From the company that brought you the Cloud Revolver, the Cloud Silver, the Cloud...you get the point. The Cloud Flight is wireless, but most importantly, it’s comfortable. Weighing in at a mere 10.6oz, and cushioned by the super plush, closed-back ear cups, the lightweight, all plastic design of the Flight is an absolute dream to wear. And as for battery life: provided you forego the questionable design choice of flashing LED lights (on an ear cup only the stationary in your room will see) you can expect up to thirty hours of audible pleasure. Choose not to forego the aforementioned, and your Flight will have to make an emergency landing after just thirteen. Splosh.
“When I came across the SteelSeries Flux, I was in the market for a gaming headset that would fit my tiny head and also be comfortable. It also needed to work with my game systems and PC. My final criteria was that it needed to be inexpensive and still sound good. They are a good fit for my head and can be adjusted. The sound quality is nice, and it has a nice amount of bass, so you probably won’t have problems hearing explosions in games. The sound is also good for the directional aspects.”
As well as sounding great, the Audio Technica ATH-ADG1x also has an interesting design. Instead of the usual headband that sits on top of your head, this headset uses two pads that sit on either side of your head and thus don't squash your head or all your hair in a band shape. We found this had unusual results during testing that basically make us look like we were sporting a Mohican but also turned out to be incredibly comfortable.
If you’re the type of gamer that really likes to tweak your settings and have different profiles for each game that you play, then get the Logitech G933 instead. They use a USB dongle that works great for PC gaming or the PS4. The companion PC app also gives you a ton of customizable settings: a parametric EQ for sound, DTS 7.1 surround sound options, mic monitoring and 3 programmable buttons that can be mapped to specific commands, which is a nice touch that sets them apart from other gaming headsets.
If you’re primarily looking for a practical headphone for everyday casual use that also has a good enough mic for voice chat when gaming, then get the Logitech G433. They deliver a well-balanced sound, on par with much pricier headsets and they’re sufficiently versatile to use outdoors while commuting without attracting too much attention, unlike most gaming headsets.
Only long-term testing over the next few months will reveal whether or not the Kraken Pro V2 is as durable as its lightweight aluminum frame makes it feel, but so far we have no real concerns there. One thing we all definitely loved, though, is the retractable nature of the headset’s mic. In terms of sound quality and volume, it’s pretty much identical to that of the HyperX Cloud—in other words, it’s good enough—and our online testers never reported hearing any sound bleed between the headset and mic.
But I’m still replacing it. Why? Well, aesthetics are a huge reason. If you want an indication how Logitech’s design language has shifted in the past year or so, look no further than the G933 and G533. The G933 was all sharp angles and science fiction. The G533 on the other hand is sleek, professional, restrained. With a piano-black finish and soft curves, it looks like a headset made by Audio-Technica or Sennheiser or a more mainstream audio company—not necessarily a “gaming” headset. I like it.
“This headset is amazing and built to last. I have had this headset for almost two years and it’s still looks like it’s brand-new. The fabric does not rip at all and the foam does not get squished down over time. The audio from the headset sounds great with its 7.1 surround sound and is also very soundproof. The microphone is decent — not good enough if you are someone who does a lot of recording — but super clear for talking with friends. The cable is higher quality and is not easy to rip out the the headset, which is nice. The biggest thing about this headset is that it doesn’t hurt your head! You can wear this headset for hours and it still feels great. Highly recommend.”
The Razer Thresher Ultimate packs everything you could want in a wireless headset. It's supremely comfortable, it sounds great and it has a 16-hour battery to last through a long day of gaming. The headset's 7.1 surround sound makes it easy to hear enemies coming, while its handy on-ear controls allows you to effortlessly balance game and chat audio. It doesn't hurt that the Thresher is one of the slickest set of wireless cans around, with stylish PS4 and Xbox One variations and an included receiver stand that'll make the peripheral look great sitting next to your console.
“I am loving these headphones. They are very comfortable even in gaming sessions lasting 12-plus hours. The audio quality even when using Bluetooth is very impressive. The thing that has impressed me the most about these has been the battery life. I believe they advertise 40 hours per charge with about a one- to two-hour charging time, and honestly they deliver. I try to charge them when I go to bed, but frequently forget to plug them in and they still keep going even after a couple days of forgetfulness.”
Our only issue with the sound quality is the fact you are restricted to a 3.5mm analogue connection, which can cause sketchy feedback hums. You won’t notice it too much while playing, but content creators using a single audio channel in OBS/Shadowplay will definitely be affected. So, be aware. Although it’s not expected for the price point, we’re glad Corsair haven’t thrown a bolt-on virtual 7.1 feature in to the mix. That, coupled with the lack of RGB or clichéd gamer styling, tells us Corsair are trying to sell this headset based on its utility in an already overcrowded space. The HS50 is incredible value for money. It sounds awesome, is a pleasure to wear, and avoids all the gimmicks that usually turn us off. A digital connection would have been nice, and sure, a DAC (like the one on the Arctis Pro) would remedy this, but that extra cost negates the most attractive thing about the HS50.
The noise-cancelling on the microphone has been improved, specifically tuned to block out the sound of HyperX’s very own Alloy keyboard and the famously piercing sound of Cherry MX blue switches. The Cloud Alpha headphones also feature very noticeably improved noise isolation, preventing any chatter around you from ruining the listening experience.
The one performance criticism we all had was that its flexible boom microphone was only good, not great. It delivered voices clearly (with no distortion and very little noise), but all of our online testers who have met me in meatspace reported that my voice sounded a little high-pitched and nasally through the Cloud’s mic. My regular Magic Duels opponent, who graciously tolerated constant pauses to our matches so that I could swap out headsets, summed it up: “You’re coming through loud and clear; it’s just that your voice is missing that booming radio-announcer quality that makes you sound like you.”
Will Greenwald has been covering consumer technology for a decade, and has served on the editorial staffs of CNET.com, Sound & Vision, and Maximum PC. His work and analysis has been seen in GamePro, Tested.com, Geek.com, and several other publications. He currently covers consumer electronics in the PC Labs as the in-house home entertainment expert... See Full Bio
"I’ve had this headset for five months now and I couldn’t be happier. Comfort is a major influence in my purchases and I was at first worried about the circular earcups, as they tend to press against my ears and cause cartilage cramps. But these are hefty, big enough that they surround my ears no problem. They are also incredibly light, so no having to worry about them tiring your head out.
Headsets can be either wired or wireless, with wireless models generally costing more. More important is that each gaming headset supports different system, handheld, and computer connections. For the PS4 Pro, Xbox One X, most mobile devices, and some computers, you can use Bluetooth for a wireless headset (the original Xbox One lacks Bluetooth support). Other systems require a different wireless connection, often with a separate base plugged into your console or computer.
"Pretty amazing audio for a wireless headset in a super comfortable design. I work at my computer all day long, and there is nothing worse than throwing good money down on a pair of 'high-end' headphones and wanting to take them off your head because your ears are being pinched. This ski-goggle suspension strap carries the weight of the (already pretty light) headphones. And the ear pads are very comfortable. I also wear glasses, so I need to have pads that mold themselves around the frames without continuing to knock them off course."
We tried our best to find a headset with surround performance that impressed us, but for the most part, we weren’t able to. We tested one headset with multiple drivers in each earcup, plus a number of USB headsets with built-in Dolby, DTS, or Creative surround technologies (which create a surround-like experience using only two drivers, through a combination of delay and other audio processing).
What keeps it from being the stand-out winner are several annoyances. For starters, the A50 uses the 5GHz band, which means the range isn’t great. Even sitting at my computer, I occasionally noticed interference. A built-in battery also means that if you do forget to charge it, you’re stuck attaching it to your PC with a MicroUSB cable while you play. And the audio, while quite good and superior to the Arctis Pro Wireless, still is easily outdone by $300 headphones. (Read our full review.)
There are two types of Bluetooth headsets. Headsets using Bluetooth v1.0 or v1.1 generally consist of a single monaural earpiece, which can only access Bluetooth's headset/handsfree profile. Depending on the phone's operating system, this type of headset will either play music at a very low quality (suitable for voice), or will be unable to play music at all. Headsets with the A2DP profile can play stereo music with acceptable quality. Some A2DP-equipped headsets automatically de-activate the microphone function while playing music; if these headsets are paired to a computer via Bluetooth connection, the headset may disable either the stereo or the microphone function.
One thing I really like about the headset is the headband; it's more robust than it looks, springing back into place after we bend it up so that the headband is nearly flat. Creative did this by using steel underneath the padding instead of plastic. While doing this with other headsets often makes me cringe, the Sound BlasterX H5 happily takes the bending in stride.
The A50 have a good wireless range and a 13 hour battery life, which should be more than enough for most gaming sessions. They also have dock charging, which is easy-to-use and looks great on your TV stand but it takes 6 hours to fully charge the headphones which is not ideal. On the upside, the available PC app allows you to customize the EQ and save different presets.
The build is also something worthy of praise with the A10. ASTRO's design is very ergonomic and comfortable, so it shouldn't weigh down on the head at all. The ear cups use plush padding, instead of wrapped "leather" like most other headsets at this price, which helps with the comfort immensely. And since the A10 works on every platform, you'll be prepared for any and all gaming needs.
The Arctis 7 is more expensive than other wireless gaming headsets on this list, but it does come with a couple of extra handy features, such as its ChatMix slider. This lets you filter out all game music to focus solely on your multiplayer chat, and it works vice-versa as well, helping you drown out those screaming 11-year-olds who can’t believe you didn’t make that headshot from half way across the map.
The Cloud Alpha costs less than a hundred quid and yet it’s possibly the best analogue headset that we’ve tested. HyperX has crafted something that’s both compact and comfortable (although red remains the only colour choice), with the option of replacing the mic, cups and cable if needed. Thankfully the overall construction is reassuringly durable, in case you’re in the habit of throwing your ‘phones across the room in fits of despair.
The sound is close to superb at this price range. You can find better, but it can be difficult at this level to find build quality to match. Sound is well-balanced, and the bass doesn’t tend to obfuscate the rest of the audio – a common symptom of gamer cans. For the most part audio remains consistent and clear from the 53mm drivers even at higher volume levels, too.
There are two exceptions. The first is another Razer product—Razer Surround—a software download that adds surround-sound processing to any stereo headphones or headset. It comes in two versions: a basic free download that offers surprisingly convincing “7.1-channel” surround effects, and a Pro version that adds selectable bass boost, adjustable dynamic range compression, voice-clarity processing, an equalizer with 11 presets as well as custom settings, and (most important) the ability to calibrate the surround-sound experience specifically for your headset, your head, and your ears. The Pro version is a free download for anyone who purchases select Razer headsets, or you can buy it standalone for $20 (at the time of this writing).
There are plenty of quality wireless headsets that work with Xbox One, but few are as fine-tuned for Microsoft's console as the Turtle Beach Stealth 700. This set of cans sports built-in Xbox Wireless technology, meaning it can sync directly to your Xbox One without the need for any dongles or transmitters. It's also simply a great headset, with rich, bassy audio, a clear microphone and a healthy amount of sound customization options.
The included USB transmitter dongle provides great wireless range, audio and chat support for your PS4 and PC. You can also use their audio cable and plug them into your console’s controller and have audio and mic support for the Xbox One that way. They’re also an excellent choice for watching movies or listening to music wirelessly when at home, since the transmitter has an input for a regular AUX cable that will work with your TV, receiver and most audio devices. It also has very little latency (20ms).
Make no mistake about it, though, this is probably too much bass for games that rely on atmospheric music or have a lot of dialog. While all of our testers loved the effect with big dumb action games like DOOM, we found that the deep bass tended to make dialogue in games like Battlefront 2 a little too chesty, and it did no favors to orchestral game soundtracks, like those of the Civilization games. Tweaking the EQ settings in the Razer Surround Pro software helped a lot, and also brought out a good bit more detail, but access to that feature does add another $20 to the cost of the headset.
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: