Xbox Wi-fi Headset evaluation – CNN Underscored

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The Xbox Wireless Headset simply may be the last word gaming headset for a work-from-home world. That’s as a result of along with immediately pairing to your Xbox, it might probably additionally sync as much as your telephone or PC on the similar time to allow you to take calls or take heed to podcasts whilst you sport.

Now, we’re not attempting to encourage you to zone out throughout an essential assembly to play some Halo, however with the ability to have a single headset for work and play with out having to continually reconnect any units is a large boon. And that’s on prime of the truth that Microsoft’s new headset sounds nice for video games and is comfy sufficient to put on all day lengthy — all for an attractive $99.

Is the Xbox Wi-fi Headset essential for Xbox players? Right here’s what we predict after a number of days of working, taking part in and chatting with it strapped to our head.

Who it’s for: The Xbox Wi-fi Headset is for Xbox and PC players looking for an reasonably priced, good-sounding gaming headset that additionally performs good with smartphones.

What you have to know: Microsoft’s new gaming headset delivers spectacular audio inside a really comfy design, however the true standout is its skill to pair to your Xbox and telephone on the similar time. This manner, you may take heed to podcasts and take calls whereas nonetheless listening to the sounds of your favourite video games.

The way it compares: The Xbox Wi-fi Headset is comparable in worth and performance to the $99 Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 and $99 SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless, however solely Microsoft’s headset has Bluetooth for pairing to your console and telephone on the similar time. If you’d like one thing sleeker, the Arctis 1 Wi-fi is price contemplating.

Just like the Xbox Series X console that it’s impressed by, the Xbox Wireless Headset has an unassuming design constructed to mix into your gaming den or dwelling workplace. This all-black headset is accentuated solely by two rings of inexperienced on every ear cup, highlighting its helpful on-ear dials for adjusting quantity and sport chat on the fly.

Our solely main gripe with the Xbox Wi-fi Headset’s design is that it appears completely large on our head — this isn’t a headset we might put on out in public as our day by day headphones like we might with the a lot sleeker SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wi-fi. We’d additionally like to see a white model to match the sleeker Xbox Series S.

Nonetheless, consolation is what actually counts in relation to a gaming headset’s design, and the Xbox Wi-fi Headset delivers that in spades. Due to its light-weight 11-ounce design and thick foam ear cups coated in synthetic leather-based, we had no concern carrying Microsoft’s headset for a whole day as we bounced between taking part in video games, taking calls and jamming to music.

The Xbox Wi-fi Headset retains issues easy with on-ear controls, taking a web page out of the Surface Headphones 2 playbook with a big rotating dial on every ear — one for adjusting total quantity, and one other for adjusting the combo between sport and voice chat quantity. There’s additionally an influence/pairing button and a mute button for if you don’t need your Name of Obligation teammates to listen to you munching on snacks.

The dials are an awesome contact, and we discovered them rather more intuitive than the usually tiny quantity knobs tucked between a sea of buttons on many gaming headsets. Pairing was additionally painless, as we have been ready to connect with our Xbox, telephone and PC inside seconds. We’re huge followers of the Xbox Wi-fi Headset’s minimalist method to controls, although a button for switching between sound presets (which we’ll get to in a while) would have been helpful.

PHOTO: Mike Andronico/CNN

The Xbox Wi-fi Headset sounded nice with nearly each sport we threw at it, giving us a aggressive edge in shooters and permitting us to soak in tons of environmental particulars in immersive single-player video games.

When taking part in titles reminiscent of Halo 5 and Gears 5 on Microsoft’s headset, we might simply pinpoint the place enemy footsteps and gunfire have been coming from — an important audio element for these trying to get the drop on their opponent. Furthermore, sounds such because the kick of an assault rifle or the explosion of a grenade had a satisfying oomph to them.

Microsoft’s headset actually shone after we performed Ori and the Will of the Wisps, an atmospheric, Pixar-like platformer with sounds which can be as hanging as its visuals. The headset’s Dolby Atmos help (which permits for extra correct positional audio) allowed us to get absolutely immersed within the forest of Niwen, as we might hear birds chirping from all instructions and make out tiny particulars reminiscent of an enemy splashing round within the water in full readability. Higher but, the Xbox Wi-fi Headset was capable of protect these wealthy environmental sounds with out overpowering the sport’s attractive orchestral rating.

Talking of scores, the Xbox Wi-fi Headset delivers OK music efficiency, although it’s not going to compete with a devoted pair of headphones. Rock songs reminiscent of “Cat’s Cradle” by Tigers Jaw shortly obtained muddy, because the guitars and bass tracks blended collectively into an vague wall of sound. The atmospheric hip-hop of Kid Cudi’s “Lovin’ Me” fared higher, as Microsoft’s headset delivered full-sounding bass to again up the melodic croons and swirly synthesizers.

You possibly can tweak the Xbox Wi-fi Headset to your liking with the Xbox Equipment app on Xbox and Home windows 10, which supplies a variety of microphone and audio output choices. Right here, you may hop between numerous sound modes, together with Recreation, Film, Music and Speech; toggle the headset’s auto-mute characteristic; and allow mic monitoring for listening to your individual voice whilst you speak.

The distinction between EQ modes was small however noticeable. The Recreation preset is usually balanced, whereas Heavy Bass, effectively…provides extra bass. The Film and Speech presets have been helpful for highlighting explosions and dialogue in Captain America: Civil Warfare, respectively, whereas the Music preset is pretty delicate and didn’t do a lot to reinforce the headset’s comparatively poor music output. It’s price noting that music sounded a lot better on Microsoft’s headset when performed over Bluetooth through a telephone or PC than it did over Xbox Wi-fi on our Xbox One S.

The Xbox Equipment app offers Microsoft’s headset some first rate customization choices, but it surely does include caveats. You possibly can’t use the app on PC if you’re related over Bluetooth (you’ll have to plug in with a USB-C cable), and there’s no app for cellular.

The Xbox Wi-fi Headset is rated for a strong 15 hours of battery life, which is essentially in line with our testing. It took two days of heavy use, together with a number of hours of taking part in video games and taking calls, for us to even get a low battery warning on Microsoft’s headset.

PHOTO: Mike Andronico/CNN

The Xbox Wi-fi Headset delivers nice total sound for video games, but it surely actually stands out with its skill to pair with a number of units directly. Microsoft’s headset can hook up with an Xbox console and a Bluetooth system (reminiscent of your telephone) on the similar time, permitting you to play video games on the previous whereas listening to podcasts or taking calls on the latter. It’s a very superior characteristic — particularly in a work-from-home world.

Due to the headset’s twin pairing capabilities, we have been capable of voice chat with colleagues and pals over Slack and Discord for hours on finish whereas nonetheless with the ability to hear the candy sounds of us mowing down demons on our Xbox. Each audio sources got here by means of clearly each time, and there wasn’t a touch of lag or interference. We needed to regulate quantity manually on each the headset and our telephone to seek out the appropriate steadiness, however the whole lot sounded nice after a tiny little bit of tweaking.

That is tremendous helpful for just a few causes. If you happen to’re on Xbox however taking part in a cross-platform title reminiscent of Fortnite with your mates on PC or Nintendo Switch, you’ll nonetheless be capable of chat with them, because of common apps like Discord. It additionally implies that you should use the identical headset for gaming and taking essential work calls (no judgment in case you resolve to do each directly), all with out having to do any annoying re-syncing any time you need to change between your telephone/laptop and your Xbox. The Xbox Wi-fi Headset’s Bluetooth help makes it an awesome choice for streaming Xbox Game Pass Ultimate titles in your Android telephone, particularly contemplating how few Bluetooth gaming headsets there are on this worth vary.

Microsoft’s headset additionally held up effectively when it comes to precise microphone high quality. A number of folks we chatted with reported with the ability to hear us clearly, and the voice recordings we took have been each loud and clear — if a tiny bit robotic-sounding. The Xbox Wi-fi Headset’s total good mic high quality is a aid, as a result of the precise microphone is fairly brief, and whereas it’s bendable, you may’t retract it to drag it nearer to your mouth. Whereas there’s a helpful LED on the mic to let you already know if you’re unmuted, we needed to pressure our eyes to even be capable of see it.

PHOTO: Mike Andronico/CNN

With immersive gaming sound, a splendidly comfy design and a dependable microphone, the $99 Xbox Wireless Headset could be a simple suggestion even with out its further options. However its skill to pair to your Xbox and telephone on the similar time actually places it over the sting, turning Microsoft’s headset into a tool that makes it simple to take calls or compensate for podcasts whilst you grind out some Gears of Warfare.

The Xbox Wi-fi Headset isn’t essentially the most engaging headset on the market, and some extra on-ear management choices would have been appreciated. If you’d like one thing sleeker that additionally performs good with Nintendo Change, the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless for Xbox is a worthy different.

Nonetheless, the Xbox Wi-fi Headset is a improbable worth for Xbox and PC players — particularly those that spend as a lot time on convention calls as they do gaming.

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