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April 07, 2014

BitFenix Flo Headset Unboxing & Review



I could not describe how excited I was when this arrived at my doorstep. With all the hype and hopes, it's finally in my hands...the BitFenix Flo headset. Many thanks to Inter-Asia and BitFenix Malaysia who took all the trouble of procuring the sample.

The Flo is BitFenix's first audio product, as they are essentially manufacturers of high quality PC chassis and they've brought the design element unique to BitFenix onto the Flo, which is an interesting aspect of the headset. Available is four colours as seen above, lets see what BitFenix has to offer with the Flo headset.

Specs
The specs are just about standard with most headsets but I was intrigue to see the rated impedance at 68-ohms, which is doubled compared to more well-known offerings such as the Steelseries Siberia V2 (32-ohms) or Corsair Vengeance 2000 (32-ohms) so technically it should sound better especially when coupled with a good sound-card; really looking forward to testing it now.


MaterialsSteel, Plastic, SofTouch™ Surface Treatment, SoftFeel™ Earcups
ColorsMidnight Black, Arctic White, Fire Red, Cobalt Blue
Acoustic DesignDynamic, Closed-back
Driver16µ, Neodymium magnet, Φ40mm
Sensitivity96db /1mW
Frequency Response20hz-20khz
Rated Impedance68 Ω
EarpadsSoftFeel™
Headband PressureApproximately 5N
Cables1m Straight Cable With Remote, 1m Straight Mobile Audio Cable, 2m Straight Cable With Headphone / Microphone Plugs
ConnectorGold-plated Φ3.5mm stereo mini-plug with aluminum sheath
Net Weight200g
Contents
Flo Headset, Flexible Microphone, 1m Straight Cable With Remote, 1m Straight Mobile Audio cable, 2m Straight Cable With Headphone / Microphone Plugs

Packaging

The Flo comes in an overall black box with an angled window at the front of the box beside the illustration of the headset. From here users can take a peek at the colour they'll wanna get (this one is the white version btw) and inspect the headset before making their purchase.



At the back, are descriptions of the Flo headset, specifications and the contents of the box complete with more the illustrations of the headset.



Both sides shows the colours available to the users.


Taking everything from the box, I have the Flo Headset, Detachable Microphone, 1-metre cable with in-line volume and mic control, and a 2m cable with separate mic and audio jacks. I am missing the 1-metre mobile cable as this is a sample unit, though the retail unit will be not much different.

The Headset

The headset is a one-size-fits-all design. It is fairly light and is coated with BitFenix's trademarked SofTouch material. Despite it's weight, the Flo feels solid; no creaking sounds came from the unit even flexing it (within the permitted limits).


At the top is where the two support frame and adjustment strap with some cushioning.


Speaking of cushioning, the "SoftFeel" closed-back plush ear-cups is adequately deep and comfortable, though the pleater-like material will make the ears sweat if worn in a warm climate. These are removable but currently there are no indication of replacement ear-cups from BitFenix.


This is how the microphone and audio jacks plugs into the Flo. The chromed rim is a nice touch and logo indicates the brand without being too overbearing, atypical BitFenix styling.



Here are the close-up shots of the connectors. The aluminium sheaths of the connectors gave it that premium feel while protecting the joints housed inside; etched on are the connection indicators and the BitFenix branding. The in-line volume and mic controller is also coated with the SofTouch material ensuring good grip but it may become an issue to some as frequently handling of rubberised coatings may result in peeling and stickiness over a period of time, this is made worse in a hot and humid climate of Malaysia.



Detachable mic is a boon in this package as it ensures that one would be able to use the Flo in public places without looking odd. This has a good reach and is flexible enough to be positioned in front of your mouth.

Testing 



The BitFenix Flo is very comfortable despite the fact that it's non-adjustable; thanks to the plushy SoftFeel ear-cups and lightweight construction. The grip is adequate which ensures that the headset stays on your head and without making one feel they're wearing a torture device. The detachable microphone allows the Flo to transform into a street-style headset but since it's not fold-able, one would have to get a little creative when packing it into a bag.

Sound quality from the 40mm drivers are good with no distortions on high volume, vocals are crisp and clear with adequately punchy bass for music and movies. The Flo also provided good directional audio from FPS games, explosions and gunfire sounds have a satisfying kick to them as well. Nothing much to say about the microphone, it just works and that's the gist of it.

Conclusion

Just to clear things up, the BitFenix Flo is never meant to be a gaming-only peripheral, but more towards an all-round headset that you could use anywhere. Having said that though, the sound from the Flo is good, I was worried about the high Ohm rating but I have yet to experience any problems listening to music from my handphone. The detachable cables also means that users will be able to swap them with custom cables of their choice and would satisfy most people craving for good audio with the flexibility of using it anywhere they desire.

I'd like to see BitFenix coming up with other options for their ear-cups and probably an in-line volume controller without the SofTouch treatment not only for the hot and humid climate but also because handling the controller over a time will wear out the rubber surface. The non-adjustable headband might also be an issue for oversized heads so do try it out before buying.

Overall, the experience is impressive but the actual product has yet to make it's way to the Malaysian shores at the time of writing this article. A quick look up with uncle-Google reveals that it's priced between USD71 to USD104 in Amazon.com which translate to about RM232 to RM340 but it's not a decisive figure for the SRP in Malaysia so we'll just have to wait for a while.

Pros

  • Good, trendy design with 4 colour options
  • Light and comfortable to wear over long periods
  • Good sound quality
  • Good sound isolation 
  • Detachable cables and microphone

Cons

  • Non-adjustable headband
  • SofTouch coating on in-line volume controller 
Hence, the BitFenix Flo headset gets a Gold and Recommended badge from us here at Tech-Critter.com.




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