The React Plus by Fnatic takes the existing React gaming headset and bundles it with the company’s 7.1 USB sound card and a pair of velour ear pads, joining the protein leather pads already fitted to the headset.
Bundling everything together makes the headset slightly cheaper than buying everything on its own.
But for those who don’t need the USB sound card – in other words, those who aren’t planning to game using a PC, or who already have a Dolby Atmos or similar output from their PC – the Fnatic React on its own makes more financial sense.
Priced at $89.99 / £84.99 at the time of writing (October 2021), the React Plus headset bundle represents good value for money – a point that is further emphasised by the React headset on its own, which is currently priced at £59.99.
Is this bundle worthy of entering T3's best gaming headsets buying guide? Let's find out.
Fnatic React Plus review: Design and setup
The Fnatic React shuns the look-at-me design and RGB lights of some other gaming headsets, instead focusing on a simpler, more subtle aesthetic. Indeed, we doubt we’d feel self-conscious wearing these while gaming in public on a Nintendo Switch, smartphone or tablet – not something we could say about all other gaming headsets.
The matt black design looks smart and we like the simple white logo on each can. We also really like the comfort offered by the pleather (protein leather) ear cups, which are soft and supple. The headband is fitted with a more breathable fabric filled with stiffer foam, but remains comfortable and in our experience doesn’t cause any discomfort on the top of the head.
What could be better is the adjustability of the ear cups. They pivot vertically like most other headsets, but there is no other movement available. We didn’t find this too much of a problem, but noticed how the fairly stiff headband causes the tops of the ear cups to press more firmly into our head than we would like. It’s a minor complaint from us, but could be more noticeable for those with differently sized and shaped heads.
The headset comes with a removable microphone with foam pop shield and articulating arm that holds it securely in whatever position it is moved to. The non-detachable audio cable is 1.2m long and has an integrated controller with a volume wheel and microphone mute switch. The switch could be of higher quality but does the job well enough, and a 1.6m USB extension cable is included in the box.
There is no setup required at all, and the included (but entirely optional) USB soundcard works right away, with no need to install additional drivers of software.
Fnatic React Plus review: Features and audio
The only real feature here is the XP USB soundcard, which boasts what Fnatic calls 7.1 Virtual Esports Gaming Surround Sound. This brings surround sound to the headset with the flick of a switch, and is fully supported by Windows 10 – Mac users and console gamers need not apply.
For non-PC gamers, or those who either don’t want surround sound, or have their own solution for enhanced audio, like Dolby Atmos, then Fnatic sells the React without the soundcard. Or, if you have the React headset already and want to add the USB soundcard, it is priced at £18.99.
When used without the soundcard – as will be the case for console, phone, tablet and handheld gamers – the Fnatic React’s audio is very good for the price. The 53mm drivers provide plenty of oomph and there’s enough sound isolation to create a good amount of immersion in any gaming environment. You can tell this headset is geared up for gaming, as temple thumping bass is sacrificed for a greater emphasis on details, like the sound of an enemy reloading nearby, or the tyre squeal of a rival driver lunging up the inside of a corner. Fnatic has really thought about how the React is tuned for precision, rather than attempting to show off with an overly cinematic soundscape.
While great for gaming, this tuning means the React isn’t a headset recommended for TV, movies or music listening.
Another high point here is the microphone, which is surprisingly good for the price. Not only that, but it is one of the best microphones of any gaming headset we have tested over the past year, regardless of price. It provides excellent clarity and earned praise from everyone we gamed with. The only downside here is there’s no option for hearing yourself, and with the good sound isolation of the closed-back ear cans and snug-fitting pleather pads, those who like to hear their own voice at natural levels will struggle to do so. Basically, you’ll need to speak a little quieter than expected.
Fnatic React Plus review: Price and verdict
At £84.99, the React Plus is great value for money if you’re sure you’ll be making use of the USB soundcard. If not, then £59.99 for the React headset on its own is also excellent value.
The sound quality is excellent and has clearly been tuned to be at its best when multi-player gaming. This is not a dual-purpose headset that works as well with music and movies too, but for gaming it’s hard to beat at this price. The microphone is also very good (regardless of price), and we like the simple design.
We like the plush comfort of the pleather ear cups with memory foam, but the fairly stiff headband and minimal adjustability of the ear cups mean the React won’t sit comfortably on all heads.
That said, if it fits well then you’ll be impressed by the gaming-centric sound quality (and microphone quality) for the price.
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