In-game audio comes through as crisp and clear as you might think. On one end, the insanity of a Battlefield 5 match will percolate perfectly, with explosions and gunshots ringing all around you. On the other, the epic music of 2018's God of War will be even more booming and entrancing thanks to the MMX 300. That clarity even translates to the microphone, so you won't have to worry about how clear you're coming in on your end.
Open-back headsets come with the opposite pros and cons. You'll be able to hear any noises going on around you and if you have the volume cranked too loud, anyone in the house will hear whatever it is your cranking. Open-back headsets are generally more comfortable as they get less hot due to the ventilation and sound tends to comes across more naturally. Personally we prefer open-back due to comfort and sound quality, however it’s completely subjective, with pros and cons varying significantly across different models. You should also be aware that some headsets that look open-back often aren't; just because it has a grille doesn't mean it's open. Perfect example: the AUDEZE Mobius, AUDEZE are known for their open-back headphones, but this isn't one of them, even thought it looks it. We'll be testing a pair soon - at the time of writing, they're super new, and a review model is currently on its way to us!
With the rising popularity of multiplayer games like Fortnite, PUBG and Overwatch, having a good gaming headset can sometimes make the difference between a clutch, well-coordinated last-minute victory and crushing defeat. A typical, wired headphone may give you good enough audio for gaming but may lack a compatible microphone and chat support to plan a winning strategy with your teammates. The right gaming headset should work with most of your consoles, be comfortable enough that you don’t have to take them off mid-game and ideally be wireless with enough range, so that you can comfortably game from your couch.
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.
After thoroughly testing nearly 70 headsets for over the course of two-and-a-half years, our testers still agree that Kingston’s HyperX Cloud is the right gaming headset for most people, thanks to its excellent long-term comfort, great sound quality for the price, light weight, exceptional build quality, and fantastic durability. After roughly thirty months of nearly constant use and abuse, including several road trips in which it was thrown into a backpack sans case, our original test unit still looks like we took it out of the packaging yesterday.
Pulling them from the packaging I was a little concerned about how they might sound. My prejudices were quickly dismissed as soon as I started using them. The 50mm directional drivers deliver an impressive, balanced sound, with a decent amount of separation in the audio. The Stinger, then, is a well-priced headset with a surprisingly detailed sound.
Well, it’s not the price, that’s for sure. Its MSRP is $100 / £90, but you can find easily find it for considerably less on a regular basis. Roccat has aimed this straight at the HyperX Cloud Alpha’s price point, and it hits the nail right on the head for price and performance in that bracket, and easily breezes past the competition if you find it for a good deal less.
Analogue headsets: These use one or more 3.5mm headphone jacks to transmit audio to and from the headset, and are often universally compatible with PCs, consoles and mobile devices. The sound quality will rely on your individual device however, and they won’t support surround sound out of the box. Keep in mind that on PCs with separate mic and headphone jacks, you’ll need a splitter. Some headsets will come with one, but not all. Check before you buy and pop one in your basket if you need one.
This sleek, minimalist headset has the versatility and simplicity that comes with a wired headset, but boasts excellent sound quality that rivals other headsets that cost two or three times as much. Because it’s a wired headset, you’ll be losing out on surround sound, but the stereo mix is strong enough that accurate positioning shouldn’t be an issue. The inclusion of a detachable mic adds to the HS50’s attractive-yet-unassuming design, and makes it possible for the headset to double as a quick pair of headphones, if need be.
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 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.
This lightweight and comfy design keeps your ears snug for long gaming sessions, and the large volume wheel on the earcup keeps the cable controller-free and as light as possible. The only downside to the headset is the immobile microphone, which could have benefitted from a removeable design, and ideally the rubberised mid-section swapped for some more malleable material as it currently adds very little in the way of adjustability.
Although they're made from plastic, the A50’s don’t feel cheap, thanks to innovative design and great build quality. The new dock/wireless transmitter doubles as a wireless charger (very nice) and Astro have added an accelerometer in the headset which tells the battery when you are/aren’t using it. This enables the headset to sleep when not in use, which, when combined with the 15 hour battery life, alleviates the main gripe with wireless headsets: the battery life. The ear cups are open-backed and made from a soft fabric, which really adds to the comfort. Their modular magnetic design means you can swap them (and the headband) out for others available via the MOD kit. Astro’s shortcomings, and we mean short, start with the slightly over compressed mic. We definitely preferred the mic on the Arctis 7 and even the Cloud Alpha. Our other gripe was that although the Command Centre software is useful, it was far too complicated for the casual user. It’s a high price, but those who can invest will not be disappointed. This is next-gen stuff.
Battery life on this headset does appear to be a regular issue though, with battery draining in a short space of time. The SteelSeries Siberia 800 uses 1,000mAh Lithium-ion battery that SteelSeries claims is capable of 20 hours playback before recharging is necessary. During testing though, we found ourselves having to swap out the batteries more regularly than that. Therefore, with heavy use, you're unlikely to make it through an entire day if, like us, you're working and gaming on the same machine. Of course, most gamers won't be doing that, so might get a few days of gaming goodness out of it before the battery needs recharging.
For mic testing, we record clips of ourselves speaking in quiet and loud environments, both with any noise canceling or enhancements toggled on and off. We use the headsets over multiple days, wearing them while gaming, watching videos, or listening to music to test the veracity of battery life claims, as well as appraise their long-term wearability and comfort.