With the Xbox Wireless Headset, we have got our hands on Microsoft’s first true accessory for the Xbox Series X and Series S. These are headphones that you can connect wirelessly to an Xbox console, a Windows computer (but you may have to purchase a separate adapter) and your smartphone. You do not need a dongle to link with your Xbox, as is the case with the Pulse 3D headset from Sony. Due to this elegant integration with the Xbox, the wireless headset immediately feels a lot more futuristic than the PlayStation headset.
Specifications and design
When you see the Xbox Series X and the Xbox Wireless Headset next to each other, don’t hesitate for a moment: these two products are made for each other. Both units have a matte black finish and share the same green color (the color you can see through the vents on top of the Series X). The wireless headset is further finished with relatively large cups, which are provided with soft foam. On the outside is artificial leather; we also find that on the comfortable band that you put on your head.
It gives the whole a luxurious appearance, even though the housing is made of plastic. In the beginning it takes a while to find a comfortable fit, but once you have found it you can sit on your head for hours. The ear cups have both been assigned a separate function. By turning it, you control the volume, for example. The cups lie comfortably in the hand and rotate well, so you can arrange this effortlessly. On the left cup is a button with which you switch the headset on and connect it to a system.
In addition, the headset is equipped with an excellent microphone, which is not in the way. It sits right next to your mouth while gaming. If it is still too close to your mouth, you can turn it slightly outwards, up or down. The mic can be switched off via the hardware, you don’t necessarily have to do that via the software. Finally, there is a USB-C connection, which you can use to charge the headset. Microsoft provides a cable for this. The headphones last about fifteen hours and are charged in about four hours.
The Xbox Wireless Headset can be connected directly to your Xbox Series X | S, just like an Xbox controller. If you want to connect it to Windows, you probably have one loose adapter required. In addition, there is support for bluetooth 4.2, so you can also connect it to other devices. There is support for Dolby Atmos, DTS Headphone: X and Windows Sonic. You do need separate apps for those first two options. Finally, it is possible to connect the headset to your Xbox and your smartphone at the same time.
The Xbox Wireless Headset is incredibly easy to use. The attachment of the accessory is done in the same way as with a normal Xbox controller. You press the pairing button on the Xbox and the headphones, wait a few seconds and the job is done. When you switch on your wireless headset from now on, you immediately switch on your Xbox. That can sometimes be useful, but in practice it is still annoying. Especially if you want to use your headset in combination with your computer or your smartphone, for example.
What the headset also does very well is making the settings accessible. You can turn both cups. With one cup you take care of the general volume and with the other cup you control the mix between chat and game audio. After a few games you have already remembered that and you no longer have to fiddle with buttons that are somewhere on the back of the headset. In addition, the dials provide sufficient physical feedback. Do you want the most balanced mix between chat and game audio? No problem: there is a ‘click’ in the middle of the dial.
The only drawback you can encounter is that the ear cups are slightly small for your ears. What’s also great: you can send two audio streams to the Xbox Wireless Headset at the same time. For example, you can listen to music from your smartphone (or have a phone call), while also hearing the game audio. Or you can connect it to your computer, so that you can stay in touch with your friends through a program like Discord, while you are playing on your Xbox. That makes the headset incredibly flexible.
What this headset lacks is an audio jack. You cannot use it on a device without Bluetooth or the wireless Xbox connection. That’s not that big of a deal. However, if you also want to use the headset constantly to listen to music via your smartphone, then unfortunately we have bad news. The Xbox Wireless Headset does not support high-end audio codecs, such as aptX or aac; you only get sbc. As a result, your music may not sound as good as on more expensive headsets. So that’s one thing to keep in mind.
Before we get into audio quality, let’s make it clear that – before using it – you first install the Xbox Accessories application on your Xbox. This allows you to check and adjust the audio settings. Because the default settings will not appeal to everyone. Especially the people who don’t like too deep a bass layer. For a more balanced audio experience, choose the music profile. You can also adjust mic monitoring (and thus how much of your own voice you hear).
When that microphone is active, the headset shows a small, white light. Maybe not when you’re gaming, but you can see it when you turn it off. In addition, you can switch it off automatically when you push it away, but that can also be set via the Accessories application. Furthermore, the mic sounds fine to the person on the other end. The sound is not of a high level, but that is not possible given the price. 100 euros for a headset is a lot of money, but that does not give you premium microphone audio quality.
Furthermore, there is a nice sound from the headset, especially when you have adjusted the settings. Whether you’re just listening to music or gaming, you may notice that the higher tones are cut out a bit. This mainly happens when a lot is happening and you are also talking to someone (which makes it perhaps less noticeable, because the audio is then softer). However, it is not the case that tones completely disappear; but in some cases, the bass layer can really take over in the audio experience.
The Xbox Wireless Headset can also reproduce surround sound. In principle, that goes via Windows Sonic (for digital surround sound). If you want Dolby Atmos or DTS: X Headphones, you have to download apps and purchase licenses. That is a disadvantage, since the experience differs per game when it comes to those standards. Whether it’s worth that extra expense depends entirely on the games you play. In any case, Sonic is more than capable of moving audio in depth, so that you are more drawn into the game.
Xbox Wireless Headset – Conclusion
The Xbox Wireless Headset is far from perfect, but Microsoft does strive for perfection. Purely as an Xbox headset, the headset really does the most important things well. The audio quality is of a high level, the operation is accessible and the headphones are very comfortable. But there are also some blemishes on the experience. For example, there is no high-end bluetooth audio codec available, you have to pay extra for other surround standards and the Xbox always switches on when you switch on the headset. Can you live with that, then this is the headset you want for your Xbox.
Pros of Xbox Wireless Headset
- Rotary knobs for audio
- Excellent microphone
- Comfortable design
- Bluetooth and Xbox Wireless
Negatives of Xbox Wireless Headset
- Automatically turns Xbox on
- Standard settings
- No high-end bluetooth audio codecs
- Pay extra for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X Headphones