Today we’re looking at a set of gaming headphones from budget brand Dodocool. These £20 headphones look much more expensive than they actually are, thanks to a modern design, flexible headband and pulsing red LEDs. We’ve put them to the test; here’s our review!
Specs & Features
- Ambient noise cancelling over-ear design
- Virtual 7.1 surround sound and built-in mic via USB
- Made from reinforced steel, polyurethane leather and plastic
- Volume dial on right ear cup
- 20Hz ~ 20 kHz frequency response
- 32 ± 10% Ω impedance
These chunky headphones sport a familiar gamer style, with each ear cup festooned with red LEDs, hexagonal screws and a seemingly superfluous metal superstructure. Once plugged in via LED, you get a nice breathing effect, although I wish there was an option to just keep them lit up or disable the lighting effect altogether!
On the right ear cup, there’s an integrated volume control wheel, with a small microphone slit on the opposite side. That mic is fixed in place, so I don’t expect it’ll sound as good as a boom-mounted alternative.
The headband uses a two-piece design, with an adjustable faux-leather strap sitting below a steel frame. This makes for an interesting look, and also removes the need for any manual adjustments — just put the headset on, and you’ll find you get a reasonable fit right away.
The headphones connect to your PC or PS4 using a USB cable, made from a kind of grippy reinforced plastic. It feels a little more durable than the usual braided nylon, but not quite as nice to the touch.
We used these headphones for a week for listening to music, watching YouTube videos and playing games — mostly BattleTech and Counter-Strike. Here are our impressions.
The DA163 sounds… fine. Listening to the latest album by the Barenaked Ladies, Fake Nudes, I was able to differentiate between the two vocalists on songs like Canada Dry and Invisible Fence, but I wasn’t able to notice individual instruments as I could on nicer headphones (like the HD598 which serves as my daily driver). The sound stage was a little narrow, due to the closed back of the headphones, while bass was disappointingly anaemic on songs like …Ready For It? by T.Swift. Treble was better presented in comparison, but the headphones lacked warmth and clarity.
I wouldn’t recommend these headphones for music fans, when you can get the legendary sound of the Koss Porta Pro for £10 more.
In games, these headphones offer better performance if you don’t mind lacking a bit of bass in explosion-y situations. For locating your enemies in first-person games, something with better clarity and a wider sound stage like the HyperX Cloud Stinger would serve you better.
I wasn’t expecting great things from the tiny integrated microphone, but it’s actually pretty serviceable. I sounded a little distant in recordings, but clearly understandable without distortion or background noise. The DA163 certainly ranks below most other gaming headsets that have their microphones on sticks so you can speak into them directly, but for quiet environments it should be sufficient for coordinating with your Counter-Strike or Fortnite squad.
Comfort & Usability
These Dodocool headphones aren’t the most comfortable I’ve ever used, with noticeable pressure just below the temple where my spectacles meet my face. The relatively high weight of the headphones exacerbates the issue, making them uncomfortable to wear for extended periods. I wear glasses, which never helps, so your mileage may vary.
The over-ear fit of the headphones does provide a good degree of passive noise cancellation, which is handy if you’re gaming in a noisy environment.
These gaming headphones from Dodocool are a serviceable headphone with good build quality, a cool design and distinctly average audio quality from both the headphones and microphone.
If you fancy a budget gaming headset that hits all of the essentials without going much further, then the DA163 could make sense. However, if you can save up around another £20 or £30, you’ll see a noticeable leap in audio quality… and personally, that’d be the route I’d recommend.