The Polk Audio Striker ZX gaming headset is designed for the Xbox One in mind, all because of a supplied controller adapter, but will work with any console or device through its 3.5mm aux input. Polk Audio claim ‘fully immersive’ sound at a modest price of $89.95/£59.99. We were keen to put this attribute to test, as it’s not offering any surround sound.
Contrasting colour schemes on gaming accessories are rife. Polk Audio generally design subtly elegant speaker products, but the Polk Audio Striker ZX gaming headset couldn’t be further away from these disciplines. Ours has vibrant orange accents (can come in blue/black too) contrasted by a grey plastic body and even darker grey foam padding. It makes for an adventurous design that stands its own in a crowded market. But we do have some minor negative points to make about the plastics used: that they’re flimsy and cheap feeling. Possibly a tactic to keep the price low, but we’re fairly confident that if they were to be stood on, or crushed in a bag, they would indeed snap.
The headband can flex, extend, and each ear-cup can swivel on its axis by a few degrees, all in the effort to accommodate different head shapes and sizes. A nice layer of soft foam padding is integrated onto the ear cups, but the headband has just three squares of padding on the top. This basically creates around a centimetre of space between the headband's plastic and your head. We don’t have any major complaints to make about comfort when gaming with these on for just over two hours, as they’re very light and not tight, but our ears did sweat.
Xbox One Adapter
Basically the 100cm aux cable attached to the headset plugs into this adapter and it clicks into the Xbox One controller. The advantages of this don’t offer any sound performance benefits, simply a remote for adjusting all things volume, including the balance between the in-game volume and voice chat.
It’s retractable, flexible and is located within the left ear cup. The quality is astute and manages to remain bold and clear when speaking at normal volume, even with background noise such as other people speaking in the same room. It also doesn’t pick up breathing; which is something that can be incredibly annoying for other players when using some headsets. Also, this may be a small thing, but the microphone doesn't interfere with our field of screen view, unlike many other gaming headsets we’ve tried.
Upon taking the Polk Audio Striker ZX headset out of the box we immediately played music through them. What we heard was capably warm sound that was balanced well enough so the headset could be used as a dedicated pair of headphones for music. ’So Lost’ by ‘Ady Suleiman’, which is an acoustic R&B song, had a punchier bass and a clearer mid range through the Striker ZX headset than through the £120 Urbanears Zinken headphones. The configuration of the two 40mm audio drivers doesn't lean on the bass though; it can be punchy, which is a good attribute for first person shooters and action titles. The other frequencies are neutral against it in sound style. The highs and the mid range are independently strong.
At this price the lack of surround sound from technologies like Dolby isn't a shock or really a disappointment. Of course, it’s like comparing night and day when we slip on the SteelSeries Siberia headset with full 7.1 Dolby surround sound, together with its large sound stage and multi-directional audio. However, the stereo is actually very good for the asking price and it's responsive and grasps the detail needed when gaming. Angling of something like a bullet shot or a tyre screech is crystal clear from a two directional basis.
Polk Audio Striker Zx gaming headset offers shining stereo sound for gaming and listening to music on a budget of $89.95/£59.99. The build quality is questionable, but they're comfortable when gaming for lengthy stretches.