The Tritton Katana HD wireless gaming headset certainly seems to have “the right stuff” on paper. But for a $200 headset named after a razor-sharp sword, it just doesn’t quite live up to its aspirations. Or its price tag. Or its competition.
Tritton Katana HD feature highlights and specifications
A key feature of the Katana HD is that it supports uncompressed surround sound via HDMI, which means it can play the highest quality audio streams from games and Blu-ray movies. Powered by DTS HeadphoneX technology, the Katana HD can translate stereo audio into virtual 7.1 surround sound.
The Triton Katana HD connects to your PC (or console, or other audio source) wirelessly through a large breakout box, which connects to your audio source via HDMI.
The receiver box is powered by a USB 2.0 port. Installation is as easy as plugging in the breakout box, power it up, and powering on the headset. There are no drivers to install.
There’s also a 3.5mm Line In connector. Almost the entire top of the receiver is a large power button. A second USB cable is included for charging the headset.
Tritton Katana HD specifications
- Wireless Range: 33ft (10m)
- DTS HeadphoneX technology
- HDMI with Full Pass-Through Up to 1080p and 1080p 3D content
- 50mm drivers
- Headset Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
- Microphone Frequency Response: 50Hz – 15kHz +/- 3dB
- Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery rated for 15 hours of use
- Removable Omnidirectional Boom Mic
Included with the Triton Katana HD and Base Station:
- USB to Micro USB Power Cable (3.3ft/1m)
- HDMI™ Cable (3.3ft/1m)
- USB to Micro USB Headset Play-and-Charge Cable (5ft/1.5m)
- 5mm to 3.5mm Chat Cable for Xbox One (3.3ft/1m)
Additional features include:
- A detachable microphone with an LED-equipped tip that lights when the Mic is muted.
- Independent volume controls for chat and game audio.
- dedicated Mic mute button (attached to the Mic) on the left side of the headset.
- 3 Equaliazer presets (Gaming, Music, Chat) that you can switch between by pressing a dedicated button on the right ear cup.
Comfort and design
The Tritton Katana HD boasts 1-inch-thick memory foam cushion liners on the ear cups and modest cushioning (about ¾”) on its headband. The ear cups also rotate 90 degrees so you can rest them comfortably around your neck.
Unfortunately, resting them around your neck is about the most comfortable place for them. If there’s anywhere the Katana HD is a bit “cutting” it’s on your head. While the Katana HD forms a fairly tight seal to help drown out external distractions, it also pinches a little tightly. The ear cups are also relatively small and feel cramped.
The Katana HD just isn’t very comfortable.
The Katana HD’s ear cup controls are scattered all over the headset, although some are in odd, difficult-to-reach locations. Placing the controls in disparate locations reduces the likelihood of pressing the wrong button, so that’s good.
But the power and DTS HeadphoneX buttons buttons are poorly placed, residing just above the left and right ear cup (respectively) on the inside of the headband.
I can live with the power switch there, but pressing the button to disable DTS HeadphoneX (if you need to do for some reason) is awkward at best. (And if you would never want or need to disable DTS HeadphoneX, why have the button at all?)
And while I’m not usually too concerned about general aesthetics, I couldn’t help but notice that the Tritton’s shiny plastic construction feels rather ‘toy-like’ and relatively cheap when compared to other headsets both in and below its price range.
Maybe it’s just because some of my recently reviewed favorites such as the LucidSound LS30 and Razer Man O’ War, both of which are best in class headsets and much more comfortable and better designed (and less expensive) than the Katana HD.
I was again surprised that the Katana HD turned in at best ‘decent’ audio quality. I’m not an audiophile and, for the most part, I just listen to some music, movies, and play games with headsets that I test. I test the surround sound and directional audio for games/headsets that support it. I play some uncompressed music files for comparison, along with a Blu-ray movie or two.
It’s hardly scientific or exhaustive, and purely subjective “real world” testing. I chiefly prize comfort, strong big bass, (for big explosions), and general clarity.
But again the Katana HD just didn’t really impress. Despite its ability to play lossless audio via HDMI (and bean it to your head), that doesn’t actually do much for a headset that is aimed at gaming. )
MP3 music sounded notably dull and muted, with adequate bass but rather muddy highs. Uncompressed audio (music) files fared much better. Video games generally sound good; voices are clear and explosions deliver a satisfying a rumble via virtual surround sound.
And the directional audio (courtesy of the DTS HeadphoneX technology, which converts stereo to multi-channel surround sound) in Left 4 Dead 2 was respectable.
But overall, I just didn’t love the Katana HD sound quality. I even started to wonder if there was something wrong with my headset, or if I needed to perform different tests to better witness its capabilities.
Basically, when you’re playing games with the Katana HD it’s adequate. But for listening to music (in any format) or if you’re a serious audiophile, you probably won’t be impressed.
And this (unfortunately) leaves the Katana HD in an awkward place. It’s more expensive than better gaming headsets, and it’s still not truly robust enough to compete with higher end headsets aimed at audio enthusiasts.
$200 is a lot to spend on a headset that straddles the line of mediocrity on nearly all fronts. Unfortunately, the Tritton Katana HD just doesn’t quite cut it.