(Pocket-lint) – Setting out on a mission to find the very best gaming headsets was a daunting task. There are a multitude of options out there – wired, wireless, closed and open cup designs, stereo and surround sound headsets, oval and round earcups, leather and material finishes, the list goes on and on.
A lot of what makes a great gaming headset will be down to personal preference, but what we were looking for was a product that struck a perfect balance between quality of design, value for money and features that gamers would love. To create this shortlist, we worked through a mass of PC gaming headsets (many of which are also compatible with consoles) to whittle down to a list of finalists that we’re sure you’ll love.
If you’re looking for the best gaming headset for your money, then keep with us as we break down the very best we’ve seen and the reasons why you should consider adding them to your shortlist.
|• Overall best surround sound gaming headset|
|• Best and most versatile wireless gaming headset|
|• The most comfortable wireless gaming headset|
|• Best closed cup wireless gaming headset|
|• Best headset for pro gamers|
|• Best affordable wireless surround sound headset|
|• Most stylish gaming headset|
|• Best high-fidelity gaming headset|
|• Best affordable 3.5mm headset|
|• Most personalisable|
|• Others to consider|
Overall best surround sound gaming headset
- 100 mm Audeze planar magnetic drivers
- Waves Nx fully immersive 3D audio
- Closed-back earcup design
- 10Hz–50,000Hz frequency response
- 24 bit, 96KHz sample rate and bit depth
- USB-C, 3.5mm and Bluetooth connection options
- Uni-directional Electret condenser microphone
The Audeze Mobius is an incredibly interesting (and incredibly expensive) gaming headset that seemingly offers it all. A premium high-quality design, fantastic audio, brilliant comfort and more. All in one package.
It also one of the most interesting gaming headsets on our list thanks to Waves Nx head tracking technology that delivers “immersive 3D audio” by changing the sound to account for the tilt or turn of your head as you play. Combine this with 7.1 virtual surround sound and hi-res audio options and you have some seriously impressive positional audio.
Audeze has a reputation for crafting high-quality audio gear and this headset is further proof of that reputation.
The Mobius boasts awesome 100mm planar magnetic drivers which are capable of delivering a max of 50,000Hz frequency response, with 96Khz sample rate and 24-bit depth resulting in a rich, impressive and convincing sound.
The quality of the audio is matched and complemented by the design of the headset too. This headset boasts deep, plush and comfortable ear cushions made from a mix of faux leather and Contoured Memory Foam. These earcups are also ridiculously deep and have plenty of space for even large ears. They do a brilliant job of blocking out external noise and letting you focus on the most important thing – your game.
To get the best out of this headset, you can plug it into your PC and enjoy the brilliant Waves Nx head tracking technology. You can download the accompanying software to tweak settings, but for the most part this technology is plug and play. You can also press the 3D button on the headset to turn it on and off or switch between auto, manual or to re-centre it. Long presses on the volume wheels also switch between 7.1, 2-channel and hi-res audio too.
Another highlight to the Mobius is the connectivity options it offers. You can plug it in using a USB-A to USB-C cable on your PC or alternatively use the included USB-C to USB-C or 3.5mm connections to make the most of the headset with your phone, PC, Xbox One, PS4 or other device. And it also has Bluetooth too. This includes dual-connectivity, so you can be plugged in and have Bluetooth connected at the same time too. While gaming, if a call comes in on your phone you can answer it right in the headset.
The battery is good for as much as 10 hours use, but that battery also powers the 3D audio technology and so the headset needs to be charged if you plan on using it with a 3.5mm connection.
The detachable microphone also means you can easily use this headset out of the house to listen to music on your commute while away from your gaming PC.
The Audeze Mobius is nearly perfect. It offers incredible sound, great build quality and eye and ear-pleasing aesthetics too. Alas, Bluetooth connectivity is not as good as the wireless options offered by other headsets on this list, but it’s nice to have so many connection options.
Large drivers, 3D head-tracking tech, high-resolution audio and more round off a fantastic package that gamers will love. The price tag will likely put most off, but if you want the very best, this is likely it.
Best and most versatile wireless gaming headset
SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless
- 10–40,000 Hz frequency response via 40mm Neodymium drivers
- 102 dB SPL sensitivity/32Ohm impedance
- Ski Goggle headband and AirWeave material earcups
- 20-hour battery life via swappable batteries
- 2.4Ghz wireless and Bluetooth 4.1 support
- DTS Headphone: X v2.0 surround sound/Dolby audio via optical input
- Compatible with PC and PS4 (all variants)
- ChatMix on-the-fly adjustment
- 40-foot wireless range
- Bi-directional noise-cancelling retractable microphone
If you don’t immediately baulk at the price, then the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless is quite possibly the very best wireless gaming headset currently available. It’s certainly an incredibly versatile piece of kit. This headset is capable of cross-platform use on PlayStation, PC and even mobile devices.
It has a variety of inputs including optical and USB for PC that allow you to take advantage of the Dolby audio and DTS virtual surround sound processing power inside the transmitter box. Built-in Bluetooth and an understated design mean it can also be taken with you out of the house in place of standard headphones.
It features an AirWeave cushion ear cups and Ski Goggle style headband design that results in a comfortable and adjustable fit that sits nicely on the head.
2.4Ghz wireless ensures a solid connection during use when you’re connected to and in range of the transmitter box. The benefit of the Artics Pro Wireless is that with control box you have access to a multitude of settings with ease without the need to load and up faff about with software.
This little box sits neatly on your desk and gives you easy access to volume controls and a range of settings. It also holds a spare battery which is on charge when not in use and can be easily swapped with the battery in the earcup of the headset itself when the juice is running low. Meaning you never need to be plugged in if you don’t want to be.
This battery setup means the headset is capable of 10 hours playback per battery. As they’re hot-swappable, there’s never a need to plug this headset in when juice is getting low, which is a usual nag of wireless devices.
The SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless also supports Bluetooth 4.1 connections, meaning it can be quickly and easily paired with any Bluetooth device. We comfortably used it on a laptop and mobile phone to listen to music and watch YouTube when we were away from our main machine.
This is a brilliant headset for using in this way, as it’s not only great for tunes but also supports Bluetooth calls thanks to the built-in retractable microphone.
The result of this design is a superb audio quality that includes deep bass notes, a wide audio range and an excellent surround sound quality. We found this headset to joy to use when watching films, playing games and listening to music in equal measure.
Thanks to the powerful box of tricks hidden within the transmitter, the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless doesn’t require any pesky additional software to be installed on your PC. It is, however, compatible with SteelSeries Engine if you need it.
We found the sound quality of the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless to be lag-free and accurate, offering an interference-free audio experience that was a pleasure to use during any gaming session.
The microphone on this headset is just as capable as the rest of it. It bends easily to suit your preference and will quickly retract into the headset ear cup if you aren’t using it and want it tucked neatly out of the way. This is ideal if you want to use the headset as headphones while out and about and don’t want everyone to know you’re a gamer.
There’s a good frequency response and sensitivity level here that results in a superb quality microphone that’s great for chatting to friends or goading enemy players. An easily accessible mic mute button on the back of the headset makes it simple to silence the mic when you need to and a bright red LED light will let you know when it’s done too.
The SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless is an expensive option if you’re considering it as a potential gaming headset, but you do get what you pay for.
This is a marvellously comfortable wireless headset with a variety of inputs, features and functionality that deliver a superb sound quality whatever you’re doing and whatever gaming system you’re playing on.
The most comfortable wireless gaming headset
Astro A50 wireless gen 4
- Open Air Over-Ear design
- Cloth ear cushions upgradable to leather
- 40mm Neodymium Magnet drivers with 20Hz – 20,000Hz Frequency Response
- Tuned Astro Audio V2 and two years free access to Dolby Atmos
- Game/voice balance button
- Optical Pass-through, USB Power & Soundcard, USB Charging Port, AUX In / Mic out (TRRS 3.5mm) inputs via basestation
- Compatible with Astro Gaming Command Center
- Up to 15-hours battery life and up to 30ft wireless range
If comfort is top of your list when it comes to purchasing a gaming headset, then look no further. After all, there’s nothing worse than a gaming headset that sounds great but leaves your ears aching, sweating or feeling squashed after a good gaming session.
It might not look like it at first glance, but the Astro A50 wireless is an uber-comfortable gaming headset. It features velour style cloth ear cushions, that are large and comfortable enough to fit nicely over your ears. We found that these were like having small puffs of heavenly goodness resting on your head.
It’s built with a lightweight, ultra-quiet and flexible frame that’s a pleasure to wear for hours and hours.
The drivers too, are covered in the same ultra-soft material which means there’s a gentle and comfortable pressure on all parts of your ears during use. Similarly, a padded headband ensures a light and comfortable fit. The size can be easily adjusted too – making this headset more than capable of coping with larger noggins. The earcups on this headset nicely turn and twist to suit the shape of your head and it sits perfectly too.
We found the Astro A50 is able to deliver a fantastic sound quality and though not high-res, still full of deep bass notes and impressively convincing surround sound.
When not in use, this headset is simply docked into the charging base which connects to your computer via MicroUSB for power and audio. Thanks to a 15-hour battery life and convenient charging we found we were able to get a full day’s use out of this headset on a regular basis without any need for extra juice.
The new Astro A50 features tuned Astro Audio V2 – new and improved sound equalisation and delivery. The A50 gen 4 comes with Dolby Audio too as well as an included two-year licence for Dolby Atmos that works on both PC and Xbox One.
The headset works with Astro Command Center which allows for easy control of various settings – including three main equaliser presets that can be changed on-the-fly with a button on the headset itself. These can also be tweaked in the advanced settings of the software until your heart is content.
Another highlight to the Astro A50 wireless gen 4 is the voice/game balance function. A button on the right earcup allows you to adjust audio one way or another, so you can either hear more of the game or more of your friends in Discord.
The microphone on the Astro A50 is a pleasure to use too. It has deep and warm tones and manages to cancel out a fair amount of the surrounding environmental noise during use. It can be tweaked and customised in the software and adjusted to your personal preference.
We liked the sidetone capabilities here that allow you to hear your own voice and gauge volume with ease.
The Astro A50 is in our mind, one of the best PC gaming headsets available. It’s convenient, capable and brilliantly designed. It’s easy to pick up and use and equally easy to drop in the charging dock when you need to.
We were rarely left wanting when using this headset and would happily recommend it to anyone who is looking for a gaming headset that delivers constant comfort throughout the day.
We loved the rich sounds, the ultra-comfortable earcups and the brilliant design of this headset and can’t recommend it enough. It might be pricey, but it’s well worth every penny.
Best closed cup wireless gaming headset
EPOS GSP 670
- 10–23,000 Hz frequency response
- 112 dB sound pressure level
- Dynamic, closed transducer
- Bi-directional mic with 10–7,300 Hz frequency response
If you prefer a tight-fitting, all-encompassing, passive noise-cancelling headset then look no further than the EPOS GSP 670.
This is a gaming headset, that not only offers some serious style, but also great sound as well. A wireless headset, but one with a closed-back design and deep earcups that block out a lot of background and environmental noise as standard. Meaning you can focus on what matters – your game.
It has a large, easily adjustable headband with a clever tensioning system that means you can tweak the clamping force to get the perfect fit for you. It’s tighter than other headsets, but that’s no bad thing as it won’t fly off your head if you turn too quickly.
The GSP 670 also shines thanks to a dual-connectivity option that means you can not only connect with a tiny low-latency dongle but also Bluetooth too. Connect to your phone and your PC at the same time and take calls when you need to without taking your headset off. Nifty.
This headset boasts 20 hours battery life and an intelligent system which automatically turns the power off when it’s not in use to save needlessly wasting juice.
As you’d expect from a Sennheiser product, the GSP 670 has fantastic sound and some great design highlights. A large easy-access volume makes it simple to adjust sound levels, but you also have the option of tweaking game/VOIP balance with a separate dial on the earcup too.
7.1 and stereo sound can be tweaked in the software, as can equaliser and mic settings meaning you can not only adjust the sound you’re hearing but how you’re heard too.
This is certainly one of the best wireless gaming headsets available. It’s fairly chunky and perhaps a bit too tight for our liking, but works wonderfully to block out external noise and lets you concentrate on your gaming perfectly. If you want great sound, a good looking headset and something that’s as durable as it is feature rich then the GSP 670 is it.
Best headset for pro gamers
Astro A40 TR with MixAmp Pro TR
- Dynamic, Open 40mm drivers with 20 – 20,000 Hz frequency response
- 48 kHz @ 16-bit game audio/16 kHz @ 16-Bit
- Cloth ear cushions upgradable to leather
- Tuned Astro Audio V2 with two years free access to Dolby Atmos
- Optical Pass-through, USB 2.0 Full Speed and USB Audio 1.0, Aux port line in/out
- Xbox One/PC compatibility switch
- Four customisable EQ modes, Dolby virtual surround sound, optional Dolby Atmos
- 3-metre Micro-USB and Optical cables, detachable 3.5mm audio cable
- 6.0mm Uni-directional boom microphone
- Optional voice isolating upgrade, sidetone and noise gate settings in software
If you’re serious about sound and your gaming, then the Astro A40 Tournament Ready edition might well be for you.
Like the Astro A50, the A40 is an insanely comfortable gaming headset with plenty of awesome features. This is a wired headset that comes with a MixAmp which acts as the control box that sits on your desk and hooks up to your gaming machine. This MixAmp includes several features you won’t see elsewhere.
One of these is the inclusion of a daisy chain connection that allows you to connect multiple Astro A40 TR headsets together for a local voice network. This is ideal for eSports gamers, teams or even LAN parties. There’s also a stream port that allows you to pick and choose the audio people are hearing when you’re streaming to Twitch or another service.
The Astro A40 TR is an undeniably brilliant gaming headset. It’s snazzy, comfortable and packed full of great sound possibilities. We really like the velour-style earcups on this headset and the overall comfort of its design that makes it great to wear for hours and hours.
The sound is rich and impressive too, the inclusion of Dolby virtual surround sound means positional audio is great in-game and you can hear footsteps of your enemies or the rumble of a car in the distance with ease.
Another thing we like about the Astro A40 is the option to upgrade with the additional purchase of the mod kit. This kit includes noise-cancelling faux-leather earcups, a padded headband, custom colour speaker tags and a voice-isolating microphone.
The Astro A40 TR connects to the MixAmp Pro TR and then to your PC. You simply connect the MicroUSB cable (and optical cable if you so wish) to your PC, plug the headset into the MixAmp and you’re away.
There are options for 3.5mm auxilary inputs, the daisy chain connection and a custom streaming output too but even the basic setup is dead simple.
The MixAmp control box gives you access to four different EQ settings that are tunable within the Astro Command Center. With a quick click of a button, you can switch between them with ease. Another button lets you switch between Dolby virtual surround sound and Astro Tuned audio in a flash too.
The highlight of the MixAmp for us though, is the easy access to both the volume wheel and the voice/game balance dial. With this wheel, you can quickly and easily highlight either your friend’s conversation with you or drop the volumes on them down to nothing if you need to hear something urgently in-game.
The Astro A40 boasts some brilliantly long connectivity cables. It has 3-metre long Micro-USB and Optical cables to connect the MixAmp to your PC and another 2-metre cable to connect to the headset from the MixAmp. This is great because it means you have plenty of length to run the control box to your desk and won’t find yourself snagged or tugged on constantly.
The detachable headset cable is a 3.5mm jack as well, which means if you want to you can remove it from the MixAmp and use it with your mobile or on your laptop without having to unplug everything.
The Astro A40’s microphone is designed with pro gamers in mind. This means it’s not only capable of capturing excellent quality audio but also is customisable within the Command Centre software. You have various settings there to adjust both the sidetone levels and the noise gate settings. With the TR mod kit, things get more serious with an improved noise-isolating microphone.
If you’re looking for a serious headset that’s as useful in an eSports arena as it is at home, then the Astro A40 TR might well be it. It’s comfortable to wear, fantastic to hear and easy on the eye too.
The customisation options of the A40 also mean you can make it your own with different colour mod kits or just the addition of themed speaker tags. For gaming, the Astro A40 delivers a really rich and impressive sound. Backed by Dolby, it gives a fantastic spatial surround sound experience too but also sounds great when used for music, watching films and more.
This is almost certainly a great purchase and well worth considering.
Best affordable wireless surround sound headset
SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless
- 40mm drivers
- 20-20,000 Hz frequency response
- 32 Ohms impedance
- SteelSeries classic cushion design
- Wireless and wired options via MicroUSB and USB-C dongle
- MicroUSB charging cable
- 3.5mm jack
- Equaliser pre-sets, mic volume/sidetone settings
- 9-metre/30-foot wireless range
- 2.4GHz wireless
- Approximately 20 hours battery life
- Bidirectional Noise-Cancelling
- 100-6,500Hz frequency response
- Detachable design
- Mic mute button on the rear
If you’re the sort of gamer that likes to play on a multitude of different devices, then you might find the Arctis 1 wireless highly appealing.
This is a wireless gaming headset that not only works on PC, but is also compatible with PS4, Nintendo Switch and even your phone. You get all those connectivity options, plus the great sound of the Arctis range at a pretty incredible price.
The SteelSeries Arctis 1 is more affordable than other headsets on this list and it shows in some ways. The build quality isn’t quite as good as others we’ve seen and instead of the usual ski-goggle headband the Arctis 1 has a steel-reinforced headband with padding. But it’s still interesting enough to not dismiss out-of-hand.
The Arctis 1 boasts plenty of connectivity options. For PC gaming, you can either plug in via Micro-USB (which also doubles as the charging cable) or use the ultra-low latency USB-C wireless dongle. That same dongle plugs into all sorts of other devices too – laptops, Android smartphones, the Nintendo Switch and even the PS4 (via an accompanying converter cable). For other devices, there’s also a 3.5mm jack that you can plug into as well.
The USB-C dongle is capable of transmitting 2.4GHzwireless audio over a 30-foot range for up to 20 hours. It can also reach up to 20,000Hz in terms of frequency response which in practice results in clear and rich audio thanks to the high-quality drivers.
The design of this headset also includes a detachable microphone, mic mute button and volume controls on the left ear cup and more. One highlight that isn’t immediately obvious is the power button also doubles as a media control key. A single press with play/pause audio, double press for skip, triple for rewind. If you’re making calls on your phone via the headset, you can also use that button to answer or end the call as well.
An extendable headband, turnable earcups and removable earpads are also bonus features. Alas, the Acrtis 1 is not as customisable as the other Arctis headsets. You cannot swap the external covers on the headset or change the headband, but these are minor gripes.
It is worth noting that the Artics 1 does not support virtual surround sound like other headsets on this list. Nonetheless, the USB-C wireless dongle ensures a solid and instant connection and even the default sound settings are pleasant on the ears and have a great range to them. For listening to music, watching films or gaming, the Arctis 1 is an excellent all-rounder.
The Arctis 1 wireless boasts the same drivers as the Arctis 7 headset and that’s no bad thing. These are capable drivers that deliver a rich, deep and convincing sound.
Despite the lack of Dolby or DTS surround sound options, this headset sounds great in game. It’s crisp for audio via Discord and is surprisingly capable in a range of different games. Whether you’re a fan of racing games, beat ’em ups or shooters, you won’t find wanting with the Arctis 1, especially at this price point.
The Arctis 1 wireless features a reasonably capable microphone. It’s meant to be noise cancelling, but does appear to pick up a small amount of environmental noise. It is, however, usable for both gaming and calls on your phone, which is nifty.
You can also detach it when you don’t need it and if you’re going to use the headset as headphones when you’re out of the house then this is a great design addition.
We’re thoroughly impressed with the Arctis 1. It’s an affordable, comfortable and feature-packed headset that’s well worth considering. If you want a headset that can connect to multiple devices, has a decent battery life and still has good audio too then this is it.
There’s no Bluetooth, but the USB-C wireless dongle is multi-capable and a great alternative. If you’ve been eyeing the likes of the Arctis Pro Wireless but were put off by the price, then this headset is the one for you.
Most stylish gaming headset
Logitech G Pro X wireless gaming headset
- 50mm Neodymium drivers with 20 Hz – 20 kHz frequency response
- 32 Ohm impedance and 91.7 dB sensitivity
- Faux leather or cloth ear cushion options
- 1.8m USB-C charging cable
- Virtual DTS Headphone:X 2.0 surround sound on PC
- Noise-cancelling microphone with Blue Voice technology
- 20 hours battery life
If style and looks matter to you and you’re bored of the same old boring headsets, then this Logitech headset might be an option. Styled more like traditional headphones, the Logitech G Pro X wireless is far more understated, doesn’t have any RGB and as is pleasing to the eyes as it is to the ears.
This is the wireless version of the G Pro X headset we saw before and loved. Logitech has taken that fantastic device and made it wireless but kept the same style, sound and snazziness
This is a headset that features a funky design that’s certainly comfortable. It can also be customised to some degree as you can choose between faux leather and cloth styled ear cups. These aren’t terribly deep, but they are large enough to cover your ears nicely and provide all-day comfort to match the terrific sound.
We like the number of things Logitech has included in the box for this money and the high-quality features that made this headset a pleasure to use. Sound quality, for example, does not disappoint. This headset has large drivers that offer a good range of sound with deep bass levels and a brilliantly immersive sound quality that gamers will love. The Logitech G Hub allows you to customise that sound in various ways as well as turning DTS on and off.
One of the main selling points of this headset is the microphone. This headset makes use of the Blue Voice technology (within Logitech G Hub) that allows you to customise the live sound captured from the microphone and adjust it on the fly.
You can tweak things like noise gate, de-esser and more. There are various sound profiles already available that can already be applied to improve the sound of your voice on-the-fly or you can customise the settings yourself. The result is a nice sounding microphone that’s ideal for streamers or anyone that needs good audio without fuss. We’ve seen it before on the likes of the Blue Yeti X mic and it’s fairly impressive.
The mic is detachable too, so if you don’t want to use it and want to dabble in using this headset as headphones instead then that’s an option.
All-in-all, the Logitech G Pro X wireless is an impressive headset for the money. It’s comfortable and delivers great sound, but most importantly it does so with style. Unfortunately, there’s no Bluetooth, 3.5mm connection and you can’t connect to your phone using USB-C either. But if you’re gaming on PC and that’s all you need it for then you won’t be disappointed.
We found this headset was capable of delivering rich sound, despite not having as high a frequency response as other headsets on this list. It’s also incredibly comfortable and the choice of (included) ear cup options makes it thoroughly appealing too. The added bonus of Blue Voice tech might be a bit of a gimmick for some, but is a nice touch.
Best high-fidelity gaming headset
Corsair Virtuoso RGB Wireless
- High-fidelity 96kHZ/24-bit audio
- Hi-Res Certified
- 32 Ohms @ 2.5kHz impedance
- 109db sensitivity
- 20-40,000Hz audio response over wireless
- RGB lighting on earcups
- Equaliser pre-sets, surround sound, RGB illumination controls and mic controls in software
- Corsair iCue compatible
- Virtual surround sound
- RGB lighting on both earcups and mic
- Omni-directional microphone with 2.0k Ohms and 100Hz – 10,000Hz frequency response
If you think of yourself as a bit of an audiophile and only the very best audio is enough whatever you’re doing then the Corsair Virtuoso RGB wireless may be for you.
The focus here is firmly on creating a high-resolution audio experience for gamers that’s as incredible in game as it is listening to music, watching films or just chatting to friends. The Virtuoso has a few different strings to its bow that make it highly interesting. Multiple connection options, high-fidelity audio, a premium design and hours of battery life are just some of the highlights.
The Corsair Virtuoso RGB Wireless is one of the most premium gaming headsets we’ve ever seen from Corsair. It’s well designed and comes with a high-quality finish that includes faux leather ear cups, a padded headband and an adjustable size that can be easily tweaked to fit your head.
This is a headset that shines in several areas, the main one of which is the quality of the audio it delivers, it sports 50mm custom drivers that are capable of delivering hi-res, high-fidelity audio. In order to get this 96kHz sound you need to plug into a gaming PC using the accompanying USB-C cable and doing so opens up a whole new world of gaming audio that’s a joy to your ears.
Alternatively, you can connect the headset to your PC or laptop using the accompanying Slipstream wireless dongle. This turns the Virtuoso into a wireless gaming headset that still boasts up to 40,000Hz in terms of frequency response. Although that’s not unusual for a gaming headset, it is still worth noting that it’s almost double the capability of most wireless headsets.
In wireless mode, you also get as much as 20 hours of battery life, with audible warnings to let you know when the juice is getting a bit low. Corsair claims around 60 feet wireless range using the 2.4Ghz Slipstream wireless dongle, though we found in practice that was a bit optimistic. Nonetheless, this headset is still fantastically capable and easy-on-the-ear in wireless mode too.
This headset also has the ability to plug in via 3.5mm connection or USB-C to USB-C cable to listen to music from your phone or any other device capable of supporting 3.5mm sound.
It’s this flexibility and range of inputs that make the Corsair Virtuoso interesting in our mind, but it’s in the wired mode where this headset really shines.
Like the rest of the headset, the microphone on the Corsair Virtuoso is a high-quality, broadcast-quality microphone. It’s detachable, flexible and capable too. It’s not only capable of recording a cracking sound, but also blocks out a lot of external noise. It’s bendable so you can move it out of the way when you need to and you can even fully detach it if you want to use the headset as headphones with your phone out of the house.
There’s an easy-access mic mute button on the underside and you can even press and hold that button to turn the sidetone on and off too, which is a nice touch.
The Corsair Virtuoso is almost certainly our new favourite high-res, high-fidelity gaming headset and knocks our previous favourite the SteelSeries Arctis Pro + GameDAC out of this spot easily. There are many things to like about this headset including a high-quality design, a wealth of inputs, impressive battery life and more.
It’s the 96kHz audio that really floats our boat though and considering all the features Corsair has packed into this headset it also comes with a remarkably small price tag. Even more so when compared with more expensive, yet less capable headsets out there.
Best affordable 3.5mm headset
- 53mm stereo drivers
- 1.2m and 2.0m extension 3.5mm connection cables
- 20Hz-40kHz frequency response
- Detachable distortion-free boom mic
- Large protein leather ear cups with memory foam padding
- Also compatible with Xbox One, Mobile, Nintendo Switch, Mac and more
Fnatic’s React headset is interesting proof that a good gaming headset doesn’t have to cost the earth. It also shows that you can have a good set of gaming cans without all the extra bling, RGB or over-the-top features.
This is a headset built with eSports/Pro gamers in mind, sporting large drivers that deliver a “precise” sound stage wrapped in deep and comfortable earcups.
The React is a 3.5mm headset that works on PC and any other device that supports it. It might not have Dolby or DTS virtual surround sound or high res audio, but it still shouldn’t be overlooked.
Highlights to this headset are the large, all-encompassing earcups that cover the entire ear and boast a premium protein leather design with memory foam cushioning. This design is not only comfortable, but blocks out a lot of external noise and prevents sound bleed too.
We were pleasantly surprised to find that, despite its price, the Fnatic React is capable of delivering a pretty impressive soundscape with a rich sound experience for the money.
The detachable microphone is also superb too. Clear, capable and convenient.
All told, the Fnatic React is the underdog but almost certainly one of the best value for money headsets money can buy. If you’re looking for a headset that sports large, capable cans without all the extra fluff and a 3.5mm connection, then look no further. However, we will say that if you want perfect positional audio then you might like to look at others on this list. However, even the React can be improved with the addition of Dolby Atmos.
Creative SXFI Air
- USB-C, Bluetooth and 3.5 mm connection options
- microSD card slot
- 50mm Neodymium magnet drivers with 20–20,000 Hz frequency response
- Lithium-ion Battery with up to 10 hours battery life
- Super X-Fi processing technology, touch controls and detachable mic
- Android, Mac and Windows software
Creative’s SXFI Air headphones are an interesting addition to this list. These are not technically a gaming headset in the usual sense, but rather multi-capable headphones with a number of fascinating features that make them worth considering. Firstly, these headphones work on multiple devices thanks to several connection options that include USB-C, Bluetooth and 3.5 mm.
Secondly, they also benefit from Creative’s years of experience with Sound Blaster technology and the result is an onboard processor that the company says offers five times the power of its best Sound Blaster chip. That means that it’s able to deliver incredible sound, whatever the source.
This is backed by a personalised system that allows you to use the accompanying Android or iPhone app to scan your head and your ears to adjust the soundscape accordingly. The software (that’s also available on Windows) allows you to then sync your personal settings to your account and use it wherever you are.
You can also use that software to switch audio between stereo, 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound. The highlight though, is the Super X-Fi technology that creates a rich “realistic” sound as well as personalising the audio. We found this resulted in a clear and impressive sound, especially for gaming, that was similar to more expensive hi-res headsets we’d tested.
Design-wise, these headphones impress in other areas too. Deep, large and comfortable earcups block out a lot of external noise and the stubby, detachable microphone is surprisingly capable too.
If that doesn’t sound interesting enough, how about a MicroSD card reader that allows you to plug your music directly into the earcups?
Creative’s SXFI Air headphones are not the best gaming headphones on this list by any means, but they are multi-device capable and interesting thanks to the SXFI personalisation and sound capabilities.
We found these cans to be accurate and interesting to use for gaming and equally great to just grab and take with you out of the house as standard headphones.
Others to consider
Sound BlasterX G6
- Dynamic Range: 130dB
- Sampling rate: up to 32bit 384kHz
- Dolby audio, SoundBlasterX sound, Scout Mode, various equaliser modes
- Also works with Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PS4
Although not technically a gaming headset, the Sound BlasterX G6 can be considered as an alternative to buying a gaming headset if you already own a good pair of 3.5mm headphones. This snazzy looking thing is an external DAC that works not only as a USB soundcard but also as an amplifier too.
Plug it into your PC using a USB cable and you get a boosted sound for your headphones, Dolby audio and tuned Sound Blaster sound. The G6, therefore, adds virtual surround sound to any stereo headphones plugged into it, it also ups the levels too. Not only is this Digital-to-Analog converter able to produce a sampling rate of up to 32bit 384kHz it can also deliver 130dB.
We combined it with the Logitech G Pro X, which is already on this list, to see the difference it made. The volume difference alone was staggering. Then with the accompanying software (and easy access buttons) also gave us access to more sound customisation and tweaks that weren’t present on the headset alone. Everything from equaliser changes to voice-altering settings for mic capture. The Sound BlasterX G6 is a great upgrade to your gear as an alternative to a purchase of a new gaming headset.
Turtle Beach Elite Atlas Aero
- 50mm Nanoclear drivers with Waves NX 3D audio technology
- Superhuman Hearing Optimized For PC
- On-the-fly sidetone adjustment
- Pro Specs Glasses Relief system
- Up to 30 hours of battery life
The Turtle Beach Elite Atlas Aero is, in our mind, one of the very best gaming headsets we’ve seen from the company. It has a number of features that make it fairly outstanding, not least of which is a rechargeable battery system that lasts for up to 30 hours.
Other highlights include ultra-deep, uber comfortable gel-infused memory foam cushioned ear cups that do a fantastic job of blocking out external noise without making your ears unnecessarily hot. Large drivers with Waves Nx and Maxx technologies offer an impressive 3D audio experience. While the software gives you access to a wealth of customisation options that include masses of EQ presets and custom options.
The Turtle Beach Elite Atlas Aero, unfortunately, doesn’t have the same wireless range of other headsets, but it has plenty of awesome features that we love. The glasses relief system allows you to tighten up the ear cups and create a channel for your glasses so you don’t get any unnecessary pressure on your face while you game.
A detachable microphone and the ability to use this headset with other devices via a 3.5mm cable make this a capable and delightful device to own.
HyperX Cloud Orbit S
- 100 mm Audeze planar magnetic drivers
- Waves Nx fully immersive 3D audio
- Closed-back earcup design
- 10Hz–50,000Hz frequency response
- USB-C and 3.5mm connection options
- Uni-directional Electret condenser microphone
The Cloud Orbit S is essentially a more affordable version of the Audeze Mobius, that comes with most of the same features but no Bluetooth.
The HyperX Cloud Orbit S is undeniably an expensive bit of kit, but with large capable drivers, interesting 3D audio technology and a versatile design it’s also highly appealing.
This is a comfortable, great looking headset that delivers really rich convincing audio whatever you’re doing. It’s smashing for gaming and much more besides.
Gallery: Best Xbox controllers 2020: Get the edge with these third-party and official pads (Pocket-lint)
Best Xbox controllers
Microsoft Xbox Elite Series 2
Xbox One Wireless Controller
Razer Wolverine Tournament Edition
Xbox Adaptive Controller