Wired headphones during an onslaught of TWS is quite strange but not unbelievable, especially from a gaming brand.
While we do spend most of our time connected to a rectangle slab of metal and glass, understanding wired headphones in 2020 is leaving us with more questions than answers.
Even then, you still have gadgets like the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 controller that use traditional cables for audio duties and even some smartphones, especially the budget ones, come with a headphone jack. All of which come with a USB Type-C connection too. So you won’t be searching for dongles to cut down on audio latency on Android devices and iOS is a different story. Let’s get into it.
Both these in-ears come with removable ear fins that hook nicely inside your ears. Both share the same design and cable length too. The USB Type-C powering the ROG Cetra has a slightly thicker cable but that’s expected since it draws power to light up the logo on the buds. An unnecessary addition but not as battery draining as we expected so it’s fine with us.
The Cetra Core gets the 3.5mm headphone jack treatment and this is what you’d want if you’re looking to use it with more devices than a smartphone. The Core’s thin cable isn’t very reassuring. It’s a regular rubberised cable.
Surprisingly, both of them don’t have a braided cable. Something which is common with gaming-related cables.
You also get a nice travel case to keep your headphones.
We played Blood to Gold by slenderbodies on the Cetra Core (3.5mm jack) and we could immediately tell the audio is balanced. These don’t exaggerate the bass. The bassline is kept in check and in control, while they do really well to plant Max Vehuni's soft vocals on top. It really captures the airy flow from the song without scraping the falsetto.
Same cannot be said for the Cetra (USB Type-C), they lack the punch and precision that is otherwise present on the Cetra Core. It’s very evident on Sunflower by Post Malone & Swae Lee. The Cetra simply dwindle out the bass and lack the same excitement. It even pales in comparison to the 3.5mm jack brother when picking up the rhythm from Drake’s Passionfruit.
However, the Cetra can shush out tinie-tiny whirring from the background. Ceiling fans and gaming laptop fans can be shushed with the ANC toggle on its in-line controls. You also get play/pause and volume adjustment controls here and even on the Cetra Core. The Cetra Core doesn’t get ANC but you won’t be missing much here, to be honest.
We wouldn’t recommend these for gaming marathons, simply because it gets a bit tiresome to use it in the long run. Coming from a gaming brand, we expected at least one of these to come with an in-line mic mute control. Sadly, that’s not the case and you’ll be reminded of the forgotten issues of in-line mic that come with wired in-ears. The ruffling of the in-line mic and your T-shirt while gaming furiously is quite problematic for your friends on the other side.
Wired in-ears are surely good for audio quality. The 3.5mm audio jack still trumps anything for delivering refined audio quality. The Cetra Core is definitely the one to pick for pure audio quality but the Cetra has its perks too. If you’re gaming on laptops and are surrounded by noisy fans then the ANC can help out a bit.
For 2020, we expected Asus ROG to deliver TWS aimed at the gaming community, not a pair of in-ears to remind us why we ditched the cable in the first place.If you truly want the cables back in your life, pick the one without the ANC and if you don’t have a headphone jack, then we’d recommend the OnePlus Buds.
STUFF SAYS ✭✭✭✩✩