Three best gaming headsets
Modern video games are built to push the limits of technology -- and while 4K TVs get most of the glory when it comes to today's top-notch gaming experiences, gaming headsets are the best way to fully appreciate how a game was meant to sound. Whether you want to enjoy the soundtracks to your favorite games in high fidelity or you need to hear when other players are sneaking up behind you, a good gaming headset is the perfect partner for your console or gaming PC.
Which gaming headset is right for you will depend on a lot of factors, so let's dig into everything you need to know before you buy.
Considerations when choosing gaming headsets
There is a lot of innovation across gaming headsets, but when it comes down to it, there are four features that matter more than all the others.
Gaming platform compatibility: Before you consider anything else, think about what systems you'll be using your headset with. If you only plan on using it with a single console (like a PlayStation 4), you can get a headset that's made specifically and only for that console. But if you want a headset that you can use with your Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC, you'll need a more universal model. The bottom line: before you break out your credit card, make sure the gaming headset you're planning to buy is compatible with your favorite gaming platform.
Wireless connectivity: Wired headphones are great, but when it comes to gaming, sometimes it's easier to play well if you're unencumbered by wires. What's more, many new smartphones only support wireless headphones, so if you want a gaming headset that works with your no-headphone-jack smartphone, you'll need a set that supports Bluetooth wireless connectivity.
Surround sound: Believe it or not, it's entirely possible to have a surround sound experience with headphones -- no home theater required. Many high-end gaming sets include "virtual surround" as a feature in which the built-in speakers are used to emulate the immersive audio effects from a movie or game soundtrack. The result is incredible. With the right gaming headset, you'll feel like you're in the middle of the action whether you're playing an intense first-person shooter or a casual farming title.
Audio quality: Last but not least, it's important that your gaming headset sounds good -- and not all of them do. To get the most out of your gaming experience, you'll need a headset that can deliver rich bass and sharp treble. As you're comparing different models, pay attention to user reviews of the sound quality. It's your headset's most fundamental feature!
Q. Can I connect a gaming headset to my smartphone?
A. Yes. If your smartphone has a 3.5mm headphone jack, you can easily connect any wired gaming headset simply by plugging it in. If your phone doesn't have a headphone jack, you can pair a Bluetooth wireless gaming headset using your phone's built-in Bluetooth technology.
Q.Can I use a gaming headset with my console's built-in video conferencing apps like Skype?
A. Yes. Gaming headsets are designed to allow you to hear and talk to any application on your console, including video conferencing apps. You can even use a gaming headset with applications like Twitch that allow you to create videos of your gameplay and record commentary at the same time.
Q. How long do the batteries on a wireless headset typically last?
A. Most gaming headsets advertise a battery life anywhere between 8 and 15 hours, but ongoing gameplay can reduce those estimates significantly. On average, most gaming headsets will last for 6 to 8 hours of gameplay or 10 to 12 hours of standby time.
Gaming headsets we recommend
Best of the best: Logitech G930 Wireless Gaming Headset
Our take: This headset offers best-in-class sound quality while adding some new, innovative features, all at a competitive price point. The G930 is one of the best values across the gaming industry.
What we like: Native support for 7.1 surround formats means you'll be immersed in multichannel audio for both games and movies. The microphone's "rotate to mute" feature is an incredible convenience we wish was on all headphones.
What we dislike: Some other cutting-edge gaming headsets support Dolby Atmos, one of the newest surround sound formats, but the G930 doesn't. The internal battery can't be replaced, so once it stops charging, you'll need to use the headset always plugged in or replace it.
Best bang for your buck: Sades SA920 Wired Headphones
Our take: Sades is known for making high-quality, durable headphones, and its wired gaming headset is no exception. It's compatible with just about every platform and comfortable enough to wear for hours. If you don't need your headset to be wireless, this is the pair to get.
What we like: Wired headphones are easier to use than wireless ones. The SA920s are lighter than most headsets, making them much more comfortable to wear than most.
What we dislike: Headphones require an adapter if you want to use them with an Xbox 360. In addition, because they use a wired, analog connection, they don't support any digital surround sound formats.
Choice 3: Sony PlayStation Gold Wireless Headset
Our take: If you're a PlayStation 4 owner who wants the absolute best headset for your console, this is the one to get. It works perfectly with both PS4 console games and PlayStation VR virtual reality games.
What we like: The matte-black design delivers an elegance that's rarely found on gaming headsets. Virtual surround brings surround sound-enabled games and movies to life.
What we dislike: The included microphone leaves a lot to be desired. Some users have experienced issues with audio interference when using the headset while plugged in.
Jaime Vazquez is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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