Up to date December 20, 2017: The still-laudable HyperX Cloud cedes high honors to its HyperX Cloud Alpha successor, our new best all-around gaming headset. We’ve additionally topped a brand new best budget gaming headset. See our causes for the these shakeups under.
The following nice peripherals battle is being waged over your ears. After each firm on the planet put out a gaming mouse after which a mechanical keyboard, they turned their consideration to headsets. So many headsets.
We all know you don’t wish to scroll by each single headset assessment when all you need is a straightforward reply: “What’s the perfect gaming headset I should buy with my hard-earned ?” This web page holds the solutions you search, it doesn’t matter what your funds is.
We’ll preserve updating our suggestions as we have a look at new merchandise and discover stronger contenders.
Finest all-around gaming headset
After three years, we’re lastly altering it up. Form of. Since 2014, our official gaming headset advice has been Kingston’s HyperX Cloud—the unique, no surname, simply Cloud. “It’s comfy, it sounds nice, and better of all, it’s comparatively cheap,” as I wrote of its virtues.
And that also holds true. The unique HyperX Cloud stays an exceptional headset, and nearly all the time on sale for $70-80. I extremely advocate it.
HyperX lastly outdid itself, although, with 2017’s HyperX Cloud Alpha, or “HyperX Cloud III,” as I’ve termed it in my head. That’s why I say we’re “form of” shaking issues up—the Alpha is, in some ways, simply an improve to the unique Cloud.
The core design hasn’t modified a lot, that means the Alpha brings the identical mixture of sturdiness and luxury that made me fall in love with its predecessor. There are some quality-of-life upgrades although, like detachable cabling and extra accessible quantity and mute controls.
It sounds nice, too. HyperX chalks it as much as the Alpha’s dual-chamber know-how, which separates bass frequencies from the mids and highs. That could possibly be the case, or it could possibly be a gimmick—I’ve mentioned it at larger size in our assessment. Both means, the upshot is that the Cloud Alpha sounds pretty much as good or higher than loads of its dearer competitors, and with barely extra bass kick this time round. (Learn our full review.)
The HyperX Cloud Alpha is a good headset. If its entry on the scene feels a bit much less noteworthy in 2017, it’s solely as a result of three years on from the Cloud, HyperX is a longtime participant as a substitute of an underdog—and but different corporations nonetheless battle to match the Clouds’ high quality on the Clouds’ worth. We’ll see what 2018 holds.
Finest funds gaming headset
Surprisingly, the one firm competing with HyperX proper now within the low-end area is…Astro. Ironic, since as headset costs spiraled downwards the previous few years, Astro stood sturdy on the high—its low-cost headset, the A40, was nonetheless $150 on the low finish, whereas its high-end wi-fi A50 (our pick for extravagance) got here in at $300.
However for 2017 Astro unveiled the brand new A10, its entry-level headset. Very entry-level, with an inventory worth of $60. That’s barely greater than our earlier advice, the HyperX
Cloud Stinger—nonetheless an excellent headset too. I feel $10 extra for the Astro A10 is a cut price although.
There have been compromises to hit that worth, for positive. The A10 lifts some design inspiration from its dearer siblings, but it surely’s a bit boxier, with a colorless grey chassis and minimal ornament. It’s additionally 100 p.c plastic, which doesn’t assist dispel a budget feeling.
The A10 has it the place it counts although, which is to say it sounds nice. We’re speaking “nice for a $60 headset,” in fact, however nonetheless. The A10 delivers clear mids and a wealthy bass that comes near mimicking the sound of Astro’s dearer headsets and solely falters within the particulars. Particulars, I would add, that almost all listeners in all probability wouldn’t even discover day-to-day. (Learn our full review.)
It’s a superb entry-level headset, and deserves your consideration—offered you may look previous its bland exterior.
Finest low-end wi-fi gaming headset
Frankly talking, Corsair doesn’t actually have any competitors on this class. Most first rate wi-fi gaming headsets will run you $150 or extra. Corsair’s Void Wireless is priced at a mere $100, which leaves it on its lonesome.
However even accounting for that vacuum, it’s fairly good. Not phenomenal, thoughts you, however at this worth you’re getting a cut price.
I wasn’t actually positive what to make of the Void’s bizarre, diamond-shaped ear cups however after some use I’m truly fairly happy. The Void Wi-fi sits a bit ahead on the top, with the band resting simply above your brow. It takes some getting used to, however the finish result’s much less stress on the jaw and extra on the again of the top the place it’s much less noticeable. I wouldn’t say it’s as comfy because the extra conventional HyperX Cloud, however certainly I prefer it greater than its predecessor, the H2100.
The on-headset controls are pretty intuitive, with a quantity rocker on the underside of the left ear, plus outsized buttons for energy and mute on the facet. And it’s obtained 16.eight million shade RGB lighting, if that’s your bag.
The largest design subject is that the Void Wi-fi is heavy. It’s not an issue when sitting up, however should you look down or lookup the headset tends to slip round. I don’t know whether or not it’s due to the battery or the metal-augmented development, however your neck will get a exercise with this headset.
Sound-wise, the Void Wi-fi nonetheless wants some work. It sounds satisfactory, particularly whereas gaming, however throwing on some music units the Void Wi-fi’s limitations into stark aid. The low-end is muddy and distorted, and the entire vary of mid-to-high-end frequencies sounds slick, such as you’ve utilized an excessive amount of compression.
You possibly can modify the headset’s sound in Corsair’s software program, however Corsair’s software program continues to be a bit unwieldy. Higher than final yr, I feel, however nonetheless not on par with Razer, SteelSeries, or Logitech. Additionally, some customers have reported issues with firmware updates—not an excellent signal.
“This doesn’t sound like an extremely constructive assessment,” you may say. And also you’re proper, it’s not. The Void Wi-fi will not be an unimaginable headset, as I stated up high. However it’s the finest wi-fi gaming headset beneath $150, and given what number of wires are hooked up to my PC at any given second, the comfort of low-cost wi-fi is perhaps price sacrificing a little bit of sound high quality.
Finest mid-range wi-fi gaming headset
It’s a tricky name changing our former mid-tier wi-fi choose, the Logitech G933, with its sibling-successor the Logitech G533. Like, actually robust. The G933 is a superb headset, with crisp and well-balanced audio and some nifty design options (like having the ability to retailer the USB dongle inside an earcup).
In some methods, I’d say the G933 is a greater headset than the G533.
However I’m nonetheless changing it. Why? Effectively, aesthetics are an enormous motive. If you would like a sign how Logitech’s design language has shifted prior to now yr or so, look no additional than the G933 and G533. The G933 was all sharp angles and science fiction. The G533 then again is glossy, skilled, restrained. With a piano-black end and tender curves, it appears like a headset made by Audio-Technica or Sennheiser or a extra mainstream audio firm—not essentially a “gaming” headset. I prefer it.
The G533’s design can be practical. The microphone isn’t as hidden as I’d like, however that’s the only real flaw. The headset is light-weight, sturdy, and fewer vise-grip tight than its predecessor.
As for audio constancy? It’s not fairly equal to the G933, however the variations are minimal. The G533 lacks a little bit of oomph, particularly at decrease volumes, and its 7.1 help is subpar. These are hardly causes to remain away, although—most individuals will run the headset loud sufficient to counteract the headset’s lack of presence, and digital 7.1 is (for my part) just about all the time unhealthy. The G533 is worse than the common, however the common continues to be one thing I select to keep away from day-to-day.
In any case, the G933 continues to be being offered and is a wonderfully sensible choice for some, particularly if you would like console help. The G533 is PC-only, whereas the G933 might be hooked up by three.5mm cable to different units. And should you worth consolation over audio constancy, check out the SteelSeries Arctis 7 too—one other nice selection.
The G533 is our official mid-tier wi-fi advice although, in the intervening time.
Finest extravagant gaming headset
After a brand new technology of the Astro A50 and Siberia 800 launched in 2016, I assumed we’d lastly break the tie that’s dominated our splurge headset choose for the previous few years.
However as soon as once more, there’s no clear winner at that $300+ worth—although Astro definitely made some strides towards edging out SteelSeries.
The brand new A50’s largest enchancment is the battery. The brand new mannequin overcomes a long-running weak spot and packs in 12 to 15 hours of life—sufficient to get you thru even a protracted day of gaming. Higher but, it options gyroscopes within the ears that enable it to detect whether or not you’ve set it down. It robotically shuts off ten seconds later in that case, after which turns again and connects to your PC on when you choose it again up. Its base station additionally serves as a charger, a pleasant mixture of perform and sweetness.
What retains it from being the stand-out winner are a number of annoyances. For starters, the A50 makes use of the 5GHz band, which implies the vary isn’t nice. Even sitting at my pc, I sometimes seen interference. A built-in battery additionally means you’re caught attaching it to your PC with a MicroUSB cable when you play, should you in some way forgot to cost it. And the audio, whereas fairly good and superior to the Siberia 800, nonetheless is definitely outdone by $300 headphones.
Accordingly, the Siberia 800 retains its spot on this listing. Although the Astro A50 sounds higher and is extra comfy, this headset’s been a favourite of mine for some time—largely due to its battery system. Somewhat than charging the battery within the headset, the Siberia 800 as a substitute means that you can swap between two detachable packs. One can energy the headset for as much as 20 hours whereas the opposite costs within the facet of the bottom station. There’s actually no means you may run out of battery in the midst of gaming.
The bottom station can be practical, permitting you to regulate EQ, chat combine, and different audio tweaks on the fly with a easy OLED show. No software program’s wanted. It’s additionally a lot smaller than Astro’s base station, which takes up a hefty portion of your desk. The headset vary is best with the Siberia 800, too, because it makes use of the two.4GHz band, which has higher penetration.
One observe: Personally I’d keep on with the 800 mannequin, because it’s about $150 cheaper. The Siberia 840’s predominant distinction is Bluetooth help, which doesn’t appear price it for that a lot of a leap in worth.
General, the A50 leads in consolation and sound, whereas the Siberia 800 will get the sting in ease of use and vary, plus the aforementioned charging methodology. The scales are beginning to tip in Astro’s favor, however for now there’s not sufficient to make a definitive name in both path.
How we examined
We take a look at headsets over the course of some weeks, and generally longer. A lot longer, in some circumstances—I’ve been utilizing a pair of Astro A50s as every day drivers for years now, and stand by their high quality and sturdiness. Our rankings are based mostly on the next standards:
Design/consolation: Clearly you desire a headset that matches nicely with out snapping in half the primary time you place it on. Headsets are examined with our vigorous and ultra-scientific “I bent it so much and noticed if it appeared sturdy” methodology, in addition to in opposition to the internationally acknowledged “I wore this for eight hours and it didn’t give me a headache or make my ears really feel like sandpaper” baseline.
Sound: There’ll all the time be the individuals who say, “Why purchase a gaming headset when you should purchase an honest pair of headphones and a standalone microphone?” And people persons are proper, however they’re form of lacking the purpose. There’s one thing to be stated a few product that performs simply as nicely when watching motion pictures/listening to music because it does whereas enjoying video games. In spite of everything, I assume most individuals need one pair of headphones for his or her PC, not a number of pairs for various duties.
With that in thoughts, we take a look at headsets at PCWorld in numerous video games (Battlefield four, Rainbow Six Siege) but in addition listening to music and watching movies, to be sure you’re getting an honest all-around expertise. These aren’t essentially studio-quality headphones, however that doesn’t imply it ought to sound like all-bass-all-the-time.
Value: How a lot are you prepared to spend on a gaming headset? That’s a purely subjective query, but it surely’s one thing we attempt to remember. Our greatest all-around possibility is a cut price at $80, however if you wish to throw $300 at Astro for a pair of A50s we’re not going to cease you.
All of our headset evaluations
Need to see what else we’ve reviewed? We’ll preserve updating this frequently, so make sure to come again to see new merchandise that we’ve put by their paces.