ASUS and Republic of Gamers are arguably one of the most recognizable brands in the gaming industry to date. Their no-holds-barred approach to design and RGB, in everything from a power supply to a fully water-cooled motherboard, has made them synonymous with PC fans that want their system to stand out as long as they have a hefty chunk of money to throw in that direction.
They have also stepped into the peripherals market with many strong items such as the spectacular Claymore 2 keyboard which we loved, and now they bring us the Fusion II 500. A wired headset aimed at mid to high-end users. Boasting some impressive features and looks, we were excited to get our hands on it.
Design and Comfort
ASUS generally is not a brand that shies away from quality and with the Fusion II 500, for the most part, that is the same. The build quality is as expected, sturdy and solid from ROG and it has a thick frame that is comprised of mostly black plastic and leatherette that cover the top of the headband and the large oval earcups. The ASUS ROG Fusion II 500 has a splendid mixture of rounded designs, that can be seen all over as well as the odd sharp edge which does make it appeal to a large audience and caters to all.
One of the biggest problems that many brands make is that they worry more about the looks and don’t spend enough time on one of the two most important aspects of a headset, that being comfort, seeing as you are going to be wearing the item for extended periods of time, it’s always better to have them be comfortable.
Comfort is where the Fusion II 500 really shines. initially, the very plastic build had me worried. But once you place the large oval earcups over your head, you feel just the right amount of clamping force, with a wonderfully padded headband, wrapped in leatherette, with the mandatory ‘Republic of Gamers’ embossed in it, and the thick foam earcups simply sit so perfectly on your head. You instantly know that ASUS did well with this one.
The earcups have some logos on each of them if you can’t remember what brand of headset you have. There are also the obligatory RGB strips on each earcup. This RGB strip is rear-facing and can be controlled via the Armoury Crate software. RGB use of this sort is usually rather gimmicky and does not serve much of a purpose.
The ASUS ROG Fusion II 500 also comes with features aplenty. All controls are on the edge of either earcup. On the left, you have a 3.5mm port if you need to connect to a phone that does not support USB-C, as well as the USB-C connector, a volume roller, surround sound toggle, and a mic mute button. The right earcup has a toggle that allows you to choose between devices, mainly, console or PC. There is a game and chat audio mixer dial which is often something I wish more PC headsets have. Often a party chat is just too loud and you would prefer some more in-game audio but you don’t feel like diving into the settings to change that.
Microphone and Sound Performance
Thanks to the 50mm drivers fitted in the ASUS ROG Fusion II 500, I am pleased to report that they deliver a strong audio performance. The 50mm drivers are well balanced to deliver crisp and punchy mids while never losing the clarity in the highs. Even the lows, which are often not great on headsets, are more than adequate, which is helped greatly by the ability of the Fusion II 500 to seal off outside noise really well. No matter the genre of music I threw at it, from Electric Callboy to Nirvana and even some Metallica, the Fusion II 500 is extremely agile and perfect for any sort of audio.
The Fusion II 500 is fitted with a virtual 7.1 surround, that for nearly all headsets, bar a selected few, is more of a gimmick than a working feature. I own one of the headsets that I reviewed and found the surround sound to actually work decently and I still don’t use the feature, as I find it to be more of an estimated surround sound than a true depiction, and in hardcore FPS games, this inaccuracy can mean your death. The 7.1 can be toggled via a switch on the headset or in the armory crate, and for a large part, it does do really well with a more accurate sense of direction.
The Fusion II 500’s audio flexibility is improved immensely by the fact that it can be tuned so much via Armoury Crate, which makes it a better choice if you are planning to use it more on a PC than a console. Armoury Crate allows you to use the bass-boost feature as well as a vocal clarity booster which might appeal to some but personally, the normal settings, with a few minor tweaks to the equalizer provide a great audio experience.
The microphone of the ASUS ROG Fusion II 500 is an interesting one. Much like a previous Razer headset, I reviewed some time ago which ended up going to Kenya for a work trip and ended up being such a great way to review it as it requires it to wear many hats. From Facetime chat, and movies on the plane to light mobile gaming. I had my doubts about the Beamforming microphone technology but it really can work well even in a noisy environment, so I was interested to see how the ROG Fusion II 500 performs.
The microphone is good and with noise-cancellation activated it does a good job of cancelling out background noise, but if you overwhelm it with various sources of “noise” you might find that it cuts your voice early when you finishing a sentence, this seems to be a problem with beamforming microphones in general so I would not mark this as a negative for the Fusion II 500.
The ASUS ROG Fusion II 500 is a wonderfully rounded headset and the ability to be extremely flexible makes it a very appealing headset for both console and PC users. The comfort of the earcups is at a very high level and this is a headset that can be worn for many hours.
The build quality is good as expected although I would like to see some metal being implemented to the build which will give it the sense of being stronger and more durable, considering the price tag that rivals many wireless headsets, it is not a headset I would want to replace within the first three years of owning, at least.
Lastly, the inclusion of virtual surround sound in the Fusion II 500 is not just a gimmick like it is on most headsets, along with this the plethora of features and comfort cannot be scoffed at and it really makes the Fusion II 500 an all-around maverick. If an exceptional microphone is something you need then maybe look elsewhere, but for the general user, this is perfect, if you can stomach the price.
Build – 4/5
Comfort – 5/5
Features – 4.5/5
Sound – 4.5/5
Review item supplied by ASUS South Africa