Patriot Viper V360 Review (Page 2 of 4)

Page 2 - Physical Look - Hardware

Last week, I reviewed a keyboard you could play snake on, the Cooler Master Storm Quick Fire XTi, and this week I have a headset with a snake on it. Patriot has kept their Viper here, as this has been seen on their other products like their memory line. As for the construction, the majority of the body of the Viper V360 is plastic. However, it is wrapped in my favorite soft-touch feel, so it is nice to touch and hold. The sides show Patriot's red Viper logo, and the ears are surrounded by a black speaker-like grille. Behind this speaker grille are some red LED lights to illuminate the left and right sides. Each of the ears are a curved trapezoidal-like shape, which is again different from other headsets in general, but it is not completely new either. Left and right indicators are engraved on the outside, and I am happy to report they are visible enough to see, but also discreet so it is not visible from far away. The two ears are held with two curved metal wires, covered in a rubber tubing. In addition, there is a sturdy plastic band spanning the top, and is lightly padded with a leather-like band. In essence, this headband is quite similar to the SteelSeries Siberia lineup, and I will share about my opinions of it later on. The several switches and dials on the left side are bright red in color, fitting with the red and black theme. As a whole, the Patriot Viper V360 is quite an interesting looking device. It is not really a copy of any of its competition, but it is not a huge differentiation from its competition either. I think it looks decent, but the aesthetics alone should make it clear the Viper V360 is for the gaming crowd. As for build quality, I am pleased to say there are no additional creaking or noises of flexing when adjusting the Viper V360. Despite majority of the build being plastic, it definitely does not exhibit any of the potential problems with this material. It may not be as sturdy as other headphones like the Kingston HyperX Cloud II, but it feels solid nonetheless.

Starting as I always do with headphone reviews, at the bottom of the Patriot Viper V360 is a gold plated USB 2.0 connector, and this powers and manages the audio connections to the computer. Unfortunately, this means the Viper V360 is ruled out for mobile usage. However, this is understandable considering the need to power the LED lights, in addition to some other features I will mention later in the review. The plug is a standard rubber end, and it provides enough grip to easily pull out of your port when necessary. A red and black braided cable connects the plug all the way up to the headset. Some review sites have reported a bit of fraying of their cable, but I can say this is not the case with my Patriot Viper V360. The cable is quite long at a measurement of approximately 2.2m. This means I can plug it into the back of my computer tower, and use it with no issue. The cable routes all the way to the left side of the Viper V360, and is reinforced with rubber to increase flexibility.

Moving to the ears, there are some mesh covered ear pads. In terms of color, the outer rim is black, while the inside follows a similar color trend of red and black again. The foam underneath the mesh is nice, but I think every headphone manufacturer should use memory foam, as its soft and plushy attributes are much appreciated. Unfortunately, all other kinds of foam are just too stiff and do not have enough give for comfort. Leather or even velour ear pads would be nice, as they are softer on the skin around the ears, but the mesh does allow for some breathing. As mentioned already, the ear cups are trapezoidal like in shape, but they are large enough to fit over your ears. Despite most humans ears do not come in this shape, there was no issue fitting these on my head. Underneath this area are smaller 40mm drivers, in addition to subwoofer drivers of 30mm, with a frequency response of 20Hz to 20KHz. Rated impedance of this unit is 32 ohms.

Connecting the two ears together are mainly two large metal wires, wrapped in a soft-touch rubber for aesthetics reasons. Unfortunately, the ears are not connected on any sort of swiveling mechanism, thus it is not necessary the most flexible pair of headphones. When you put the Patriot Viper V360 on, the top of your head will not meet with the two curved wires, but rather a suspended headband. This is wrapped in a leather like material, and offers a bit of padding. With this suspended headband, the V360 adjusts automatically to the user. One thing I should note is this suspended headband seems to be improved over the last one I tried from SteelSeries on their Siberia V3 Prism, as the headband does not try to return to its "equilibrium" state of not being extended. I never had to readjust the headband to keep noise in while I was using the Viper V360. The headband on the top is also dimpled for reasons I do not really know. Maybe they were inspired by the Samsung Galaxy S5. On the flip side there is the name "Viper" embossed into the headband.

As a whole, the Patriot Viper V360 is not a bad pair of headphones to wear daily. At a weight of 360g, it is not exactly the lightest pair of cans we have worn. Unfortunately, this means a greater amount of force is applied around the ears to keep the Viper V360 on the users' head. While this is not necessarily uncomfortable, it still does push a bit. On the other hand, I can happily report the Viper V360 did not interfere with my glasses, despite resting in the exact same area as my spectacles. I think this is a good first step for Patriot, but I improvements can definitely be made here, whether they make the ear pads softer, or reduce the force applied on my head by reducing the weight.

On the left side of the Patriot Viper V360 there are several switches and dials for even more adjustment. Starting from the bottom we have an on/off switch, and this controls the LED illumination on the side of the headphones. As mentioned already, there are some LED lights to brighten up the outside of the ears in a red glow. This is a really fancy feature, even though you will never see the LEDs when you are wearing the Viper V360. Either way, I am glad it is a possibility to quickly turn on and off your lights rather than making it a software problem. Moving up the side we have a rotary dial to adjust the volume output. Again, I am happy to see this here, since it means you can adjust the volume on the fly. Finally, at the top there is a nice switch with a symbol of a drum on it. At first I thought it was a snare drum, but then I realized it was actually a bass drum. As you might guess, this bass drum activates the subwoofers inside. Patriot calls this their Ultra Bass Response, or UBR, for short. When I turned it on at first, I was wondering why my headphones were actually vibrating, but then I realized it was the UBR kicking in (yo!). How does this actually affect the sound quality? We will see the answer on the next page when I do my audio analysis.

As for the microphone, this actually extends out of the left ear too. Swinging into place, the microphone can only be adjusted in one dimension, which is kind of unfortunate. As I have had many headphones with their flexible goosenecks, it is kind of hard to go back to a less flexible microphone. However, I will say the hiding mechanism is simple but neat, as it slots very discreetly into the left side. The microphone is omnidirectional in nature, and can pick up sounds from all directions. It is rated at a frequency response of 100Hz to 10 KHz, with a signal to noise ratio, or SNR, of 60dB.

The software of the Patriot Viper V360 is available from the manufacturer's website. After installing the program, I was surprised at how simple it was. On the first page, there is the main volume adjustment, as well as balance adjustments for each ear. The microphone page is a similar story, except of course for changing the volume on the input. However, if you double click on the speakers, you can navigate to other pages, including adjusting equalizer, sound effects, and vocal effects settings. In addition, you can also turn on and off the virtual 7.1 surround effects. Honestly, I would have missed these settings if I did not double click on the two large icons, and I think Patriot could fix this up by making tabs at the top for navigation. Otherwise, I have to say it is not bad for Patriot's first step in their GUI, and at least it is functional, despite having minor intuitiveness issues.

With the Patriot Viper V360, we have a pretty simple physical overview. Patriot has done a lot right with a sturdy construction. They have taken a few notes from other companies in terms of design, as seen in the headband design. Of course, the looks will be based on the eye of the beholder, so it will vary from user to user. On the other hand, they have also introduced a few of their own design choices. Overall, I am quite pleased with the V360, but the real question comes when we test the audio analysis. How does the Patriot Viper V360 compare to other gaming headphones, and is it up to the challenge of the APH Networks audio tests? Let us read on to find out!

Page Index
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Hardware
3. Subjective Audio Analysis
4. Conclusion