Kaliber Gaming UNIKOMM Universal Headset – How Good Can A $20 Headset Be?
If you are like me, you have kids that game. Fortnite, Minecraft, Overwatch…the list goes on. One thing is universal – they want headsets. If you let them pick them out, they’ll get the expensive stuff their favorite Twitch streamer uses (yay product placement!). But you know they are going to break them so you don’t want to shell out that kind of cash. When IOGEAR contacted me about their Kaliber Gaming UNIKOMM universal headset, I was intrigued. When they told me that they’d only cost $20, I told them to ship me a pair. Only $20 for a gaming headset? I had to hear them for myself.
Kaliber Gaming UNIKOMM universal headset Specs
- Universal stereo headset for use with Xbox Series X|S, PS5, PC/Mac, and mobile devices
- Large 50mm drivers deliver immersive highs and powerful bass
- Dual swiveling ear cups provide a better and more comfortable fit
- Removable, flexible boom microphone for gaming chat
- Built-in thumbwheel volume control for easy adjustments
- Built-in microphone mute switch
- Noise isolating, ergonomic ear cup design for detailed sound and maximum comfort
- Soft-cushioned headband reduces pressure for less wear fatigue
- Includes Y adapter for PCs with separate speaker and mic jacks*
- 3.5mm 4-pole stereo connector for universal compatibility
- 90 degree angled plug helps prevent broken audio connectors on console controllers**
*These were not included on my test pair nor were them mentioned on the box
**My review pair had a straight plug though it was shown in the quickstart guide as angled
The Kaliber Gaming UNIKOMM universal headset is targeted at the gamer on a budget. They sport a design that is basically on-ear. If you have small ears (and I do), they might just pass for over-ear. But for most, they will be on-ear. They are wired (as you’d expect at this price point) and have basic controls on the left earcup. Controls include a small, recessed wheel for volume and a mic mute switch. Both were easy to access and manipulate.
Constructed of hard black plastic and pleather, I’ve had headphones at many times the price that felt less sturdy. That’s an awkward way of saying that I was very impressed with the build quality of the Kaliber Gaming UNIKOMM universal headset. The earcups swivel so that the removable microphone is pointed out and they lie flat. The cable has a braided sheath which is an unexpectedly high-end touch.
No matter what sort of speaker I’m testing, I always start with sweeps. The Kaliber Gaming UNIKOMM universal headset kicked in around 40Hz and played fairly flat up to around 5kHz. Above 5kHz, they started to break up. They still played, they just weren’t very consistent.
I used them for a while doing everything from making calls (had to break out a dongle for my phone) to listening to music while working. At louder volumes, it was clear that these have problems with the highest frequencies. They would clearly distort with the upper frequencies at higher volumes. Turning them down would alleviate the issue.
It’s really hard to knock the sound quality of the Kaliber Gaming UNIKOMM universal headset. Were they a little bass-forward? Maybe. Did other headphones have clearer presentations? Sure. But those other headphones cost many times the pricetag of the UNIKOMMs. My verdict? They sound pretty good…for a $50 pair of headphones. Given that they are a headset, not just a headphone, and they only cost $20? They sound AMAZING!
When testing a gaming headset, the most important aspect is the ability to wear them for a long time. You may watch a movie with headphones on or have long listening sessions. But gaming sessions can go on for many hours, multiple days in a row. Comfort is king.
The clamping pressure of the Kaliber Gaming UNIKOMM universal headset was very light. This is great for comfort as they put little pressure on my ears and head. The pad on the headband also added to the comfort and kept the headset in place without additional clamping pressure. This is a headset you can easily wear for hours.
On the other side is the microphone. You want to be able to be heard by your teammates. The Kaliber Gaming UNIKOMM universal headset mic has a removable wind guard. I recommend leaving it on at all times. With it off, the mic clearly picked up my breathing, especially from my nose if the mic was close to my lips. With it on, that was pretty much eliminated.
My kids didn’t complain about the sound or mic quality. But they’re kids, what do they know?
With the $20 price tag, the bar for the Kaliber Gaming UNIKOMM universal headset was comically low. They not only cleared that bar, but they pole vaulted over it! I’ve tested a lot of headphones over the years, but exceedingly few have been anywhere near the $20 price point of the UNIKOMMs. That’s just so little money for headphones, much less the rest of the features these sport. It really is amazing how good these are for the price. Even if they don’t last very long, you can buy quite a few pairs before you even approach the price points of the competition. For my kids and their aspiring Twitch careers? These are perfect.