By the time I was finally able to secure my own Xbox Series X at the end of April 2021, I already had my eyes on the just announced Xbox Wireless Headset. Hard as it is to imagine, but this is the first “first party” headset made by Xbox for quite some time, in fact for the entire seven-year length of the Xbox One Generation, Xbox never released their own headset but instead relied on partnering with third party headset makers. As someone who has used mid to low budget range Wireless gaming headsets in recent years, I was extremely interested in the many features the Xbox Wireless once would offer and though it also took quite a bit of effort to find a retailer with one in stock, having now used it for the last month, I can quite happily say, Xbox have followed up the Series X/S consoles launch with another hit.
What is in the box:
- 1 X Xbox Wireless Headset
- 1 X USB C Cable for Charging
The presentation of the Wireless Headset is exceptionally clean and precise with no fancy extra stylings as you see the box, open the box and the headset is presented with only the stand warranty and setup guides along with the USB C Charging cable. The first thing that struck me was the how the headset is clearly modelled in the standard black and green colour scheme of Xbox, and I really like it as it goes very nicely with my Xbox Series X but also not so bad if you have the Series S. The other thing you may notice if you have used other wireless headsets is that there is no USB dongle you must plug into your console’s USB port in order to connect your headset, something that has been a previous pet peeve of mine when using a wireless headset on console.
Instead, we are hit by the first lovely feature that this headset will use the same wireless connection technology that allows the Xbox Controller to pair with your console, which for me is a complete game changer because I already have quite enough things connected to the USB ports of my Series X. Now the headset itself is mostly plastic, which some may complain about given the not exactly cheap £90 asking price for the headset but I really do not mind as the headset looks nice and more importantly, it is comfortable to wear because it is quite light compared to other wireless headsets. The reason for this is because there are none of the usual digital button setups that would add quite a bit of weight to the ear cups, instead Xbox have decided to go with a classic dial system to control volume and party chat/game mixing. The refreshing design however means that the dials are on the outside of the ear cups, with the right dial controlling overall headset volume, with the word Xbox etched into the outside whilst the left ear cup dial manages party chat and game audio mixing. The Microphone is also different in that is is shorter, almost half the length of a conventional microphone bar and can be curled up to move it out of the way.
In fact, the only two buttons on this headset is the mute button for the microphone and the power on and pairing activation button also on the left side of the headset. There is a USB C port on the back of the right ear cup for charging and that is it, simplicity in design but incredible in performance which brings me to the microphone first, which is quite honestly the best microphone I have had on any gaming headset I have used. The clarity of the microphone is sharp and crisp which is perfect for those hectic party chatting when the action gets heated in MP games but also made a big difference when I stream from my Xbox Series X with the reaction from viewers believing I was actually using a studio mic plugged into my laptop rather than a console gaming headset, it really is a fantastic microphone and the bar being short was never an issue for me and was actually quite nice not to have a microphone constantly in my eyeline when gaming with an auto mute setting via the Xbox Accessories App so that when you are not speaking, the microphone will mute until you speak again.
The sound quality with the headset straight out of the box can be hit and miss at first due to the high level of bass the headset naturally has. With the Xbox Accessories App on console and PC, there is a basic equalizer that can be adjusted to personalize the sound, but the true power of this headset really is when you set it up to use any one of the three sound options the Xbox Series X/S and Xbox One consoles can use starting with the Windows Sonic tech and then either Dolby Atmos or DTS Headphone: X. Now the Dolby sound schemes require installing of their own apps to your console and they will require purchasing an additional license in order to keep having the option to use them. Now when I purchased mine and connected it to my Xbox Series X for the first time, it automatically installed the Dolby Atmos app and gave me a six-month trial of it without me manually installing the app or signing up to it though friends who picked this headset up after me have said they each received a lesser length trial, so perhaps this was a launch-based perk.
Of the three options I must admit that the Dolby Atmos impressed me the most and will be the main sound scheme I stick with going forward, it just works so well with the games and with streaming services like Disney + and watching videos on YouTube. I always raise the bass levels with my music and sound equalizers but with Dolby Atmos everything from the low end just sounded incredible when playing games like Warzone and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla whilst returning to Ori and the Will of the Wisps, GEARS 5 and the HALO Master Chief Collection all came to life whilst using this headset. I also found it to be amazingly comfortable over long gaming sessions lasting more than six hours in titles such as Sea of Thieves or just general party chatting, there was no heat buildup in the large well cushioned ear cups nor any head strain from wearing it with the very adjustable headband. So, to say that when you do see and feel that the plastic build might be off putting after paying £90, all the tech that is inside this well-designed headset is where you feel that price’s value.
One surprising feature is that this really is more than just a gaming headset due to the Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity that allows it to be paired to your phone, tablet and even to a PC with a wireless adaptor and they can all be connected at the same time so for example, when connected to your Xbox console it can also be paired with your smart phone enabling you to use Discord for chatting or a music app to play music as you drive around in a Forza title or take down teams in CoD Warzone. The versatility of this headset to be used beyond just your Xbox console, especially at a time when a good number of people are still working or communicating with family from home, provides a great additional solution for that.
The spatial or 3D Audio that was hyped up quite a bit before the Series X and S consoles launched works incredibly well with this headset and the game titles that are making use of it, hearing footsteps in a shooter and knowing what direction they came from is an added advantage with this headset. The control dials are so intuitive when wearing the headset that you will quickly be able to adjust game audio to levels you prefer but especially in controller the party chat to game mixing too. Battery life is also particularly good with this headset, though I have never gotten to the fifteen hours Xbox say you can get with a single full charge, I have had exceedingly long gaming sessions over a weekend for example where I have gamed up to twelve hours before instinctively putting the headset on charge. I will say I found the USB C Charging cable that comes with the Xbox Wireless Headset to be rather short, though you can purchase longer cables yourself, I was surprised to see just how short it was meaning that for my gaming setup, I must connect it to the front USB port on my Series X to leave to charge overnight which can take up to three hours to fully charge up. Due to it lacking a 3.5mm jack port, should it run out of power it will just turn off so do make sure to keep it charged for when you want to use it.
Quite honestly the Xbox Wireless Headset is the best gaming headset I have used, nudging past the Razor Kraken headset which I now use for my PS5. I love the design of it which is rather creative yet deceptive design because just looking at it, you would never know the amazing tech that is built into it from just the appearance. Performance wise it has not let me down on any of the games I have played over the last six weeks or so I have been using it as my main Xbox headset though I will say for those hoping to use it on their phone or laptop/PC just for music, it is clear this was designed for a good gaming experience first though I have no real complaints when I have used listened to music or watching a film of TV show via my Xbox but I am aware that this can be quite subjective which is why experimenting with the three main sound schemes to find one that suits your tastes is very important
This is the first time I have broken the nearly £100 price tier for a gaming headset, but the fact is has the versatility to be able to connect to different devices for use as well as the performance I am getting from it, means the £90 price makes this a top tier headset for the high mid-range price point. For the asking price you will not find a more diverse capable headset than the Wireless Xbox Headset and I am already looking at Xbox games still to come such as HALO Infinite, Forza Horizon 5 and Starfield in 2022 to really appreciate just how good this headset really is. If you are in the market to upgrade your audio game to meet the new generation consoles in the Series X/S or if you are still on an Xbox One, this headset is well worth the investment.
The Xbox Wireless Headset is available now from most retailers for the RRP of £89.99, an additional single license purchase will be needed for the Dolby Atmos and DTS Headphone: X sound apps.