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Polk 4 Shot review: If only it were built with the PC in mind

Hayden Dingman | Jan. 19, 2015
Oh boy, the Polk 4 Shot is a bit of a nightmare to review. Here's a headset that was designed first and foremost for the Xbox One, featuring not one but three different microphones, and it's one of the first gaming headsets for a company traditionally focused on general consumer audio.

Oh boy, the Polk 4 Shot is a bit of a nightmare to review. Here's a headset that was designed first and foremost for the Xbox One, featuring not one but three different microphones, and it's one of the first gaming headsets for a company traditionally focused on general consumer audio.

And yet the Polk 4 Shot is one of my favorite headsets this year, despite the fact that the score's not going to reflect that. I've even taken to wearing it as one of my day-to-day headsets, which I never expected.

To be honest, there are a lot of things holding the 4-Shot back from gaming excellence. First of all, there's that pesky "designed for the Xbox One" thing. All three of the detachable cables intended for the 4 Shot terminate in an all-in-one microphone/headphone jack. That's fine for phones or certain laptops, but most PCs split the microphone and headphone jacks. You'll need to buy an adapter in order to take full advantage, if that's your situation.

The 4 Shot's also a tiny little thing. The earcups tend to press on my ears a bit unless they're in the exact right position, and the slim size means that the 4 Shot lacks directionality, even for a stereo headset. Put this up against a decent surround-enabled headset or even the Mionix Nash 20 and you'll immediately notice how much harder it is to pinpoint sounds.

And there are no in-line controls on any of the three cables. Well, that's not entirely true — on the cable intended for phones you get a single button to answer calls with. But there are no volume adjusters or mute buttons, because this thing is intended to be used with the included Xbox One chat adapter which builds all those things in. Except, of course, you're using this with a PC so the Xbox One chat adapter is useless.

It's a real shame the 4 Shot wasn't designed for the PC from the ground-up though, because it's otherwise a fantastic device.

First off, the design is extremely minimalist. It's a tiny headset with little branding, meaning it's perfect to wear out as a pair of headphones also. The ears swivel when you take the set off, and the hinges are metal which makes everything feel extremely durable. All in all, the 4 Shot looks more like street-wear than your typical gaming headset, which I like even if I'm rarely going to actually wear these on the street.

The ears are a bit small, as I noted, but they seal against my head well and there's barely any noise leakage. And while the original rubber cable isn't much to write home about, the braided fabric cable of the free Chat Pro microphone is classy and high-end.

 

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