Before I start this review, I'll have to admit that I'm a bit of a snob when it comes to gaming peripherals - it's so easy to turn up your nose at cheaper products when you are able to afford luxury items, but now I've eaten a huge slice of humble pie and acknowledged that being able to splash my paycheck on gaming gear is a privilege that not everyone has.
And so, I really must say: hats off to any brand who forgoes the image of luxury and prestige to create reasonably-priced products that everyone can afford.
With that said, let's begin the review!
All the gaming headsets we have on hand today are courtesy of Armaggeddon, and come from the same product family - the Nuke 7, Nuke 9, Nuke 11, and Nuke 13R.
The numbering is according to their release sequence, the earliest being the Nuke 7, and the latest model being the Nuke 13R.
Interestingly enough, while these numbers roughly correspond to their price, they don't necessarily reflect upon their quality - which I will talk about later.
Armaggeddon's products have always been consistent in terms of design language, and the Nuke family is no different. Each of them are sealed in a black and yellow package that opens at the top and has a clear plastic window through which you can see the product.
Sliding the inner packaging out reveals each headset nestling comfortably on a cardboard support with the wires tucked in a concealed chamber behind.
The contents are minimal, with each package only containing the headset and their corresponding manual - the only exception with the Nuke 9, which comes with a mini-CD that contains software that allows you to adjust the settings and EQ.
I found this especially hilarious, since my PC didn't even HAVE the option to include an optical drive even if I wanted one. I mean, who still bundles software on CDs in this day and age? Just have it on your website and save plastic please!
Each model has its own unique design pictured below.
Top L-R: Nuke 7, Nuke 9 | Bottom L-R: Nuke 11, Nuke 13R
The Nuke 7 actually has 2 variants, this being the 'Ironsight' design, and the other being the 'Kevlar', which features a more consistent pattern.
All of them feature non-detachable mics, and except for the Nuke 7, each one also has an inline controller.
Each controller also looks very different - the Nuke 9 is extremely large and unwieldy, while the Nuke 11 and Nuke 13R's are slightly more streamlined. All of them perform the following functions:
Toggle RGB on/off OR cycle through RGB modes
Toggle 3D mode on/off
Personally, I find that the Nuke 11's controller has the best design, as each button is shaped differently, allowing you to identify each one without having to look down at the controller. All of them work fine, but lack LED indicators to show whether the mic and 3D modes are actually on or off.
As for the wires, they made the choice to go with sturdy rubber wires, which look thick enough to survive getting pinched by a hinge or being slammed by a car door.
However, what I found strange was that the Nuke 7 and Nuke 11's cables featured the usual matte finish, while the Nuke 9 and Nuke 13R featured glossy cables for some reason. Personally, I prefer the vanilla matte cables, but if you like the retro kitchen appliance look, the glossy ones may suit you better.
RGB-wise, the Nuke 7 and Nuke 9 are relatively limited, with only 7 colour choices to choose from, while the Nuke 11 and Nuke 13R boast 16.8 million colours.
Every model comes with a suspension headband, which has a surprising amount of stretchiness - all of them accommodated my head with at least 1-2cm of extra space, and that's saying something, since my head resembles an oversized eggplant and generally doesn't fare well with suspension type headsets.
Although the bands were comfortable and the ear cups were large and plush, the cups themselves do not swivel. This made it difficult to get a perfect fit, and caused noticeable sound leakage - most noticeably on the Nuke 7.
I sweat-tested each one for an hour at least, and found that while the headbands were nice and breathable, the ear cups felt a little moist after a while - they're not wet per se, but they aren't dry either. It's no worse than your usual PU leather ear cups, but still something to take note of if you're fussy about that kind of thing.
Now, the most important bit - audio quality. I was actually very pleasantly surprised to discover that most of the Nuke series had admirable audio quality. Of course, they won't be contesting higher-grade headsets or audiophile headphones any time soon, but the sound quality on Nuke 7, Nuke 9, and Nuke 11 are extremely commendable for their price point (we'll get to the Nuke 13R in a bit).
The mids and highs were clear and mellow, and while the bass wasn't exactly well-rounded and rich, it was punchy enough for me - though it was more of a steady 'dup dup' instead of 'BOOM BOOM'. However, keep in mind that listening to music is not their primary purpose, as these are headsets designed for gaming.
Gaming-wise, the Nuke 11 really shone. With or without 3D mode switched on, the audio positioning was surprisingly accurate, which FPS players will definitely appreciate. Sounds were crisp and clear, and never felt too sharp or bassy.
The Nuke 7 and 9 did well with 3D mode switched on; basically this greatly amplified the highs and mids, allowing you to better hear the sharpness of gunshots and footsteps. With 3D mode switched off however, they sounded less clear - this would be best left for music listening.
And now, let's talk about the Nuke 13R. This particular model was a letdown for me. I was reviewing the headsets in ascending order, and the quality was improving with each model, until I reached the final one - the Nuke 13R.
Somehow, this headset missed the memo and completely lacked the clarity of its predecessors. Both music and gaming-wise, the audio was muffled and sounded like you were being held underwater while all the action was taking place on the shore. Toggling 3D mode on and off didn't help much.
Although each individual may have their own preference for audio signatures, I cannot see anyone finding the 13R's garbled sound enjoyable. Whether I got a lemon or whether this is simply how the 13R's audio was designed, I'd recommend to give this one a hard pass.
Now, when it comes to microphone quality, all of them were pretty different - as were their designs.
Top L-R: Nuke 7, Nuke 9 | Bottom L-R: Nuke 11, Nuke 13R
The Nuke 7 was pretty soft and sounded very distant. I mean, it does serve its purpose, but it just sounded cheap, if you know what I mean.
The Nuke 9 was definitely much louder, but was slightly sharp at times, which might be a bit grating to your teammates if you're a shouter who gets really excited while gaming.
The Nuke 11 was the most decent-sounding of the lot. While it's not going to beat an expensive standalone mic any time soon, it was clear and loud; I didn't notice anything amiss, which is generally a good sign.
The Nuke 13R also sounded alright. It was also clear and loud, but my friend commented that the mic made my voice sound less like me and more like a stranger trying to sound like me - which is no big deal, unless you really love your voice and don't want it altered in any way.
Now the most important part - how much are they, and which one should you buy?
Nuke 11 - RM137.00
This was hands-down my favourite model of all. Positional audio is exceptional for the price, and it also plays music decently well. It's reasonably comfortable and provides excellent value for money. Get this if you have the money to spend.
Nuke 7 - RM81.80
The Nuke 7 is undeniably a great choice for gamers on a tight budget. Audio is great for its insanely cheap price - I mean come on, it's under a hundred bucks! There is no controller, but the volume dial on the left ear cup does the job. Mic isn't the best, but serves its purpose.
Eh, It's Alright
Nuke 9 - RM99.00
The audio of the Nuke 9 is decent too, plus you'll get an inline controller. However, the sound quality isn't significantly better than the Nuke 7's - but if you enjoy having a controller, it might be worth forking out an extra RM18 for.
Nuke 13R - RM109.00
Although it is priced RM20 more than the Nuke 9, the audio was noticeably worse. The sounds are muffled and makes you feel like you're trapped under a blanket. It does have 16.8 million colour RGB though, but you'd be a maniac to sacrifice audio quality for some extra bling. This is a total no-go for us.
Overall, I was impressed by the quality of these headsets. I went into the experience aware of their low price point and honestly expected much worse, but I was pleasantly surprised instead.
If you're interested in picking up one of these, here are the links to their official Shopee store listings: