A budget headset with great sound, although the fit may not suit everyone.
- Manufacturer: Sades
- Model: Mpower
- Release date: Available now
- Price: £31.99
- Supported Platforms: PC, Xbox, PlayStation, Switch, Mobile
- Reviewed on: Xbox One, PC, Mobile
- Supplied by: Sades
You’d be forgiven for not having heard of Sades. A lesser-known Chinese company, they have been making headsets and other peripherals for nearly twenty years, but they haven’t garnered the mainstream attention afforded to brands like Astro, Turtle Beach or Logitech. That’s not to say you should discount them though, as they have a wealth of experience and a very competitive pricing structure.
The Mpower is Sades’ entry-level offering, however, despite its low price, it’s being marketed as an eSports ready headset. Available for just £31.99, there is very little out there in the way of competition. Sure, there are literally hundreds of cheap headsets available, but if we are honest, most of them are garbage. The main alternatives in this exceptionally cheap price bracket are Astro’s A10, Turtle Beach’s Recon 70 and the Logitech G332, which are all great performing headsets.
Inside the box, you will find your Mpower headset, an additional Y-splitter cable for connecting to a PC with separate microphone and headphone ports, the instruction pamphlet, warranty card and a pair of leather earpads that can be switched out with the fabric ones that come fitted. There’s no cloth carry case but for the price that’s understandable.
As is the case with any headset with a 3.5mm jack input, connectivity is excellent. Whether you are gaming on PC, mobile or console, you can plug and play easily. They are sold as a stereo headset, and they come without any proprietary software for enabling surround sound or selecting different EQ modes to isolate sound frequencies so you can hear footsteps or gunfire more accurately. You can, however, enable virtual surround such as Windows Sonic or Dolby Atmos on your platform of choice. At the price it’s unsurprising, but seeing as this is being advertised as an eSports headset, it’s still a consideration if you rely on these kinds of effects.
Sades have embraced the eSports design philosophy with the Mpower. Sporting a black and contrasting blue colourway, they have an eye-catching design. The lightly padded headband leads down to the wide, blue coloured stainless steel forks. There is no rotation to the forks, unfortunately, which causes issues with the fit. The earcups themselves are closed-back, styled with the Sades logo underneath an iron mesh. The integrated 3.5mm jack lead is 1.2m long with an inline volume control, terminating in a right-angled connector that is advantageous if you are a mobile gamer, as it keeps protruding wires to a minimum. Sades have also cleverly designed the microphone on the Mpower to slide back into an opening in the earcup, very handy for when you are just listening to music or movies, or when you aren’t chatting to friends (or enemies).
Build quality is good. Strong materials have been used in the construction, and considering the strength of the headset, they have done well to keep the weight down. The headband has less padding than is desirable, but this is somewhat negated by the lightness of the Mpower (285g). It is very loose-fitting, though, and while you don’t want your headset to be too tight on your head, the Mpower has gone too far the other way, with a very open headband. To get a good seal around your ears you have to extend the forks to such a degree that the headband is extremely loose. That in itself isn’t too bad, as they are barely noticeable on your head and would be ideal for lengthy gaming sessions, but as mentioned earlier, the lack of rotation in the earcups compounds this issue. Perhaps it is down to the shape of my head, but I found it very difficult to get a comfortable, close fit with the Mpower. As a result, I often found moving my head broke the seal and distinctly affected the quality of sound and depth of the bass.
Get the fit right, though, and sound quality is very good with the Mpower. Bass is punchy and direct, while mids and treble both come through clearly defined. There’s a touch too much reverb from low-end sounds, that can cause muddying of the lower frequencies during prolonged bass notes, but the tuning of the headphones isn’t such that bass is overwhelming. The closed-back design gives the Mpower a very narrow soundstage, though, with the sound carrying a distinct closeness that hinders directional awareness in games.
Obviously they are no match for high-end headphones, but I have been surprisingly pleased with the sound quality on offer. Listening to music is enjoyable thanks to the predominantly bass and mid focussed audio tune, and while watching videos you get clear dialogue and powerful explosions – films with a rousing score fare particularly well. Stacked up against the competition at this price range, and even compared with more expensive headsets, they perform admirably.
The Mpower is a noise isolating headset, and it does a decent job at blocking outside noise from passing into the speakers. If you switch to the leather earpads that are included, this effect is more pronounced again, but it does introduce slightly more reverb to the sound. If you can get a decent seal around your ears, this headset will work fine for gaming or media consumption in a noisier environment.
Unfortunately, the microphone picks up a lot of ambient noise. If you are in a quiet room, the microphone pick up is good, but as soon as you introduce any background noise, it is picked up too easily. A foam covering would definitely help here, but without it, the microphone does let down the package. Voice output is slightly lacking in bass, and it is not an accurate recreation of your voice. You never expect too much from the microphone on a gaming headset generally, and this has proved to be no exception. Despite this, your voice is picked up well and I never had issues with people not hearing me, it just wasn’t as good as they are used to hearing. Again, this is a £32 headset, so it is to be expected that concessions need to be made to keep the price down, and at least the speaker output is good.
With sound quality that exceeds what is expected for the price, the Sades Mpower is a very good offering for general gaming. The styling is sure to be appealing to many, while the connectivity options mean you can use this on any device you own. The strong, durable build and low cost would make this ideal for anyone heavy-handed with their gear, or as a headset to give to your kids (if yours are as capable at destroying things as mine). The lack of flexibility in the fitment, however, could be a problem if your head isn’t quite the right shape for the headset.
For the advertised eSports market, though, the Mpower comes up short. Average mic quality, lack of audio profiles and fitment issues mean this headset isn’t ideal, but then there are very few headsets that are genuinely suitable for eSports at this price range.