Page 2 - Physical Look - Hardware and Software
I think I have reviewed my fair share of headphones to say that the modern pair is quite a bit more muted, and instead stands out for its minor accents rather than following a stereotypical gaming vibe. The ASUS ROG Fusion II 500 is a lot more conservative, especially compared to the original ROG Fusion 500. Gone are the metallic styles and in its place is now a matte gray finish, although there are still some chrome elements near the top and a glossy strip on the back side of the ears on the Fusion II 500. These glossy strips are where the RGB LEDs exist on the headphones and can be set in ASUS' software utility, as you will see later. An ROG logo and brand can be found on the left and right ear, respectively. However, if you extend the ears out, you will see another set of hidden ROG logos with a gaming stylized look on the hidden metal headband. The top of the headband also has the full "Republic of Gamers" name engraved into the synthetic leather band.
Overall, the ASUS ROG Fusion II 500 is made out of mostly plastic with only some metal internal parts for structure. Some may object to this choice of material for its shell, especially considering the price tag of the ROG Fusion II 500, but this does make for a lighter headset. The one thing I did not love was the amount of creaking caused by the plastic, which definitely could have been shored up or dampened. Other than the plastic, you will see synthetic leather on the top head band and the preinstalled ear cups. There are fabric ear cups included, if you so desire. Otherwise, I like the look of the ASUS ROG Fusion II 500, as it avoids the garish look of gaming headphones and looks rather contemporary.
Starting at the ears of the ASUS ROG Fusion II 500, the cups are covered in synthetic leather. Inside, there is a notable amount of foam to increase the comfort. Each ear cup is also lined with a mesh lining to prevent your ears from rubbing the plastic underneath. As you have seen already, another set of ear cups are included with a mesh fabric cover for a different feel. I personally prefer the airy feel of the fabric rather than the protein leather, but I appreciate that ASUS has provided both for users to pick between. These are over-ear headphones, so the ear cups sit around your ears rather than pressing on them. Underneath, you can see the plastic frame and the exposed driver for each ear. These 50mm neodymium drivers have a frequency response of 20Hz to 40kHz and an impedance of 32Ω. As these can plug into your computer via USB, ASUS also advertises the internal ESS9280 amplifier and DAC, which are probably found in one of the ears. Finally, these ears swivel on the headband, as you can see in the photo above, so you can rest the headphones on your neck while keeping a lower profile.
From here, you can get a better picture of the ASUS ROG Fusion II 500 headband. With extending arms on each side, the protein leather headband at the top sits with foam inside to create a gentle resting spot at the top. Moving down, the arms extend out to reveal the metal band inside, which helps with the structure and rigidity. The arms extend out with a notched feel, but there are no visual indicators to show users how much the arms have extended, other than the ROG logo.
The ASUS ROG Fusion II 500 is surprisingly comfortable. There is a good amount of clamping force, although if you shake your head hard enough, you probably will be able to shake the Fusion II 500 off your ears. Even so, the thick ear cups and headband really make the whole unit quite easy to leave on. Furthermore, I felt like the headset provided a good amount of seal on my ears, even with the fabric cups used. I will say one detriment was noticed when using the Fusion II 500 plugged in to my computer via USB, as the left earcup was notably warmer than the right side. I think it is possible the components inside produce heat, but this temperature delta was noticeable over time. In terms of weight, the ASUS ROG Fusion II 500 weighs 310g, which is about middle ground for gaming headsets. However, the comfortable anchor points of the ears and headband made the whole wearing experience a pleasant one. Fit and feel will still vary from user to user, so if it is possible, I recommend trying the headset out before purchasing it.
All of the controls and the inputs can be found on the back of both sides on the ASUS ROG Fusion II 500. Starting on the left side, we have a mic mute switch, volume wheel, and the USB Type-C and 3.5mm jack inputs. Either one can be used, as ASUS provides both cables in the box. This means that you actually have quite a wide range of device compatibility. Otherwise, the volume wheel also can be pressed to enable the virtual 7.1 audio. When this virtual surround sound is enabled, a small red LED also turns on, so users have a visual indicator. On the other side, we have a PC/Console mode switch, which changes how the input channels are working, as well as a Game/Chat volume mixer knob. This lets users change how much of each channel they want to hear more of, whether it is their game or their communications. In Windows, you will see the two outputs available, with one clearly marked as a "Chat" output. I wish these dials and buttons offered a bit more tactile feel or resistance, as it was very easy to brush against the knobs and accidentally make adjustments. Otherwise, you can get a better picture of the RGB LED glossy area here.
One thing that is missing from this photo is the other side, where you will see three more holes at the front. Unlike standard gaming headphones, you will see the ROG Fusion II 500 has no boom microphone included. Instead, these three holes form a beamforming microphone, which sit inside the headset. According to ASUS, this provides some sort of acoustic area in front of your mouth to capture your voice while also cancelling background noise from around the room. We will see if these claims hold true later in our review.
As I have mentioned several times, ASUS has provided several accessories with the ROG Fusion II 500. The first set are the two cables, which is a 3.5mm audio cable followed by a USB Type-C to USB Type-C cable. The 3.5mm audio cable measures about 1.9m in length, while the USB cable is closer to 1.5m. Since you can use either for connectivity, I wish the USB cable was longer, as I found it just a bit too short for use with my desktop, even when I used it with the front panel USB ports. Both of these cables are braided to improve the durability. Next, we have a USB Type-C to Type-A adapter, which will let you connect to the full-sized port if you need to. Finally, we have the aforementioned fabric earcups with a thick amount of foam inside for added comfort.
The ROG Fusion II 500 uses Armoury Crate to modify settings and lighting effects. The setup process is easy to work through and it automatically adds additional peripherals as you plug them in. There were also many updates for all of my products during my evaluation process, so they generally do keep this utility up to date. There are other features in Armoury Crate, including AURA Sync, a game library, system-wide profiles, game deals, and more news, but I will focus on the configuration pages for the ROG Fusion II 500 for the purpose of this review. Even so, I found all of these pages to be generally clean and up to date.
After selecting the gaming headphones to modify, there are several tabs within this configuration page. The first one is called Audio, and this is where you can change all of the audio settings. You can see different Device Settings, including modifying inputs and outputs with the ROG Fusion II 500. In the middle, we have the Sound Optimization area where users can monitor the volume while also enabling virtual surround sound, bass boost, compressor for a more consistent volume range, or voice clarity for improving vocals in movie or music playback. Down the right side, users can also add some reverb, change equalizer settings, as well as microphone settings. There is quite a bit of customization available for the ROG Fusion II 500. The next tab is marked Lighting, where users can change the lighting effects and colors on the back strips of the headphones. Finally, the Firmware Update tab is a link to direct you to the necessary updates you may need to install for future updates. After using Armoury Crate for some time, I found the software to be a bit resource heavy. You can also use the headset without Armoury Crate, if you so desire.
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Hardware and Software
3. Subjective Audio Analysis