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Thermaltake and BMW's Level 10 M gaming headset hands-on

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If we had a direct line to BMW's Designworks studio, we'd probably harass it to the point of requiring a court order. Thermaltake, on the other hand, have shown a lot more restraint, only harnessing the teutonic skunkworks' expertise on two previous occasions. The pair announced its Level 10 gaming headset today at CeBIT, so we decided to get our mitts all over the first examples of the hardware to be seen in public and find out what they're all about.

Gallery: ThermalTake Level 10 M headset hands-on | 20 Photos

The prototypes we got to try out carried the Level 10 range's chunky, aerated style -- with gaps in the bodywork and beefy catches to lock and release the arms. A boxy microphone hangs down on the left without a windshield, a decision made in order to stop the hardware from becoming distracting. While it looks like it'd be heavy and hefty to wear, the device is very comfortable to wear for short periods of time and the ear cups are extra soft to avoid that pinned-back feeling you get with heavier hardware. Each cup carries a 40mm driver, although we couldn't attest to its sound quality on this occasion. While we only saw black and white headsets today, matching green and red editions will join the pair before release, so if you've already splashed out on the BMW case and mouse, you can collect the full set.

We learned that the first units out of the door will look a little different to these samples, the white version gaining a glossy finish, while the black edition coming with a matt rubber coating. Both will connect with a pair of 3.5mm jacks, and should arrive for $150 before Computex, putting a launch date late May or early June. Company director Tony Liu also said that a USB version is in store for August-time, which will offer DTS-approved 5.1 surround and light-up color bars -- which is due to set you back around $190.

Dana Wollman contributed to this report.

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