Page 2 - Physical Look - Hardware
One of the biggest things BitFenix touts when marketing the Flo is the Flo is a "premium gaming headset made to move with you". What does this mean? According to the company, it signifies "audio you need at the PC and the styling you want on the road". Now, I do not usually wear circumaural headphones while I am commuting. But to see if I can get into the hipster groove with our Fire Red unit, I took it along, and boarded the train this morning outfitted with a pair of Ray Ban thick rimmed acetate frame glasses, some Calvin Klein sweater and skinny jeans, all while holding an iPhone 6 in my hand. Since all hipsters wear rings, I wore the only one I have, an Iron Ring... which probably shows I am more of a nerd than a hipster. Either way, I definitely got a few looks on the train from curious commuters. But first, we will have to take a look at the design of the BitFenix Flo.
As you can see in our photo above, our BitFenix Flo in Fire Red is quite sharp to behold. Its red plastic material is complemented by a mixture of silver for certain edges and black on all the soft surfaces, creating an visually distinctive appearance. I do not know about other colors, but Fire Red is definitely very attention grabbing. The oval ear cups are tilted backward slightly to accommodate the shape and location of your ears, while a circular bracket hinges them on to allow it to be rotated a full one hundred and eighty degrees about one axis. BitFenix's shiny logo is proudly displayed on both sides. Each side of the headband is labeled "L" and "R", so you will never be confused which side is which. The headband is composed of two sections. The plastic section that actually makes contact with your head has five foam pads on the interior to improve comfort, while two steel wires that fly over the top forms the frame of the BitFenix Flo. This separates the structural elements from the fitting elements to improve pressure distribution on your head for increased comfort. Overall, the construction quality of the BitFenix Flo is pretty good. It has a pretty liberal use of plastic, but they are soft to touch with a substantial feel, so it does not feels cheap. The steel wire frame provides the rest of the structural rigidity required for the headphones. Meanwhile, the audio cable and microphone can be fully detached from the BitFenix Flo, where the jacks are located on the left ear cup. Three cables are included out of the box. We will dig into the details of all these in just a moment.
Our photo above shows the BitFenix Flo in its standard state. As aforementioned, the ear cups can be rotated out, but the BitFenix Flo is not collapsible. Being a circumaural gaming headset and all, it can be used for traveling, but it may not be the most convenient thing to do. Personally, I would recommend leaving it with your PC at home. Of course, with the two stage headband design, along with the large circumaural ear cups on the side, the BitFenix Flo will look pretty big on your head. These headphones are not meant to be a fashion accessory from the start -- these are PC gaming headphones, and they look the part -- at the same time, it is important not to rule out its comfort. The plastic headband is nicely wrapped with an array of foam padding on the inside, and can be self-adjusted to accommodate people of different head sizes. Soft foam cushions wrapped in soft leather surrounds the drivers on the BitFenix Flo. Throughout my testing, I found the headset to be pretty comfortable, with good pressure distribution all around. It did not block out a whole lot of outside noise, but if you are fragging your friends at home, this may not be a bad thing at all.
These circumaural headphones are specified with a weight of 200g, which are fairly average to behold. The drivers are 40mm neodymium units with a rated frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz. These specifications are quite standard for the average human hearing range. The rated impedance is 68 ohms. The impedance is higher than a lot of headphones in the market today, so there are definitely benefits to amplifying it, as I have evaluated in my SilverStone EB01-E and EB03 review a few months ago, especially if you need to hear what is going on around you to some extent.
Back to the full view, here is the BitFenix Flo with the optional microphone attached, and two of the three cables connected. The microphone is coated in rubber, and can be easily bent into shape. One of the cables is just a regular cable, while the second one comes with a microphone on/off switch and a resistor based volume control slider. The last cable is a two meter extension cable with headphone and microphone plugs. All of them are rubber coated cables with 3.5mm gold plated stereo jacks, and are fairly tangle resistant thanks to its thickness. They can be completely detached from your main unit, as aforementioned. The way I see it, even if it becomes damaged, you can easily replace it without replacing your entire pair of headphones, which is cool. They go into your Flo via a straight plug on one end, and via another straight plug on the other end. BitFenix's logo is printed on the aluminum sheath of the headphone side, while a microphone or headphone icon can be seen on the device side. The plug signal contacts are color coded, and the cables are also not too prone to microphonics, which is always a good thing.
With its promise for "superbly bright and balanced audio" and "precision-tuned acoustic chambers with the closed-back design" for a "superior aural experience", how will it perform? It is now time to find out in the moment of truth here at APH Networks.
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Hardware
3. Subjective Audio Analysis