset will deliver superbly. If your needs are more for music, you may be better suited with something else.
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