At $50 USD, the Tritton Kunai Pro Dirac USB Gaming Headset enters a sea of relatively expensive headsets. With similar offerings from Corsair and Razer coming in between $80 and $100 USD respectively, how can the Kunai Pro offer a similar feature set but at almost half the cost? With seemingly “compromised” hardware, is the Kunai Pro even a viable contender with offerings from competitors?
Let’s find out, in this review.
A hardware sample was provided by Tritton to Culture of Gaming for the express purpose of this review.
Out Of The Box
Initially pulling the Kunai Pro out of the box, I must admit, I was rather surprised. Understanding the price point, I was expecting a very cheap, plastic, and flimsy piece of hardware. What I got, was an actually seemingly well-constructed headset. Which, of course, while being plastic (as is standard for gaming headsets) it was also lightweight, yet not cheap feeling. While I wouldn’t want to throw the headset against a wall, I wouldn’t expect it to break while under normal use.
Past that, the headset is a glossy white with black accents, and has a decently long USB cable to connect to your device, an in-line controller with buttons to do things like mute and unmute the attached microphone (which is flexible, but not retractable), as well as turn on and off the virtual surround processing. And in case it matters to you, the Kunai Pro doesn’t feature any RGB, but I’m not personally dinging any points off for that.
Outside of the headset itself, the only other things included in the box is promotional material and instructions on how to install the Dirac audio drivers which really are the drivers of the core concept behind this headset.
Hardware Married To Software
Almost self admittedly, Tritton doesn’t claim nor expect to be winning any sort of awards for their hardware implementation. Where Tritton aims to achieve quality parity with the competition, is through more advanced audio processing techniques. By doing this, they are able to keep hardware costs down. With this method, do they still offer a comparable experience?
Short answer: yes.
Offerings from the previously mentioned Razer and Corsair, while including their own audio processing solutions for Virtual 7.1 as well (THX and Dolby respectively), Tritton aim to try and improve the sound experience through the use of larger, higher quality headphone drivers. While Tritton has to close the hardware gap through the power of software. Due to not being so reliant on software audio processing, the implementations from the competitors almost come off as gimmicks by comparison.
Through the use of the Dirac 3D Audio, as well as Dirac HD Sound, the Kunai Pro comes alive and is able to achieve not only sound parity, but I would overall judge it as a better Virtual 7.1 experience than the competitors. I can legitimately say I forgot the headset cost $50 USD. Directional audio was very clear and well defined, and I had no issues with latency or determining the location of something via sound.
While the audio experience for gaming is great, listening to music was an acceptable experience. When transitioning to listening to music while writing this review, I got a better audio experience turning off the 7.1 processing, which is painless and super convenient because it has a dedicated button on the in-line controller. Vocals were clear and present, but the bass response suffered (most likely attributed to the smaller hardware drivers). Don’t expect an audiophile level of experience when listening to music.
Other Little Things
There are no major things to complain about regarding the Kunai Pro. Most of the complaints stem from tinier things regarding the overall experience.
To start, while the microphone is very good and clear sounding, as well as being physically flexible so you can position it at the corner of your mouth (the optimal position for headset microphones), I ended up with a better sound by actually having the microphone itself facing out and away from my mouth. The thin plastic shell around the mic acting as a sort of filter. Save that, I would recommend getting a tiny foam filter to put over the mic. However, even without a foam filter, there are no clarity issues to be reported with the mic, and it stacks up there with other more expensive headsets.
The in-line controller is nice to have, and as aforementioned, is very convenient for turning audio processing on and off, as well as quick muting and unmuting the microphone. It is on the more awkward side in terms of handling and feel, but is positioned in a good spot on the cable.
In terms of comfort, the Kunai Pro isn’t the most comfortable headset I’ve ever worn but isn’t painful either. My ears are somewhat wide and tall, and despite the ear cups on the headset being a sort of elongated rectangle in shape, they didn’t quite fully fit over my ears, but the foam is padded enough that it didn’t create any discomfort.
The last piece of minor critique comes from the experience of going to Tritton’s website to get the drivers. The site defaults to Mandarin Chinese. While there is a quaint language selector located in the upper right, and you can easily change the language to English, it would add all the more polish to the overall user experience to have it default to English if being accessed from an English speaking country.
The Kunai Pro is a fantastic offering. I’m happy to report that their design philosophy of strong software powering just adequate hardware is valid, and it results in a gaming headset that you can’t really go wrong with.
It’s not the greatest gaming headset out there, but it doesn’t, need to be. At $50 USD, the Kunai Pro offers the most competent experience at the sub $100 USD range. If you’re on a budget and need a good headset, this is the choice for you.
- THE GOOD
- Budget Option
- Fantastic Audio Processing
- Not Cheap Feeling
- Good Microphone
- THE BAD
- Overall User Experience Lacks Polish
- Ear Cup Size Issues
The Kunai Pro is a fantastic headset for $50, proving that you don’t always need the best hardware in order to perform well.
Taylor has been gaming for as long as he could hold a controller. He has hosted gaming oriented podcasts for four years, and has even started to dabble in writing about anime. Taylor almost enjoys discussing games more then playing them, and when not watching anime or playing games, Taylor can be found going off on rants about the technical details behind the games.