The Fanatical Blog
The best gaming headsets for Christmas and 2021
By Sam Jones - 1st Jan 2020News
The best options for those who want to splash out, or grab a bargain!
Blasting out audio from a fancy TV or desktop is cool, but nothing beats the immersive experience of a solid gaming headset.
You might be looking to treat yourself - or maybe your friends and family - to a new headset at some point this year for a birthday, special occasion, random purchase of affection or even a Christmas present. Perhaps the one that you currently own hasn't cut the mustard when it comes to your style, maybe you've sat on it by accident, or maybe you're buying your first pair... pretty daunting, right?
If you're wondering which gaming headset is best for you, we've put together our top picks below - all of which have varying price ranges and specs for your gaming requirements. We've also tried some of them first-hand and give you our honest opinion.
SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless (XBOX)
Tested on: Xbox One X, Nintendo Switch & ASUS ROG Strix G (NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX).
The key features for the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless are:
- Steel-reinforced headband for a perfect fit and lasting durability.
- Discord-certified ClearCast noise canceling detachable microphone.
- High-performance speaker drivers (same ones used in the award-winning Arctis 9X).
- Ultra-low latency lossless wireless for PC, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Android.
HANDS-ON WITH THE STEELSERIES ARCTIS 1 WIRELESS
For just under the £100 RRP mark, you seriously can't go wrong with headphones that are compatible across four varying devices/platforms and deliver the same fantastic audio experience. The initial reaction when placing the Arctis 1 Wireless headset on is just how ridiculously comfortable it is, with a firm placement over the ears and no hard pressure points for those who need to wear glasses.
The headset itself is agile and does not weigh down on your head, and the adjustable steel-reinforced headband ensures that you can position the headset to your liking. As well as plugging into the Xbox One, Nintendo Switch or PC/laptop audio jack via the 4-pole 3.5mm audio cable, the Arctis 1 Wireless - as the name quite rightly suggests - give you the freedom to roam around your living room without being caught up in a tug of war with any cables.
By simply attaching the USB-C wireless Dongle to the Adapter Cable (USB-C to USB-A), you'll experience crisp lag free 2.4GHz audio with a range of around 30 feet (nine or so metres). On a full charge, you're looking at 20 hours of battery life for wireless fun, but plugging will obviously allow you to enjoy a good standard of audio should your gaming session last a bit longer than expected.
The Xbox edition of the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless also comes with a one-month subscription to Xbox Games Pass Ultimate, which means that you can enjoy a whole of host of awesome AAA & Indie games on the Xbox One and PC.
The comfort alone makes these well worth a purchase, and the accessibility across multiple devices/platforms with the same quality audio means that you'll be able to get the most from your Arctis 1 headset.
With the option to plug into your handheld console, mobile, controller etc as well as go wireless with a decent range and audio quality - and being able to detach the mic for those days where a solo adventure is more your thing - the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless (XBOX) is a fashionable and well put together headset that gamers of all levels and styles would enjoy.
Sound quality: ★★★★★
Sennheiser GSP 670
Tested on: DELL Inspiron 15 5000 Gaming laptop (NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX)
To get things started, let's take a look at the key features you'll get with the Sennheiser GSP 670.
- Near-zero delay thanks to the 670's low-latency connection.
- Bluetooth enabled for a wide range of applications.
- Advanced noise-canceling broadcast quality.
- Separate volume controls for chat and game audio.
- Intelligent headset battery management.
HANDS-ON WITH THE SENNHEISER GSP 670
Sennheiser isn't wrong when it says that the GSP 670, among its other array of headsets, bridges 'great sound quality with wireless technology'.
Setting up the 670s is a doddle, the headset comes with built-in Bluetooth connectivity and a low-latency dongle to connect the headset to a PC or laptop. After a quick firmware update, I was ready to go - opting to play brutal, high-octane Mortal Kombat 11 to see what this headset can do.
The GSP 670 delivered crisp, clear audio throughout its usage, sticking to its word of low latency with little to no noticeable drops in audio throughout. I was particularly impressed with the noise cancellation and how much I could focus on the game audio.
The ear cups are quite large but offer great comfort and, as a spectacle-wearing gamer, that's alright with me!
With most of my gaming headsets in the past, I've never had the level of customization that the GSP 670 offers. Accessing the Sennheiser Gaming Suite via PC allowed me to adjust the sound to my ideal preference, letting me activate the superior 7.1 Surround Sound - oh boy, that was good.
One of the GSP's key strengths is its battery life, giving you 20 hours via Bluetooth or 16 hours on the low-latency connection. As well as being able to simultaneously game and charge, you can also click a little switch on the underside of the ear cup that tells you an estimate on your remaining battery - I felt like Iron Man with F.R.I.D.A.Y./Jarvis talking in my ear.
Being able to control the overall game audio video the volume wheel on the right headphone and the chat volume with a separate dial makes your life so much easier, without the need to adjust the setting on your PC or console depending on the noise from the game, or your friends who have their mic too close to their mouths.
Speaking of chat, you can simply mute your mic without the need to adjust the volume by lifting the boomarm. Compatible with PC, PlayStation 4 and Bluetooth enabled mobiles, the GSP 670 packs a real punch in a market of high-end competitors.
Sound quality: ★★★★★
Tested on: DELL Inspiron 15 5000 Gaming laptop (NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX) & Xbox One X
So, here are the key features with the GameMax G200 headset:
- Precise positioning and immersive game audio.
- High elastic, soft and comfortable ear cups.
- A minimalist and neat microphone.
- Seven different breathing colours on the side of the headset.
HANDS-ON WITH THE GAMEMAX G200
If you're looking to grab a decent headset and don't want to pay too much, you can't go wrong with the GameMax G200. A a leading contender for the smaller price range, the G200 offers comfort and quality for not a lot of pennies.
I tried this headset via USB connection on my laptop, and my Xbox One X via the 3.5mm jack adapter, which works with mobile devices too. The ear cups have very soft padding which makes it great for long-session wear and for those wearing glasses, as well as the self adjusting headband that allows you to sit the headset in your preferred position without having to adjust the overhead strap manually.
Some cheaper headsets that I used in my early gaming days would provide either basic chat or pretty basic game audio. The G200 delivers impressive, immersive game audio for its price range thanks to the 'thunderous' 50mm drivers and noise cancellation - you hear what you need to hear, without outside distractions.
A cool finishing touch to the G200's appearance are the RGB breathing colours positioned on the side of the ear cups. When plugged in via the USB, they transition from red, blue, green, cyan, yellow, orange and purple. The mini mic still offers accurate voice chat without background noise or game audio interfering - you will need to mute the mic via your PC or console however as the headset doesn't have this feature - but GameMax are looking to include this on future models/releases.
The G200, a cracking price for a pretty neat gaming headset.
Sound quality: ★★★★
Sennheiser GSP 370
Tested on: Graphics Card: MSI RTX 2080, Processor: I7 Intel 8700k, RAM: 16gb DDR 3000 hz, Storage: 1tb SSD & 2tb HDD, Windows 10 Home.
(Games) Halo Reach, Player Unknown Battlegrounds, Far Cry 5, Subnautica, Minecraft.
(Music) Queen, Daft Punk, Metal
*Reviewed by Mark Miller*
Headsets out there today are all about boasting their newest features, designs and promising that audio quality we all want whereas the Sennheiser GSP 370 focus on two factors that are the core of any good wireless headset, audio quality and battery life. This headset from the start has said it will last 100 hours in battery life and provide low latency HD audio with a noise cancelling microphone built in.
I spent this week testing the features alongside looking at its design and straight out of the box I saw it went with a minimal design of hard black/dark grey plastics and the usual thick headphones like most gaming headsets have today. Even though it looked quite chunky in size, it felt light and was not at all heavy in my hands or on my head.
The headphones were large enough to completely cover my ears and the flexibility in the frame didn't cause any head squeezing or discomfort in any way. I realised how effective these were with cancelling out background noise immediately, living near a busy road - I could no longer hear any of the passing cars and once audio was playing, it completely blocked out all surrounding noise whilst providing wonderful high quality sound.
The quality of the audio coming through was clear and had exceptional surround qualities to it meaning I could get fully immersed into any games/music I was playing and really make the most of it. I could distant gun shots, voices and foot steps with the upmost clarity giving me that edge when needing to find the enemy in game.
The acoustic clarity and bass performance when playing any soundtrack really came through as well allowing me to sit back and enjoy some of my favourite tunes in the most peak of comfort. The mic itself does exactly what it said on the tin and provides good voice pick up quality when tested through several channels and on playback cut out most background noise, we tested this by playing music in the other room and it honestly didn't pick it up once - a fantastic addition to the headset which can be folded up/down with ease.
The wireless connectivity using the dongle was simple, easy and was pretty much plug and play, apart from when downloading the audio suite which still took no time at all and really gave me the extra layer of control being able to adjust my settings and switch between the audio modes.
Finally I took note of how much I had been using the headset the past week and rounded it up to closely 40 hours, the headset itself was said to come about 50% out of the box and when checking I still had abut 17% battery left clearly earning that 100 hour battery claim.
It's a solid headset that's functional and comfortable whilst also being perfect for anyone who needs a wireless headset with a colossal amount of battery life. The price itself being £169 also makes it well worth the money and one of the best affordable headsets on the market today.
Sound quality: ★★★★
OTHER TOP PICKS
STEELSERIES Arctis 3 7.1
- Ski goggle suspension band for comfortable wear.
- Immersive audio via SteelSeries 7.1 Surround Sound.
- Retractable microphone for when not in use.
- SteelSeries Engine 3 for headset customization.
HyperX Cloud MIX
- More distinction, less distortion thanks to the HyperX Dual Chamber Drivers.
- Built-in mic and a detachable boom mic.
- Comfort and durability signature to the HyperX brand.
- Bluetooth wireless technology for on-the-go connectivity.
- Multi-device compatibility (Xbox One, PS4, Switch, PC/Mac, VR, mobile).
Logitech G Pro
- esports focused headset for professional, quality performance.
- External USB sound card for crystal-clear digital signal processing & tournament-level audio and voice comms.
- Audio EQ profiles and customization via G HUB Gaming Software.
- Detachable 6mm PRO boom mic with lower signal-to-noise ratio and higher sensitivity.
*Review copies of the Sennheiser GSP 670, GSP 370 and GameMax G200 were provided by the suppliers for this review.
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