Choosing a headset has become one of the most confusing things about owning a video game console and it hasn’t been made any easier with next-gen consoles. We saw the Pulse 3D Headset launch alongside the PS5 and a comparative headset was missing for the Xbox Series X/S until today’s release of the Xbox Wireless Headset.
Taking the headset out of the box, it feels absolutely premium. For only $150, there was a chance it could have felt cheap, but it’s certainly not the case. The band feels durable, the earcups are an extremely comfortable fake leather that can also be taken off and replaced and the fit feels exceptional, without pressing down too much on my glasses. In terms of build quality and fit, I’d put this ahead of the Pulse 3D Headset, which is the same price. You’re not getting any kind of noise-cancelling with this headset, which is to be expected for the price, but it does a good job of blocking out external sounds.
My absolute favourite thing about the headsets is how accessible the buttons (or lack of them) are. I really dislike how many buttons there are on the Pulse 3D headset and the fact that they’re all on one side but on the Xbox Wireless Headset, the entire earcups act as volume controls, so your right cup controls the main volume whilst the left earcup does your game/chat balance.
You’ve also got an easy to access mute button on the microphone as well as a button to turn the headset on and off (complete with a matching startup tone to what you’d be used to with your Xbox Series X). As far as buttons go, that’s literally it and compared to other units on the market, that’s a godsend. Xbox has kept it simple and that’s exactly what you want with a headset. Even on day one, I was never second-guessing where to find one of the buttons or how to turn my chat volume up. It’s perfectly designed.
The headset is incredibly easy to pair to either your Xbox Series X/S or PC and all it takes is just holding down the power button to set it into pairing mode. Your Xbox or PC will then recognise the headset and connect each and every time it powers on. You can also connect the headset to multiple devices at once, meaning that you can connect to your mobile via Bluetooth whilst playing on your Xbox, and hear both devices at once, which is really helpful. You can also connect the headset to an Xbox wireless adaptor, which I highly recommend if you’re using a PC as it’s just going to be more stable than Bluetooth.
As far as battery life goes, Xbox says that you can expect 15 hours out of the headset, and I can vouch for this. There are longer-lasting headsets on the market, but again, at this price point, 15 hours is as good as you’d expect if not better and you’re also able to play with a wired connection via the included USB-C cable. When it comes to connectivity, you won’t be able to use this headset with your PS5/PS4 or Nintendo Switch as there’s no dongle (and no 3.5mm line in), so it’s purely connecting via Bluetooth which PlayStation and Nintendo don’t allow on their devices. That’s one reason why I’d point you towards the SteelSeries Arctis 7X as an alternative, even though it’s nearly double the price. With the Arctis 7X, you’re going to be able to use it with all of your devices.
The microphone on the headset is usable but not the best. Where it differs from others of its kind, however, is the fact that it has an auto-mute feature that will basically filter out unwanted noise, which is useful for when you’re crunching on some snacks, or have a fan in the background when you’re not talking. This was fairly hit and miss whilst I was testing it, with the headset doing a good job of recognising me not talking most of the time, but still letting some noise through occasionally. The sensitivity can be controlled by the Xbox Accessories app on Xbox/PC, so it might just need some adjusting. The microphone has a little LED, at the end, which will tell you when you’re muted or not. It can get a little bit distracting as it’s white, but this can be dimmed via the Accessories app.
I was pleasantly surprised by how good this headset sounds for $150. Whilst it doesn’t experience the deep bass that I got with the SteelSeries Arctis 7X or SteelSeries Arctis 9, those headsets are more than double the price. What I did get though, was an exceptionally crisp sound even when at the loudest volume. The difference between these and something like the Arctis 7X is probably closer than it should be given the price difference. The headset is compatible with spacial sound codecs such as Windows Sonic, DTS Headphone:X and Dolby Atmos. You get six months of Dolby Atmos with the headset, which I used and was really happy with the results when playing games such as Forza Horizon 4 and The Medium.
I did experience a little bit of delay at times, and the Bluetooth connection did cutout a time or two, but I hope that these improve with software updates as time goes on. For the most part, it’s going to be very, very hard to not recommend these to any Xbox Series X owner, for the price and the features that you’re getting. It’s ridiculously easy to pair the headset to all of your devices (PC/Xbox/mobile) and everything performs exactly as you’d expect, if not better.
For $150, The Xbox Wireless Headset is a great headset that I'd easily recommend to any Xbox owner. The design is premium, the sound pops and features such a dual connectivity, the easy to access volume wheels and auto mute take it to the next level at this price point. I really wish I could use this headset on my other consoles, because it's that good.