7 Things to Look Out for in a Good Xbox One Headset
We may never see an end to the console wars, a war which began when the Sega Genesis took on the Super Nintendo and narrowly lost by around 9 million units. Indeed, the intense battle rages on with the various iterations of the PlayStation and the Xbox. However, even the most passionate fans of the Sony PlayStation will have to admit that it is Microsoft that made voice communication a mainstream component in home gaming consoles.
This is why there are a lot (and that means A LOT) of Xbox One headsets in the market, especially because the latest version of the wireless controller features a 3.5 mm audio jack. And because, in all honesty, the basic Xbox One Headset leaves quite a lot to be desired.
Connecting Compatible Headsets
If you rarely go online or don’t play multiplayer games, then you might find that the Xbox One Headset or a ten-dollar find at a computer goods store is more than sufficient. However, even the most casual of gamers will definitely benefit from getting a dedicated gaming headset.
When buying an Xbox One headset, the first thing to remember is that these audio accessories can only be plugged into the Xbox One wireless controller. If you have a third-party wired controller, you won’t be able to plug in a headset, stock or otherwise.
Once you purchase your preferred Xbox One headset, you may simply plug it into the 3.5 mm jack. Take particular note if you have an OMTP (the ground section is closer to the end of the jack) or a CTIA one (the mic section is closer to the end of the jack). If you have an OMTP headset, you’ll most likely experience issues with audio and online chat. This can easily be remedied by OMTP-to-CTIA adapters, which are readily available in almost all electronic retail stores.
All versions of the Xbox One wireless controllers also support the Xbox One headset Stereo adapter, so if you prefer to use it, plug the adapter first then connect the Xbox One headset. This goes for any other stereo adapters that may come with other Xbox One Headset.
What to Look for in an Xbox One Headset
Most gamers look for an immersive gaming experience, which can be delivered by high-speed processors, powerful video cards, and a large memory capacity. However, high-quality audio is also an important part of the game as it makes you appreciate even the tiniest detail that the game developers painstakingly put into their creations. A good quality Xbox One headset also makes multiplayer, cooperative games even more enjoyable to play.
Good Mic, Even Better Audio
A high-quality Xbox One headset is more than just a way to chat with your fellow players and coordinate with your team with crystal clear voice quality. With fully defined sounds, a headset is also a way to get a little competitive advantage. For example, you can hear the faintest of footsteps or the rustling of grass, preventing your opponents from staging an ambush. Check for surround sound capabilities. Some games already have a surround sound feature “built-in” into the code, but you can fully experience and further enhance this feature with the right Xbox One headset.
Microphone-wise, you should check the pick-up quality. You want the mic to be able to isolate your voice but not pick up your breathing (nobody wants to hear your respiratory activities!) and eliminate most if not all background noise sources. Since the mic will also be closer to your mouth (as opposed to stand-alone gaming mics), you should also be mindful of feedback and static; if at all possible, find a model with an adjustable microphone to address this issue. An adjustable or removable microphone also makes the Xbox One headset easier to store.
Some gaming sessions can last for hours, which is why comfort is an important factor in gaming Xbox One headsets. Check for a good fit — adjustable stems are a definite plus. There are also brands and models that offer auto-adjusting headbands, ensuring the right sizing for just about any user. Weight is also a main concern especially since, compared to standard headphones, an Xbox One headset built for gaming has more features.
Cushioning for your ears is also important, whether you choose on-ear or around-ear styles. If you go for the around-ear models, check if they have models that have memory foam cushioning for breathability, durability, and maximum comfort.
Ideally, even after long hours of play, you shouldn’t be able to feel any uncomfortable pressure points, especially on the top and sides of your head and on your ears.
If you don’t want to be disturbed or distracted while playing, and you don’t want to disturb your surroundings either, you should opt for a closed-back gaming Xbox One headset. With this kind of headset, you can hear even the tiniest details and smallest nuances, even in less ideal environments.
Open-back gaming headsets still sport some level of noise-canceling features, but it won’t be as good as those from a closed model. The main advantage of an open gaming headset is that it keeps your ears a lot cooler, and therefore more comfortable during long hours of gaming.
Wires and Maintenance
If you don’t want to be encumbered with wires, there’s a host of wireless Xbox One headsets available in the market. Besides, you already have a wireless Xbox One controller, why not go for a matching wireless Xbox One headset, right? However, the primary concern with wireless models is battery life. Try to look for models with batteries that last for at least 10 hours — if you can go for 15, then much better. Still, wired Xbox One headsets aren’t something to sneeze at either, though the main concern with these models is the maintenance of the wires themselves. Just make sure that you store your Xbox One headsets properly to avoid undue stress to the wires, especially the ends (or the ferrule) that connect to the unit and the plug.
Another thing you may want to consider is the accessibility of extra accessories like the foams for the ear cups, as well as after-sales and repair services, should you need them.
This may seem a little superficial, but having a good-looking headset doesn’t hurt. Some gamers actually look for, well, good-looking gear and headsets aren’t an exception. Some brands are usually limited to their official colors (you may not be on board with neon green), though most offer shades of red, blue, green, and yellow. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with going for a fresh, crisp white or a sleek-looking black.
One of the features you may want to look for in an Xbox One headset is built-in volume control and equalizers so you don’t have to scroll through a menu to adjust these settings. Some units have these built in, while some models may require you to buy a separate attachment. Meanwhile, if you also want a headset that you can use for mobile gaming, look for a style with removable microphones.
For an Xbox One headset that boasts myriad features, you may want to do a little research first. There are several headsets marketed to be compatible with the Xbox One, although if the features are proprietary, they may have limited functionality or not every feature may work. Testing the headset on-site is the most ideal way to find out.
For most people, this is the factor that can make or break the purchase of an Xbox One headset — or any other gaming peripheral. Top-of-the-line, fully featured headsets usually cost in the vicinity of $250 to $300. However, there are several brands and models that already offer high sound quality at around the $50 to $80 price point.
If your budget is a little tight, list down the priority features that you truly want and look for a model that meets these requirements. However, if you have the money to spare, there’s no reason not to splurge on a Xbox One headset for a fully immersive Xbox gaming experience.
Some people are fully focused on the visuals of the game that they miss out on the complete gaming experience that can be had with a high-quality Xbox One headset. Apart from easier communication with your teammates and hearing the slightest sound variations that can help you outsmart the other players, a premium headset also allows you to experience the game’s soundtrack in all its hi-fi, orchestral glory.
Ultimately, however, choosing the best Xbox One headset depends on the user’s gaming style and personal preferences. Just remember that a gamer’s skill makes the gamer — although some good-looking, high-quality gaming equipment definitely won’t hurt.