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Alienware Headset Aw988 Review

Be sure to visit IGN Tech for all the latest comprehensive hands-on reviews and best-of roundups. It offers the sturdy yet sleek design that you expect from Alienware along with two-zone RGB lighting and lag-free 7.1 surround sound. The headband and the earcup supports are made of plastic, but they feature a soft-touch coating that has a pleasingly smooth, rubberized feel to it. The volume dial is of the basic notched plastic variety; for a premium headset, I’m surprised Alienware didn’t opt for a wider, rubbery volume dial like you get on the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless, which is easier to locate and control.On the bottom edge you’ll find a button to switch between three EQ modes (gaming, music, movie) and two ports — a micro-USB port for the charging cable and a 3.5mm jack for the auxiliary audio cable for use with mobile devices and console controllers. The 3.5mm audio cable isn’t braided but offers the next best thing — it’s flat like linguine to prevent tangles.The headset offers helpful voice prompts when you connect to your computer, switch EQ modes, mute the microphone, and when the battery gets low. Alienware rates the battery life for the headset at 15 hours, though I suspect that you’ll get less with the RGB lights enabled. The boom mic folds up and rests in a slot when you don’t need it so that it practically disappears. There’s a separate section for tweaking the microphone where I found the Noise Suppression effect to be highly effective in bringing my voice to the forefront of the mix, an important feature since many headset mics make it sound like you are speaking from somewhere deep in a cave.There are two other sections that I don’t have much use for. One lets streamers add audio effects to their shows, and the other overlays a small circle along the right edge of your game and acts as sort of a radar to let you know from which direction sounds are coming.Finally, there is the lighting section that offers the usual effects including Pulsing, Breathing, and Morphing. In preferences, you can set the time of inactivity before the headset powers off; it’s set to 30 minutes by default but you can select between five minutes and never.The Alienware Wireless Gaming Headset offers the most convincing 7.1 virtual surround sound I’ve heard.

Plus, if you don’t like the sound, you have the ability to tweak the levels with the Alienware Headset Center software.Thehas as MSRP $229.99 but can be found for $199.99 direct from

High-End Wireless Gaming Headset with 7.1 Surround Sound

The headphones have a large amount of leather-like plastic material on the outsides, making them feel great to the touch, though highly susceptible to fingerprints. The headband of the Alienware AW988 is crafted from the same material as the ear cups, which has the benefit of being comfortable to the touch and the disadvantage of being extremely fingerprint-prone.

Review: The Alienware Wireless Gaming Headset (AW988) is out of this world

In the face of all this stiff competition, let’s see how their shiny new Alienware Wireless Gaming Headset (AW988) holds up. The wireless headset primarily made of lightweight plastic, which gives the AW988 its matte black appearance.

Look further down and you’ll find the wireless dongle, cleverly hidden in a garage slot on the bottom of the right earcup. Owners would be unlikely to encounter warm, stuffy, and sweaty ears with this headset — a godsend in Singapore’s humid weather.

Conversely, this porous material does make the AW988 prone to some sound leakage, despite the closed design and the seal mentioned earlier. It’s extremely flexible and form fitting, again helping to improve comfort by evenly spreading out the headset’s weight.

Most headsets give me tension headaches due to the ear cups pressing against my glasses, but this was never a problem with the Alienware. With its 40mm Neodymium drivers, the bass is deep and rich, letting you hear thumps and bumps with great clarity. It’s perfectly capable of delivering treble, though it does get slight distortions when cranking up the volume; bass-heads will be happy to know that this isn’t the case for the lower frequencies, the headset maintaining the high fidelity sound throughout. This strong bass definitely works well with shooters, where the growl of a flamethrower or the retort of a shotgun greatly benefits from a driver that can support and produce those notes reliably and clearly. Reach around the back of the left earcup to find the conveniently located volume control, which is notched for a better feel. Another annoyance is how easily it picks up fingerprints, the matte black surface and plastic making smudges a constant plague.

Alienware AW988 wireless gaming headset review

As you would expect from a gaming headset, the Alienware AW988 features a microphone arm, but it folds up nicely for when you don’t need it, which we quite like. On the bottom of the right ear cup, there appears to be a big hole — but it’s actually a spot to put the USB dongle when you’re not using the headset in wireless mode.

There’s memory foam in the ear cups, and while there isn’t a ton of metal, it’s there where it counts, and the plastic used is strong and well-built. As mentioned, there’s memory foam in the ear cups, and while there’s not quite as much padding in the head band, it’s still plenty comfortable.

You’ll easily be able to wear it for hours on end, which is good news for when you’re getting stuck into a new game. What that means is that it should offer plenty of oomph to explosions and gunshots, while during music listening, things like kick drums and bass guitars are heavy and powerful.

After all, it’ll help things like your teammates’ voices shine through and be easily heard. It’s nice that you can tweak the sound profile a little with the EQ button, and you might want to do so — though the tuning that you land on may not line up with what you’re doing all the time. Still, if you’re relatively good at ensuring that your devices stay charged up, it likely won’t run out of battery often.

In particular, the SteelSeries Arctis Pro + GameDAC doesn’t offer wireless support, but it’s more comfortable, lighter, and also sounds very good. In fact, because of its great sound-quality, we’re awarding the headset the Headphone Review Bronze Medal.

Alienware AW988 headset review : Alienware

I have gotten an Alienware AW988 headset and wanted to do a review in case anyone is on the fence about buying a pair. It’s an all plastic design with the exception of the headband which is metal which seems to be pretty standard on all of my headsets, including the G933.

The outside of the ear cuffs are the same type of soft touch which our laptops have on the palm rest, which looks nice , but it attracts finger prints extremely easily. The AW988 stores the dongle in the bottom of the headset in a small magnetic slot and the G933’s ear cuff is removable and the dongle clips inside and the ear cuff cover goes over top. When it comes to the ear cuffs I don’t notice that much difference between the AW988 and G933, but the AW988 actually has a better head band IMO and is the clear winner here. Sound quality wise they are pretty even and i don’t notice a huge difference when using the 7.1 setting in the G933 software. The Alienware does not seem to have a setting to disable the 7.1 channel sound and drop it back down to stereo that I can see? I feel like the AW988 Sound center is harder to gauge the battery life and some of the other details which are located in the top.

Alienware AW988 Review – Looks Aren’t Everything They Say

Keeping our expectations as high as the price, let’s find out if this wireless pair is worth a dollar-less wallet. Right off the bat, it seems like the quality is just plain solid, not overwhelmingly impressive – which we were demanding at the start of this review. I’ve owned some pretty awful headsets in my youth and most of the time, my teammates would ignore the garbled hiss that came everytime I spoke. For me personally, I’m not too bothered by wired headphones, so for a higher price, I wouldn’t necessarily opt for the wireless option, but I certainly understand the appeal.

If you’re a console gamer, wireless is even more appealing because if there’s cables involved, you’re likely sitting with your face pressed against the monitor. The AW988 provides roughly 17 hours of gameplay before you need to recharge, but if you’re gaming with the AlienFX RGB lights on, you’ll be sapping about half of that battery life for the sake of looking very cool.

But if you’re an audiophile who doesn’t mind a little extra spend, the Steelseries Arctis Pro is your match. Sleek, modern, matte black design impressively showing off their Alienware logo through AlienFX RGB lights and two thin lines underneath that curve nicely with the slight sloping of the earpieces.

Just access ACC – Alienware’s Command Center application to adjust the lights to your specifications.

This is a pretty fun feature to personalize your gameplay and change your lights based on the game you’re playing, your team, or hey, even your mood.

The overhead band of course features the Alienware logo, nicely debossed into the matte black material. Within each earpiece is a convenient L and R to make sure you’re wearing them correctly (unless of course, you prefer having the mic on the back of your head – no judgement).

Soft, lightweight padded material offers a very cushioned wear that critics seem to agree stays light and comfortable enough to keep that 8+ hour gameplay headache free. The design is worth the price and none of those related products – Corsair Void, SteelSeries Arctic Pro, OneOdio (absolutely not), Tyuobox, and LucidSound stand up to the AW988 in terms of look alone. The AW988 is a pretty large headset, but their stylish design keeps them sleek and wearable despite their hefty appearance.

Unfortunately, I have had my share of bad luck when it comes to the lifespan of my headphones and headsets, so I’ve grown bitterly pessimistic. Although the earpiece material looks solid, the headset itself has a good looking heft to it, and the price wants to imply it’ll be a lasting investment, I’m just not so sure. The material doesn’t seem to be strong enough to withstand bumps and bruises or the simple passage of time.

The AlienFX RGB lights are a nice subtle touch that help further personalize the product. The flip-up mic is also a pretty cool feature that lets you forget they’re a headset and just wear them like headphones while casually playing alone.

Being wireless for 17 hours at a time while still providing 7.1 virtual surround sound only helps sell this headset, even with the slightly higher price point. But for its current price tag, I’d be a little more open if only to try out a very comfortable set with satisfactory audio quality, a stylish design, neat flip up mic and a chance to build my altar to Alienware. I’m not so overly impressed with them that I’m eager to tell you to run out and purchase them, but if you’re looking for a solid new addition, this isn’t a bad direction to go in.

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