Perhaps the most significant feature that sets the Game One apart from most of its competition is that it sports an open-back design. The earcups of the headset are vented, leaving the back side of its drivers open to the air instead of encasing them in a solid shell of plastic or metal. You’ll often see this design in high-end headphones such as the Sennheiser HD 5XX series, from which the Game One derives its drivers and “Eargonomic Acoustic Refinement” sound-channeling technology. But you rarely see the design in headsets in general, primarily because it comes with one disadvantage: Open-back headphones and headsets don’t offer a lot in the way of noise isolation, either incoming or outgoing. Anyone sitting in the room with you can hear what you’re hearing to some extent, and you can hear, to a lesser degree, the sounds of people and things in the room with you.
Mobile (cellular) phone headsets are often referred to as handsfree. Most mobile phones come with their own handsfree in the form of a single earphone with a microphone module connected in the cable. For music-playing mobile phones, manufacturers may bundle stereo earphones with a microphone. There are also third-party brands which may provide better sound quality or wireless connectivity.
The HyperX Cloud Flight boasts an incredibly lightweight and comfortable frame, which, combined with up to 30 hours of battery life, results in a cozy wireless PS4 headset that you can truly wear all day. The Flight also delivers rich, accurate sound for competitive and immersive games alike, features a crisp microphone, and touts slick LED earcup lighting. The USB-powered Flight offers easy plug-and-play compatibility with any PS4, and doubles as a great PC headset.
Thanks to the powerful box of tricks hidden within the transmitter, the SteelSeries Siberia 800 doesn't require any pesky additional software to be installed on your PC. The inputs and outputs on that same box also make this headset compatible with games consoles and you can even use the included 3.5mm cable to connect the headset to your mobile phone if you feel the need to do so.
The sound quality is unbeatable at this price point. Directional noises are easy to pinpoint and bullets and explosions carry a certain amount of weight, however, the surround sound was less impressive and seemed thrown in. Custom EQing is available thanks to the Logitech Gaming Software, and although you can’t save individual profiles, it’s nice to see this feature included. HyperX Cloud Alpha take note. Music didn’t sound bad, but it wasn’t great. This could be fixed via EQ adjustment, and the lack of pre-set functionality makes it a chore. The mic quality is again unbeatable in this bracket, but with no noise cancellation those of you in noisy environments may lose steam friends quicker than you drop frames in Arma 3. That said, if you want a supremely comfortable, great sounding headset and mic for gaming at an unbeatable price, the G430 is a must buy.
If you're familiar with the ASTRO A40, specifically the MixAmp, the charging cradle sports a similar setup. Connect to your system with the USB and optical cable to feed out the audio to the cradle which, in turn, sends it out to the headset. There's also a spare USB input that acts as the charging port for when the headset is sitting in the cradle. Just be aware that each headset will only work with the specified system, so the Xbox One edition will not work on PS4. While not the biggest thing, it's something to keep in mind since more and more headsets are becoming platform agnostic.
Virtual reality, of course, represents a new kind of headset–a headset with a component that simulates the visual field. The technological development comes at a cost, however: being immersed in such a headset can cause severe motion sickness. It perhaps gives pause to consider that such things were the science-fiction dreams of many who lived not more than fifty or a hundred years ago…though lightsabers are still forthcoming.
Most high-end gaming headsets claim to offer some form of surround sound, but this isn't accurate. The vast majority of surround sound headsets still use stereo drivers (often a single 40mm driver for each ear) to produce sound. The surround aspect comes from Dolby and DTS processing technologies that tweak how the headsets mix sound between your ears to give an impression of 360-degree audio. It's an artificial effect that wouldn't provide a true surround sound image even if the headset had individual drivers for each channel; there simply isn't enough space for the sound to resonate to produce the impression of accurate directional audio. However, it can make things more immersive and improve your ability to track the direction sounds from left to right.
Their battery life is very good, but somewhat situational; if the LEDs are turned off they have almost 30 hours of continuous playback and can recharge in as little as 3.6 hours. However, with the LED on, you will only get about 12 hours at most. On the upside, they have a good wireless range and very low latency (20ms), great for gaming and watching videos.
There's a volume wheel on the earcup which allows for easy volume changes on the fly. This same button has another use too. Pushing in the volume button switches between EQ settings which as default include FPS competition, pure direct, movie theatre, clear-cut and bass boost. This allows you to change the sound quality settings easily depending on what you're doing and you can tweak further within the software.
The plush ear cups and double strap headband provide a lot of comfort, however the 10 hour battery life was disappointing especially considering the Astro A50s have a lot more tech to power and last 33% longer. Considering the lack of RGB, we can only assume it relates to the dual antenna tech. The audio quality is decent and fully-customizable via ASUS’ Sonic Studio software, and we enjoyed using the headset in-game as much as we did whilst listening to music. The surround sound was impressive at this price point and although it wasn’t as well-executed as the ASUS Centurion, it’s definitely in contention for best value surround on the list due to costing less than half the price. The only real negative aside from battery life is the sheer volume of competition at this price point. If you’re looking for a wireless headset that won’t drop out when you need it most and want a beefy bass response with awesome 7.1 surround sound, this could be for you.
Despite the less involved sound editing options (you’re stuck with basic software rather than the 800s’ desktop transmitter) and the aforementioned design issues, the Arctis 7s still manage to be a dependable and complete gaming headset. The mic is brilliant at cutting out sound, the effective range is outstanding, and considering their much lower price than the 800s they make a wise mid-budget pick.
I assumed at first that this effect would be a major downer for our testers, but we all ended up loving this aspect of the Game One. Sounds from around the house didn’t end up being nearly the distraction I worried they would. When we played games, we couldn’t hear the air conditioner, for example, nor the ceiling fan in my office. We could, on the other hand, hear the ringing of the phone or a knock at the front door. In other words, the only things that really distracted us from our gaming experience were the things we actually wanted to be distracted by. Keep in mind, however, that your non-gamer housemates may be a little annoyed by the game sounds leaking out of your headset if they prefer absolute silence.
This headset uses the Razer Synapse software which offers masses of options including equalisation controls, settings for mic noise control, voice clarity, ambient noise reduction and lighting effects too. The lighting here is subtle and understated, unlike the majority of other RGB capable products out there. The Razer logo on the side of the earcups lights up nicely with tweaking available in the software.
We’ve never made any secret of the fact that most of our testers either went into this guide with a bias against wireless gaming headsets or learned to loathe them throughout the course of our testing. If you absolutely, positively can’t abide wires, though, we recommend the Kingston HyperX Cloud Flight. It doesn’t feel quite as durable as our top pick wired headset, but it’s still a well-constructed headset that doesn’t creak or rattle or otherwise feel flimsy in any way.
We're big fans of the SteelSeries Arctis line-up. This design is comfortable, easy on the eye and a joy to wear for hours and hours. The SteelSeries Arctis Pro continues a trend of incredibly superb gaming headsets with a focus on tremendous audio and sublime comfort. With this new headset, SteelSeries is no doubt going to please a market of audiophile gamers looking for something to fill their needs.
Finding a gaming headset that really suits your needs can be tricky. There’s a thin line between spending slightly more on a good-sounding headset with a feature you like the idea of, and paying over the odds for one with features you’ll never use. Sometimes the jargon and marketing terms can be pretty overwhelming, with the necessary easily becoming entangled with the unnecessary. So how can we simplify this? The three most important factors to consider are sound quality, comfort and price - and of those, comfort is paramount. You’re going to spend a lot time with this little guy. Crossing vast wastelands, encountering strange and intriguing alien species and er, listening to Spotify. So it’s important your headset doesn’t weigh you down or become irritating. The most important areas are the ear cups, headband and weight. Fortunately 99% of gaming headsets are reasonably comfortable these days regardless of price. The more premium offerings simply increase that comfort by using patented fabric tech and made up science names. Comfy, but definitely unnecessary. And while we're on the subject of design, you might want to color-coordinate things with your existing gear, like your mouse and keyboard. A gaming session with a color-coded setup can be a lot of fun, and really get you in the mood. While we don't spend a ton of time talking about color, you can check out our lists of the best gaming mice, and best gaming monitors, which should help you put together one hell of a setup.
The HyperX Cloud is pretty traditional in overall design, so if you’re shopping for something with flashing LEDs or an aggressive look, it might not be the right pick for you. It’s a reskinned, slightly tweaked version of QPAD’s QH-90 gaming headset, which was a popular import item for gamers in the know before Kingston introduced it to North American buyers. The QH-90, in turn, is essentially the Takstar Pro 80 Monitor headphones with the addition of a removable boom mic and gaming-oriented connectivity. So the Kingston HyperX Cloud started its life as a highly respected, very affordable high-fidelity pair of headphones, which contradicts the popular notion that you’d be better served by dedicated headphones and a clip-on mic for your gaming needs. If you were to purchase the Takstar Pro 80 and add a decent mic, you would end up paying more than you would for the HyperX Cloud.
Some gaming headsets can cost upwards of $300+, which is a difficult price to swallow. This gaming headset from HyperX delivers similar sound quality, with a sturdy steel frame, and large 50-millimeter drivers, but at a much more attractive price point. Although it isn't wireless, the headset is compatible with any device that has a 3.5-millimeter jack, meaning it'll work with a PC, Mac, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and most smartphones and tablets. The headset is comfortable and adjustable, and it fits both big and small heads.
Digging through the hundreds of currently available gaming headsets in search of the right model is a daunting task. I know this because it took me more than 40 hours just to compile a list of currently sold gaming headsets and weed out the obvious losers by reading owner reviews on Amazon.com and posts on /r/pcgaming. I then turned to expert sources such as Tom’s Guide, Digital Trends, PCWorld, PCMag, TechRadar, and the forums at Head-Fi.org for help in whittling down the 237 potential candidates to the 37 headsets we listened to in the first round of testing in 2015, plus another 12 in 2016, 11 new models at the beginning of 2017, and 10 at the beginning of 2018.
The first major consideration is what gaming platform(s) you’ll be using with the headset, as the supported connection will differ from console to console. Modern headsets will connect via one (or more) of the following ways: Single 3.5mm, dual 3.5mm (one for headphone audio and one for mic), wired USB, wireless USB, or Bluetooth. Here’s a quick breakdown of which connection type is supported by each of the modern gaming platforms: