If listening to well-recorded music on the HyperX Cloud revealed one sonic downside, it’s that some high-pitched sounds in certain songs tended to be slightly overemphasized. This effect didn’t bother all our panelists. And the issue didn’t crop up with any of our games, so since the HyperX Cloud is a gaming headset, we couldn’t really hold that against it.
The Asus Strix 7.1 offers a fantastic surround sound experience with "true" surround sound delivered from 10 drivers that is as close to the proper surround sound experience as you're going to get without actually buying a full speaker setup. The quality of the audio is superb whatever you're doing and we found this headset to be comfortable even after hours and hours of wear.
The sound quality is great for games and comes with ‘FPS’, ‘Moba’ and ‘Cinematic Gaming’ presets. Music also shines and Logitech’s Gaming Software allows all presets to be adjusted and custom ones to be created, something we wish HyperX would employ on their Cloud Alpha headset. Buttons on the ear cups allow quick swapping between profiles and the mic quality was adequate for standard use. The headset although slightly heavier than some, is very comfortable, especially around the ear cups. It feels solid too - something the more expensive ManO’War failed to be - for considerably less money. It has USB and 3.5mm connectivity allowing use across multiple devices, which some higher priced models can’t claim. Aside from the custom preset features, the G633 comes with RGB lighting (of course), and Dolby 7.1 or DTS X Surround. If you want a high-end headset without the High-end price tag and don’t mind wired connectivity, this is the one for you.
A lot of what makes a great gaming headset will be down to personal preference, but what we were looking for was a product that struck a perfect balance between quality of design, value for money and features that gamers would love. To create this shortlist, we worked through a mass of PC gaming headsets (many of which are also compatible with consoles) to whittle down to a list of finalists that we're sure you'll love.
If you’re after a wireless gaming headset with marathon long battery life, then you’d do well to check out Kingston’s HyperX Cloud Flight. The Cloud Flight’s quoted 30 hour battery life is one of the best in the market, and during our tests we found it to have more stamina than any other headset we’ve tested. Add to this its excellent noise cancelling mic and the Kingston HyperX Cloud Flight quickly becomes an ideal choice for people that regularly enjoy prolonged gaming sessions.
If you prefer single-player games and live alone, you don't need a headset at all. You can use speakers and enjoy the room-filling atmosphere, and shout into the inexpensive and mediocre monoaural headsets the Xbox One and PS4 come with. But the next time you're in a deathmatch, raid, or capture mission, make sure you're shouting into the boom mic of a good headset. To find the right one, check out our reviews below.
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.
That's where so-called "true" surround headsets come in. These headsets are designed with multiple drivers to deliver a more realistic experience than that offered by the virtual ones which often just work with two (left and right) drivers. There aren't many true surround sound headsets about, but the Asus Strix 7.1 is one of them and it's the best from what we've seen.
While the HyperX Cloud is a great headset for most gamers, no headset is perfect for everyone. If you’re more discerning when it comes to sound quality in games, movies, and music, or if your gaming sessions run a little longer than the norm, consider the Sennheiser Game One. This headset was by far the favorite of all our testers (even our online helpers) due to its stellar audio performance, exceptional long-term comfort, and fantastic noise-cancelling microphone, but you’ll pay at least 50 percent more for that performance. Also, you might need to upgrade your sound card or headphone amp.
“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.”
After a combined 200 hours of testing over the course of nearly two-and-a-half years, including listening to 10 new models this year, we still think Kingston’s original HyperX Cloud is the best gaming headset for serious PC gamers. The HyperX Cloud offers the best mix of audio performance and comfort for the money. It’s beautifully built and comfortable on a wide variety of heads, and its sound quality holds up against some of the best dedicated headphones in its price range. You won’t find a more neutral-sounding and versatile gaming headset unless you’re willing to spend at least $40 or $50 more.
These large round ear cups are designed to be comfortable and pleasant to wear, but they also give space to house the large 53mm stereo drivers. These drivers are where the action happens. They're designed to deliver an audio experience that's unparalleled and indeed, we were impressed with the quality of the sound coming of these cans. They open your ears to new sounds you might not have otherwise noticed in games and music and we couldn't help but be impressed with the quality of the sound, no matter what we were doing.
The Corsair VOID PRO RGB Wireless is a wireless headset that boasts a wide and comfortable fit. It has a large and easily extendable headband that fits nicely on the head, though we did find it sat a bit too loosely sometimes and would move about if you shook your head too vigorously. You can, of course, tighten and loosen to your liking but it isn't quite as tight fitting and all-encompassing as other headsets we've tried.
It goes without saying that when choosing a gaming headset, sound quality is king. Why else upgrade if not for better quality audio? Value for money is also important: we’re sure hearing Adele singing live in our living room would sound better than on CD, but we very much doubt we could justify singing to the note of her six figure fee (plus we only really know that one song…and just the chorus).
*While most USB headsets can be used on PS4, many are specifically made for PC and will require drivers or extra software to enable features like surround sound, EQ settings, and even mic support in some instances. Because of this, some USB headsets will have limited functionality on PS4. For those wanting a USB headset on PS4, seek out headsets that list PS4 compatibility explicitly, such as the Cloud Revolver S.
As mentioned above, the microphone is pretty useless (let’s blame that on Cougar’s Metal Gear-esque naming conventions), and its high/treble reproduction isn’t as good as more expensive headsets, but its overall audio quality is perfectly good enough for the money. If you’re looking for something inexpensive to give to your kids or younger siblings, the Cougar Phontum is well worth considering.
And yes, SteelSeries maintains a place on the list, with the new Arctis Pro Wireless bumping its predecessor, the Siberia 800. Though the Astro A50 sounds better, this headset’s been a favorite of mine for a while—mostly because of its battery system. Rather than charging the battery in the headset, the Arctis Pro Wireless instead allows you to swap between two removable packs. One can power the headset for up to 12 hours while the other charges in the side of the base station. There’s literally no way you can run out of battery in the middle of gaming.
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.
The Xbox One Stereo Headset is perfect for the Xbox One owners who want to rep Xbox pride in every aspect of their gaming life. Thankfully, it's also a reliable headset for Xbox gamers who may also be on a budget. It still delivers solid audio for the gamers who need some extra boom out of their headset. Given the $59 price point, it won't deliver the insane quality of premium ASTRO headsets, but it still outperforms most headsets around the same price.
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 SteelSeries Arctis Pro features premium drivers which the company claim are capable of delivering double the audio range of most standard headsets (at 40,000Hz). This has a number of implications in the use of this headset. Firstly, if you're a PC gamer this means that you can dive into the settings on the GameDAC (Digital Audio Converter) and switch over to Hi-Res audio. Doing this means the little control box then does the leg work and transforms sound into High-fidelity 96kHZ/24-bit audio. You can then open up Windows sound settings and see the full glory of the high-end audio.
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.
Whilst you might expect some sacrifices at £35 it didn't feel like that with the audio quality. Across all types such as music, movies and gaming the audio sounded very good indeed. On one of our favourite piano based tracks (from Lost) we could even pick up the sound of the pedals on the piano which we can't recall hearing before. Bass is present without being overpowering and we have to admit to being pleasantly surprised at just how good the audio sounds.
The Asus Strix 7.1 headset is a gaming peripheral with a strong focus on quality and a big, bold design. This is a monster piece of kit, as you'd expect for a headset at this price point. The design is robust, strong and flexible. This is a big headset that sits nicely on the head, clamping tightly, yet comfortably to your ears to give you an enveloping audio experience whatever you're doing.
Do you even need a dedicated gaming headset at all? If audio quality is the be-all-and-end-all for you it might be interesting to note there’s a growing trend of using audiophile headphones, coupled with discrete desk-based microphones, so you can still yell abuse at your gaming buddies while enjoying the absolute best aural experiences money can buy.
We run the risk of appearing to be in the tank for Kingston, but even before I pointed out the brand of the HyperX Cloud Stinger, all of our testers agreed that it was the new budget gaming headset to beat. Unlike the company’s previous low-cost headsets, the Cloud Stinger isn’t just a neutered version of the original Cloud. This model includes a fantastic new lift-to-mute mic that sounds great, and it’s big enough to fit the largest of noggins comfortably for hours on end. Despite its all-plastic construction, the Cloud Stinger feels more solid and durable than many of its high-priced competitors. And while its sound isn’t as neutral or impactful as our pick’s, the results are far better than you might expect, with good detail, solid bass, and midrange that doesn’t sound nasal or quacky.
This headset is powered by the headphone amplifier control box that sits neatly on your desk. This little box of tricks is the hub for the audio and allows you to easily change between settings, adjust volume and even tweak lighting on-the-fly. It acts as the sound card and works to process the surround sound audio to deliver the accurate audio experience you'd expect from a headset of this quality.
Beyerdynamic’s Custom Game is a delicious sounding headset that’s second only to the Sennheiser Game One in terms of detail and spaciousness. It delivers wonderfully dynamic sound, with bass that can be acoustically tuned via sliders on each ear cup. While we still prefer the sound of the Game One overall, if you tend to game with other people in the room and you don’t want them hearing what you’re playing, this one is a great alternative.
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.