Not all gaming headsets are created equal–some are most definitely better than others. When in the market for a gaming headset, how might one choose the best headset for oneself?
Here are seven things you can consider that will help you pick the gaming headset that suits you to a T!
Your gaming platform
Let’s start with this elementary question. What’s your platform of choice for gaming? Are you a PC or Mac gamer, for instance, or do you play on dedicated home consoles like the Xbox or Playstation? Or do you play on a portable platform such as the NIntendo Switch? Or are you a multiplatform gamer: do you favor more than one of the platforms we’ve mentioned (or others that we haven’t mentioned)?
The platform on which your game has a lot to do with your choice of gaming headset. For instance, if your machines or consoles all have 3.5mm connections, then you might want to pick up a wired gaming headset like the Razer Kraken X, which is not only stylish, ultra-light at just 250g, and ultra-immersive with 7.1 surround sound, but is also compatible with any and all devices that have a 3.5mm audio jack.
If your platform/s of choice is/are consoles like the PlayStation, you may have to take into consideration the fact that some consoles might not be able to support all of the key functions of some gaming headsets, due to software compatibility limitations. For instance, if you play on certain consoles and try to pair them with certain headsets that have virtual surround sound features, you may not be able to enjoy said features if the software isn’t perfectly compatible.
The next thing to consider is whether you want your headset to be wired or wireless.
Wired headsets do have certain advantages versus their wireless competitors. For one, they are often lighter because they don’t need to include batteries, which wireless sets obviously require. Another advantage is that–whether they connect via 3.5mm jack as touched on in the previous section, or via USB–they are usually a plug-’n-play solution and as such can be instantly usable. Lastly, wired headsets are often less expensive, making them better value for money. However, they do also have certain disadvantages, like the wires often limiting users’ range of motion (and if said users aren’t careful, such can lead to accidents) and over time can be susceptible to wear and tear too.
As for wireless headsets, they can usually support a fuller range of motion–no wires to hold the user back. But as you can most probably guess at this point, they also do have their own disadvantages. They can be heavier than wired sets due to their included batteries. You’ll sooner or later need to stop playing so you can take them off and charge them. And in many cases, such headsets work best–or only–with some platforms due to software incompatibilities.
Your comfort level
How comfortable do you want your gaming headset to be? That’s the third thing to consider when choosing one. (Even if you shrug and say that comfort isn’t so important to you, bear in mind that gaming sessions often last for hours; that’s quite a length of time to have to put up with a headset that isn’t comfortable.)
A comfortable headset has a headband that’s designed well enough to balance it on your head such that it doesn’t place undue pressure on any one spot. A hallmark of this is that after just a few minutes on, the headset should be barely noticeable, if not completely unnoticeable, and that it provides a snug fit. Next, the earcups need to be shaped well enough to fit your ears (on-ear earcups are best for gamers with smaller ears, whereas over-ear oval earcups fit gamers with more prominent ears better); and must be made of a material that works for you (fabric earcups are more breathable but can wear out faster, while leather or mock leather wears out slower and keeps your ears warmer; memory foam fillings can help ensure a perfect fit).
Lastly, do you prefer lighter headsets, or are you OK with heavier ones? Weight is dependent on materials and can have cost implications. Some gaming headsets are made of materials like plastic, which can be bulky but can also help make said headsets a little less pricey, while other headsets can be made of aluminum which confers a sleeker construction but can be more expensive.
Certain gaming headsets are known for how comfortable they are. For instance, the HyperX Cloud II Wireless Gaming Headset is built from the ground up to offer a pampering gaming experience thanks to features like its HyperX signature memory foam, premium leatherette covering, and excellent weight distribution.
How immersed do you want to be in your gaming sessions? (Will you need to listen for, say, your parents calling you or for deliveries arriving, or is this not an issue?) If what you want is a truly immersive gaming experience, a headset that offers good noise isolation is what you want to buy.
Certain headsets possess physical features that block outside noise, from sealing to allow the sound and especially base to reverberate around your ears, to tightly fitting ear cups which also help ensure a tight seal. In a nutshell these are known as “passive” noise isolating features. Headsets like the Razer Blackshark V2 Pro Wireless Esports Headset offer advanced passive noise cancellation thanks to their closed earcups and plush cushions. Other, fancier (and pricier) headsets offer more “active” noise canceling features–tech that actively works to filter out background noise and, by doing so, boost the overall quality of the audio.
It may be best to test a headset you’re considering in order to really see if the level of noise isolation it offers is optimal for you.
You’ll need to get a gaming headset that offers the best build quality possible. Even though some headsets may never leave their buyers’ homes, they can still be subjected to considerable wear and tear depending on how their users game. If a headset isn’t built to last, it’ll need a replacement fast.
What are some of the factors that make a headset more or less durable? For one, the use of metal in its skeleton and construction can help ensure that it lasts longer than those that are made of plastic. Wire frames and/or metal used externally can confer durability, whereas plastic parts are more prone to break easily. Secondly, check for fit and finish issues. Are parts misaligned or, worse, is the headset loose or coming apart at any point? Is the cushion stitching uneven or loose? Headsets like that are to be avoided. You may have to pay a little more to get a headset with better gaming quality, but trust us, it’s worth the extra investment.
Last up is the microphone that comes with the gaming headset. While some gamers don’t really use them, they’re important to others who like to communicate with their fellow gamers or include their voice when they live stream their gameplay or save games to be watched later on.
Check for certain features that are evidence of an effective microphone. Noise cancellation is one such crucial feature because there will be moments when a gamer doesn’t want some noises he or she generates to make it through to his or her fellow gamers while ensuring that his or her voice is coming through loud and clear. Another such feature is a mute feature–sometimes it’s important to just kill the mike completely and prevent your fellow gamers from overhearing you to protect your privacy.
Make it a habit to #CheckCyberzone for all your gaming needs!