Astro, Turtle Beach, Gioteck, just some of the manufacturers who want to make an impact on your gaming life, but what about Polk? Who? I hear you say. Polk Audio are an audio company based in the US who were founded in 1972, they are more well known for their Home theatre products but also produce headphones, soundbars and also sorts of audio equipment.
They have recently extended their partnership with Microsoft to expand their presence in the gaming community and that’s where we step in, Midlife Gamer were kindly invited by Polk Audio to try out one of their latest headsets and SoundBar to see if they could really make an impact on the UK gaming community.
Polk’s 4shot headset came with plenty of promise, starting with the looks. Of all the headset I’ve reviewed over the years this is probably one of the better looking sets I’ve seen. There are three different colours available, Black, White/Green and Grey/Blue. I’ve been rocking around with the White/Green combination and they look great, as you get a bit closer though they feel a bit cheap in places, the set squeaks a bit more than I would have expected and I’m not sure how long it will be before the screws come out that hold the swivel earcups, but what did impress me were the comfort levels, I could wear this headset all day and I would barley know it’s there. The leather cushioning didn’t cause too much heat either, especially considering how warm it’s been recently.
After speaking with consumers Polk tried to do something a little bit different with the microphone on the 4shot, just under the left earcup you’ll find a button that will release a tiny drop down microphone, perfect for Gears and Beers as the all-important snacks won’t be impeded by a long microphone. The idea is great but the execution just falls short of the mark, having tested it while playing Titanfall, the people who I played with commented that I was very quiet, one benefit of having the set released in the US first is that Polk have already addressed this issue by supplying a new audio cable with a Microphone attached wich thankfully improved things.
The headset’s audio is managed straight through the Xbox One Wireless controller and chat adapter, which they also supply you with. There are pros and cons to managing it all through the adapter, the fact you don’t need batteries for the headset to work is great, and also means you can use them through the PS4 controller as well as your choice of phone or tablet. The downside is that the adapter can be hit miss, I noticed while playing FIFA that if you twist the controller while trying score a 30 yard screamer the adapter sometimes loses power and therefore you lose sound. I also found it difficult to find the perfect mix of game volume and chat volume.
The thing you are all dying to know is how they sound, well I’ll oblige and tell you. I’ve tested the 4shot across a whole host of games. I started with Titanfall, I then moved on to some FIFA 14, Madden 25 before hitting the high seas in Assassins Creed Black Flag. The headset only outputs in stereo so you won’t get the full benefit of your opponents sneaking up on you but you’ll get a satisfying experience when playing your games, the sound is crisp and the bass feels just right and the dialogue from the characters is always clear. If you add the fact you won’t be affected by background noise it makes for a really good set. I’ve also been using mine on a day-to-day basis while travelling to and from London; I can turn them up loud without disturbing or have to listen to other people’s conversations.
The RRP for the 4shot is currently £129.95 but I can see them out at retail at around the £100 mark, the lack of surround sound isn’t great but I do like this set, it won’t replace my current set up at home but they have already proved more than useful for day-to-day work while I’m designing. Whether Polk can make an impact on the UK market remains to be seen but this is a solid start.
MLG Rating: 7/10
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided with a pair of Polk 4shots by Polk for review purposes. The Headset was reviewed over the course of one week on a multitude of devices. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.