We have tested headsets and name Steelseries Arctis 5 as best headset of 2021. It is a gaming headset with high sound quality and good comfort, which means that you can play for a long time without feeling discomfort.
All our tests are performed by us, and we test the relevant products in real life scenarios. In this case, each headset has been tested for a long time with different source devices and in different environments. They have been tested in environments ranging from the quiet indoors to louder, heavily trafficked areas. The standard environment included light noise, both indoors and outdoors. Each headset was tested for several weeks by at least two people. In our assessment, we focused on the following key aspects:
Sound Quality: How good is the sound quality in each headset? How well balanced is the sound? How wide is the sound scape? Do mids and other details disappear if the sound scape changes? How true to life is the bass? How effectively does the headset dampen outside noise?
Call Quality: How clear is the person you’re talking to, assuming their own receiver is of high quality? What is the microphone quality like? How well does the microphone cancel out unwanted outside noise?
Ease of Use: Are there buttons present on the headset? If so, what functions do they serve? How fast does a connected phone respond to said prompts? If the headset is wired, how long and sturdy is the cord? Is said cord replaceable? If the headset is wireless, how long is the operating and charging time? While charging, is it possible to connect a cord instead? How well does the headset withstand interference?
We also weigh ergonomics and built quality heavily when it comes to the final grade. A good headset should sit comfortable on your head for a long time, and the material choices ought to be carefully considered when it comes to comfort and durability. In the end, each headset has been rated according to its price value, i.e., how good is the headset in each of the above areas considering its price tag. This also means that we have higher expectations for a more expensive headset compared to a cheaper one, and vice versa.
High comfort levels and good soundstage that suits a wide range of use areas
Drivers: 40 mm Frequency response: 20-20000 Hz Impedance: 32 ohm Connection: USB and 3.5 mm Microphone: Retractable
The SteelSeries Arctis 5 is a gaming headset providing high levels of comfort and a noise profile that’s perfect for many situations. This means that you can easily hear approaching enemies, experience magnificent environments and at the same time enjoy the game soundtrack. However, this isn’t the headset you'd choose if you were only thinking of listening to music. The soundstage is too flat to suit different types of genre. Nor does the equaliser make much difference, and this is a bit of a shame, because if it had you’d have been able to get a sound that suited you on a more personal level. For example if you prefer a relatively heavy bass for particular music genres. It can also be nice to have a more powerful bass to reinforce the experience when you’re doing something like flying a plane or throwing a grenade. But the bass isn’t particularly powerful in this headset – instead it’s quite well-balanced. If you try to increase the bass through the equaliser, it doesn’t really make much difference. However, if you prefer a more balanced soundstage, it works straight out of the box. Nor did we experience any problems with distortion. The microphone performs well and the people we played with experience the sound as clear.
The comfort levels with this headset are almost the most striking thing about it, as they're extremely high. It presses just the right amount around the ears – not so much that it shuts out your surroundings completely, but enough so that you're not bothered by computer noise. However, in noisier environments you may need to turn up the volume quite a lot so that you're not disturbed, in which case quite a lot of sound leaks out too. The ear cups are made of plastic, but they have a rubbery finish that means they don’t feel plasticky. Nor do they crackle when we pull on them as sometimes happens with cheaper headsets. You can control all of the important functions on the ear cups. You adjust the volume and microphone on/off here, but you can also adjust the volume with the USB cable that’s included. If you connect the headset via USB instead of the 3.5 mm cable, it also has LED lighting.
The headset is held in place on the head with a ski goggle headband. You can replace this with a different design if you like. The advantage of the ski goggle headband over stepwise expansion is that you don't need to remember your favourite position. This combined with the great comfort levels and a balanced soundstage mean that the Arctis 5 is a good value for money headset.
Favourite headset, now in wireless version
Type: Gaming headset Drivers: 53 mm Frequency response: 15-20000 Hz Impedance: 60 ohm Connection: USB dongle Microphone: Removable Battery: 20 hrs Miscellaneous: 20 metre range, 7.1 sound
The HyperX Cloud II has been a favourite for many years. This headset has good build quality, good sound and a crisp microphone, all for a reasonable price. Now it’s been been released in a wireless version and we love it.
New on the wireless version of the Cloud II is that the volume button and mute are located on the back of the right cup. These can be a bit difficult to find and could have been better textured. On the cup you’ll also find the power button and an LED that indicates whether the headphones are on or off. The LED also warns when the battery level is low.
The HyperX Cloud II Wireless is no exception when it comes to sound quality. Just like its wired siblings, the sound is really good given the price. You get good reproduction of details and nice balance. Sure, the bass could have been a little deeper, but that’s not something that really matters when you’re playing a game. The sound generally gives a powerful and authentic experience.
The Cloud II's microphone is so crisp and clean that it’s a joy to use. It has a clarity and a depth that is neither exaggerated nor underdone. HyperX have really done a great job with the whole thing.
The range is about 20 metres before it starts to stutter. Which is fine. You rarely need much more distance when you’re streaming – so unless your kitchen is a long way from your office, this range should probably be more than enough.
The battery life of the HyperX Cloud II Wireless is good. During our test, we got about 25 hours per charge, but this could vary depending on sound levels and the like.
These wireless headphones from HyperX are ideal for gamers who care a lot about sound and comfort. You get a lot of headphones for your money.
HyperX Cloud II Wireless - Gaming Headset for PC, PS4, PS5*, Nintendo Switch, Long Lasting Battery Up to 30 Hours, 7.1 Surround Sound, Detachable Noise Cancelling Microphone with Mic Monitoring
HyperX Cloud II Wireless Gaming Headset
HyperX Cloud II Wireless for PC
Fantastic sound and noise cancellation
Type: Business headset Element: 40 mm Frequency response: 20,000 Hz Impedance: 32 ohm Connection: 3.5 mm, Bluetooth Microphone: Detachable
The Plantronics Voyager 8200 UC is equipped with four microphones that, as well as helping out with noise cancellation, also give the Voyager 8200 really good call quality regardless of surrounding noise or weather conditions. We tested it by making calls in the harsh autumn winds along busy Hornsgatan in Stockholm, and it was more or less like a conversation in a soundproof studio booth. Impressive.
But we may as well say straight away that there are more attractive headsets in the segments than this chunky affair. The white version feels significantly more up-to-date than the black version, however, with contrasting red details.
If you don’t mind the design, a very pleasant experience awaits you with this headset.
For a start, it’s really comfortable to wear and despite the fact that it’s quite heavy it rests lightly on both head and ears. That slightly “sweaty” feeling you get with lots of other headsets of this size is conspicuous by its absence.
The noise cancellation is also eminent to say the least and can almost compare with what world-famous Bose have succeeded in achieving with their noise-cancelling headphones. We’d even say that the noise cancellation is on a par with what Bose offers.
There are two levels of active noise cancellation to choose between, but for an enfolding and almost incredibly noise free experience we recommend that you choose maximum.
One great detail is the built in sensors in the headset, which pause and play the content you’re listening to automatically if you remove the headset or even if you just lift one up a little bit, for example to hear what somebody’s saying to you. This also works in an exemplary manner.
And as if this wasn’t enough, this headset is also top-class when it comes to the sound quality in general. Even music of widely varying types sounds nuanced and detailed in a way that we'd normally associate with more expensive headphones. You almost forget that you’re listening to Bluetooth sound.
Overall, this is quite an expensive headset with perhaps not the most hip design, but it does an excellent job when it comes to everything from call quality and noise cancellation to listening to music.
Plantronics Voyager 8200 UC Stereo Bluetooth Headset With Active Noise Canceling - Stereo - Mini-phone (3.5mm) - Wired/Wireless - Bluetooth - 98.4 ft
poly voyager 8200 uc headset head-band 3.5 mm connector bluetooth
poly voyager 8200 uc headset head-band 3.5 mm connector bluetooth
Affordable gaming headset for all-round players
Type: Gaming headset Drivers: 50 mm Frequency response: 20-20000 Hz Weight 345 grams Battery life: 24 hours Connection: Wireless USB dongle, 2.4 GHz connection, 3.5 mm Microphone: Removable Miscellaneous: 7.1 virtual surround sound
The German company Roccat isn’t a new name in the gaming world. They’re known not only for their history in both League of Legends and CS:Go as one of the competing teams but also for their gaming products.
The Roccat Elo 7.1 Air is a wireless gaming headset that’s intended to work with a PC, but which works just as well with a PS4. Given that, the Elo 7.1 becomes much better value as you can easily jump from PC to games console if you like to play on both platforms.
Via Roccat Swarm, which is the app for this headset, you can configure most of the things you need. Everything from sound and light to the microphone. It’s clearly structured, and the program is user-friendly. There’s also an extra feature where you can distort your voice, and choose between monster, female or male. A fun idea, especially if you want to be anonymous.
The sound quality is what you'd expect from a headset in this price class. It delivers deep bass, clear treble and a mid-range that works fine even if it’s not particularly high resolution. In any case, you definitely feel you're getting value for money.
The 7.1 sound works really well and in the Roccat Swarm app you can clearly hear a difference when you go from 2.0 to 7.1. You also get an in-game sound improvement, although of course there's a huge difference between this virtual 7.1 and real surround sound.
The buttons can be found on the back of Elo 7.1's left headphone. Everything you need is here, but unfortunately it’s difficult to locate which button does what just by feeling with your finger. To be honest, the buttons could have been better textured, because as things stand you just have to guess which is which.
During our test, we measured the battery life to about 23 hours, which is in line with what Roccat states.
The Roccat Elo 7.1 Air Wireless is an affordable gaming headset offering pretty much every feature you could possibly need. You get good sound quality and an excellent fit. The fact that they also work with PS4 makes them that bit more appealing to a wider target group.
Good value for money wireless headset with bassy sound
Type: Gaming headset Drivers: 60 mm Frequency response: 20-20000 Hz Impedance: 32 ohm Connection: Wireless 2.4 GHz connection and 3.5 mm Battery life: 10 hrs Microphone: Removable Miscellaneous: 7.1 virtual surround sound
The Asus ROG Strix Wireless is a wireless headset that will suit people who enjoy lots of pressure in their sound. The headset has a nice peppy bass that performs very well in war games and bassy music, but the rather underbalanced middle register makes voices sound like the person speaking is in a tunnel. Rock music also suffers somewhat as the middle register is periodically drowned by the bass. The drivers should also include an equaliser allowing you to set the sound to your own preference, but unfortunately this doesn’t seem to have been present with our test example. And of course the equaliser only works if you’re playing via a computer. If instead you’re using the headset with your gaming console, you get the original sound.
The ROG Strix Wireless is, as the name indicates, wireless. The included USB dongle is a neat little unit compared to the rather substantial headset. We measured the range as about 10 m. We initially felt that the headset squeezed rather hard, but compared to many of the headsets this didn’t turn into a feeling of discomfort over time and we grew to appreciate the balance. The large ear cups have nice padding, and the pressure means that they exclude quite a lot of environmental noise. If you have a computer with a noisy fan, for example, this can be the difference between a good gaming experience and a bad one. The battery time is very good. We could easily play a LAN game for 8+ hours without the headset dying. The manufacturer promises 10 hours. It would have been nice if the volume buttons on the left ear cup had been replaced with a volume knob and the on/off button had been moved a bit further away, leaving the mute button on its own. Currently there’s a row of buttons which means it's hard to find the right one, particularly when the buttons are so anonymous. You can disconnect the microphone when it's not in use. We would have preferred to be able to roll it into the ear cup instead – otherwise there’s a risk of losing it. We'd also have liked it to be more adjustable. But given that you get a wireless headset with pretty good sound and a really good battery life in this price class, we can’t give it anything but two thumbs up.
Well thought-out, discreet headset for a wide target group
Type: Wireless gaming headset Drivers: 50 mm Frequency range: 20-20000 Hz Impedance: 32 ohm Connections: Wireless, USB dongle Microphone: Removable Battery: approx 20 hours Miscellaneous: 15 m range, 7.1 sound
These minimalist wireless headphones from Logitech offer a discreet choice for gamers who don’t like to stand out with flashy RGB details. The headset also has a good build quality. The weight indicates a well-balanced headset, which feels neither too plasticky nor too heavy. In terms of appearance, these headphones are more reminiscent of studio headphones than a pure gaming headset.
Though gaming is very much the focus. And for this purpose you want a pair of headphones with good sound that shut out the noise of the computer fan and instead enclose you with the high-quality sound from your gaming world. That’s what you get from the Logitech G Pro X.
The sound is well balanced and the registers are sufficient to get both depth and breadth in the sound. Nor does the bass eat up the mid-range as many other headphones tend to do.
You can turn up the volume relatively high without the sound losing quality or becoming unbalanced.
However, we did have some problems with white noise. This headset constantly emits a low but annoying hum, which is irritating when you’re listen at low volume or have no sound at all. Some people like to play with only their friends’ voices coming through their headset, and then that white noise becomes a real problem.
As regards talking you do get a microphone that really delivers. People can clearly hear what you’re saying, even in a rather noisy environment. And thanks to Blue Voice, you also have a range of ready-made voice settings.
With the included G Hub software, you can make all necessary adjustments, such as voice settings, virtual surround sound and so on. You can either choose your own settings, or use the presets.
The range is fine – you can walk around the house and up to 15 metres away without losing your connection. The battery life of 20 hours is also pretty decent.
The Logitech G Pro X headset is aimed at anyone who wants a discreet headset with plenty of settings. If you can live with the background hum, this is a really good headset. But that noise does reduce our score. Other than that, you get good sound quality, a decent microphone, a good fit and a headset that works just as well on the LAN as during a Zoom meeting.
Powerful headset for people who prioritise sound
Type: Gaming headset Drivers: 30.40 mm Frequency response: 20-96000 Hz Impedance: 32 ohm Connection: USB-A/USB-C Microphone: Detachable Other: 7.1, 8 drivers, RGB
The Asus Rog Theta 7.1 is a pair of headphones suited to people who like a bit of bass. With eight individual drivers and its 7.1 surround sound, the Theta 7.1 delivers well in excess of our expectations. Surround sound in headsets is usually something of a marketing ploy, but in these headphones it’s a positive addition to the soundstage. You can navigate in-game very well with this function running. It also makes a really good acoustic addition for when you’re watching films.
Overall the sound quality is really good. There’s a nice balance between the different registers. There’s plenty of bass pressure without it taking over. If you’re prepared to pay for a headset that performs on this point, the Asus Rog Theta 7.1 is definitely a product to consider. For those of you who prefer the bass to be a bit lighter, there’s a mode you can select so he headset still sounds good.
However, this wired headset from Asus is definitely not one we’d classify as minimalist. It’s actually of the largest headsets in the segment. In addition to the size, it also weighs 600 grams, making it almost twice as heavy as many of its competitors.
With extra weight usually comes good build quality, and the Theta 7.1 is no exception to that. The build quality feels really solid. These headphones feel lavish both in terms of material selection and construction. There are no squeaking noises here and they sit really comfortably on your head.
Even though the Theta 7.1 are a pretty heavy pair of headphones, they still feel very good once you put them on. What is noticeable quickly is the rear-facing D-shape that’s a bit confusing to begin with, but once you get used to it it’s not a problem. These headphones are comfortable even during long gaming sessions, although you do start to feel that extra weight after a couple of hours. But not as much as we’d expected.
What is irritating, however, is the cables. These are large and heavy, even for someone used to playing with a wired headset. The split of the cords is also quite tight, which makes them feel restrictive.
In the Asus Armoury software, you’ll find plenty of options to configure everything from surround sound to RGB. But Armoury always requires a reboot after each update, which becomes a pain over time.
The Theta 7.1's microphone is removable. It has active noise cancellation which works pretty well. It may not be the best microphone we've tested, but it still does its job.
These headphones not only deliver really good sound, they are also multifunctional, working just as well for films as they do for gaming, especially FPS games where surround sound can make the difference between life and death. They’re also fairly comfortable. If you don’t mind wired or heavier headsets, these are worth taking a look at.
Exemplary sound and good battery life
Type: Business headset (in ear) Connection: Bluetooth Microphone: Fixed
As soon as you remove the Plantronics Voyager 5200 from the packaging it strikes you as a sports focused headset. But this is a headset that also works really well in professional contexts, not least because of the excellent call quality.
In purely visual terms, the headset is a little reminiscent of the Bluetooth headsets that made the entire segment popular in the mid-00s. There are both advantages and disadvantages with this. The fit can be a little so-so depending on the shape of your head, but at the same time it allows for really substantial buttons, which makes control much easier. For example there’s a multi-function button that’s really easy to adjust, something that’s a stark contrast to smaller headsets which are often fiddly to control.
But as we mentioned above, the fit isn’t always 100%. If you can live with this though, it’s a really good headset. For example, it has a number of intelligent functions. Not least is the fact that the headset is equipped with sensors that can tell whether it’s in your ear or not. If you remove the headset, the call switches immediately to the phone microphone and speaker instead, which makes everyday use considerably easier.
If you pick up the headset and put it in your ear while it’s ringing, the call is automatically connected to the headset.
The fantastic sound quality is the result of using four microphones with digital noise cancelling, something that produces excellent call quality even if you’re in a really noisy environment, such as a railway station.
The headset is also equipped with a 20 band EQ optimised for voice calls and which prevents irritating echoes. And the headset has no less than six layers of wind protection. Overall this provides optimum call quality as we aren’t disrupted by noise around us and can focus 100% on what’s being said.
We get about seven hours’ talk time with this headset and a week’s standby time on a full charge. This is good. Charging from 0 to full takes 1.5 hours, however, so you need to be aware of this if you’re dependent on the headset.
Overall, this perhaps isn’t the most attractive headset that’s ever seen the light of day, but for somebody looking for a robust product that offers really good call sound regardless of the environment, there isn’t much wrong with it. Pretty much what we’ve come to expect from Plantronics, in other words.
Plantronics Voyager 5200 Bluetooth Headset 203500-105 (Open Box - Excellent) - Black
GBPPOLY VOYAGER 5200 UC Headset Ear-hook Bluetooth Black (206110-101)
Plantronics Bluetooth-Mono-Headset Voyager 5200 with USB-A BT-Dongle, WindSmart-Technology, Noise Cancelling, Smart Sensor-Technologies
Plenty of functions and good battery life
Type: Gaming headset Battery life: 15 hours Drivers: 50 mm with neodymium magnets Frequency range: 20-20000 Hz Impedance: 32 ohm Connection: Wireless, USB dongle Microphone: Flip-up omni
The Turtle Beach Stealth 600 is one of the company's most popular models. In terms of price it fits into the lower medium class, and is a headset worth keeping an eye on.
In terms of design, the Stealth is fairly standard when it comes to gaming headphones. It both feels and look plasticky. But the build quality is definitely more on the robust side. However it’s noticeable that Turtle Beach have focused on other things rather than material choice and build quality.
According to them the Stealth 600's battery life is up to 15 hours, and during our test we were able to use the headset for about 14 hours on a single charge, which is pretty good – especially at this price.
On the back of the Stealth 600's left headphone you find the controls. There are standard things such as a volume scroll wheel, USB-C port and the like.
You have three different EQ modes to choose from when you press the mode button, which give slightly different sound settings. Another interesting feature is that the power button also has what Turtle Beach has chosen to call "Superhuman hearing". This is a function that picks up and amplifies important sounds such as your enemy's footsteps or when someone’s reloading. This works better than we'd expected.
In terms of sound, the Stealth 600 offers decent quality for the price. The bass is a bit poor and the sound a bit out of balance, but that’s not unusual for this price class. The mid-range comes through fine.
The headphones are comfortable and big enough to cover even larger ears. To be fair, if you wear them all day, they might start to feel a bit uncomfortable, but during normal gaming sessions they’re fine.
The Stealth 600’s microphone also passed our test. The sound is clear and clean, and if you want to mute it, you just fold the microphone back in.
This headset is ideal for most people who play for fun. It’s a really affordable headset with several welcome features and a good battery life.
Turtle Beach Stealth TBS-3140-01 600 Gen 2 Headset - PlayStation - Stereo - Wireless - 20 Hz - 20 kHz - Over-the-head - Binaural - Circumaural - Omni-
Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 Headset Head-band Black
turtle beach stealth 600 gen 2 headset head-band usb type-c black
Good sound, comfortable but bulky
Type: Gaming headset Drivers: 40 mm Frequency response: 20-20000 Hz Impedance: 2.2k ohm Connection: USB Microphone: Detachable Miscellaneous: Virtual 7.1
The MSI GH50 is a headset with a stable, robust construction which ensures its position in the lower part of the premium price range. The headset is ergonomic, and comes with an appealing matte black finish.
The headset is also equipped with powerful RGB lighting (which you can reduce in terms of power of via the software). At maximum power, it’s hard to miss the GH50 on a LAN or in the darkest room.
This is a wired USB headset and the cord is equipped with a control box that allows you to turn off the microphone or vibrations and also activate MSI's built-in 7.1 surround sound.
Unfortunately, the 7.1 sound really doesn’t cut it. It feels more like sitting inside a tin can. At the same time, the GH50 is great in terms of sound quality when it comes to regular 2.1 sound, so equipping the headset with a virtual 7.1 that doesn’t deliver feels like an unnecessary feature that only detracts from the overall impression.
That said, other than that, the sound is impeccable. The bass is deep, but still clear and distinct, which works well for games such as CSGO, PUBG etc., where you navigate using sound to find out where your opponents are. But the GH50 is suitable for all sorts of games, and the sound is very good in terms of price level.
The design and the cushions also reduce a good bit of external noise.
The GH50's microphone is detachable, which is a fantastic feature. The ability to remove the microphone and be able to use the GH50 as regular headphones is useful, but it also reduces the risk of damage to the microphone when you put the headphones in a tight case. Unfortunately, the mike can’t be raised or turned sideways, which is a shame, as sometimes you need to move it or bring it closer to, or further away from, your mouth. The fact you can’t raise it or turn it makes this more difficult.
The sound is clear and distinct. It’s not the best microphone in the world, but it does the job and everyone can hear you clearly. But the microphone also lacks depth, and even if the output sound is set high it feels short of power, which means that whilst it's perfectly OK, it doesn’t quite achieve top marks.
At 300 grams in weight, the GH 50 is on the heavier side which is both good and bad – the build quality is very good and robust and that means extra weight, but that extra weight also makes the headset heavy to wear in the long run.
The MSI GH50 is suitable for anyone looking for a robust headset with good sound quality for fun gaming sessions with friends – whether you want to be seen on the LAN or perhaps be that bit more discreet.
A minimalist and modular budget choice
Drivers: 40 mm Frequency response: 20-20000 Hz Impedance: 32 ohm Connection: 3.5 mm Microphone: Boom microphone
The Plantronics RIG 500 stands out in that you can take it apart and replace parts of it. Although this mostly feels like a marketing gimmick, we can’t avoid liking this kind of innovation in the headset market. However, in terms of sound the headset leaves a lot to be desired. If we were to critically review the sound without looking at the price, we'd say it was extremely sharp and unbalanced towards the treble. This means that screaming noises in games are extremely piercing, while sounds like explosions don’t really make an impression. On the other hand, this is a budget class headset, and if we look at the sound for the price it’s not bad.
There’s nothing wrong with the design and comfort. As we’ve already said, the design means that this is a modular headset, so you can replace the ear cups, microphone or head frame with another one. This doesn’t particularly give any added value, however, as you’d rarely upgrade a headset in this price class – instead you'd normally just replace it completely. The design is also quite simple, so the headset doesn't stand out either positively or negatively. But it also sits on the head nicely and squeezes just hard enough around the ears. We could play for several hours without experiencing any headache or pain in the jaws. The only thing lacking is buttons for the volume and microphone on/off. Both the mute function and volume knob ought to be on the ear cups, but aren’t. However, the boom microphone does mute in the upright position. The fact that the headset has a 3.5 mm connection means you can use it both with your mobile phone and tablet in addition to your computer or game console.
Headset with good soundstage but limited areas of use
Drivers: 50 mm Frequency response: 20-20000 Hz Impedance: 32 ohm Connection: USB Microphone: Retractable
The Razer Kraken 7.1 V2 is a headset with full-bodied sound and powerful bass. But despite the power of the bass, the sound isn’t exaggerated and is still balanced – it's rather that the soundstage is wide. The headset handles both muffled bangs and rapid treble well. In a headset with such a wide soundstage, of course the sound is sometimes overdone – for example the bass takes over and drowns the mid range, or the treble becomes a bit sharp – but it doesn’t happen so often that it's a problem. There’s also an equaliser you can use to adjust the soundstage to your preferences. You connect the Kraken 7.1 via USB cable. This makes possible the design that lights up the Razer logo on the ear cups, together with the fake surround sound. But the virtual surround sound isn’t particularly impressive. It deepens the sound slightly, but it’s still difficult to hear exactly where the next enemy is coming from. It’s a welcome addition, not a game changer. Unfortunately no 3.5 mm cable is included in addition to the USB cable, so the use areas for the headset are rather limited – for example, you can’t connect it to your mobile phone.
The comfort is OK, but there are a number of issues. The ear cups press quite tightly around the ears and this can be uncomfortable over longer playing sessions. At the same time they aren’t particularly well padded, and a good deal of sound leaks both in and out. We would also have liked a volume knob on the ear cups, where there’s only a button to turn the microphone on and off. Given the price, this is a headset with good sound quality, but it’s still a way off the top score.
Discreet headset for gamers who don’t want to stand out
Type: Gaming headset Drivers: 40 mm Frequency range: 20-20000 Hz Impedance: 32 ohm Connections: Wireless (2.4 GHz), USB-C, USB-A and 3.5 mm Microphone: Yes
The Asus Rog Strix Go 2.4 is an unusually discreet headset, given that it’s aimed at gamers. The black rubberised surface on the outside offers a good grip while creating a nice contrast to the high-gloss plastic material that the headband is made of. Furthermore, it’s equipped with USB-C, which is very flexible as more and more products support this.
One of the cups has buttons for controlling volume and playback. The playback buttons have a good response, but the volume button has some shortcomings. It isn’t a conventional scroll wheel. Instead, you have to wiggle the knob up or down depending on whether you want to increase or decrease the volume, and unfortunately the adjustment is difficult to fine-tune.
As with all battery headsets, there’s a pre-recorded voice that announces how much battery you have left and so on. On this headset, this is embarrassingly bad. Although this is hardly a deal breaker, it does make the Rog Strix Go 2.4 feel like a real budget headset – which it isn’t.
The sound quality, on the other hand, is good. In the standard version, the bass feels a bit thin, but you can adjust it in the equaliser if you install the software for the headset. The software is updated quite often, but unfortunately you have to restart your computer each time before you can use it again.
The Asus Rog Strix Go 2.4 has a bendable microphone that’s OK as long as it’s placed right in front of your mouth, with the microphone opening correctly aligned. But you have to constantly fine-tune it, which quickly becomes annoying – otherwise the microphone’s sound quality drops quickly for your team-mates.
You get just over 20 hours of battery life, which is more than acceptable.
These headphones from Asus are both discreet and stylish. They’re also comfortable even during longer sessions. But unfortunately, the microphone leaves a lot to be desired, and the volume adjustment is very awkward.
Ideal headset for meetings
Type: Office headset Driver: 40 mm Frequency response: 20,000 Hz Impedance: 32 ohm Connection: USB-A (Wired) Microphone: Fixed
Jabra Evolve2 30 are a pair of lightweight headphones intended for office work, or if you’re a homeworker with lots of online meetings and you want better sound quality than you’d get from your computer's built-in microphone and speakers. These are so-called open headphones, and so they let through some ambient noise, which means you have a good idea of what’s happening around you.
These headphones are equipped with dedicated mute buttons, volume buttons and a pause/play button. The buttons, located on the back of one cup, are quite small and somewhat difficult to find when you need them. They are rather low profile and lack any texture that would have made it easier to distinguish between them.
The sound quality, on the other hand, is great – as you’d expect from Jabra. You get a very well-balanced sound with a decent mid-range. And a crisp, clear treble. The bass is also very good, given that these are open headphones intended for conversation. We could clearly hear the people we were talking to and got good sound quality when we listened to music between conversations. Details also come through well.
And we could be heard clearly too – even when we were sometimes in a more noisy environment. However, we do have some concerns with the microphone. It can be angled up or down easily enough, but it’s not possible to angle it sideways. So it tends to pick up the sound from when you breathe. If you don’t want to breathe into the microphone, you have to lift it up a bit, which means that you aren’t heard quite as well in a noisy environment.
The Jabra Evolve2 30 are wired headphones. They come with a relatively short USB-A cable which keeps you pinned to your desk when you talk. Nor are they particularly stable on your head. We found they slid forward towards the face during use.
The wonderful sound quality and the minimalist design are the best functions of this headset. But considering its price, we’d have expected better construction with a more functional design.
Cheap wireless headset with good sound but poor microphone
Type: Wireless gaming headset Drivers: 40 mm Frequency range: 20-20000 Hz Impedance: 16 ohm Connection: Wireless (USB-C for charging) Microphone: Fixed Operating time: About 16 hours during test
These headphones from HyperX are compatible with both PS4 and the forthcoming PS5, which in itself is a big bonus. The Cloud Stinger Core headset has a relatively standard design and at first glance looks like many other headsets on the market. It feels quite plastic, but quite robust rather than thin and cheap.
The Cloud Stinger Core isn't very comfortable at first and even feels downright uncomfortable. Over time, however, that feeling of discomfort decreases a bit and you get used to it during a gaming session. But overall, this is definitely not the most comfortable headset we’ve ever tested.
The battery life, on the other hand, is really good given the price.
As the HyperX Cloud Stinger Core is a headset for PS4 and PS5, it doesn't include an app for configuring the settings, but the Cloud Stinger Core still delivers acoustically and does so well. The bass is OK without being great.
However, the Cloud Stringer Core's microphone fails quite badly. It’s really quite poor, cutting in the middle of sentences, which is probably to mask background noise, but it does this so much so that it quickly becomes really irritating.
What we’ve seen in previous tests where headphones are aimed at game consoles, is that they have also been compatible with PC, which is a big bonus – and this is also the case here. The Cloud Stinger Core also works well with a PC.
These headphones could suit anyone who switches between different sources, such as a games console and computer. But you’d need to not be bothered about microphone quality, and primarily just looking for decent headphones. On the other hand, if you need a full headset with decent mike, then we can’t recommend these.
Kingston HyperX Cloud Stinger Core Gaming Headset - Stereo - Mini-phone (3.5mm) - Wired - Over-the-head - Binaural - Circumaural - Bi-directional, Noi
HYPERX Cloud Stinger Coreu0026tradePS4 & PS5 Gaming Headset - Black Black
HYPERX Cloud Stinger Coreu0026tradeGaming Headset - Black Black
Budget headset with sci-fi inspired design and sound that’s so-so
Drivers: 44 mm Frequency response: 20-20000 Hz Impedance: 50 ohm Connection: 3.5 mm Microphone: Boom microphone
The Ozone Blast ST is a gaming headset that works very well when communicating with your fellow players, but where the actual game sound isn’t such good quality. The sound is unbalanced. The mid range is drowned by an over-dimensioned bass and treble. The powerful bass is good at times in certain types of game, for example when it's noisiest in FPS games and there aren't such high requirements for game music and so on. But the lack of balance in the sound instead has a negative effect on the game experience when you're playing big titles like Mass Effect and Destiny.
The design of the headset also leaves a lot to be desired. It’s quite large and clumsy. The boom microphone catches the eye unnecessarily whether it's folded down or up. On the other hand, some people prefer this type of more futuristic and substantial design over a more scaled-down variety, so if this is you you’ll probably also like the fact that the manufacturer has chosen to clad the headband with a leather-like material. However, the design of the ear cups mean they are uncomfortable on the head, so the design still leaves a negative impression.
The best thing about the Ozone Blast ST is that the headset has a pretty good microphone. It’s good at discarding background and environmental noise. When it’s folded up, this acts as the mute button – the headset has no separate button. Another advantage is that the headset is connected via 3.5 mm cable and can therefore be used with your mobile phone and tablet as well. This combined with the low price and OK sound means that the headset still comes in with a just above average score.
A headset means that you can listen to music without disrupting other people or talk on the phone without having to hold it against your head. The difference between headphones and headsets is simply that a headset also has a microphone.
Headsets are available in all possible colours and shapes – primarily designed on the basis of their area of use. Gaming headsets are normally over ear models that cover the ear and partly reduce the noise from your surroundings. Headsets intended for use while exercising are usually in-ear models. There are also headsets where the ear cup lies against the ear, which are known as on-ear. These are common in offices, for example. They are comfortable while at the same time you don’t need to take them off when talking to colleagues in the same room.
In other words, when you choose a headset you should base your choice on what you intend to use them for. If you’re going out to run a marathon in the pouring rain, there are waterproof, wireless in ear headsets with a frame that you put around your ear – these stay in place better than normal in-ear headsets that you simply insert into the ear. If you are instead travelling between home and work, you may be better off with a slightly simpler wired in-ear headset. If you particularly want to exclude external noise, a closed headset is often best.
The headset can also be either wireless or wired. Wireless headsets often use Bluetooth for the wireless connection, while wired headsets use a 3.5 mm or USB cable. The advantage of a wireless headset is of course that you don’t get tangled up in the cable. The disadvantage is that you have to recharge it from time to time. If you forget this and the battery runs out, you’ve temporarily got no headset. Wired headsets have the advantage that you don’t have to charge them, but on the other hand you have to put up with the cable. It’s rarely longer than 2 m, which also means that you’re a little bit more limited in how far you can move from the source unit you’re connected to. There are different standards of Bluetooth, but a headset usually has a range of around 10 m.
USB cables are common on gaming headsets in the medium price class because they have more functions. For example, some gaming headsets have virtual surround sound to give a richer gaming experience, together with LED lighting around the ear cups. If you purchase this type of headset and also want to use it with your mobile phone or tablet, you should make sure that it also includes a 3.5 mm cable, otherwise you can’t connect them.
Practically all headsets have volume control and a mute function. What distinguishes them is how these are designed and where they are placed. The most straightforward solution is to have access to both the volume knob and a microphone on/off switch both on the ear cups and on the cable. If you’re out running, you often have the cable inside your top and so it can be useful if you can still increase or reduce the volume. The same applies when you’re playing a game. It must be possible to quickly find the settings and buttons.
Some headsets also have a number of other functions. One is noise cancellation, which means that the microphone is constructed so that it excludes noise from your surroundings. This improves the sound quality for whoever you’re talking to.
Other examples of functions that you can find on the headset market are virtual surround sound, LED lighting and an equaliser option.
The functions you get depend on the manufacturer, intended use area and the price class. Headset prices vary quite significantly. You can find cheap headsets for around £20, but if you want good sound and a lot of functions you have to count on spending quite a bit more. The very dearest headsets cost several hundred pounds, but these are normally relatively advanced wireless models intended for enthusiasts. The budget class usually contains normal wired headsets with 3.5 mm cables, while wireless ones are generally in the more expensive segment.
These days, it’s easiest to buy headsets online. This where you can compare prices, and the range is much wider than if you went to a physical home electronics shop. The headset is then delivered to your door.
The advantage of buying in a physical shop is that you can take it home the same day and sometimes you can even try listening too.
If you buy a headset online, it’s important that you read the tests and user reviews of the models you’re interested in to make sure that they provide the quality you’re looking for.
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