The Xbox Wireless Headset isn’t that great. The audio quality is very bass heavy, to a point where you will be required to modify the EQ if you want a more neutral soundstage. This is, seemingly, the entire point for the headset to exist, since the thing is a “gamer headset”. Why gamers like sub-par sound, I will never understand. A true gamer should want an accurate recreation of the sounds, not over-amplified bass that drowns everything else out. As someone that competes in esports, primarily first person shooters, I can confirm that sound is a very, very important part to any and all levels of competition. Bass is nice to have, but only if it’s accurate, and only when it’s actually needed. I want to hear the sound of my gun firing, and the echo it makes when shooting down a dark tunnel or in a tight hallway. This headset, however, drowns the echo out, and just blasts the bassy sound of the gun firing with zero regard for anything else.

There’s also seemingly a driver bug on Windows 10 that prevents you from properly using the microphone if the headset is plugged in. This isn’t that big of a problem, since the headset is primarily intended to be used wirelessly, and has a pretty respectable battery life. Though it’s worth mentioning all the same. Right now, the drivers seem to be pre-release drivers. Version 0 something, instead of 1 something. Audio also has a noticeable delay of around 200-350ms. While it’s not quite a full half second of audio delay, it’s enough to be more than noticeable. Sure, you can get used to the delay, but why would you want to? It’s something that shouldn’t exist to begin with, and for any competitive games, would actually give you a fairly significant disadvantage, given how important sound is in most major esport titles.

The comfortability is also fairly questionable. The headset has a very tight fit, and once it’s on your head, cannot be adjusted freely. You must take it off to adjust the length of the bands, which I’ve found to be rather annoying. Then there’s the fact that the headset is very tight. As in, it will squish the side of your head. To be fair, my head is fairly large, and I suppose the benefit to a very tight fit is the headset won’t fall off randomly during normal or even the more extreme use, like if you’re gaming while trying to traverse Mount Everest or something… but still. If you dislike a tight thing on your head? Don’t buy this headset. It does however have decent sound cancellation, despite not having any active noise cancellation technology. It’s such a tight fit all you can really hear is the stuff in your game. Which is… neat, I guess?

The build quality is also relatively low, and I question the longevity of the audio dial in particular. The dial is the entire right side of the headset, which is neat and oddly super convenient to use. However, it’s flimsy. Naturally taking the headset on and off will put unintended pressure on the audio dial, potentially breaking the mechanism due to too much continued use. While my headset in particular is still working fine, despite using it daily since launch, I honestly suspect that this thing will fail within its first year of usage.

The fact you can hook this headset up to two separate devices at the same time, is actually a really useful feature that I’ve never seen before on a headset of this price. In fact, every single negative thing I mentioned in this review, is potentially negated by the fact that the Xbox Wireless Headset only costs $130 CAD. It’s a jack of all trades, master of none. It’s mediocre in every regard, but that’s actually okay. It’s not intended for audiophiles, or even professional gamers. It’s meant for casual Xbox gamers that just want a cheap wireless headset that does everything they’d ever realistically need for it to do, and this headset fits that bill perfectly. It doesn’t excel at anything. It doesn’t have good sound. The microphone prioritizes clarity over quality. The drivers are lacklustre, especially on PC. The build quality is questionable. The comfort is lacking. But it’s only $130. And at this price point, it’s arguably one of the best headsets you can buy, as far as features go. Sure, there are far, far, FAR better options out there for sound, mic, comfort, and durability, but you’re going to be giving something up in return. The Xbox Wireless Headset is great at being mediocre. And that’s a good thing.

So, do I recommend this headset? No, but also yes. If you want a cheap headset that does everything, but doesn’t do it very well? You can’t go wrong with the Xbox Wireless Headset. However, if you want something that excels at any one particular aspect, whether it’s the microphone, audio quality, build quality, or something else entirely? Buy something else.

Disclaimer: I bought the Xbox Wireless Headset at EB Games on release day. I primarily use it on PC with the Xbox Adapter.

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