Xbox Wireless Headset – Design and Features
The Xbox Wireless Headset is very stylish. Made of black molded plastic with just a touch of Xbox green on the boxes, the blend of fine, sharp edges on the top strip with the not quite concentric circles of the outer ear cups and ear padding creates a striking look at the top. both elegant and spacious. A little like Sony Pulse 3D Headphones, it is designed to look like the console.
The adjustable top band – made of hard plastic with a steel inner frame – feels narrow, but adjusted to fit my wide head perfectly. The sides of the bracelet slide out so you can adjust the fit: there is a tactile response as you adjust, helping you keep track when you find your fit, although it lacks a visual indicator to help you do so. match the fit on both sides. The inner side of the bracelet has a faux leather coated foam padding, which is very firm, yet comfortable. Then again, at just 10.97 ounces, the padding doesn’t need to keep that much weight on your head.
The headphones are also padded with faux leather and supportive foam. This padding creates a seal that provides a relatively weak, but still noticeable passive noise-canceling effect. That said, the padding can be a bit overwhelming. While the space inside the boxes seems and feels cavernous, every now and then I noticed that some of the padding was rubbing uncomfortably against the base of my ear. It’s fixable, but also a sign that the cups might be a bit too small, or at least set a bit too narrow. Inside, the headset has 40mm speakers, which generate crisp, concussive sound. (We will talk about this later).
The best thing about the Xbox Wireless Headset is its simple yet graceful headphone controls. Instead of charging the back of the earbuds with a stack of indistinguishable buttons, it flaunts its controls using dials and a few buttons, all easily recognizable by touch. The outer circles of the headphones are both rotating dials: your right ear controls the volume, your left controls the game / chat mix. There are only two buttons on the left cup: Directly on the back you have a long, thin pairing / power button. Underneath, on the base of the mic boom, you have a flat, recessed mute button. Finally, there’s a somewhat hidden USB-C port on the right earbud, in the space between the inner earcup padding and the outer bezel. Given their positions and shapes, you would never mistake one control for another once you know where everything should be, which makes them infinitely more useful than the vast majority of built-in headphone controls.
The microphone, on the other hand, has its ups and downs. During a mic test in Logitech Capture, which I use to prepare for video calls, I found that the mic added a slight sharpness to the higher tones. The truncated arrow is also a bit too short to fit properly in front of your mouth. Surprisingly, however, it picks up your voice very clearly. That said, like the Pulse 3D headphones, it also picks up a lot of ambient noise.
In theory, Microsoft has a countermeasure for the problem: an adjustable “auto-mute” sound isolation feature that’s supposed to “mute your mic” when you’re not speaking to block out more non-essential sounds. While it did attenuate some softer noises, it failed to prevent most accidental sounds that could accidentally disrupt the game, even on the highest of the three settings. It was blocking the sound of me gently pounding my fist on my desk, but still picking up the typing sounds of my mechanical keyboard and the sound of me snapping my fingers a few feet away. In the end, it goes like a wash: Auto-mute blocks out enough noise to make the headphones clear and usable, but it falls short of getting the same isolation and tone as truly awesome headphone mics. , like the Logitech Pro X headset.
Like just about all Xbox devices these days, the Xbox Wireless Headset has versatile connectivity, supporting both the Xbox Wireless Protocol for consoles and Bluetooth for PCs and mobile devices. You can also use the Xbox protocol on Windows via the Xbox Wireless Adapter or wired via USB-C. (You’ll need to bring your own cable, though. The included 14-inch USB-C cable is barely long enough for easy charging, let alone a comfortable listening setup.)
Either way, pairing the headset is incredibly easy; Simply hold the pairing button on the headset for a few seconds, then hold the pairing button on your Xbox or go through the Bluetooth pairing process on your PC or mobile device. The headphones give you the sound of whatever device you were last paired with, so you need to pair them every time you change devices, but it’s a straightforward process.That said, there are additional benefits to using the Xbox Wireless protocol on consoles, albeit modest. You can use the Xbox Accessories app without plugging in the headset using Xbox Wireless. And, like other headsets, turning on a paired headset will start your console. These types of little touches make the headset feel like a deeper upgrade on console than on PC.
However, battery life is a bit of a drawback. According to Microsoft, the Xbox Wireless Headset should last up to 15 hours on a single charge. My testing revealed that it lasted for over a full day of play, which is in line with the company’s estimate. Many helmets that we have tested, such as the Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2 and the Razer Nari Ultimate, can last up to 20 hours, which can be the difference between three to four days of play on a single charge.
Xbox Wireless Headset – Software
The Xbox Wireless Headset offers basic equalizer customization and a few other settings on Xbox consoles and PC through Microsoft’s Xbox Accessories app. Clean and clearly presented, the app allows you to adjust the levels of the headphones, either using a series of presets or creating your own, although you cannot save custom profiles. You can also turn on auto mute and microphone monitoring, or adjust the microphone indicator lighting.
Depending on how you approach it, the app is either anemic or a breath of fresh air. By PC standards, the settings here seem to be the bare minimum. On Xbox, however, where setup apps are still scarce, any customization is better than nothing. Even with a few glaring oversights – for example: if there is an input test on my Elite: Series 2 controller, shouldn’t there be a microphone sound check for the headset? – this will look like an upgrade for most Xbox gamers.
Xbox Wireless Headset – Gaming Performance
The Xbox Wireless Headset delivers deep sound that manages to stay crisp across its range. Like many budget and mid-range headsets, it delivers a rich bass soundscape that packs a real punch when grenades explode and things get explosive, say, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War. Unlike other headsets, however, its deep bass has no impact on how it sounds outside of these situations. In Control, in-game dialogue is crisp and clear. The ever-pervasive sound of whistling remains distinct from echo messages that come from beyond. And, in Fuser, you get a good separation between the channels, which allows you to dig into the individual tracks of the songs in your mix.
The Xbox Wireless Headset supports the many Xbox virtual surround sound standards including Windows Sonic, Dolby Atmos, and DTS Headphone: X. Using Dolby Atmos, my favorite of the three, the headset provides loud and useful positioning audio . In Control, the sound of the hiss made me feel like it was surrounding me. In Call of Duty, I could discern the directionality of footsteps and locate an enemy based on the sound of a bullet passing in front of my head. That said, even with Atmos, the surround sound of the Xbox Wireless Headset doesn’t create the same sense of spatial awareness that Sony’s Tempest system does on the PS5, especially when used with the Pulse 3D headset.
In non-gaming situations, the headset has a few more limitations. While listening to music on Spotify, I found that songs like “Love Again” by Dua Lipa were slightly compressed. The music is clear, but parts of the song feel like they are fused together. These types of mild hearing defects are not uncommon for a gaming headset, especially at this price point. At the same time, I would recommend them much more easily to an Xbox gamer than to someone on PC, where there are more options with universally superb sound.