Sup folks? If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll remember last week when I said I’d do a review of the official Microsoft Xbox One Stereo Headset. I had to give it a good week of tryout before I could actually get a feel for how the sound works compared to the various headsets from last gen (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii). I was actually using a headset from last gen (Turtle Beach X12) with a homemade adapter I crafted by taking apart the free chat headset that comes with the console & soldering the wires. The only problem is, I could hear the game volume perfectly, but I still had to use the regular stock headset to chat. As you can imagine, I grew tired of having two headsets on my head while gaming. Not to mention having wires upon wires everywhere. F*ck that idea.
How much was the headset?
So, given I have the Microsoft Complete extended warranty (which covers replacement of anything for three additional years by the way…console, headsets, controllers, Kinect…), I decided to give this headset a shot. It retails everywhere except GameStop for $79.99. Again, if you follow me on Twitter, you probably saw my tangent where I cursed GameStop the f*ck out because they’re selling the headset for $89.99, when literally every other retailer has it listed for $79.99. No, seriously…every store, either online or retail has them for $79.99 except punk ass GameStop…with no explanation why. Anyway, the price seemed right given in the past I’ve paid upwards of $200 for a good gaming headset, so I took a trip to Best Buy since it’s less expensive than the Turtle Beach and Polk lines that dropped on the same day.
How does the headset feel?
The construction is rather sturdy, actually. I’m quite impressed. It’s a plastic like normal headsets are, however it definitely doesn’t feel like cheap plastic even though it’s thin. You can bend the cuffs & it doesn’t snap as you’d expect. I’m not saying pull the shit apart as much as you can to test the sturdiness, but it definitely stretches enough to fit your head. As far as comfort goes, the ear cups are very comfortable. They’re made of a really soft cloth & fit over your ears instead of on top of them, which definitely allows for longer use. With some of the headsets I’ve owned, I had to take breaks because my ears would get hot or go slightly numb from elongated use. These? My ears fit inside of the cuffs & I used them for 7 straight hours when Titanfall was released. I like the way they feel & I wish each different manufacturer would follow suit.
The only thing I’m not too fond of is how wide the headset is. It over-extends outward, somewhat like the look of the headset that air traffic controllers use, except a bit longer. I’m assuming this contributes to the comfort, but I couldn’t help but notice I looked like a damn idiot when I walked by a mirror on my way to the bathroom once. I literally almost pissed myself laughing.
How does it sound?
Well, if you’re familiar with virtual surround sound vs. stereo sound, let me just say that for a headset that operates solely on the digital sound chip in the adapter drawing sound from the controller, they sound pretty damn good. The bass is deep & rich, but not to the point where you feel like you have 15″ subwoofers in your ears. It’s subtle, as it should be. If you’re an audiophile, this isn’t the headset for you. However, the sound is very clear and balanced. Also, when you’re chatting, people can hear you clearly. There’s no static or feedback, which is nice. But, I do have one minor peeve, which is the volume control. It’s on the adapter & it’s confusing until you get the hang of it. I’m used to there being separate volume control sliders on the headset itself. I made the mistake of trying to adjust each by pressing the appropriate button for game and chat audio…well…one cancels out the other. Once you turn the game volume up, chat volume goes down. The bad shit is, it’s like this for every headset, not just this one. It’s the way the adapter is made. Maybe I just haven’t quite gotten the hang of it yet. Who knows?
If you’re an Xbox One gamer & are looking for a good quality, decently priced headset…this is the one. I’ve tried the Turtle Beach XO Four headset ($99.99) & this one is actually on par at $20 below the price point. If you’re willing to spend the money, the Turtle Beach XO Seven sounds better, but as of right now, both of the Polk Audio headsets sound like shit & have issues. That’s actually surprising given Polk Audio has made great audio products for years. I have a set of Polk speakers in one of my vehicles actually, not to mention I have a pair of Polk earbuds. Both sound great…not too sure how they dropped the ball on this generation of headsets. But getting back on track, I’d definitely recommend the Microsoft Xbox One Stereo Headset if you’re not quite ready to spend $100+ on a gaming headset.
If you have any questions or comments, leave them here or hit me up on Twitter (@_maliante)