ASUS TUF Gaming H5
Gaming Headset (Wired)
The ASUS TUF range of hardware is not meant to be, say, a less expensive version of ROG or Republic of Gamers branded products. Instead, like the title being the Aussie slang version of the word ‘tough’, the ASUS TUF range is all about durability and reliability. Which also translates into a more minimal look that foregoes RGB lighting and sleek shiny surfaces for the more minimal brushed industrial look - with yellow accents.
When reviewing a product in the TUF range it’s hard not to approach the piece of tech from this angle. The range simply has that look – like a piece of equipment one might find on a lunar construction site. High tech but operated by someone wearing a space hard hat. So then, is the new ASUS TUF Gaming H5 durable? Could it withstand being lugged around for weeks? Even though the new ASUS TUF Gaming H5 surround headset is comprised mostly of plastic, the answer is yes. The hard plastic is of the quality that can sit comfortably next to the durable stainless-steel headband. There’s that word, durable.
Oh, and they sound great when gaming. And pack a few cool features to boot.
- Type: Closed
- Driver: 50 mm, with Neodymium magnets
- Frequency response: 20 Hz – 20 kHz
- Impedance: 32 Ohm
- Microphone: Unidirectional
- Microphone Frequency: 100 Hz – 10 kHz
In terms of price the ASUS TUF Gaming H5 sits somewhere in the mid-range, which is always good to factor in when going over specifications. Naturally the inclusion of 50mm drivers results in noticeable bass response, but with the ASUS Essence drivers there’s very little bleed over or drowning out of other frequencies. In fact, what you get is a crisp high end to match the chunky low end. Which as per the intro, makes for a great pair of gaming cups. Okay, so calling them ASUS Essence is little more than a fancy label – but in practise means that ASUS has set a level of quality for its audio response that can boast clarity whilst being tuned for gaming.
One of the key features not listed in the above specs is the inclusion of software free 7.1 surround that you can turn off or on via a flick of a button. Available as part of the separate USB dongle that connects to a PC it omits the need for software customisation – but thankfully that’s also available via the ASUS Armoury II software suite. Which offers up the ability to fine tune the EQ and preset settings. Keeping the 7.1 features of the ASUS TUF Gaming H5 as hardware versus software is a strange choice but does alleviate the need to handle it at a software/driver level. The results like with most virtual surround is a mixed-bag and varies from title to title. The closed design of the ear cups and excellent spatial separation helps quite a bit though, so when the surround works – it works well.
Design and Comfort
Not quite the lightest gaming headset you’re likely to find, the ASUS TUF Gaming H5 is comfortable – more so than the rugged look lets on. The cushions are soft and leathery, and the closed style is used to full effect by covering and encasing your entire ear. The stainless-steel headband adds a premium feel to match the minimal TUF look, which again is mostly subtle angles, black, with only minor yellow highlights here and there. Where the ASUS TUF Gaming H5 surprises though, in the design department, is with its versatility.
A small detachable USB dongle (that houses the 7.1 surround switch) for PC use is included alongside a standard 3.5mm connection that is compatible across PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and mobile devices. This on-the-go approach also includes the ability to detach the main boom microphone for that headphone look, with ASUS going so far as to include a microphone in the inline controls – compatible with various devices. Surprising in that it pretty much ticks all the right boxes in what one might be looking for in a versatile gaming headset. Something that can also be used for console gaming as well as regular everyday headphones connected to a smartphone – with a workable mic.
It’s not all perfect though, the inline controls feel a tad high and the 1.2m cable is a little short for PC use. There was an extension cable included in our review unit that helped; but once connected felt like one connection to many.
With support across a wide range of devices it’s clear that the ASUS TUF Gaming H5 delivers excellent results when playing games. Playing DOOM, Diablo III, Resident Evil 2, Mario Kart, God of War, and others - everything sounded as it should. Crisp, detailed, and expressive. Bass response felt a little heavy at first, as did the higher frequencies, but the balance suited just about every game we tested. After a while it was clear that the lesser emphasis on the mid-range made in-game audio more immediately impressive. Admittedly most of the testing was with more action-oriented games.
On the PC, with the added support software, being able to adjust and fine tune the EQ helped when switching to say other applications like music and movies. Or trying to hit a more balanced sound. As a pair of headphones, the ASUS TUF Gaming H5 is mostly fine for watching movies but not ideal or anywhere near audiophile level when it comes to listening to music. Not that ASUS claim them to be. The balance itself, tuned for gaming, lacks the flat default definition required to properly render quite a few music genres. As a gaming headset the ASUS TUF Gaming H5 excels where it counts and is versatile enough to support just about every gaming platform on the market. Crisp, detailed, and impressive sound wrapped up in a rugged and comfortable package.