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Xbox Wireless Headset Review 2021

The ear pads are thick, and covered in soft leatherette, which makes for a decent seal, but the headband is very tight. After a few days of consistent use, it either loosened or my head got used to it, and the discomfort went away—regardless, expect a breaking-in period if you have a slightly larger noggin.

You can use the app to switch between EQ presets, adjust mic monitoring volume, and even check the battery level. However, if you’re a PC gamer, and you’ve decided this is the headset for you, you’ll have to buy an Xbox Wireless Adapter, which runs for around $25 USD.

This has been the status quo for a long time now, but it’s still ridiculous to need to spend that much more money just to let your headset work wirelessly on your computer. However, this Xbox gaming headset is a little less hamstrung by its connection method than most, offering a few alternative options if you don’t want to pay the dongle toll. For starters, the headset supports wired audio via its USB-C port, so you can plug it into your PC to charge and continue to use it. Once you’ve sufficiently broken in the headset, it’s comfortable enough for long gaming sessions, though still pretty tight. The headset’s big volume knob makes adjusting your audio on the fly a cinch, which is great if you’re doing something you can’t pause. The headset handles the mix of orchestral music and hectic in-game sound of Final Fantasy XIV on PC without any issue, and everything comes through similarly clearly playing a shooter like Apex Legends. The headset doesn’t offer much in the way of bells and whistles, but it supports Windows Sonic surround sound, which as well here as anywhere else. The increased mid-range output means nobody’s voice will struggle to come through, but you may that high-range sounds are occasionally pretty hard to hear in bass-heavy moments.

This increased mid-range response should ensure dialogue or players over voice chat don’t get totally lost amid the din of battle. Basically, you shouldn’t have any issues most of the time, but you might find it a little hard to differentiate between sounds when things get really hectic. It still looks like a gaming headset, but avoids a lot of the gaudier design elements typical of the product category, which means with won’t stick out in a work Zoom call. Headsets like the Razer BlackShark V2 and HyperX Cloud Alpha work everywhere (including Xbox Series X/S) and are better in almost every way—you won’t even need to recharge these ones. The Razer Kaira Pro and SteelSeries Arctis 9 (there’s a specific Xbox version) both offer better audio, microphone, battery life, and Bluetooth experiences, and they’re both very comfortable.

Xbox Wireless Headset review: Great sound, but not without other issues

While the average gamer likely sticks to the first-party Xbox controllers, it’s equally likely that you’ll find those same gamers sporting headsets by Razer, LucidSound, Turtle Beach, Audeze, or other companies. Windows 10 use requires Bluetooth 4.2+, Xbox Wireless adapter or compatible USB-C cable. The headband is pretty standard, constructed from sturdy plastic with a nicely padded faux leather underside.

The headset size is adjustable by pulling down on the earcups, which expands the connector arm from within the headband. The disc has a trademark Xbox green ring on the inside for a bit of colour. On the inside of the left disc is a line with a game controller and a person to indicate it is the game/chat balance dial.

The actual ear cups are oval with a hard plastic outer shell and soft, faux leather inside for comfort. Overall, the Xbox Wireless Headset is pretty comfortable, with decent padding on the headband and the ear cups. When first taking the Xbox Wireless Headset out of the box, you’ll likely want to charge it with the included USB-A to USB-C cable. Once charged, press and hold the green button for about 4 seconds to enter pairing mode.

The app will allow you to update the firmware and change your equalizer and mic monitoring settings. Launch it on your console or Windows 10 PC, then select the Xbox Wireless Headset once it has been detected.

The home page has buttons on the left side for Equalizer, Auto-mute (silences your mic when not speaking), Mute light (brightness), Mic monitoring (how much of your voice can be heard in your headset), and Restore to default options. Everything from Outriders to Forza Horizon 4 and Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice sounded excellent and immersive. It was an odd discovery, to be honest, as most headsets I’ve tested sound the same with or without glasses.

I could walk anywhere in my basement and get most of the way up the stairs to my main floor before it started cutting out when connected to the Xbox Series X.

Surprisingly, when in a party on the Xbox or Windows 10 PC, the other people said I sounded great. In fact, it didn’t work at all in my case, and I couldn’t hear myself speaking through the headset even with the game/chat balance set all the way to chat. A quick search of the internet confirms this is a known issue, and there is supposedly a fix coming, but that was as of almost a month ago. Even though there is an upcoming fix for the non-existent mic monitoring, it should work at launch — especially if it’s an adjustable feature. I game for a couple of hours a night, and the headset lasted about a week before needing to plug it in. For the most part, it does offer decent value with the sound and microphone quality; however, if you wear glasses or depend on mic monitoring, you won’t find as much value here. The Xbox Wireless Headset has some of the best sound and microphone quality we’ve heard in its class for the price point. While a great choice, the lack of functional mic monitoring and the sound bleed, when worn with glasses, keeps this from being an excellent one.

Xbox Wireless Headset Review

The Xbox Wireless Headset is a solid workhorse thanks to a couple of really smart design ideas and better-than-average sound. While it won’t scare any high-end home theater headset rivals, it’s a strong and versatile mid-level pick for day-to-day Xbox use.

Fashioned in black molded plastic with just a splash of Xbox green on the cans, the blend of slim, sharp edges on the top band with the not-quite concentric circles of the outer earcups and ear padding create a striking look that’s simultaneously sleek and spacious. Purchasing Guide The Xbox Wireless Headset will be available for $99.99 starting March 16, 2021, at the Microsoft digital store and other retailers, including Amazon. Given their positions and shapes, you’d never mistake one control for another once you know where everything should be, which makes them infinitely more useful than the vast majority of onboard headset controls.The microphone, meanwhile, has some ups and downs. Though it mitigates some softer noises, it failed to keep out many of the incidental sounds that might accidentally disrupt playing, even on the highest of three settings.

These kinds of little touches make the headset feel like a more profound upgrade on console than on PC.Battery life is a bit of a weak spot, though. Clean and clearly laid out, the app allows you to adjust the headset’s levels, either using a series of presets or making your own, though you can’t save custom profiles. You can also activate auto-mute and mic monitoring, or adjust the microphone indicator lighting.Depending on how you approach it, the app is either anemic or a breath of fresh air.

Even with a few blatant oversights – for example: if there’s an input test on my Elite: Series 2 controller, shouldn’t there be a microphone sound check for the headset?

Like many budget and mid-range headsets, it delivers a bass-heavy soundscape that packs a real punch when the grenades go off and things get explosive in, say, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War. In Call of Duty, I could discern the directionality of footsteps, and locate an enemy based on the sound of a bullet sailing past my head.

Xbox Wireless Headset

The earcups and headband are a bit stiff at first, but once the headphones are fitted to your head size, the Xbox Wireless Headset feels lightweight and comfortable. The big, flat circles on each earcup are large, smoothly spinning dials that act as the headset’s primary controls. The left earcup’s back edge houses a small, green button that functions as both power and pairing. Between the lower bitrate limiting the audio quality and the Bluetooth connection’s higher latency, you should purchase the $25 Xbox Wireless Adapter if you plan to use the headset with your PC.

However, these adjustments only work with Xbox consoles or a USB-C connection to a Windows 10 computer; you can’t make tweaks over Bluetooth. Your voice will likely come through better over your Xbox than your PC with Bluetooth, which means the microphone isn’t exactly well-suited for recording or streaming.

Switching to another preset, such as Movie or Music, through the Xbox Accessories app helped tone down the rumble and give the game a more pleasant balance. The Windows Sonic simulated surround processing on the console gives a good sense of directionality for higher frequency sound effects, with accurate left-right panning.

You won’t pinpoint the demons’ exact locations, especially if the bass overshadows the other sound effects, but you’ll get a good sense of their general directions. Fortnite also sounds good on the Xbox Wireless Headset, with even better directionality (thanks to a soundtrack that isn’t nearly as overwhelmingly thumpy as Doom Eternal’s).

Weapon exchanges pack plenty of power, and the hum and whine of nearby loot boxes can be clearly distinguished from other sounds. By default, the headset significantly boots the soundtrack’s low frequencies, which takes attention away from the beautiful melodies and atmospheric sounds.

For just $99.99, it offers powerful sound and a lightweight, comfortable fit, with helpful audio customization options via the Xbox Accessories app. If you want to primarily use the headset with your PC, you should consider other options that don’t rely on Bluetooth and include their own wireless adapters, like the Astro Gaming A20 or Razer Nari Essential.

Xbox Wireless Headset review

We’d expect to pay triple the price to experience this sort of sound quality, particularly from a wireless headset, though there is a caveat you need to bear in mind. We found that to get the most out of these headphones, you’ll need to spend time tweaking the EQ in the Xbox Accessories app to dial in exactly how you want them to sound.

You’ll probably get a richer, slightly fuller tone from the boom mics found on competing headphones, but the Xbox Wireless Headset’s microphone sounds great, and has clever technology like auto-mute to eliminate background noise when you’re not speaking.

The all-black design is embellished with tasteful touches, such as the thin green rings that surround the outside of each earcup and the embossed Xbox logo on the right-hand side.

The inside of the earcups, which are handily marked with large ‘L’ and ‘R’ letters, also have a faint green hue that seeps through the mesh, as the driver’s are also coated in Xbox’s familiar brand color. Adjusting volume or balancing game and voice chat is nothing short of a pleasure on the Xbox Wireless Headset thanks to the rubberized dials that we’ve seen in another of Microsoft’s audio products, the Surface Headphones.

The Xbox Wireless Headset wasn’t prone to any creaking during our testing, and the overall clamping force was more than reasonable to ensure a comfortable fit. You can also comfortably crank up the volume with room to spare thanks to the headset’s 32 Ohm impedance, and the speaker response of 20Hz – 20kHz should mean no audio details you’ve come to expect in your go-to games are missed.

But while that’s all well and good, having a purely bass-driven pair of headphones isn’t ideal when you’re playing competitive shooters or even more cinematic single-player experiences.

Too much bass can overpower and muddy the other frequencies that are equally as important, leaving you with a muffled sound that won’t do you any favors in online multiplayer games.

We’re used to a flatter soundstage overall, so headed to the Xbox Accessories app to dial back the bass to a point where it could still provide a satisfying thud, but not cannibalize every other frequency as a result. If you don’t own Dolby Atmos, simply connecting the Xbox Wireless Headset will give you six months access for free, so there’s no excuse not to experiment with the wonders of spatial audio.

Despite being a closed back pair of headphones with great noise isolation, we were pleased by how clear and detailed the best Dolby Atmos Xbox Series X games sounded. It’s astonishing to think that you can get this type of audio performance for less than $100, and Microsoft deserves a great deal of credit for including a pair of 40mm drivers that are so responsive to changes from the user.

EQs aren’t new after all, but we’ve often found that some headsets can’t really be tweaked to produce positive results, no matter how much we fiddle with certain levels.

Xbox, do more Microsoft’s wireless headset not only nails the audio quality and microphone, but it comes with some desirable features that are usually reserved for higher end headphones.

We found that on the high setting the Xbox Wireless Headset did a fine job at isolating the music we were playing off our phone once we stopped speaking.

Xbox Wireless Headset Review

As our unit came with a trial of this app that would expire, we marked Virtual Surround as ‘Windows Sonic Spatial Audio’ since this headset is compatible with it out-of-the-box, and it’s also free to use.

The Xbox Wireless Headset is a great deal — when it works

The seal of the headphones did an OK job blocking outside noise, but it can’t compare to the active noise-canceling technology of its more expensive counterparts from companies like Sony and Bose — understandably so! He joked that we needed to bake time into the beginning of each play session for me to fuss with the headset so that it would reliably work. If you’re an adult with limited game time, it’s maddening to lose even five minutes to IT support on headphones when you can just plug in earbuds and turn on Discord. While watching both Malcolm X and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, I noticed that background crowd lines were nearly as loud and clear as the main character’s dialogue. I’ll give it another shot when Halo Infinite appears — hopefully then I can finish the fight with its fussy connectivity and other sporadic frustrations.

The best Xbox One headsets for 2021

With game audio being better than ever, and so key to our experiences, upgrading to one of the best Xbox One headsets is an ironclad way to further immerse yourself in your favorite worlds, stories, and in-game moments. Specially engineered to work wirelessly with the console, it provides a near-perfect connection, combined with a rich audio experience, and impressive battery life. While the headset comes with 40mm drivers, which are smaller than many similarly priced competitors, they’re well-tuned and deliver audio that punches well above its weight while retaining a nice clarity and richness.

The trademark SteelSeries ‘headband’ design offers good comfort levels too, meaning you can play for hours without really noticing that you’re wearing the headset, which clocks in at a respectable 13oz / 368g.

The Stealth 700 Gen 2 has gotten a design upgrade from the original headset, with a slightly toned-down look (no more bright green on the Xbox version) and a flip-to-mute mic that folds neatly into the earcup. Turn on Superhuman Hearing mode to get the upperhand in online shooters, or enable the bass boost for some serious rumble during a heart-pumping campaign mission.

The Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2 is a great headset for the price point – and will have you covered for new-gen gaming on the XBox Series X|S too. The first big wallop of excellence comes in the unavoidably good-value price tag: at just $99/£89, it is way cheaper than rival headsets that are of the same weight category, quality-wise.

Razer Nari Ultimate for Xbox One Feature packed and with excellent wireless audio Specifications Acoustic design: Open Back Cable length: Wireless Drivers: 50mm Weight: 15 oz Compatibility: Xbox One, PC TODAY’S BEST DEALS View at Walmart Prime View at Amazon View at Razer Reasons to buy + Haptic feedback feels good + Superior audio quality + Very solid wireless Reasons to avoid – Mic isn’t the best In addition to bringing excellent surround sound, the headset also offers haptic feedback, which means this vibrates in time with the audio so you can literally feel the big noises (usually explosions).

Elsewhere it’s worth noting that the Nari Ultimate is wireless, and that the battery life is surprisingly good considering this has haptic feedback as well as the usual audio features. Note that you can buy this Xbox One specific Nari Ultimate headset which is very focussed for the console and gaming, but will then require the Microsoft Wireless Adapter to use it with your PC as it does not include a 3.5mm connection option.

Turtle Beach Recon 500 A refresh for the model ends in great quality and value for XSX Specifications Acoustic design: Closed Back, over ear Drivers: 60mm Eclipse Weight: c.600g Compatibility: Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS5, PS4, PC, Switch, Mobile TODAY’S BEST DEALS Prime View at Amazon View at Best Buy View at Walmart Reasons to buy + THAT excellent sound + No ‘gamer aesthetic’ flare or design quirks + Zero distortion Reasons to avoid – Nothing special about its construction materials You won’t find lavish gamer-y design flairs or the most premium construction materials on the Recon 500, then, since Turtle Beach’s latest in the long-running line costs less than $100/£100. The 50mm drivers deliver a clear, loud 5.1 sound that easily matches the quality found in headsets that cost way more than the Tournament Edition. It’s one of the best headsets for online play, helping you pick out enemy movements and distant gunfire at a decent range and with great accuracy. Elsewhere, the Kraken TE is light, comfortable (thanks to cooling tech in the ear-cushions), and sturdy – three things you really need in a mid-priced Xbox One headset. Our previous champion was the Razer Kraken Pro V2, but the TE now offers superior value and audio for roughly the same price (in some cases, you can even find it cheaper), so it replaces the older model.

Corsair HS75 XB Wireless Perfect for multiplayer with great positional audio mic Specifications Acoustic design: Closed Back Drivers: 50mm Weight: 13.2oz (374g) Compatibility: Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One TODAY’S BEST DEALS Prime View at Amazon Low Stock View at Walmart View at CORSAIR Reasons to buy + Excellent mic + Great audio with booming bass + Comes with premium Dolby Atmos app Reasons to avoid – Quite big – A bit dear The build and design quality also help to further justify the price of admission, with the brushed metal earcup yokes feeling like they’ll protect the headset from any drops – on their sides at least – while looking good too.

Razer Kaira Pro Razer’s latest plays nice with Xbox One too Specifications Acoustic design: Closed Back / over ear Battery life: up to 15 hours Drivers: 50mm Weight: 0.73lbs (330g) Compatibility: Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, mobile TODAY’S BEST DEALS Prime View at Amazon View at Razer View at Best Buy Reasons to buy + Fantastic surround sound + Adjustable profiles + Game/chat balancer Reasons to avoid – Mic doesn’t impress as much as it should Audeze Penrose X A seriously premium Xbox One headset Specifications Acoustic design: Over-ear, closed-circumaural Cable length: Wireless (c.50″ / 127cm aux cable) Drivers: 100mm Planar Magnetic Weight: 11.3oz / 320g Compatibility: Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One , PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch, PC, Mac, Mobile TODAY’S BEST DEALS View at Adorama Check Amazon Reasons to buy + Rich and detailed sound + Comfortable for long sessions + Easy to use and tweak game audio and chat volume in the mix Reasons to avoid – Expensive – Microphone can be a bit awkward If you have a healthy budget and want some of the most specialised, exquisite audio you can get from an Xbox One wireless headset, then the Audeze Penrose X is a great set to consider. Plus, and although the price of admission is considerable,m you’re also getting one of the top wireless Xbox Series X headsets too so this will have you covered for two whole generations (and on PC if you want further flexibility).

You’re getting a practically unrivaled audio experience out of the Penrose X; deep bass, incredible clarity, and a real depth and detail to the sound that helps to immerse you into your favorite virtual worlds and give you better insight into the action unfolding around you in multiplayer arenas. As we say, the Penrose X is expensive, but it’s also an investment for the future: it’s a premium headphone offering from Audeze that delivers a quality, depth, and density in its sound that few of its peers are able to match.

This is the official Xbox One headset produced by Microsoft, and despite its modest price it still delivers a full range of rich stereo audio.

Its low weight, combined with the breathable fabric ear cups, meaning you can happily wear it for long gaming sessions without getting too fatigued.

This is a thoughtfully designed piece of kit, available in Xbox green obviously, with a sturdy yet comfortable build and some impressive audio qualities. Thanks to memory foam ear-cups and a comfy headband, the Corsair HS35 is still snug without being uncomfortable after several hours of play, and it’s tough enough to withstand being pulled on and off your head without too much care.

Sure, the bass levels aren’t quite a good as other top-end headsets, but that makes the biggest difference when you try to use it for other media like movies and music. But that doesn’t compromise build quality – the Elite Pro 2 mixes metal and sturdy, white plastic to great effect, offering an Xbox One headset that’s both stylish and durable. Note: This is a slightly older model of Xbox One headset now so you might see stock fluctuating, prices change, and maybe even a lack of availability.

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