The Fusion 500 comes in at the cost of $180, which is quite expensive for a gaming headset. ASUS has spared no cost in making the user pay for the plethora of features the Fusion 500 comes with, but is it worth it? Firstly, the build quality of the Fusion 500 is great, the plastic feels tough, and the frame of the headset is reinforced with some steel - adding to the overall durability.
The headset is rather on the bulky side, though, as the earcups protrude outwards, making users' heads appear more round. Moving onto the earcups. ASUS has opted for that shiny reflective plastic that you saw in the above image. I hate this design choice purely because every single fingerprint is picked up by the plastic. Another thing that I noticed was that this headset was not on the lighter side, coming in a weight of 360g users will definitely notice the heaviness of the headset after long periods of wear time.
The Fusion 500 earcups can rotate 90 degrees and rest on your chest, but unfortunately, I felt as if the clamping was far too intense. This resulted in me feeling like I was being choked by the headset when I placed it around my neck. ASUS has also decided to add "intuitive touch controls" to the side of the earcups, which has no doubt added to its overall weight/cost. I like that ASUS has decided to step out of the box of traditional gaming headsets by adding touch controls, but in practice, the feature is more than annoying.
When picking up and taking off the Fusion 500, I would accidentally touch the center of the left earcup causing music to play when I didn't want it to. The exact same thing happened when I was adjusting the headset while it was on my head, and then mid-game BAM music starts playing.
This feature is incredibly annoying and overly sensitive. On top of this, the Fusion 500 is a wired headset, which makes me feel like the multimedia touch controls are a complete waste as most users will opt for using their keyboard that most likely has multimedia controls on it, or manually changing song/volume through their media player. Touch controls on a wired headset, in my opinion, are a complete waste and ended up being a feature that made the headset worse than what it actually is. Another issue is when the user is swiping up and down to change the volume that there's a delay between the volume being changed and the initial swipe. On top of that, the volume is changed in increments of four, which makes it really hard to set your volume level accurately.
ASUS has also dropped the 3.5mm jack that is present on its lower-end Fusion headset, the Fusion 300. Instead of including a 3.5mm jack, ASUS decided to add RGB lighting to the back of each earcup, which is by far the worst spot on a headset to add RGB lighting to. Why? Well, because who can see the lighting? The user can't because they are wearing the headset, and if the user is streaming, the viewers can't see it because it's on the back of the headset. ASUS also claims that the Fusion 500 is PS4 compatible, but since there is no 3.5mm jack present, PS4 gamers cannot plug this headset into their PS4 controller and are forced into plugging it into the console.
Plugging the headset into the console does give support for 7.1 surround sound, but will hinder how far back users can sit from the console. The cable is only two meters, which could rule out this headset as a purchasable option for a lot of PS4 gamers that sit more than two meters away from their console.
All in all, the design for this headset is extremely distasteful, in my opinion, and there isn't that much I can compliment about it.
ASUS's software is called ROG ARMORY, and if you haven't already downloaded it, you can find a download link here.
In the above image, we are looking at the first screen you will see once you open ROG ARMORY, and as you can see, you are presented with a whole range of options. Running through these settings really quickly, we can see that users can use the equalizer, bass boost, compressor, voice clarity, perfect voice, and noise gate for the microphone. There is also the 'sound optimization' tab that allows users to cycle through presets for the headset. I suggest going through these settings and optimizing the headset for whatever suits you best. Everyone's settings will be different, as everyone interprets sound differently.
Here we are in the lighting tab, and as you can see, this is where you can change the color of the LED's that are on the back of the headset. There are preset color modes as well, such as color cycle, static, off, breathing, and music. Users can also create their own color profiles and save their settings to these profiles.
Overall, ASUS's software is very straight forward, and I believe even someone who has no knowledge of how these settings work will have no trouble navigating and understanding the software. Contrary to that statement, the settings are quite basic, so someone who is an audiophile and is looking to tweak their audio experience even further will feel encumbered by these settings. All in all, great work here ASUS.