If you’re like me, you’ve struggled to find a headset that not only delivers good sound quality, but won’t strain your ears after a few hours of gaming. Monster’s Fatal1ty FxM 200 headset isn’t perfect, but it’s probably the closest I’ve seen from a gaming headset.
Fatal1ty FxM 200
MonsterVine was supplied with an FxM 200 headset for review
To me, the most important aspect of a quality pair of headphones is comfort. Audio quality is of course a big one, but I’ll take slightly lower quality if it means my ears won’t feel like they need to be replaced after wearing the headphones for an hour or two. Thankfully the FxM 200 excels in this regard being a pretty comfortable headset that’s also incredibly lightweight. The box lists it at only 8oz but it honestly feels lighter than that, which would normally have me expecting it to be of a cheaper build quality but it’s quite the opposite. I never felt like these were going to snap on me and while I wasn’t tossing the headset around, I could confidently be a bit rough with them. The headband slider itself doesn’t extend very far, maybe an extra inch, but it does go in and out easily. I’ve tried multiple headphones that felt like even extending the headband could cause it to fall apart.
It being super light means you can wear it for long hours without issue. I’ve always struggled with finding a pair of headphones that wouldn’t cause ear strain after an hour or two so I was pleasantly surprised when I was dropping six hours with these on and kind of forgetting they were even there. I was only able to try out the FxM 200, so while I can’t vouch for how well the FxM 100 sounds I can tell you for sure that the 200 sound phenomenal. There was almost no distortion in the sound and game audio came out real crisp and clear. Considering there’s only a $40 difference between both versions and the FxM 100 doesn’t list noise isolation, I’d go for the FxM 200 if the money difference isn’t too big a deal for you. When you’re playing a game in a loud home you really want that outside sound to not interrupt you so that feature on a headphone is really important to me. The FxM 100 also features a suede cushion while the 200 has a sort of leather material; I’m not a big fan of suede type cushions on my headphones but if that’s something you’d prefer over the leather then that might be a reason to go for the FxM 100 over the 200.
Being a gaming headset, a noise cancelling microphone is included but the nifty thing about it is that it’s detachable. The mic can be easily plugged in or out and also features a very flexible cable that can be easily bent and held in various positions. After various tests on both my PS4 and phone, my voice was coming out pretty clean from the microphone and my friend had no issues understanding me. Besides the microphone there’s also control box that will allow you to adjust volume, turn the mic on/off, and even has a button for call/music controls on your phone. The cable itself is of the flat variety which is great and I still don’t get why more headphones don’t go for this option. In terms of aesthetics, the FxM 200 features a pretty low key design compared to most gaming headsets that opt for an overly designed look that’s drowning in LEDs. It’s just a simple gunmetal headband with some mild texturing and a very interesting maroon for the cushions. Compared to how most headsets are jet black with glowing bits, the FxM 200 is a clean, almost classy look that I can really get behind.
Now we move into the part of the review where I discuss the issues with this headset which thankfully isn’t anything troubling. The FxM advertises itself as something you can use for your mobile device which means Monster is trying to target the people who take big headphones out on their daily commute like to the gym or school as well as gamers. Unfortunately, a pretty big flaw prevents these from being totally portable with its inability to fold. Not being able to fold these headphones means that they can’t be stored away as neatly and cases for non-folding headphones aren’t as common or varied as cases for foldable headphones. These headphones feel more like something meant to stay at home than to take for a hard session at the gym with. The plastic on the headphones also has a bad habit of occasionally making creaking noises whenever you tilt your head side to side. When a game is going you won’t hear it, but you definitely will if the volume ever drops low enough. The headphones also require a y-adaptor if you want to use the mic on your PC which isn’t too bad since you can pick one up for around $5. I should note that the retail boxes come with just the headset but online purchases of the headset will apparently include a y-adaptor.
As good as games sound on this headset, music doesn’t fair as well. Now I’m not saying that you can’t use these for music listening, you totally can, but they’re clearly optimized for the sounds you get from a game. The headphones don’t handle bass very well which is surprising considering Monster’s previous venture into headphones, Beats, were known for drowning you in bass. The cleaner a song is the better it sounds on the headphones while grittier genres like hard rap, metal, or some forms of electro come off as oddly clean and lowkey. I popped a DMX album on it and it just didn’t sound right at all, lacking in any sort of punch, while a Vampire Weekend album sounded perfectly crisp and clear. Of course if you’re looking at these headphones then you’re probably here for a headset meant for gaming which is to say you’re looking for something that’ll give you good audio and has a built-in microphone to chat with friends; if you’re an audiophile then you likely accidentally stumbled in here and should get back to deciding between an AKG and a Sennheiser.
Circling back to its advertisement as a headset for your mobile device, the audio plug on the FxM has a thick rubber at the end of it which is going to be a problem for anyone who has a case on their phone. My phone’s case has the slit for the headphone jack cut extra wide to accommodate this exact situation still isn’t wide enough for the FxM; I can get the audio plug most of the way into the jack but it doesn’t confidentially “click” in like it should. I dug around for some older cases and came to the same conclusion with only one managing to wrap itself around the plug because it’s a very stretchy rubber material. Obviously your mileage will vary with this situation but it is a definite issue I felt worth mentioning since it would be incredibly frustrating to drop $100 on a pair of headphones that won’t even plug into your phone. But this brings us back to the question of why are you buying this for anything other than console/PC gaming?
The Final Word
The FxM 200 is never going to replace your Audio-Technica or Sennheiser headphones, which is obvious since you wouldn’t be looking at a gaming headset if you wanted a pure audio experience, but the FxM 200 is still a pretty great choice for anyone looking for a somewhat affordable headset to drop long gaming hours with.
– MonsterVine Review Score: 4 out of 5 – Good