Evaluate: Wi-fi headsets from Logitech, Audio-Technica, SteelSeries, HyperX and extra – TechCrunch

Review: Wireless headsets from Logitech, Audio-Technica, SteelSeries, HyperX and more – TechCrunch

With the quantity of time you’re spending at residence nowadays, you deserve a greater headset. A wi-fi one which works along with your pc and possibly your console as nicely, with a mic for calls and nice sound for video games and flicks. Luckily there are quite a bit to select from, and I’ve examined out your greatest choices.

I requested the main audio and peripheral firms to ship over their flagship wi-fi headset, with costs starting from about $100 to $250. Past this value vary returns diminish swiftly, however proper now that’s the candy spot for consolation, sound, and value.

For years I’ve averted wi-fi headsets as a result of there have been too many compromises, however I’m happy to say that the latency has been eradicated and battery life within the ones I reviewed is uniformly wonderful. (NB: If the wi-fi model feels too costly, you possibly can typically get wired ones for $50-100 much less.)

To check the headphones, I used all of them for quite a lot of on a regular basis duties, from video calls to films and music (with solely minimal EQing to get a way of their pure sound) to AAA video games and indies. None require an app to work, although some have companion software program for LEDs or sport profiles. I’ve a pretty big head and medium-sized ears, for what it’s price. All of the headphones are somewhat cumbersome, although the angle I shot them at individually makes them look large — you possibly can see within the picture up high that they’re all roughly the identical dimension.

None of those headphones have lively noise cancelling, however many supply first rate bodily isolation to the purpose the place they provide a “monitor” characteristic that pipes in sound from the skin world — helpful for those who’re taking part in a sport however ready for the oven to preheat or one thing. Solely the primary set has a built-in mic, the remaining have removable ones of typically strong high quality, definitely ok for streaming and chatting, although for broadcast a separate one could be higher. All these headphones use a USB-A method dongle, although the 7P/7X additionally has a USB-C connector.

SteelSeries 7P/7X – $149

The 7P and 7X headsets, designed with the PS5 and Xbox Sequence X in thoughts (in addition to PC) respectively, are my first and most unreserved suggestion.

The standout characteristic on these is, to me, a really shocking sound with an virtually disturbingly broad stage and readability. I virtually couldn’t imagine what I used to be listening to after I placed on some acquainted tracks I exploit for reference. This isn’t a 7.1 simulation or something like that — however little doubt the gaming focus led to creating a big soundstage. It labored!

I additionally discovered the headphones to be very comfy, with a “ski goggle” strap as an alternative of a per-band adjustment that lets them sit very flippantly in addition to “remembering” your setting. The spacious earcups rotate for journey or consolation.

The built-in mic is unobtrusive and stows away properly, however for those who’re choosy about placement it was a bit floppy to regulate. Lots of the different headsets have nicer mics that utterly detach — possibly that’s a plus for you however I are likely to lose them.

My major points with these are that the controls really feel low-cost and never significantly nicely laid out. The underside of the headset is a jumble of ports and buttons and the amount dials don’t have a lot journey — it’s 0 to 100 in a single full swipe. (Quantity management is unbiased from system quantity.)

The dongle is totally different from the others in that it’s itself USB-C, however with a USB-A cable hooked up. That’s good for compatibility, however the cable is three ft lengthy, making it sort of foolish to connect to some laptops and whatnot. You could possibly simply get your personal quick twine, although.

At $150 I feel these are a straightforward suggestion for nearly anybody that value vary.

Audio-Technica AT-GWL – $250

Devin Coldewey / TechCrunch

The excessive value on these is partly as a result of they’re the wi-fi model of a headset that additionally comes wired, so in order for you the strong audio efficiency and comfortable match, it can save you some cash by going wired.

The sound of the AT-GWLs is wealthy and naturally has a give attention to the upper-mid vocal vary, which makes voices in media actually pop. I did discover the sound a bit confined, which hitting the “encompass” setting really helped with. I do know that this form of virtualization has typically been frowned on, but it surely’s been some time since these settings have been excessive and distortive. I discovered encompass higher for video games however not essentially for music, but it surely’s very straightforward to change on and off.

The headphones are mild and adjusted with conventional, no-nonsense steel bands, with a single pad on the highest. I might say they’re the lightest-feeling pair I examined, with the SteelSeries and Razer coming in simply behind owing to some further weight and bulk. Regardless of being compact, the AT-GWLs felt ethereal however not massive. The leather-microfiber combo cups are good, and I feel they’ll break in nicely to offer higher isolation over time.

The place they fall quick is within the interface. First, a word to Audio-Technica: Flip down the notification noises! Turning the headset on, the mic on or off, or hitting the system-independent quantity max produces loud, shocking beeps. Too loud!

Second, the buttons and dials are stiff, small, and same-feeling. Lifting a hand shortly to show down the amount (possibly after an enormous beep) you might very simply mistake the facility swap for the amount dial. The dial additionally doubles as a button for encompass mode, and subsequent to it’s a microscopic button to activate and off the sound of environment. It’s a little bit of a jumble — nothing you possibly can’t get used to, however contemplating how good different headsets on this listing made their controls, it needs to be mentioned.

HyperX Cloud II wi-fi – $100

Devin Coldewey / TechCrunch

HyperX (owned by Kingston) wasn’t precisely recognized for audio till pretty not too long ago, however its earlier Cloud headset received the essential Wirecutter endorsement, and it’s straightforward to see why. For much less cash than any of the opposite headsets on this roundup, the follow-up to that headset (which I’m carrying proper now) has wonderful sound and isolation.

I used to be shocked to discover a soundstage almost as extensive because the 7P/7X, however with extra of a give attention to the punchy decrease register as an alternative of on element and placement. My music felt massive and shut, and the ambiance of video games likewise, extra instantly current.

The Cloud II’s controls are easy and efficient. The amount dial, tied on to the system quantity, is excellent: grippy, with clean movement and simply the correct amount of friction, and just-barely-there clicks. There are two good-size buttons, the facility one concave and the mic mute (which supplies totally different sounds for muted and lively) convex.

It’s unlucky that they’re not as comfy, for me anyway, because the others on this listing. The cups (although a bit on the nice and cozy facet) and band are completely superb. It’s that there’s little rotation to these cups, that means there’s no play to accommodate the form of your head. I don’t know, possibly it’s simply my massive dome, however they had been noticeably tighter on the entrance of my ear than the again, so I used to be continuously adjusting or making an attempt to twist them.

I’ll say this: in the event that they add a bit extra adjustment to the cups, these could be my default suggestion over the 7P/7X. As thrilling because the SteelSeries sound is to me, the Cloud IIs appear extra like what folks anticipate and $50 cheaper.

Logitech G-733 – $130

The matte texture of the G733s had a bizarre interplay with my digital camera — they don’t look speckly IRL. Devin Coldewey / TechCrunch

These are Logitech’s streamer-friendly, color-coordinated, LED-sporting set, however they’re higher than the loud design would counsel.

The sound is unquestionably gaming-forward, with a particular emphasis on the low finish and a really central, current sound that was quite a bit just like the Cloud II.

To be trustworthy, I used to be not anticipating the G733s to be very comfy — their stiff plastic look recommended they’d creak, crush my ears, and crush my noggin. However the truth is they’re actually mild and fairly cozy! There’s lots of play within the positions of the earcups. The match is a bit odd in that there’s a plainly inferior model of the 7P/7X’s “ski goggle” strap that basically solely has 4 settings, whereas the cups slide up and down about two thirds of an inch. It was simply sufficient to accommodate my (once more, apparently very giant) head.

The mic growth is somewhat quick, and sadly there isn’t any indicator for when the mic is on or off, which is typically a minor inconvenience and typically a significant ache. You’ll be able to inform from the sound the mute button makes, although.

The amount dial is sweet and clean, although the “clicks” are actually far aside. I like the feel of it and the mic mute button, the facility button not a lot. But it surely works.

The colours is probably not to everybody’s liking, however I’ve at hand it to Logitech for going all the best way. The headset, mic, and even the USB dongle are all the identical shade, making it a lot simpler to maintain observe of them in my rising pile of headphones and widgets.

Logitech Professional-X – $200

Devin Coldewey / TechCrunch

At the moment Logitech’s most premium set of gaming headphones, the Professional-X abandon the brilliant, plasticky look of its different units and goes for understated and black.

The sound of the Logitech is massive and really clear, with virtually a reference really feel in how balanced the bands are. I felt extra presence within the mid-lows of sensible bass-playing than the opposite units. There’s a “encompass” really feel that makes it really feel extra such as you’re in a room of well-configured audio system than headphones, one thing that I feel emerges from a de-emphasis of the middle channel. The media is “on the market,” not “in right here.” It’s not a nasty or a very good factor, simply distinct from the others.

The controls are about on par with the Cloud II’s: A pleasant frictiony quantity wheel controlling system quantity, a pleasant mic toggle button, and a reasonably meaty on-off swap you’re unlikely to journey on goal.

Additionally just like the Cloud IIs, there isn’t any rotation to the earcups, making them much less comfy to me than the ATs and SteelSeries, and Logitech’s cheaper G-733s. A bigger head than my very own, if that’s doable, would positively really feel clamped. I do assume these would put on in nicely, however all the identical a little bit of play would assist quite a bit.

The exterior materials, a satinized matte plastic, seems really pretty however is an absolute fingerprint magnet. Contemplating you’ll be dealing with these quite a bit (and let’s be trustworthy, not essentially with freshly washed arms), you’re going to wish to wipe them down somewhat greater than any of the others I examined.

Razer Blackshark V2 Professional – $180

Devin Coldewey / TechCrunch

The understated Razer Blackshark V2 Professional quickly grew to become my go-to for PC gaming when the SteelSeries set was hooked up to the PS5.

Their sound is unquestionably gaming-focused, with further oomph within the lows and mid-lows, however music didn’t sound overly shifted in that path. The soundstage is full however not startlingly so, and every little thing sounded detailed with out being harsh.

The Razers look heavy however aren’t — it varies everyday however I feel they’re positively competing for “most comfy” with the A-Ts and SteelSeries. The cups really feel spacious and have a pleasant seal, making for a really remoted listening expertise. Adjustment is finished with the wires hooked up to the cups, which is nothing particular — I sort of want this setup would allow you to regulate the cant in addition to the peak. The fabric is just like the Logitechs — liable to fingerprints, although rather less so, in my expertise.

Their controls are very nicely designed and laid out, all on one facet. The protruding (system-independent) quantity knob could seem odd at first however you’ll like it quickly. The one massive notch or click on signifies precisely 50%, which is tremendous helpful for fast “calibration,” and turning the knob is clean but resistant sufficient that I by no means as soon as by chance modified it. In the meantime there are conveniently positioned and distinguishable buttons for mute and energy, and ports for the removable mic, cost twine, and three.5mm enter.

I’m exhausting pressed to think about any downsides to the Blackshark besides that it doesn’t work with consoles.

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