I’ve covered at least eight SADES products on this blog and my YouTube channel since starting PanickedPixel in 2013.
SADES reviews have always been my most popular pieces of content, and with over four years of talking about their brand, I’ve seen my fair share of frequently asked questions and comments about their offerings. Many of them surround confusion about product features, driver downloads and after-sales service — something even I was unsure about despite having contacts at the company.
Thankfully, they’ve addressed some of this with an official statement on their Twitter account. The bottom line? SADES actually has two different versions of their product and they want everybody to know about it.
Economic Version (EV) and International Version (IV)?
To understand why SADES has been segmented in this way, you only need to look at their target market. Pre-2014, their focus was creating affordable headsets primarily for the Chinese market. But as sales grew, they noticed international demand for their products and a growing community of gamers worldwide (mostly led by the popularity of e-sports).
Not wanting to alienate their already-established consumer base, they decided it would be best to create two separate lines of products: their Economic Version (EV), which is targeted towards Mainland China, and the International Version (IV), for the rest of the world. The differences between them boil down to their materials, technologies, warranty period and support — most of which are explained in their official statement and in a video on my YouTube channel.
Their biggest issue, however, has been trying to communicate these existence of these to consumers. This was mostly due to language difficulties, and an ongoing exploration of their own brand identity and product offerings.
Distinguishing between them
Whether you’re a potential buyer or a current owner, it’s important to understand which version you’re looking at in person or online. After all, you’d want to identify potential scams and figure out where to get support.
Here are a few things to look out for:
To ensure brand consistency, IV products have a standard set of colors — including blue-black, blue-white, and pink-white for their Angel edition products. Makes sense since this is a tactic employed by many of their larger competitors in the international space.
EV, on the other hand, can be found in a large variety of colors, not only in the same colors as IV, and may even feature patterns in some instances. They are able to do this because the production cost of EV is much lower and therefore, easier to maintain a larger range of products. It also helps with the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) side of their business.
2. Model Number vs. Product Name
SADES initially started naming their headsets with letters and numbers. EV continue this trend with model numbers taking on either one of these formats:
- One letter with max. two numbers (A6, R3, A60)
- Two letters with three numbers (SA-903, SA-902, SA920)
- Two letters, three numbers, and an extra letter at the back (SA-926T)
But as they moved into the international market and created a separate line to cater to new consumer expectations, they needed a way to differentiate their products. This is why IV come with product names like Spellond, Hammer, and Gpower, and so on.
While shopping online, you may find some listings that put both the model number and product name in their titles. To check which one they’re actually referring to, take a close look at the images to see whether it’s a product name (IV) or a model number (EV) that’s printed on the item.
3. Warranty Sticker
All IV products marked a shiny, circular silver sticker on the front of their boxes — with the words “OFFICIAL SADES”. This serves as indication that you have an official international product that’s covered under a 12-month warranty (extendable by another 2 months if you register on their website).
In addition to the sticker, you should be able to find a unique serial number on the barcode of the box, the warranty card and the IV product itself.
EV have neither the sticker, nor the barcode — only coming with a Chinese language warranty card that does not specify any warranty period.
Where do I download drivers and get support?
For EV products:
Go to the Chinese SADES website at sades.cc to get what you need.
Driver downloads are here, and the contact info for support is in the footer of the site.
For IV products:
You’ll find everything you need on International SADES website at sades.gg.
Driver downloads are here, FAQs are here, and contact info is here.
For a more visual guide to all these differences, check out this video I made in partnership with SADES!