The design of the Xbox One Stereo Headset is completely inline with the matte and glossy textures featured on the Xbox One console. The headphones feature a sleek black colour on the outside whilst retaining the iconic Xbox green on the inner cups. The build quality comes across as quite cheap but this makes them completely lightweight, which I appreciated.
The highlight of the design is the retractable microphone. At first glance, you’ll fail to notice it. When extended it’s at perfect length to speak into without getting that unwanted deep breathing whilst playing. It clicks back into position seamlessly thanks to a magnetic mechanism that’s built into the controller.
The headphones are extremely comfortable to wear. This is thanks to the significant about of foam that’s placed around the headphones. This also means that the headphones rate extremely well in the sound leakage department. This also means that it works well blocking outside noises from the outside world. I’m somebody who only wants to wear headphones when I want to immerse myself in a game, so this is something that I really appreciated. The headset features a 3.5MM pin which means that you can use these headphones with almost any audio device. The design isn’t so amazing that you’d want to wear them out the house but it’s nice to see that they’re not locked down to a propriety connection.
The Stereo Headset really shines when using it with the Xbox One. Gunshots in Titanfall sound full and rich and the sound of a roaring car in Forza sounds flawless. I did find that the headphones didn’t provide as much bass as i’d usually like but I wasn’t expecting them to be the best sounding headphones for $99.
The Microphone quality is much of an improvement over both the Kinect and the included Xbox One chat headset. I also really appreciated the fact that these were are wired to the controller. Whilst most people like wireless headsets, i’m somebody that enjoys being able to plug my headphones into the controller and not have to worry about charging my headphones every few days.
The Headset Adaptor is included with the Stereo Headset, which in my opinion is the biggest draw for buying the headset. You’ll be paying $40 for the adaptor on it’s own or $99 for the headset and adaptor. This is a very clever ploy on Microsoft’s behalf and one that still annoys me to this day. The fact that i’m able to plug the same headphones straight into the Dualshock 4 without any sort of propriety adaptor still makes me feel quite ripped off when purchasing the adaptor.
The adaptor allows you to adjust game audio and chat balance. This might not sound like a big deal but being able to change the ratio of chat to game audio volume on the fly without having to pause to any menus or get up off the couch is a big deal. It’s extremely easy to work out and really is a game changer for online gaming. A 2.5MM to 3.5MM adaptor is also included for those that want to bring their old Xbox 360 headsets forward to the new generation. Your controller does have to be updated before the adaptor will work with your Xbox One, but it only took a few minutes for each controller and was painless for the most part. Thankfully Microsfot have included a Micro USB for both products.
Overall i’d easily recommend either of these products to the average Xbox gamer. I’d purchase the adaptor separately if you truly do have a pair of gaming headsets that you’re already happy with. If you’ve got no dedicated gaming headphones then you’d be better off spending your money on the package. The headphones don’t provide the best audio quality but they’re more than sufficient for gaming.