Review: Polk Audio Striker ZX gaming headphones

striker_ZX_bb_3Today we are reviewing the Striker ZX gaming headphones from Polk Audio. These headphones are meant to be comfortable and lightweight as well as offer a solid audio experience without breaking the bank. So let’s see if these headphones meet up to expectations.

The Striker ZX has a very clean and simple design, so no LEDs glowing everywhere like you’re in a Tron movie. The review headphones I received came in white and orange, but you can also purchase them in black, which looks like dark gray and blue but are actually white and light blue. On the review set the headband padding and ear cups come in a dark grey and are very comfortable indeed. The Striker ZX uses the ProFit Comfort system by combining lightweight materials, molded headband, thick cushioning, and two-way pivoting ear cups. All of this is meant to give you maximum comfort so you can concentrate on gaming. You also do get a retractable boom microphone with the headphones as well as a slightly short (40”) 3.5 mm jack to connect to any device or current gen game controllers. Polk also included an Xbox Controller Chat Adapter for the Xbox One.

The Striker ZX feels very comfortable to have on for long periods of time. The cushion on the headband and on the ear cups are so soft that it feels like you barely have the headphones on. But just because you can barely feel them doesn’t mean they aren’t doing their job. The ear cups do a good job of blocking outside noise while not feeling overly tight over your ears. The lightweight materials and padding mean you can have the Strikers ZX on for hours with little to no fatigue. The sound produced by these headphones is clear with very deep bass. The Striker ZX has 40mm drivers and something Polk calls Dynamic Balance driver design process, and it is meant to give you a very high-quality sound. I tested the Strikers with my laptop and smart phone and found it was very bassy. While I like my bass I don’t know if everyone would like it passed 60% volume. That being said the sound was clear and nothing sounded distorted, even at max volume.

Striker-ZX micI liked the shorter audio cable on these headphones. (These headphones are meant to be used with your gaming controller, so a shorter cord is just simpler to deal with.) The cord is just the right length while gaming, but since the headphones are so comfortable you will eventually forget you have them on. You will put down the game controller, get up and drag the controller with you. This happened to me a few times before I remembered to disconnect the audio jack or just take the headphones off all together.

The retractable boom microphone is a nice touch but I feel it could have been a few centimeters longer. While the boom microphone is very flexible and you can move it in every which direction once extended, for me at least, it only reached about half way across my cheek. This made me feel like I need to speak a bit louder, but during some chat sessions I never got a complaint about sounding far away.

The included chat adapter for the Xbox One works as advertised. You have your volume up and down buttons being easily accessible as well as a mute button and a chat balance control. Once you have the adapter plugged into your Xbox One controller and the headphones plugged in, you can customize your settings. As long as you don’t unplug the adapter your setting will be saved. Once you unplug the adapter from your controller, the adapter settings will go back to default.

After doing several long gaming sessions with the Strikers ZX, I can say that they’ll please the gamer in your family this holiday season. As I said before these headphones are very comfortable and produce great in-game sound. More importantly these headphones are under $100 right now, so you are getting some good quality for not a huge price. The Striker ZX headphones are meant to be used with the Xbox One with the included adapter, but you can still use the standard 3.5mm jack with a PlayStation 4 controller as well. That simple versatility means you could get this for either console or gamer in your life.

Rating: 4/5 Atoms4 Atoms

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