Wireless precision makes an easy decision
Compatibility: Xbox (One and Series X via Xbox Wireless), PC via Xbox Wireless adapter and Bluetooth.
Test Time: 25hrs - Xbox (W'less) and PC (USB C Cabled)
Battery Life: 15hrs
X gon' give it to ya.
Console manufacturers standard headsets have always been pretty, well, standard. Microsoft's last attempt at a Xbox headset wasn't terrible, don't get me wrong. It's microphone was clear, it was relatively comfy as weird as its pivot point ear cup setup was. But it was also seven years old. That's like 60 years in technology time.
2021 and the big MS usher in the very simply labelled, Xbox: Wireless Headset. I mean, I can appreciate that, but I hope they're not paying their marketing department too much. To be honest, they almost deserve a fancy name. Like X-set. Or Sound360. Yeah, ok no, you know what, Xbox Wireless Headset is fine.
It seems Microsoft have sampled some of their ideas from their previous Surface Headphone design. Rounded cup-caps with dial functionality, Memory foam cups, rounded band type with soft pleather bound memory foam band. The surface headphones were a great headset, so to be built in its image is a pretty solid compliment. Add to that a flexible microphone wand (non extendable), larger dials for volume (R) and chat balance (L), you got a pretty good starting point for a headset that comes in at only $149.
Coming in at 312g (and a 15hr battery in there), primarily its construction is all plastic with a metal inner band, it's sturdy. I would rate it a firmer more hard wearing feeling unit than a cheap Razer or Turtle Beach headset. The sizing is done through a classic band slider mechanism and has very tactile notches. Once sizing is chosen it locks in place once on the head, to the point you can't readjust once its on your head. I'm ok with this though as it means your fit is set once you're in action.
The cups are nice and deep too, and as a glasses wearer, I can testify that the memory foam is comfortable for decent length sessions. The only gripe I have, as I do personally with all headsets with this type of finish, is the pleatherette wraps. As a Queenslander, that stuff just equated to being a sweaty mess if temps get up, but in their defense, this sealed material does help keep sound closed in, and may well contribute to how...
... good they sound. These things are beyond anything else you could get for $150. Supporting Windows Sonic, Dolby Atmos and DTS Headphone:X in one headset, they have a positional audio quality that I'd expect out of $250 plus headsets. I tested these primarily on Resident Evil 8 and Rainbow 6 Siege. Environmental audio on RE8 was crazy good. It made things in the distance FEEL distant. Bird chirps, creaks and rustles of the trees and bushes, and the random growls all had me immersed. At one point I actually thought it was raining outside in real life. Don't get me wrong, the audio engineering in RE8 could play a huge part in this, but the headset still has to make it work, and it did.
As for the close quarters stuff, the booms of firearms and the patter of feet, that's all here too. Shooting off your freshly upgraded Auto Shotgun around the VIllage has kick. Dialogue is clean. When playing R6 Siege (I was playing on PC via USB cable for this), the positional clarity of footsteps close by is also precise and shooting was clear and accurate. The one area I found they do drop the ball a smidge is music. Playing some heavier tunes through Spotify, they COULD be better, big drone bass and mids were a little lacking (which could be adjusted with the equalizer settings in the Xbox Accessories app), but I'm willing to take that with a grain of salt. I would rather these perform better in the aspect of gaming purpose audio than music.
Microphone is impressive as well. With a flex-stem type from the left ear cup with a voice isolation pick up, its sharp and clear. I've even used it to broadcast my twitch feed direct from the Xbox for Resident Evil 8 (as I'm too lazy to run it through an OBS setup) and was more than happy with how sharp and clean it was for a headset mic. Other functions include auto mute so it only picks up voice, and an LED indicator that sits perfectly in peripheral to remind you whether your mic is on or not. Overall, above average for this price point.
Sporting the aforementioned proprietary Xbox wireless connectivity, which is simply done just like the controllers by the connectivity button pairing method, it also has Bluetooth 4.2 to allow connectivity to any other BT devices. What's also great about this, is it supports Dual connectivity. This means being able to play on the Xbox while say, chatting on Discord with mates, or staying connected to your phone for any calls that may come through while playing.
Connectivity has been nothing but stable and easy to use.
If I haven't already, I can't stress this enough, at time of writing, you won't get a better Xbox headset for $150. Even the Wired HyperX Cloud 2's might sound harder hitting, but the wireless and true Xbox surround elements here to me win the day.
Microsoft had a bit to live up to here given how exclusive they seem to make their wireless connectivity function and the limited range this then offers on the market. Prior to these, Xbox wireless headsets were almost limited to, Turtle beach Stealth 6/700, Rig 7/800HX, Steel Series 9X, and Astros A20 and A50. Whereas Sony has all of those equivalents in wireless and then almost triple that, with options in Logitech, Corsair, HyperX and Razer to name a few, given the Sony wireless headset tech seemed to synch in better with the "For PC" built gear. Not everyone has the dollars to splash on some of that premium gear, so it was important that Microsoft got this balance of price and performance right, and they gosh darn did.
Nathan is a Gamer, Collector and an Electronics Retail Lifer/Employee. He can't commit to a favourite game, but the Hitman Saga is up there and you'll find him on
twitch.tv/nateoriousfox casually playing Rainbow Six Siege. His dedicated hardware reviews and other critical thoughts can be found at technatelogic.com (coming soon).