There’s often good cause for keeping things in the family, like the high-performing and ever-so-simple-to-get-going official Xbox Wireless Headset.
Headsets with plugs rarely pose a problem to set up – you plug it in and “Bam!”, you’ve got sound. Wireless headsets, however, can be more challenging to set up, and usually involve some sort of dongle clogging up one of those never-enough-of USB ports. With their official Xbox Wireless Headset, Microsoft have kept things exceedingly simple: Press the pair button on your Xbox (Series X|S or One), press the pair button on your Xbox Wireless Headset, wait for a few quick flashes and you’re all hooked up. No wires, no dongles, no fuss, no stress. It just works.
This welcome simplicity carries over to the design of the Xbox Wired Headset, too. Look at it – simple, attractive, tasteful and functional lines, unlike some headsets that have so many bells, lights and whistles that they look like they’ve just got in from Mardi Gras.
It may not shout “Look at moi!”, but that doesn’t mean that the Xbox Wireless Headset doesn’t deliver where it counts, sonically. Testing it out on some music as well as several genres of game, we encountered fabulous bass response – and then we adjusted things further in the Xbox Accessories app to fine tune to our taste. Whether you’re into a whole lot of bass or think treble is king, you can tweak things to perfectly suit your vibe.
If you’re familiar with the wonders of Dolby Atmos spatial audio then you’ll love that the Xbox Wireless Headset supports it, and if you’re new to it then you’re in for a treat. A six-month subscription to Dolby’s Dolby Atmos for Headphones is included, and it sets itself up in seconds when you launch the Dolby Access app.
The mic, too, is a winner. Not using it? Bend it out of the way and it snugly wraps around the left ear cup. Bend it down, tap the easy to access button, an ‘on’ light bursts into life and you can chat away, with our test opponents reporting that we were coming through loudly and, more importantly, clearly. An auto-mute functionality, again adjustable in Xbox Accessories, is a neat touch, too.
Need to adjust volume or game/chat mix? The big, round panels on either side of the headset are your volume knobs for mixing at left and general volume at right – no fiddly little sliders to fumble for. The design here just gets better!
This stretches to comfort. There’s padding in all the right places, with easy size adjustment via ratcheting sliders that feel reassuringly solid. The actual ear cups are soft enough to allow glasses wearers to play without having their means of seeing jammed into their head, and that all-important comfort for extended play is in abundance, aided by the headset’s quite light weight of just ~311 grams.
Charging comes via a USB-C port on the right ear cup, and a cable is included to this end. Microsoft claim an average charge life of 15 hours, and from our experience we have no reason to argue with this claim. A full recharge takes around three hours, or you can be up and running with a quick burst of four hours of play after just half an hour of charging.
Still not enough to sway you? The Xbox Wireless Headset also supports standard Bluetooth connection, opening up use on devices ranging from PCs to mobiles.
Our only quibble – and it’s possibly hidden away in a setting somewhere in the bowels of our Xbox – was that once the Xbox Wireless Headset was connected, audio didn’t stop from our speakers. Stabbing the mute button on our remote isn’t a biggie, but we thought it worth mentioning.
Ultimately, this really is an impressive piece of kit, from its eyecatching yet simple design through to the incredible functionality that’s hidden within. If you’re after an Xbox headset that looks the part, is simple to get going and delivers above and beyond performance-wise, at just $149 the Xbox Wireless Headset is hard to look past.
The Xbox Wireless Headset is available now.