Bless my ears deceive me? With a surfeit in selection, it’s difficult to land a specific choice in headwear for gaming these days. Brands that boast 3D Surround Sound and inbuilt Dolby ATMOS as their respective hardware’s key feature at exorbitant prices. The “Bang for your Buck” adage is somewhat passé when searching for the appropriate tech that demonstrates precision quality for pocket change. So colour me confounded when I covered my cranium with the XBOX Wireless Headset, and was completely taken back by its notable build. The calibre and condition of the headphones are high class, from simply grasping them and taking a good look at them. I admit, I was not expecting the headset to be this astounding out of the box. But its sleek design and stature was alluring enough to utilise the portable headset as my daily driver for the last ten days.
Yes, I went above and beyond gaming as the hardware intrigued me. I wanted to push the headset to its fullest; to encompass, comprehend what 15 hours of battery life was willing to deliver. Of course, a great portion of my time using the headset was gaming on both my XBOX and PC, but I also wanted to realise its potential as a multimedia device. The big question I always received when selling headphones as a former salesperson was “can it do more?”. Of course, headphones that carry a myriad of outlets like a 3.5mm jack can be repurposed for other means – a glaring omission from the XBOX Wireless Headset. These caveats can create impediments or drawbacks that are more or less a snag than a flaw. But of course, the big question everyone wants to know is ‘How does it stack up to the big boys?’. In short; extremely well.
Right off the bat, let’s talk about the sound quality, I mean that’s why you’re here. One word, Marvellous. Now I say this as a Dolby ATMOS user that loves to immerse himself within each action-adventure game. I aspire to cognise my awareness while experiencing a first person or third person shooter. From Call of Duty to Gears 5, the headset managed to simulate my surroundings with such expertise that it took me moments to discern my surroundings. The disparities between a standard $150AUD gaming headset and the XBOX Wireless Gaming Headset are made abundantly clear, right from powering the device on. A booming jingle with a hearty bass that indicates its presence and possibilities impose a promising experience. Taking the headset for a great burl in Forza Horizon 4, I could clearly decipher multiple vehicles on my tail speeding down the highways of Great Britain.
There was more to analyse and deduce using the headwear while playing the racer; although minute facets, it’s a further appreciation of gaming development that comes to light such as birds chirping, and gusts of wind blowing through. Things that aren’t observed upon initial delivery. The extraordinary exercise of augmenting reality through sound, extends an encouraging feat demonstrated with amplified presentation alone. Returning to titles like Yakuza: Like a Dragon or the illustrious Bethesda library, there was an elevated sense of appreciation, clearly aggrandised by a distinguished sound barrier that had just been exposed. A vast variety of headphones from multiple manufacturers aim to deliver these exact qualities in their product, some pride themselves on these as their hallmark attribute but the XBOX Wireless Headset congregates and amalgamates them into this gorgeous piece of kit.
Credit: XBOX Australia
Seated comfortably on my big noggin’, its featherweight 312g contrasted its sturdy make but made for natural mobility after equipping the hardware. For all its intent and purposes, the multimedia device was set to make use of its namesake. Syncing the unit with my PC and playing select titles from Game Pass, I was unequivocally satisfied with everything the tech was divulging thus far. But what if I were to use it as a communication tool? or just to chill with some tunes? Before I jump into multiplayer, let’s talk the latter of those two questions. The hardware’s purpose for gaming exposes itself a fraction here, as I noticed an imbalance of unequalised backings of audio tracks. Now this could have easily been a encoding issue of digital lossy audio compression from certain outlets, but I was determined to be sure, and unfortunately a drawback did surface after testing the headwear on my Audio-Technica (AT-LP60XBT) Bluetooth Turntable.
XBOX Wireless Headset
March 16, 2021
What’s in the box?
Xbox Wireless Headset
USB-C charging cable (14 inches long)
For use with Xbox X|S, Xbox One and Windows 10 devices. On supported consoles, some voice chat features may require Xbox Game Pass Ultimate or Xbox Live Gold (memberships sold separately). Windows 10 use requires Bluetooth 4.2+, Xbox Wireless adapter or compatible USB-C cable. Each sold separately.
Headband: inner steel metal band with foam cushioning
Ear cushions: oval design with polyurethane leather and foam cushioning
Mic design: bendable boom with dual mics and Illuminated LED when mic is on
Speaker size: 40mm Speaker material: Paper composite diaphragm and neodymium magnet Speaker Impedance: 32 ohm Speaker Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
Bluetooth version: 4.2 (A2DP, HFP, HSP) Codec: SBC
Internal, rechargeable lithium-ion battery with up to 15 hours of battery life per charge. 30 minutes of charging provides about 4 hours of battery life and recharges to full battery life in about 3 hours when headset is not in use.*
11 oz (312g)
Virtual Surround Sound
Supports Spatial Sound technologies like Windows Sonic, Dolby Atmos and DTS Headphone:X on Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One*
Xbox Accessories app
Adjust equaliser settings, bass boost, auto-mute, LED brightness and mic monitoring*
The surround sound almost made a default towards stereo, with forward melodies and vocals drowned by instruments that aren’t emphatically dominant if listening through traditional means like a pair of speakers or other brands of headphones. There is a slight misbalance of bass that does tend to overlap the focus of the song you may be listening to, whether it be singer or a soloist that’s fronting the band. It’s difficult to articulate, or put into terms but a dominance in boastful tones can dissimilate what the soundtrack is disposing. But again, I believe that’s subjective to how people prefer to listen to their music, and can be easily adjusted with software. As a communication device, whether it be playing a midnight session of COD, or conversing in a conference call the Microphone outputs a crystal clear inflection, that was astonishing. Listening back to audio, I had to be reassured that I was using the headset mic, by syncing the device to my phone for some further testing.
All about the Budget...
✔️Bang for your buck; astounding quality goes above and beyond expectation.
✔️Premium build delivers a sensational entrustment.
✔️Quick Charge, 15 Hours of Battery life and the best in-built mic I’ve used.
❌The omission of a 3.5mm Jack is questionable & Bluetooth can be scrupulous.
Now while I’ve given the XBOX Wireless Headset insurmountable praise, I have to re-establish a baseline; this is a budget headset. If you’re an audiophile, and are looking to purchase the unit hoping it delivers top of the line, insane audio quality, then you’re only setting your expectations beyond reasonable. This is a gaming headset, that does pose multiple uses but is strictly built for purpose, and that is seamless, ease of access to immersive gameplay on your XBOX Series console. Don’t get me wrong, it’s without a doubt the best budget headset I’ve ever handled, but its not without issues.
No optional 3.5mm port is a minor hurdle that may easily deter gamers from the enticing tech’s above par build quality. The Bluetooth can be fastidious, disrupting sessions with audio that cuts in and out depending on distance from the console, or other hardware within your vicinity that may clash with the wireless technology. There were moments I did find the headset to be eclectic by simply rotating my head. However, the positives greatly outweigh these only two negatives with my overall experience being an overly-satisfied one. While grinding out a few Cold War late night sessions, the need to make a quick trip and grab snacks or take a call was always expected.
Simply tapping the mute button located at the the base of the cup, attached to the neck of the mic is a highlight that’s handy for moments of haste. The dials on each side allow you to manipulate the headpiece for perfect sound, whether it be volume or levelling your preference of game audio to party chat, without the need to navigate a myriad of menus to appropriate your desired auditory. The cushioned padding on each of the cups and headband offers distinct comfort for long term usage. As someone with large head, the band extends drastically for a one-size-fits-all accoutrement with a lock on the extenders that disable it from readjusting while equipped. The Pleather (Artificial Leather) combined with inner ear meshed fitting allows for breathing space so you won’t sweat up a storm in those intense moments of compelling combat.
I will say that I love the inbuilt Equaliser software on the XBOX Series, and its accessibility. Customising my preferences, increasing or decreasing facets of tunes and tones such as bass or treble made it a delight to tinker with every so often. Personalising my options, tailoring it to suit every title or occasion was bliss and made my gaming sessions a little more exciting each time. The inclusion of a quick charge USB-C port comes in handy after a full day of gaming. A full charge of three hours will allow the headset to dispose of up to 15 hours of game time, while those “emergency” 2K sessions that call for a quick “1v1” can have the unit charge for 15 minutes for up to 3 hours in delivery – that’s incredible.
The XBOX Wireless Headset is a premium product at a feasible cost. Confident Built, Quality Sound, Competitively priced and ergonomically enthralling, the unit delivers on a multitude of features that can’t be argued. A startling surprise from the moment you adorn and immerse yourself in an elongated showdown, the hardware demonstrates a deluge of dedicated duration. A trusty garb that conveys and translates audio in ways I wouldn’t have expected from something at such a low cost. At $150AUD, the long-term value you’re handed supersedes that of its competition. A marginal difference is made apparent from the moment you wear these pair of beauties, and engage Game Pass’ illustrious legacy. The XBOX Wireless Headset is a must have, a compulsory buy for XBOX Series owners.
The XBOX Wireless Headset is available now. Be sure to check out our review on the XBOX Series X, by clicking here.