It sounds great, too, and is completely wireless, allowing you to keep your gaming desk nice and clean without another tangle of cables in the mix. What’s more, its wireless transmitter isn’t just a little USB stick – it’s got its own cable, so you can position it wherever you like for the best signal. You also get a regular 3.5mm audio cable so you can use it as a wired headset as well if you prefer.
The other option worth looking into is Windows Sonic for Headphones, a free feature included in the Windows 10 Creators Update released in 2017. While not quite as convincing as Razer Surround, Windows Sonic does add a nice sense of space to games, and also allows for more precise positioning, which we very much appreciated. Windows Sonic can also be upgraded to support Dolby Atmos for Headphones for around $15. We found the latter to sound slightly more processed and unnatural, but if you want to try it out, there’s a free trial available.
Like we do for all the products we test, we put gaming headsets through the ringer. We judge them based upon their audio performance, mic performance, wearability, battery life, and wireless connectivity. We play games featuring various sound experiences to ensure the headsets will sound great during frenetic action, as well as quieter moments. We also listen to non-gaming audio and videos, including a selection of music from various genres at differing bit rates to discern whether the headsets perform well outside of a gaming context.
The HyperX has a history of delivering reliable gaming headsets across the board, and the Cloud Stinger is no different. Admittedly, the build quality of the headset isn't going to be anything special. It's an unassuming headset that, while all-plastic, doesn't feel cheaply made. The Stinger is also fairly comfortable for the price, though the ear pads could be a bit thicker.
If you already have a favorite pair of headphones that either has a cheap inline microphone or no mic at all, consider the Antlion Audio ModMic 5 (pictured above). It's a boom mic that attaches easily to your favorite pair of headphones, and can be removed when not in use thanks to a two-piece magnetic mount. You won't get any of the gaming-specific features of dedicated gaming headsets with the ModMic (and wireless is right out), but it lets you use your beloved old cans for voice chat. Just make sure you have the right connection or adapter to use it with your preferred game platform.
The Corsair HS70 is the best gaming headset available for less than £100. The headset is a breath of fresh air in the gaming market, which seems to be hell bent on adding RGB lighting and sharp corners to everything it can. It features a pleasingly unassuming, refined design and is one of a select few gaming headsets you’d be willing to wear in public.
There is one caveat to the audio, though, and that’s to do with what you’re plugging the ATH-AG1x headset into. The Audio-Technica cans only use a 3.5mm connection and they really come into their own when plugged into a dedicated discrete sound card (remember them?!) or an external DAC/ headphone amp like Creative’s Sound BlasterX G5. If you’re spending this much money on a quality headset you’ll really benefit from making sure the rest of your audio setup is capable of matching it.
Sound quality is an essential consideration for any gaming headset purchase. While headsets often deliver stereo sound with a single speaker for each ear, many models feature additional speakers per ear cup to deliver a true, very impressive surround sound experience. Though it may seem like a no-brainer, comfort is also very important, since you may be wearing your headset for hours at a time. Look for headsets that have padded or foam headbands and ear cups. Many headsets with microphones include noise cancellation which helps the person you're competing with hear you by differentiating between your voice and background noise. And volume control may be important to your game experience, which is why many headsets include a separate control switch that adjusts in-game chat independently of game audio.
As mentioned, this is a stereo gaming headset. This means there's no account for virtual or "real" surround sound with this design. You can, of course, opt to use Windows Spatial Sound settings or try out Dolby Atmos for gaming as additions to fill that void. Surround sound is not the target of this headset though, it's intention is to deliver an immersive and impressive audio experience during your gaming sessions.
On the upside, the USB dongle will work with most PCs and gives you access to the Turtle Beach Audio Hub for more customization and microphone options. They also have a good wireless range (especially when using Bluetooth), a decent battery life and a regular audio jack input that will work with console controllers, but they do not provide the right audio cable in the box.
While it’s hard to top the Arctis Pro, even Steelseries’ more affordable Arctis models, including the Arctis 3, 5, and 7, are impressive alternatives, identical to the Pro in terms of comfort and only a modest step down in performance and features (the Arctis 7 was our previous top pick, in fact). There are wired and wireless versions of each of these headsets, and while they require the Steelseries Engine 3 software to use the surround sound and EQ features (meaning these features are PC-only), they still sound great even without these extras. So, should the Arctis Pro reside outside your budget, any of these Arctis models could compete for the top spot on our list.