Within the crowded arena of gaming-focused brands, Roccat doesn’t exactly rise to the top when it comes to prominence. They lack the wider-brand awareness of Alienware and the imposing design sensibilities of companies like Razer – and If their new Roccat Cross headset is a sign of things to come, that doesn’t seem like it’s likely to change any time soon.
If you’re looking for a budget pair of headphones to go, these might suffice. However – if Roccat are looking to make raise their cache, they’ve missed the mark here.
In terms of design, the Cross maybe keeps things a bit too simple for its own good. It’s lightweight, jet-black and feels a little cheap to hold in your hands. The leatherette padding running along the headband adds some comfort when worn but the material involved aren’t exactly luxury-grade. It gets the job done but it’s not really anything special.
The one silver lining to the design comes in the form of the nifty hinges that connect the earcups to the frame. Both extendable and bendable, they allow for a small but snappy and quick dimension of customization. They also allow you to twist off an earcup and let in outside noise without removing the headset wholesale.
The Cross comes with two cabling configurations, each designed for a different use-case. The first, designed for use with mobile phones or tablets, is a 1.2-meter single-input cable that embodies minimalism and incorporates a slimlined microphone. The second cable is more heavy duty. At 2.35 meters, it’s a thicker mesh cable that splits the headphone and microphone outputs into separate strands.
Roccat tout this feature as a form of cross-platform compatibility and while it technically is, there’s no real difference to be found here. Plenty of normal headphones can be used with gaming consoles with little-to-no-hassle. Unlike other gaming brands there’s no audio or software-side tech underpinning that compatibility and delivering better results.
The audio here is just pretty stock-standard stereo. Each earcup packs a 50mm speaker and that’s about it. The design of the earcups does insulate the sound a little but if you’re expecting true noise cancellation here – you’ll likely find it lacking.
Meanwhile, the microphone proves more-or-less serviceable in practice. It’s a far cry from the crystal-clear communication you expect from more expensive headsets but a little better than the quality you’ll get in most smartphones. Again, bearing the $99 price-tag of the Cross firmly in mind, it delivers a product about as good as you expect it to.
Roccat talk a big game here with ergonomic design but the Cross falls a little short of that. In terms of what it offers and how its priced, there’s arguably some value here but there are plenty of better products out there both above and below the Cross’ RRP.
Though there are a few merits to be acknowledged, on the whole, the Roccat Cross is a pretty underwhelming product. Ultimately, you get what you pay for. When you can get both better audio quality and design out of brands like HyperX and Razer at a highly competitive price-point, it’s hard to recommend this one too highly.