The ASUS Fusion Wireles
Way back now in March of this year, I reviewed the Asus Strix Fusion 500 headset. It was my first review for Guru3D, and some time has passed since then. Asus, in the meantime, has released some more products in their rapidly expanding range of gaming peripherals. One of them is a wireless version of the headset I looked at back then, and that is what we have in front of us today. Asus has, even since my review of the Fusion 700's (which is not yet out, at the time of writing this review), released even more gaming headsets that - to me - look to sit further atop their product stack than the 700's did, and they were already pushing the £200/$200 price barrier.
We all know that Asus has pedigree abound in the PC hardware market, and they have certainly proven they are no slouches when it comes to peripherals, either. It's fair to say, though, that Asus products do seem to command a small (or, in some cases, notable) premium over stacks from other manufacturers. In my mind, therefore, they always have to justify their extra price by being a cut above the rest.
Shall we talk about pricing, for a second? In the initial draft of this review, I put the price at around 150-160 USD/GBP/EUR, as I couldn't actually find them anywhere on sale. That has now been remedied, and it turns out I was almost exactly on the money. The headset is available from Laptops Direct (UK) for £146.98. In the US, they can be had for a fair way less, at 119.99 from Amazon. In the EU, they can be found for 177.97. This is, naturally, a significant price delta depending on where you live, and will - naturally - come around in my conclusion. Once you add wireless to a product, in 2018, it immediately makes it that much more marketable. Sure, some still wish to physically connect their audio devices to whatever is providing the tunes, but most tend to appreciate the lack of cabling over what might be a loss in sound quality or the fuss of dealing with charging/batteries.
Wireless implementation, whilst welcome for the consumer, also puts the Fusion Wireless (from here on in, dubbed simply 'The W's, where appropriate) in the firing line of many different products. If you just want to look at how stiff the competition is, take a gander at this link, which is a roundup of just some of the wireless 'gaming' headsets one can choose from in 2018. That's quite the battle, and just take a small moment to notice the price of each of those listed products. Quite a few of them come in at a fair way under $150, and some even go below the $80 mark. As many of us will know, as well, one does not need to spend a whole lot of money to have great audio, just don't expect much in the way of anything else. My £15 pair of 'Betron' earbuds from Amazon cost 4.5x less than a friend's pair of Sennheiser buds. To my ear, however untrained it might be, they are highly comparable. That, there, is perhaps the key issue that faces manufacturers of high-end audio gear. How to justify a higher price tag when a fairly high proportion of the population might not be able to tell any difference? Also please note that Asus has definitively dropped the '500' moniker from this product to me implying heavily that whilst they clearly share the same ROG branding, they are meant to be viewed as coming from different pedigrees.
Anyway. The W's are a premium headset aimed at providing a high-end audio experience to its buyer. Chiefly responsible for this experience will be a pair of 50mm Neodymium magnet drivers. This time, however, there is something missing. I would imagine, in order to accommodate space for the wireless tech and battery, Asus had to drop the DAC and Amp found in the regular Fusion 500's I looked at back in March. I am no expert, but I am already somewhat predicting what is going to happen in our audio tests. Naturally, I may be wrong, but I suspect I will not be. We also have no implementation of virtual 7.1 Surround Sound, meaning that what you get out of the box is what you are stuck with (plus or minus one's individual tastes when it comes to EQ, naturally.
When looking at this product, I also noticed that one final major (well, major to some, not to me) aspect of the new product was missing. RGB. In fact, there is no lighting at all, period. There might be several reasons for this. To save on costs? To save on weight? To justify a price nest in between the 500 regular and 700's? I am not sure, but there is a highly positive aspect of this lacking feature which I will get to in the unboxing segment. We do still, however, retain the touch controls found on both the other previously mentioned units. I noted that whilst a nice idea, I never really used them when reviewing either the 500's or 700's, and I don't expect that to change.
Finally, minus the aforementioned lack of DAC/Amp, the W's audio/microphone specifications match exactly what we got on the regular 500's. This will be discussed on a later page. With all of that said and done, let's move on.