The biggest problem with gaming headsets these days is that they often can only connect to some, but not all, of your devices. Oftentimes gamers will have a couple of different headsets to meet their console, PC, and mobile device needs.
Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
The CIYCE Evolution is the latest gaming headset to hit Kickstarter and we were sent an advance review unit. Not only does it offer up some pretty decent sound, but it also has a hidden microphone and offers four different ways to connect. Read on for our full review!
NOTE: Our review unit was a pre-production unit. As such, while nearly final, there may be minor variations between what we reviewed and the final retail product.
The CIYCE Evolution gaming headset we reviewed has the following features and specifications (configurable when ordering):
|Latency||30ms (dongle mode)|
|Surround sound||7.1 Virtual|
|Sensitivity||105 ± 3dB at 1KHz|
|Frequency||20Hz – 20KHz|
|Battery||Up to 30 hours on a single charge|
|Charging time||Less than 1.5 hours|
|Charging cable length||50 cm (~20″)|
|3.5mm cable length||1.5m (~ 5′)|
|Connectivity||USB dongle (A/C), Bluetooth, 3.5mm|
|Compatibility||PC, Mac, PS4/5, Xbox One/S/X, Nintendo Switch, iPhone, Android|
|Dimensions||203 x 194 x 87mm|
What’s in the box
- CIYCE Evolution wireless gaming headset w/ protein leather earmuffs
- Additional fabric earmuffs
- 2-in-1 USB dongle (USB-A/USB-C)
- Charging cable
- 3.5mm audio cable
- User manual
For the most part, wireless gaming headphones follow a pretty similar design with a few minor variations. The CIYCE Evolution wireless gaming headset is black in colour. The main headband is nicely padded and wrapped in a protein leather material. The front and back edges are nicely stitched. At each end of the headband is a solid black plastic piece with the CIYCE logo stamped into the outside and an L or R on the inside. The headband attaches to the earcups by way of a thin metal inverted y piece.
The earcups themselves are oval but moulded and designed to look like an alien head. As a result, the top is a bit flatter while the bottom chin, so to speak, is a bit more rounded and narrower. On both earcups, two “eye” LEDs are inset on either side of a slightly raised bump. At first, I wasn’t sold on this visible line but it does add to the look and makes it easier to locate the center of the earcup for the touch controls. The touch control area is quite small and is centered near the bottom of the eyes — more on that in the next section. The left earcup is where you’ll find the main microphone, 3.5mm audio jack, MFB, power/ANC LED indicator, volume buttons, and Bluetooth indicator LED. The right earcup houses the USB-C charging port, charging LED, and the call answer/hang up/game mode switch.
Attached to the headset are a pair of soft, padded, and super comfortable protein leather earmuffs. The leather wrapping offers better comfort and more soundproofing from the outside world. In addition, CICYE includes a pair of fabric earmuffs in case you prefer those. If you are wearing the headset for longer periods of time and notice your ears getting a bit warm and/or sweaty, you can swap to the more breathable fabric earmuffs easily.
One thing you’ll notice is that there is no boom microphone on the CIYCE Evolution. That is because the company opted for a hidden microphone on the bottom of the left earcup, which actually makes the design more versatile, especially if you plan on wearing and using it for calls while out in public. There is also another call mic hidden in one of the eyes on the same earcup. There are also four ANC mics, two on each earcup with one being centred towards the top of the outer shell and the other two on the inside of the earcup, located behind the earmuff.
Overall, the CIYCE Evolution wireless gaming headset is a nicely designed, sleek-looking, and lightweight headset.
Ease of Use
As mentioned earlier, there are four different ways to connect the CIYCE Evolution wireless gaming headset to your devices. The easiest is with the dual-mode dongle. Small in size, there are two caps on it. Removing one cap will expose the smaller USB-C dongle. Placing this cap back in place and removing the other cap will expose the USB-A side, and also make the dongle slightly longer. NOTE, you do need to have the USB-C portion plugged into the USB-A portion if you are connecting the dongle to your computer via a USB-A port for it to work. You can also connect via Bluetooth or with the included 3.5mm audio cable.
The headset is turned on by holding the MFB button, which is indicated by the triangular play button. Once on, you can use this button to play/pause your current music track or quick press three times to switch between dongle and Bluetooth mode. The volume buttons allow you to control the volume on the headset, as well as skip between tracks. Tapping the left outer shell will toggle the LED light colours while tapping the right outer shell will toggle between two different ANC modes. Finally, holding the button on the right earcup down for two seconds or so will toggle between music and gaming mode.
The only issue I have with how easy the headset is to use is the small touch spots on the outer shells of the headset. These are used to toggle the ANC modes and LED lighting colours on the headset. They are a bit finicky and tricky, but once you found that “sweet spot” it’s not too bad.
I did try the headset on multiple devices including a desktop PC, laptop, Xbox Series X, Nintendo Switch, and my Pixel 5 Android smartphone. In each case, I had no issues with connecting or using the headset.
CIYCE has equipped the Evolution wireless gaming headset with pretty powerful 50mm drivers. The headset also features 7.1 virtual surround sound. With bigger drivers and virtual surround sound, one would expect decent sound and these headphones deliver. Not only do they get quite loud, but the sound levels are pretty balanced, with a bit of a skew to the bass end of things. Whether I was using them for gaming in games Call of Duty: Warzone, Forza Horizon 5, and Heroes of the Storm, or listening to music, the audio cues and sound were really good. Better, in fact, than I expected from such an affordably priced pair of headphones. Even better, the latency is low enough that it didn’t affect my gameplay in more time-sensitive games like Warzone.
Being a gaming headset, however, it would be nice to have at least some presets to switch between different types of games like FPS, RPG, racing, or sports. It is nice that there is no software required for the headset, and given the fact it already has a button to toggle between music and game mode, it is conceivable this could be expanded to toggle between a few different game (or even music) equalizer settings.
When used with the dongle or in Bluetooth mode, I didn’t have any issues with reception on the headset. It did start to cut out once I headed upstairs from my basement, but to be honest, you’re going to be fairly close to your gaming setup while gaming. In Bluetooth mode, I was able to hit the usually 30 feet or so with walls in between the headset and my phone before it started to cut out. In an open area, I was able to get even further before it started to.
While the audio is clear, crisp, and nicely balanced, the microphone on our pre-production review unit was somewhat lacking. While it was still clear and crisp, people I was playing with mentioned that I was a bit quiet, as if the microphone was set to two-thirds volume. I found that I had to speak louder, which made me more audible to my teammates but wasn’t optimal for people sitting in the same room as me trying to do other things.
I did mention this to CIYCE and they said that it was odd as that was an early issue with the headsets and that the newer review units, as well as the final consumer models, had been updated with a different Bluetooth chip and dongle setup. As it turns out, I wasn’t the only one that experienced this issue and another reviewer posted a video comparing the two versions of the review units he looked at. You can check the clip below to hear the comparisons yourself. If it doesn’t start at the proper mark, check out around 3:25 in, or click this link to view it on YouTube.
On that note, the score for this section reflects the microphone as I tested it, but the company assured me that the final versions customers will be receiving have the better microphone quality.
There’s almost nothing worse than having your wireless headset die in the middle of a match. CIYCE claims up to 30 hours of battery life on a single charge on the Evolution wireless gaming headset. During our testing, we were able to consistently get near this, allowing for multiple game sessions without having to recharge in between each one. Once they do run out, it takes about an hour-and-a-half to fully recharge them.
CIYCE is expected to retail the Evolution for US$120. Currently, you can back them starting at US$78, which is a pretty solid deal for such a comfortable and decent-sounding headset. You get a lot of the price, including the second set of earmuffs, and four different ways to connect to your devices.
This is an all-or-nothing Kickstarter with a rather modest US$5000 goal. It did just launch today and is anticipated to run for the next 30 days. The headsets are set to ship in May, so you won’t have too long to wait if this crowdfunding campaign is successful.
As with any crowdfunding campaign, there is a risk of supporting them. We’ve recently heard about several that we’ve written about that have failed or are having issues. Our reporting on Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or other crowdfunding campaigns does not mean we support or are affiliated with them. Support at your own risk.
If you’re looking for a versatile headset that will be suitable for your PC, console, and mobile gaming needs, the CIYCE Evolution wireless gaming headset is a pretty good bet if you don’t mind backing a Kickstarter. Not only does it offer multiple connection options, it is lightweight, has great battery life, and is pretty affordable — especially at the early bird pricing.
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Ease of Use9.0/10
- Comfortable, sleek design
- Comes with leather and fabric earmuffs
- Dual USB dongle
- Four connection options
- RGB LEDs offer a fun look
- Pretty solid ANC
- Long battery life
- No software required
- Affordably priced
- Microphone volume level issues in our pre-production review unit
- Light effect/ANC switch touch area a bit small and finicky
- No equalizer options