We’ve found that, In our review Xbox Gaming Wireless Headset, Microsoft throws the hat into the wireless gaming headset ring. This headset is intended to fit with the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, as well as the various Xbox One versions, and it has Bluetooth connectivity so you can attach it to other gadgets as well.
For the price, the headset looks and feels good, and it has strong, bass-heavy audio. Without adjusting the headset’s EQ, the bass maybe a little too loud, and the Bluetooth connectivity isn’t quite as strong as the Xbox wireless link it uses for the consoles (or with Windows 10 PCs, with an optional adapter). Still, if you see the Xbox Wireless Headset first and foremost as an Xbox-specific headset, it’s an outstanding choice that wins our Editors’ Choice honor.
Xbox Gaming Wireless Headset Review
The configuration of the Xbox Wireless Headset is remarkably basic. It’s almost entirely black, with smooth, matte plastic textures on the earcups and headband reminiscent of the Xbox Series X. The big, round earpads are reinforced with soft memory foam and wrapped in supple, black fake leather, which matches the padding on the underside of the headband. Small, green circles across each earcup, as well as an embossed Xbox emblem on the back of the right earcup, add a touch of Xbox personality to the headset.
The earcups and headband are initially stiff, but once adjusted to your head height, the Xbox Wireless Headset feels lightweight and relaxed. You should be able to use the Xbox Wireless Headset for extended periods of time without problem.
The wide, flat circles on each earcup are large, smoothly rotating dials that serve as the primary controls for the headset. The dial on the right ear changes the master volume of the headset, while the dial on the left ear adjusts the game/voice balance (with a helpful click-stop in the middle for setting the balance to neutral).
A tiny green button on the back edge of the left earcup serves as both control and pairing. The boom microphone is placed directly under it, and it has its own small mic mute switch. When not in service, the microphone is a large, thin black capsule on a small, versatile arm that can roll up towards the headset. However, it does not telescope or even vanish from view.
A USB-C charging port is located on the back side of the right earcup. According to Microsoft, the Xbox Wireless Headset has a battery life of up to 15 hours. It takes three hours to charge completely, so plugging it in for 30 minutes gives it around four hours of operation.
The Xbox Wireless Headset is intended to operate with the wireless connections of the Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and Xbox One, pairing with the consoles much as an Xbox Wireless Controller. It supports Bluetooth 4.2, but just the basic SBC codec, not the higher-bitrate AptX or AAC codecs over Bluetooth. If you want to use the headset for your PC, you can buy the $25 Xbox Wireless Adapter due to the reduced bitrate reducing audio output and the higher latency of the Bluetooth link. It offers the same wireless connection as Xbox Series X/S and Xbox One consoles (and will boost the output of your Xbox Wireless Controller over Bluetooth if you have one with your PC as well).
The Xbox Wireless Headset easily connected to my Xbox Series X with its own wireless signal and to my Windows 10 PC via Bluetooth. Since the headset remembers different wireless signals immediately linked to both when I switched it on after pairing it. However, once I switched on the headphones, it also turned on my Xbox.
The Xbox Wireless Headset lacks built-in simulated surround processing, however it takes advantage of Dolby Atmos, DTS Headphone:X, and Windows Sonic spatial audio through the Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Windows 10 PCs. While Windows Sonic is built into those systems, Dolby Atmos and DTS Headphone:X demand different software purchases from the Windows or Xbox stores.
Check out the Xbox Accessories software if you want to change the headset’s balance. It has a five-band equalizer with presets that allows you to make audio adjustments. The software also allows you to customize microphone tracking and choose one of the above spatial audio systems. This changes, though, are only available with Xbox consoles or a USB-C link to a Windows 10 computer; you cannot make changes via Bluetooth.
Performance of the Microphone
The microphone fits well with the Xbox Wireless Connection, but it still works well over Bluetooth. The test recordings were surprisingly consistent and detailed, including the slight hiss of Bluetooth objects. Your voice would definitely be heard more on your Xbox than on your PC through Bluetooth, indicating that the microphone isn’t ideal for recording or downloading. We suggest the HyperX Cloud II Wireless and Razer Nari Essential for PC connections. They have stronger microphones and use USB receivers rather than Bluetooth. Of course, if you’re serious about creating material, we suggest investing in a dedicated USB microphone rather than relying on a headset.
Bluetooth and Sound Quality
The Xbox Wireless Headset’s SBC codec might not have the highest music experience over Bluetooth, but it does have solid output if you choose to use it on your tablet. It treated our bass test track, The Knife’s “Silent Shout,” at full (and potentially dangerous) intensity with no distortion. The bass synth notes and kick drum hits provide ample sub-bass response to make the ears vibrate.
With Yes’ “Roundabout,” the headset’s bass-heavy audio balance shines through. The opening acoustic guitar plucks have a lot of low-frequency resonance, but there’s still some high-frequency string texture. When the track properly begins, the bassline takes center stage. The voices are set back somewhat, and the guitar strums and drums are much less present, but they remain clear. However, none of the elements are entirely lost in the mix; the bass simply overshadows them, particularly at higher volumes. Bassheads will enjoy the headset’s tuning, so it’s not for rock purists.
Doom Eternal sounds great when performed on the Xbox Series X with the Xbox Wireless Headset. The factory music and multiple guns generate a lot of low-frequency thunder. In reality, using the default Game balance, I considered the bass to be a little overpowering. Switching to a different preset, such as Movie or Music, using the Xbox Accessories software helped to calm down the rumble and make the game more enjoyable to play. However, if you like bass, feel free to go all-out.
The console’s Windows Sonic virtual surround processing provides a clear sense of directionality for higher frequency sound effects, as well as precise left-right panning. You won’t be able to track the demons’ exact positions, particularly if the bass overpowers the other sound effects, but you’ll get a decent idea of where they’re going.
Fortnite also sounds great on the Xbox Wireless Headset, with much greater directionality (thanks to a soundtrack that isn’t as thumping as Doom Eternal’s). As I was outdoors, I found it surprisingly straightforward to trace down the origins of distant shootings and the rustling of vegetation and other objects. Weapon transfers are extremely strong, and the buzz and whine of adjacent loot boxes can be differentiated from other noises. It’s a good audio mix for Fortnite.