The fine gaming headsets
Competitive multiplayer games like Fortnite, which require clear voice communication and positional audio, and the rise of the Nintendo Switch, which has mediocre internal speakers, have boosted the online game headset marketplace. But the sheer variety of options can be intimidating. We’re right here to help. Over the years, Polygon has solicited samples from many of the most important names inside the industry, constructing out an extensive library of test units. Over a month, I’ve placed all of them to the check, gambling the whole lot from experimental indie video games to large-budget AAA shooters. I sought exceptional headphone answers for every one of the four main structures: Mac and Windows PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
First, a note about my choice criteria: the intention becomes to discover exceptional headphones to match the precise abilties of each platform. For the modern-era consoles from Sony and Microsoft, the aim was to find a wi-fi solution that paired well with the structures’ wireless controllers. For Switch, I recognized headsets compatible with that platform’s precise cellular app-based chat capabilities. On PC, I elected this yr to attention interest on the new breed of digital-to-analog converters.
Last yr’s winner became the Astro A50. That pair affords first-rate sound quality and several reachable functions like an optical bypass-through — applicable if you own an excessive-quit receiver. However, after using that headset during the last year, some of the frailties in its layout have grown to become up. First, the battery life has no longer lived as much as expectations. Often the headset will run down after just a few days of sitting around unplugged. It’s also the heaviest wireless set that I’ve tested, which has caused a few uncomfortable past due-night gaming sessions.
Or those reasons, this yr I’m recommending the SteelSeries Arctic Pro Wireless as a substitute. This new headset is extra than in shape for the audio quality of the A50s. However, it is smaller and lighter. The $329.99 package functions as a replaceable onboard battery that’s exact for every week’s well worth of heavy gaming. Best of all, the Arctic Pro Wireless comes with two of those batteries. Of course, one is going inside the headset, even as the other one sits charging on standby interior its Apple TV-sized transmitter.
This offering from SteelSeries bundles up a number of the pleasant functions of the Siberia 840, which made our listing closing yr inside the multimedia category but is now not in manufacturing. The Arctic Pro Wireless affords excellent surround sound for gaming, making it a valuable asset for motion-heavy shooters like Destiny 2 and Call of Duty: Black Ops four. Likewise, it is one of the only a few gaming headphones on the market to aid DTS Headphone:X 2. Zero is designed to simulate the sound of contemporary 11.1 movie theaters. I’ve taken to using it solely for viewing films at domestic. To enhance its power, just be sure to show off the extent limiter in the settings, which the producer says is required in a few global markets.
The Arctic Pro Wireless functions as an optical audio-out, alongside hooks for popular 3. Five mm enter and output jacks. That means it’s like-minded with your Nintendo Switch while it’s docked with your TV. Finally, the headset also functions integrated Bluetooth aid, which means it works with the Switch’s cellular app at the same time. That makes it well suited together with your laptop and your smartphone, too. The range is brilliant, thanks to a 2.4 GHz transmitter. It’s by far the maximum function-wealthy tool in our round-up.
RUNNER-UP: PLANTRONICS RIG 800HS
Last 12 months, the Plantronics Rig 800HS surprised me with its incredibly brilliant stereo audio and a sub-$one hundred fifty fee tag. After a full 12 months of constant use, it ends up my pass-to answer for extended sessions of Destiny 2 and Red Dead Redemption 2 on the PS4.
Simply put, the Rig 800HS is always prepared to head. The battery lasts an enormously long term: In the beyond a month, I’ve best needed to rate mine up once. What’s more, it tends to hold that charge tons better than the alternative headsets I’ve examined. I put the Rig 800HS aside for several months over the summer and changed into astounded to discover that when I fired it back up, it changed into nevertheless fully charged. It’s a fantastic feat for a device that is so small and so tremendously light.
One disadvantage with the Rig 800HS is its minimalist construction. Instead of adjusting the suit with a conventional sliding mechanism, to exchange the size of this headset, you need to bodily do away with each of the ear cups — speaker and all — and insert them into the following open slot at the plastic headscarf. That makes the transition to the next size up or down fiddly, with each meeting left tethered to the scarf through a thin, cloth-protected cord. I haven’t been so apprehensive messing with a chunk of the package since I cleaned the sensor on my virtual SLR digital camera. But if you take some time and read the commands, you shouldn’t have any issues.
The Rig attaches to the PS4 thru a matchbook-sized dongle that requires each USB and optical connection. As a bonus for twin console households, the headset that comes with the Rig 800HS is likewise compatible with the dongle from the Rig 800LX that Plantronics makes for the Xbox One. So, in case you need to pick out up each, you can platoon your pairs of headphones among both consoles. The SteelSeries Arctic 3 Bluetooth returns this yr as the pleasant headset solution for the Nintendo Switch. SteelSeries is the handiest headset producer we’ve observed making headsets to bodily hook up with the Switch console even as additionally pairing with a cell phone or tablet so you can run Nintendo’s wacky partner app at the equal time.