The Asus ROG Strix Wireless is the wireless version of the Rix (Republic of Gamers) two-product line of Strix gaming headsets. The flagship ROG Strix 7.1 is a wired headset that delivers true 7.1 surround sound by putting 5 separate speakers in each ear cup as center, side front and rear speakers next to the subwoofer. The Asus ROG Strix Wireless costs $ 80 less than its wired sibling and, like most headsets, has only a single speaker in each ear. It delivers compelling virtual 7.1 surround sound and is compatible with both PC and Playstation 4 in wireless mode, but also includes a 3.5mm cable for wired operation, so it works well with Xbox speakers. Consoles and mobile devices can be used.
The Asus ROG Strix Wireless did not impress me when I unpacked it for the first time. Both the box and the headset itself are made of cheap plastic materials, so my first impression was that the whole package looked cheap and felt like it. After taking it out of the box and looking closer, I appreciated the bold black and orange color scheme and the square ears. The headset has matte black surfaces with orange accents, and each pinna has an orange circular pattern that looks like owl eyes. The inner sides of the earcups are also orange and the padded inner headband has orange contrasting stitching. They are definitely more “playful” than the SteelSeries Arctis 7 and similar high-end headsets and will certainly appeal to people who do not want a headset that just looks.
Although I like the aesthetics, I do not like the plastic materials Asus uses for the headset. The ear cups are made of plastic, the volume keys are made of plastic and the head band is made of plastic. Sure, the ear cups are also made of plastic, but they have a soft coating that feels more refined, and the headband of the Arctis 7 is made of metal, so it should better withstand the abuse. The Arctis 7 also has an inner headband, which is more comfortable and offers a little adjustment. The Strix Wireless Headband is handy because it stretches to automatically fit your head. I find that the fit on my admittedly large head (size 7 3/8 inches for a built-in baseball cap, if you are) is too tight for curiosity).
The oversized ear cups are provided with a thick padding, which is covered with a synthetic leather. They are hexagonal and fit comfortably over my ears. The imitation leather material feels soft and the generous padding provides a comfortable fit. After about 20 minutes, with the size of the ear cups and the non-breathability of the artificial leather material, they begin to warm. If your game environment is a bit warm, I would recommend the SteelSeries Arctis 7 for the breathable yet soft material it uses for the earcups.
Asus adjusts the volume controls and power button on the outside of the left auricle. Next to the on / off button are the buttons for increasing and decreasing the volume between which there is a mute switch. The volume keys are labeled with plus and minus signs, but it would be easier to find the keys when the characters have been raised to give your finger an indication that you have landed in the right place. Better yet, Asus could have opted for a volume control, as you get from most headsets, which makes adjusting the volume on the headset a breeze. The volume keys on the Strix Wireless also give a loud click that can be heard in the left ear. The headset has a detachable microphone on a highly flexible boom. I was able to position the microphone exactly as I wished, but I could not really get it out of the way if I did not use it without taking it off. Other items you will find in the box include the 2.4GHz WiFi adapter, a USB charging cable, a 3.5mm audio cable and a 3.5mm splitter cable if your PC has separate microphone and headphone connections. The Strix Wireless can be used with Asus’ Strix Sonic Studio software, but is only for the PC. Although it is compatible with the PS4, you can not use the software with this console. Without this option, you can not change the equalizer settings or enable 7.1 virtual surround sound. When you’re on a PC, the Strix Sonic Studio is easy to use. All settings and features are displayed in a single panel so you do not have to search for a specific setting. It offers a number of options, including an equalizer that allows you to adjust the low, mid and high frequency levels. If you enable 7.1 Virtual Surround, you can set Balanced, Front-Panned, and Rear-Panned. Most players retain the Balanced setting, but if you’re playing a game that worries that the enemy might be sneaking up behind you, opt for rear-panned, which shifts the side channels slightly backwards this area of the soundfield.
My problems with the Asus ROG Strix Wireless are design related and do not extend to the audio output. They deliver a huge sound that emphasizes the bass reproduction. In Overwatch, I loved the sound of Torbjorn’s riveting gun and Soldier: 76’s powerful pulse rifle with the headset. Both weapons have heavy ordnance, and the Strix Wireless had a broad bass that not only lets me hear, but feel. In Team Fortress 2, the constant explosions and cries for a paramedic had an exaggerated cartoon feeling that sounded great. Despite the fat bass sounding steps and dialogue crisp and did not get lost in the mix.
When I activated the 7.1 Virtual Surround with the Strix Sonic Studio software, I was amazed at how well I could hear where the action was in a game. For example, every time I was reborn in Team Fortress 2, I quickly figured out where the battle was going by just listening. It was so useful to hear whether I was taking fire behind me or from left or right. When I turned my character, it was impressive to hear the fight moving from the right side of the soundfield to the back and then to the right and then in front of me. The headset uses a 2.4GHz wireless connection instead of Bluetooth for less delay. While testing, I could not hear any indication that the sound is lagging behind the action.