Last June I picked up an MPOW USB headset on the cheap from Amazon. This one, in fact. (NOT an affiliate link.)
It was great because it was a USB connection, BUT the headset itself used a 3.5mm jack plugged into the USB controller. Made it easy to use with my phone if I wanted to.
After some travelling last month, I got home to discover some cracks in the headband. One on the right was just cosmetic. The one on the left was a bigger issue. It culminated in the left earpiece snapping off of the headband altogether. That’s the problem with plastic.
Since I semi-regularly use my headset for online conferencing (Zoom/Skype/GoToMeeting/etc), I needed to replace them pretty fast. My experience with them had me going back to the MPOW brand for performance and value.
Of course I looked at other brands. But when price was within 2 or 3 dollars, I decided to go with a brand I was familiar with, even if the last set failed a little sooner than it should have. I’m blaming getting crushed in my bag while traveling, honestly. So I ordered the MPOW EG3.
I was a little sad about losing the ability to plug my headset into my phone. I’m not going to lie about that. But I went digging around for my old Aukey USB A to USB C adapter. I used it now and then to hook a flash drive up to my phone. What the heck … I plugged it in.
I did NOT expect the headset to light up. But it did. Not as loud as the computer, but once I adjusted the volume wheel on the left earpiece, it was good. Put on some music and rocked out. Then called my wife to see if the microphone would pick up and work as well. No disappointment! I’m only left wondering how bad the power drain on my phone would be, having the headset plugged in and unable to turn off the LEDs. But it passed my test, and I was very happy.
In the package are some very basic ‘manuals.’ One of them gives you a URL to download the Windows drivers for the 7.1 surround sound, and some effects for the headset. That URL is https://www.xmpow.com/drivers. Then you select your product and download. It’s a pretty big zip file, most likely because it has drivers for every version of Windows from XP to 10. It would be nice if they let you choose your OS and only download the files you actually need for your system though.
After a reboot, I played around with the settings a bit. Most of the effects I’ll honestly never use. But I did tweak the equalizer to my liking and save a custom preset. That was super simple, even if the interface is a little awkward. You have to right click to access most of the features, and there is no indication in the software that this is how you get to them. If you didn’t read the little instruction sheet that says to right click, you’d never find them intentionally … only by accident. The usefulness of this little piece of software will vary, based on what you like, but if nothing else, you can amuse small children by making it sound like you’re hopped up on helium. To each their own.
I spent a couple of hours listening to music with them, and I have to say I find the MPOW EG3 headset incredibly comfortable. I realize that most of the reviews on YouTube complain that the fit is a bit loose. I totally understand where they’re coming from. If you have a smaller head, this is probably not the best headset for you from a fit perspective. I, however, have a giant melon, and often have problems with headsets/headphones being too small for my massive skull – so I LOVE them.
They fit well around my ears – not on them, but over them – and didn’t leave me with any pain where my ears meet the arm of my glasses. This is a classic pinch/pain point for me with almost every audio device I’ve put on my head. They don’t clamp down hard, so you won’t get the kind of seal over your ears that other headsets may offer, but for me, this makes them really comfortable for long periods of time.
The material on the earpieces is very soft, as it was on my previous MPOW headset. This adds to their long-term comfort.
The microphone boom appears to be a metal coil with a clear, flexible plastic coating. Kind of like a clear shielded CAT5 cable. It’s very flexible, but has a lot of spring back, so you won’t get any really sharp angled bends, and you will need to bend it a lot further than where you want it to end up, because it WILL spring back a lot when you let go. It seems like it should be pretty durable though.
One rather questionable design decision has to do with the microphone though. The mute switch is actually ON the end of the mic. So, if you use the included foam wind sock, it is covered by it. Now, I don’t believe this to be a huge deal, because you can still slide the switch with the wind sock installed – but if you mute a lot, this will likely lead to premature wear and failure of the foam.
If you mute a lot, leave the wind sock off and live with some extra plosive popping. I’d have much rather seen a simple mute button somewhere on the earpiece over this design. If you’re trying to quietly mute yourself on a call, you have to slide your fingers over the microphone and make a fair bit of noise to do it.
Don’t mistake these bad boys for a small headset by any means. They are massive. From the bottom of the earpiece to the top of the headband is almost 22cm (8.75″). The width from the inside of the earpiece foam to the outside of the headband is about 6cm (2.25″). So take the width of your head, add 12cm (4.5″), and that’s how wide your head is while wearing these things. They make their presence known!
I’ve only had a few hours with them, so these are initial impressions. I have some travel coming in the next couple of weeks, so I’m curious to see how they are on the road – if I can even fit them in my laptop bag!
And now … pictures. Because you love pictures.
HA! I almost forgot the answer to the question way up there at the very top of the page. Is it worth $31.99CAD? Based on my first impressions, I would definitely say yes – with a caveat. If you have a small head, you may want to pass. You WILL have issues with the fit. If you’re a melon-head like me, this is the headset you’ve been looking for!
There are two models – the black with blue LEDs seen here, and a silver with white LED set that seems to be the one that gets reviewed the most on YouTube. That one is (as of time of writing) $6 more though. Also, the price on the black/blue pair went up to $33.99 since I ordered three days ago. I’d still give them a recommendation at that price though. $39.99CAD for the silver/white set … well, I’m all about budget, and I wouldn’t pay the extra for the colour variant. But you do you.
It’s amazing the quality we can get these days at such affordable prices. So far, MPOW hasn’t let me down in build quality or sound performance. They’re my new go-to for headphones/headsets!