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WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Simple and minimalistic, Microsoft’s Xbox One headset is ideal for those on a budget and is especially lightweight for those who hate heavy headphones. You probably won’t think it is the best gaming headset, but it does the job.
Price: Check Price
Weight: 9 ounces
Battery Life: N/A
Compatibility: Xbox One
Drivers: 40mm neodynium
Microsoft’s design goals are obvious: Create a minimalistic headset that offers private sound experiences for players without raising the price too high. If you were vastly underwhelmed by the simple little telemarketer headset that came with your Xbox One and controller, you will probably be interested in this stereo headset. After you have this headset, you’ll also want to learn how to connect an Xbox One headset easy setup for wired and wireless headphones.
Available in white or black, the headset gets down to business immediately. The earcups are one of the most interesting parts: they are broad over-the-ear cones that provide as much room as even the largest earcups on high-end models but at only a fraction of the weight. The entire headset only clocks in at around 9 ounces, and it’s an odd feeling at first to have such encompassing earcups on such a lightweight headset. The headband is a basic layer of rubberized padding, and the length adjustments are based on simple push/pull ratcheting. Nothing unfamiliar, and nothing wasted.
The earcup material itself is a basic weave designed more for longevity than comfort. Like other weaves, it tends to trap dust a little too well, but the lightweight design keeps it from being uncomfortable at any point.
There are no controls on this space-saving headset. Instead, Microsoft includes an expanded plugin adapter, similar to the controller’s in-box mic. Plug this into your controller, and you can mute, change the volume, and alternate chat volume balance. On Xbox systems, this controller-based control option is welcome, and timesaving compared to reaching up to buttons on the headset itself. However,m if you want a pair with inline controls, check out our Razer Carcharias review.
The mic is notable for its “hidden” design when it flips seamlessly up into the headband, making accidents less likely when putting the headphones away. The mic is a little short and fully plastic, but the audio dynamics work well nonetheless: It’s not crystal clear communication, but it gets the job done and keeps the boom out of the way at the same time. If you prefer a detachable microphone, check out our Razer Blackshark review or Mad Catz Tritton HD review for this option.
Related: If you like lightweight headsets, check out the Performance Designed Products Afterglow Wireless Gaming Headset.
With “stereo” in the name, it’s pretty obvious what sort of sound Microsoft offers here. With those extra-large earcups and the 40mm neodymium drivers, this stereo is probably better than what you’re used to, although it’s still a far cry from surround sound. There’s very little directionality, and bass tends to be soft at lower volumes – although this improves when you crank the sound up. You can read our Harman AKG GHS-1 review for another stereo headset option.
See also: Mad Catz Gears Of War 3 Dolby 7 1 Surround Headset review.
Ultimately, if you don’t have any headphones, or have a cheap pair and want to upgrade, these will provide a bit of extra advantage when it comes to filtering out sounds and signals. However, they don’t offer much environmental sound, and pinpointing noise remains tricky: they’re best used when you want a slight audio advantage but are particularly interested in the privacy and simplicity that Microsoft’s headset offers.