I’m not a fan of wireless headsets, mainly because I’ve had some bad experiences with them. So I was hesitant about Microsoft’s fancy new $150 wireless Xbox headset. Luckily, this new headset, while not perfect, is a solid piece of gear with some nifty features and a great design.
Microsoft provided this headset ahead of release for me to review.
Visually, the headset is subdued. A bit of green on the earmuffs and a little neon Xbox-green button on the back is all the colour you get. But I’m thankful for this design. So many gaming headsets are gaudy-looking and covered in logos and lights. Not so with this comfy pair of headphones. There is a light on the mic, which might sound like a bad idea, but in practice I barely noticed it. (And you can dim or turn it off if you want.) The light indicates if your mic is muted or not, a nifty little touch. Another smart design element is how you control the volume. The plastic discs attached to each earmuff spin, with one controlling game and party chat balance and the other controlling the overall volume. They feel nice to move. I spent way too much time spinning them. It was weird.
The rest of the headset is fairly standard but solidly built. You got comfy earmuffs connected to a band that stretches fairly far. They fit my head comfortably, so I assume they can fit almost anyone’s. (I’ve got a big noggin.) I also dropped it a few times and it worked fine afterward. This is good for me because I tend to be rough with headsets, tossing them around and sometimes sitting on them. Battery life isn’t as amazing as something like the GSP 370 headset, but after playing for about 10 hours, my headset wasn’t dead. Microsoft claims a single full charge can last up to 15 hours and in my experience with the device, that seems completely reasonable.
When it comes to sound quality, I wasn’t blown away, but stuff sounded nice. I experimented with the headset in a few games and tested it with and without Dolby Atmos active. In all my tests I was happy with the audio quality. I boosted my bass using the in-app settings and found gunshots in games like Gears 5 and Halo to be deep and loud. Some games, like Gears 5, actually support Dolby Atmos, and with that active, I did notice improved clarity. But if you don’t want to buy the Dolby Atmos app and service, these headphones are totally fine without that extra.
One of the big selling points with this new headset is how easy it is to connect to an Xbox and use it with your console. And I can confirm that it is indeed a breeze to use this thing. Connecting only took a second and works the same as connecting wireless Xbox controllers. When you turn on the headset by pressing that green button located on the back of the left earpiece, the Xbox turns on. Turn off the Xbox and the headset turns off. Because it was built to work with the Xbox, it has different settings that you can tweak from the Xbox accessories menu. The headset supports mic monitoring and auto muting. These mostly worked, but I had to play around with the settings a bit more than I expected to fine-tune stuff to my liking. Once I got everything set up, it mostly worked without flaws. Mostly.
On two separate occasions while testing, I had an issue where my headset lost connection and I had to reconnect it. Thankfully, the settings remained unchanged, so I didn’t have to go back in and tweak them, but it’s annoying that it happened at all. It once occurred while playing a game and once while chatting with someone while idling on the dashboard. I also updated the headset twice during my time reviewing it, so it’s possible that Microsoft needs to push out another update to patch any lingering issues. And for those wondering, you can also use the headset on a Windows 10 PC.
The mic quality is my biggest complaint against this mostly exceptional headset. In testing, folks I talked to reported that I sounded fine, but I would sometimes break up or sound quiet. I tried swapping these fancy headphones with my trusty pair of wired Skullcandy earbuds, and folks either didn’t notice I changed gear or said I sounded clearer. I improved my quality when I turned off all the auto muting features on the headset, but it’s still a weak spot for an otherwise solid pair of headphones. One cool bonus: This headset can connect to an Xbox and a phone at the same time. So I was able to play an Xbox game while chatting with someone on Discord. It even automatically balanced the game chat and party chat. Neat!
If you’ve been looking for a new wireless headset for your Xbox and you don’t want to break the bank buying one, the Xbox Wireless headset will probably be perfect for you. However, if you own multiple consoles or value mic quality, this headset might be a pass. Still, at only $150, it’s a relatively cheap headset with great build quality and some useful features.