SteelSeries Siberia RAW Prism review

A features-light headset as reliably colourful as the language you shout into it

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Our Verdict

A decent gaming headset, even if the millions of colours available isn't a draw.

For

  • Unfussy
  • Reliable cans that don't disappoint in terms of sound
  • Comfortable
  • Colourful

Against

  • Obviously budget
  • Lacks features
  • Can't connect to your phone

The major selling point of SteelSeries' new budget gaming headset, the Siberia RAW Prism, is colour.

Over 16 million different colours, actually.

Prism is the name of SteelSeries' RGB colour customisation tech, used to change the hue of the illuminating rings around each earpiece. So, once you plug these cans in via USB and load up some proprietary software you can obsess about the exact shade of varicose vein blue you want your head to emit.

The downside of that connection type of course is your subsequent inability to connect the RAW Prism to your phone or plug it directly into a soundcard, so there's a real trade-off here in the name of colour customisation.

That's about it for standout features on this minimalist headset, except for its discrete internal mic.

SteelSeries fits retractable microphones across its entire range, but the RAW Prism's is different. There's just a barely noticeable nub on the left-hand side which picks up your voice quite competently, though you'll be quiet over the chat channels until you boost your outgoing signal in Windows or the mic calibration tab of SteelSeries' software.

In the name of simplicity (or cost-saving) there's no inline remote – although there is a mute button on the left earcup.

Despite the indubitable fact that 'RAW Prism' sounds like a bar in Shoreditch where they'd serve locally brewed moonshine in jamjars, this headset ain't putting on airs and graces with its feature list.

If you want a travel bag, swappable earpieces of different fabrics and other such gubbins, then look elsewhere.

However, what the RAW Prism does, it does very competently.

It's a very comfortable headset for the money, thanks mostly to its lightweight materials but also some generous padding on both ears and the headband.

The absence of frivolities like brushed metal (usually used in the headband) means there's also very little noise when adjusting the cups in any direction. We were a little bit worried to see signs of wear and tear on the material around the ears after just three weeks of use though, so don't expect bomb-proof construction.

Budget bass

Naturally, sound quality overrides all the above considerations, and this is another area in which the RAW Prism walks the walk.

It's a simple two-channel stereo offering rather than surround sound, but the stereo spread is nice and wide so you'll hear panned sound cues (like a voice coming from the corner of a room, or footsteps behind you) quite accurately.

The cans do give away their pricing in their muddy bass reproduction, though. Low-end certainly isn't overpowering, quite the opposite – you hear the low-mids much louder than anything else, giving a 'honking' effect that isn't uncommon in cheaper headsets.

It's important to point out that this is really only noticeable at higher volumes.

At low and medium volumes it's still far from stunning but the difference in quality between the Prism and competitors £10 either side is minimal.

We liked

The sound quality isn't going to set an audiophile's ears alight, but the two-channel stereo gives decent separation and for a budget-oriented gaming headset it delivers pretty good audio clarity so long as you don't whack the volume up to eleven.

It's also a very comfortable set of cans too, feeling lightweight but padded enough too.

And hey, it comes with LEDs you can light up in millions of different colours too.

We disliked

At high volumes the bass reproduction shows its budget roots and the mid-range delivers a little light honking too.

It's also rather feature-light too, losing the versatility you get with other headsets.

Verdict

It's an overall success for these colourful cans thanks to affordable pricing and the absence of any real annoyances. In truth the idea of fiddling around with LED shades isn't a massive draw to us, but if you think in RGB, the RAW Prism could be your dream headset

Specs
Frequency response range - 20Hz – 20KHz
Driver size - 40mm
Connection type - USB
Cable length - 1.5m
Mic - Omni-directional

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