During the existence of a line of accessories for consoles of the family Xbox least attention Microsoft devoted to wireless headsets of its production. In the era Xbox 360 there were two devices for voice chat, and on Xbox one the platform holder produced only wired headsets, and wireless models were available only from vendors by type SteelSeries and Razer…
At the start Xbox Series X | S the line of official accessories was also not rich – nothing but additional joysticks could be purchased. However, in February 2023 Microsoft corrected a major omission and introduced the first wireless stereo headset of its own production for its new consoles Xbox Wireless Headset at a price of 99 dollars (the official price in the Russian Federation is 9599 rubles).
This headset was recently received by the editor. GameMAG.ru for the test, and we are ready to tell you about our impressions.
COMPLETE SET, APPEARANCE AND TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS
The packaging of the official headset is designed in the style of the rest of the accessories – it is a pleasant-to-touch cardboard box in white and green tones that opens like a chest. The front side shows the Xbox Wireless Headset itself, and various technical information is placed on the sides and back. Inside, the headset is packed in a cardboard form, under which the rest of the equipment is hidden: a 35-cm USB Type-C to USB Type-A wire for charging the device, warranty information and a brief visual instruction.
The look of the headset tells us that it was clearly tailored to the overall look with the Xbox Series X | S consoles. The matte plastic on the sides of the cups is exactly the same as on the Xbox Series X case, but on the headband it is different, which is why fingerprints on it are slightly visible, but they are easily wiped off. The bezel, like the entire body of the Xbox Wireless Headset, is made of plastic, but inside, according to the developers, a steel frame is used for rigidity. The bezel is thick enough and looks secure.
The headband can be easily adjusted in height. Cushioning foam lined with synthetic leather is used for a comfortable bottom fit. The same materials are used on the ear cushions. Inside, the latter have nets that prevent dirt from getting into the speakers, on which the manufacturer has designated the left and right channels with large letters L and R, respectively.
The bowls themselves vaguely resemble car speakers in their shape. In terms of design, they can be divided into several parts.
The wide interior conceals 40mm neodymium drivers with a paper cone with a frequency range of 20Hz to 20,000Hz and an impedance of 32 ohms. The middle is compact, dotted with a texture of dots. On the right cup in the hollow behind the manufacturer lonely placed a Type-C connector for charging the device and updating the firmware over the wire. On the left side behind is a small headset status LED that is well hidden among the dotted textured surface, as well as a tall green button for power and pairing. In addition, in the same recess, the manufacturer placed a non-removable microphone, which, thanks to a bendable boom, surrounds the headphones and allows it to be folded if desired. However, this cannot be completely done due to the long plastic tip on which the two microphones and their status LED are located. At the base behind is a button to turn the microphone on and off.
The main highlight of the design is the outer parts of the bowl, namely the outer discs with a green edging on the side, which are used to adjust the volume. On the right side, the embossed Xbox rotator is used for general headphone volume control, and on the left side it is used to adjust the volume balance between chat and game.
CONVENIENCE, CONNECTION AND SOFTWARE
Outwardly, the headset looks fashionable, and it sits quite comfortably and tightly. With sudden movements of her head, she does not try to fly away in an unpredictable direction. The materials are pleasant tactilely, but after 2-3 hours of playing, the ears in the ear cushions become stuffy – especially in summer.
In terms of weight, it is 312 grams, which is quite average for a full-size wireless headset. Overall, the weight is felt.
All controls are intelligently and intuitively located. The volume controls here are especially handy during gaming sessions, compared to the regular controls that are usually found somewhere behind on the bowls and have to be groped for.
The headset connection is available via 2.4 GHz wireless for Xbox and Bluetooth 4.2 devices. We were able to connect the Xbox Wireless Headset to the Xbox Series X over 2.4GHz without any problems, pairing like any other wireless accessory on the Microsoft console.
The headset can be connected to a PC in three ways: via Bluetooth if there is an appropriate module, via a USB Type-C wire and via a 2.4 GHz wireless protocol for Xbox devices. The latter requires a special adapter for Windows 10, which is sold separately for at least 1800 rubles.
As an experiment, we also tried to connect the headset to the PlayStation 5 via Bluetooth and to the Nintendo Switch via USB Type-C, but both cases failed.
PS5 issued a message about the lack of support for Bluetooth audio accessories, and in the case of the Switch, the console simply did not respond to the wired connection – either directly or through the docking station. Although, this problem can probably be solved by purchasing a third-party Bluetooth adapter that simulates the connection of a headset using the USB Audio protocol.
The Xbox Wireless Headset communicates seamlessly via Bluetooth with an Android smartphone. At the same time, the headset is able to keep the connection both over the radio channel and over Bluetooth. So you can answer calls without any problems without interrupting the gameplay.
You can set up your Xbox Wireless Headset using the Xbox Accessories app, available on Xbox One and Xbox Series consoles, and from the Microsoft Store on Windows 10 PCs. Note that the app does not detect the headset on a PC with a Bluetooth connection. Setting up and updating an accessory is possible only when connected via a special wireless adapter or via a wire. The application allows you to adjust the sound using a 5-band equalizer. There are several presets for different situations and content (games, movies, music, speech and heavy bass). There is also the possibility of boosting low frequencies. Other options in the app are related to the microphone: setting the LED brightness, noise cancellation and auto mute on silence.
SOUND & BATTERY
The quality of communication within one room of an apartment building is at an excellent level, but if you go to the next room and a reinforced concrete obstacle appears between you and the source, then the quality of the connection decreases. This applies to both 2.4GHz wireless and Bluetooth connectivity. That is, the real work of the headphones varies 5-10 meters from the device.
We tested the Xbox Wireless Headset on several projects on PC (Death Stranding) and Xbox Series X (Forza Horizon 4 and Gears 5). The headset supports Windows Sonic, DTS Headphone: X, Dolby Atmos spatial sound technologies. The first one is immediately available to all users of the Xbox and PC consoles, and for the use of the last two you will have to pay extra.
In Gears 5, Dolby Atmos surround sound is excellently implemented – playing multiplayer was very enjoyable, as the position of shots or footsteps of approaching players was perfectly audible. In Forza Horizon 4, the difference between surround sound and uncompressed stereo was found to be minimal.
In Death Stranding, the surround sound was also palpable, enhancing the soundstage of the post-apocalyptic future. In general, the sound is solid. The bottom is deep, but pulled up by default. Perhaps this is not enough for everyone, because the manufacturer also added the ability to enhance them, but they can be reduced only through manual equalizer settings.
The volume ratings of the Xbox Wireless Headset are very high, so it will appeal to fans of loud sound. As for the quality of music playback on a PC and from a smartphone, things are already worse. The sound becomes more dull, especially the bass. Before us is still a game solution in the first place.
As mentioned above, there are two microphones. One is aimed directly at the user, and the second is located on the other side to catch extraneous noise. When setting up through the Xbox Accessories app, you can set up your microphone so that it does not pick up some of the unwanted sounds that your friends might hear in chat when you are silent. There are no complaints about the sound quality of the microphone – the interlocutors recognize the sound loudly and clearly.
The Xbox Wireless Headset battery lasts about 3-5 days in 2-3 hour sessions, depending on volume level, settings selected, and connection type. The result is quite good. Charging the headset to 100% takes just under 3 hours.
Xbox Wireless Headset is definitely a good wireless headset for a reasonable price. It has a pleasant ergonomic design, support for spatial sound in games with deep bass, good autonomy and the ability to connect to two devices at once using different protocols. Of the problems, perhaps, it is worth highlighting the inability to deactivate the automatic turn on of the Xbox console when the Xbox Wireless Headset is turned on (it interferes in cases when you need to use the headset only with another device or run software on a PC that does not allow configuration if the device is connected via Bluetooth; c In such cases, you have to connect it via a wire and configure it, and then pair it again via Bluetooth and use it).
Author: Sergey Dyakonenko (Madnfs)
Photo: Alexey Olkin
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