Eye Candy: SteelSeries Fnatic and Siberia V2
I’ve always considered myself a tech savvy kind of guy, but in the non-traditional sense. My taste has always been form first, then functionality and I’ve found the two are not mutually exclusive. That’s the focus of this new Gear subsection Eye Candy.
These reviews are for the layman or laywoman who, much like myself, know what they like, want something which gets the job done and looks damn good while it’s at it. There will be no tech heavy gobbledegook, or a whole mess of unexplained acronyms and numbers you’re supposed to know.
I, respectfully, leave that deep level of expertise to my partner in crime, Mr Joshua ‘Tech MacGyver’ Philpott. That’s his forte and he does it well. Damn well. In fact, if you want a more detailed technically skewed review of a near identical mouse to the Fnatic, check out his thoughts on the SteelSeries Sensei here.
I’ve always been led by aesthetics. It’s actually the first thing which attracted me to the Fnatic. I knew absolutely nothing about it, but one thought kept bashing about my skull from the first moment I looked at it, “this baby’s got the same bad-arse colour scheme as those motherfuckers from Cerberus in Mass Effect 2” as you can see detailed in the picture above.
It also has a crazy Asian styled character on it and the mouse wheel and term “FNATIC” both light up with a brilliant bright orange neon glow. These points alone were enough to pique my interest in it.
As I’ve found with most tech that gives me a visual boner, the majority of the time it also packs a decent punch in the functionality department, and the Fnatic is no different. It is remarkably comfortable to use, fitting ever so snugly into the palm of your hand favouring those with a relaxed grip so your hand just lays on top of it. You’ll barely even notice it’s there. The movement is accurate going exactly where your eyes and hand feel it should, straight out of the box.
You can power it down via a button next to the mouse wheel to save your battery when you’re on the go and both sides of the mouse sport two buttons for easy webpage/document navigation. On the right, the two move the page up and down and on the left, push the browser forwards or back a page if you’ve been surfing the interwebs.
Having never used anything other than a bare bones mouse these features were a revelation and I’ll never be able to use another mouse again. Seriously. If you’re looking for a peripheral with a lot of personality, and impressive hardware specs to boot (so I’ve been told by Josh), the SteelSeries Fnatic is the one for you.
As luck would have it, as I was eye-banging the Fnatic, the SteelSeries Siberia V2 Limited Edition headset in heat orange popped on my radar and I just knew it was kismet to review these two products together. The connecting thread? Orange, obviously.
The first selling point of these puppies is the USB connectivity and powering, completely eliminating the need for batteries. That’s a big tick in my book. In keeping with the design elements of the Fnatic, it also sports programmable pulsating orange LEDs (fancy-schmancy light-emitting diodes) around the earpieces as you can see illustrated in the picture above. I was already down with the look. What I wasn’t prepared for was how well it performed.
The noise-cancelling ear-cups fit snugly, are incredibly soft and tailor made for extended use. When they’re on, you can barely hear a peep elsewhere. Rather than have an adjustable headband, the suspended one of the Siberia just hangs without exerting any pressure. You almost feel like you’re wearing nothing at all.
There’s a USB extension cord included as well as microphone activator and volume control located midway on the headset cord. The sleek microphone, ideal for gaming or Skype use, is retractable so it never gets in the way. There’s been a lot of thought put into the design and it all just makes sense.
Of course all the above would be for naught if it didn’t supply rich full sound, and man oh man does it. I road tested the Siberia with recorded interviews, a selection of music and blockbuster films and it delivered on all accounts. Music was crisp with a chocolatey richness to the bass, beautifully well-rounded. Don’t even get me started on how it handles films.
I never thought watching a movie in bed on my laptop could ever recreate the feeling of being in a cinema. I was wrong. The surround sound was astounding, never over-powering, and had me shaking my head in disbelief. I couldn’t believe the sense of depth it offered mere millimetres from my ear-holes. You’ll find yourself completely immersed drinking in every single sound. The clarity is something else and I don’t think I’ll need to look any further for a set of headphones to use with my laptop.
When you’re led by what appeals visually, you sometimes pay the price with disappointing functionality. The dynamic duo of the SteelSeries Fnatic mouse and Siberia V2 headset knocked it out the park. They are the Reese’s Pieces of PC peripherals, supplying a delicious combination of sleek looks and powerhouse performance. Now where can I find an orange keyboard to round out my set?