Best Xbox gaming headset for 2020
While most standard wired headphones with microphones technically work as headsets for the Xbox One or new Xbox Series X (you simply plug the headphone into the 3.5mm jack on your controller), having a dedicated “gaming” headset ensures an optimized experience. And having a decent mic allows others to […]
While most standard wired headphones with microphones technically work as headsets for the Xbox One or new Xbox Series X (you simply plug the headphone into the 3.5mm jack on your controller), having a dedicated "gaming" headset ensures an optimized experience. And having a decent mic allows others to hear you clearly when you're in the middle of a long gaming session -- even if there's a lot of background noise.
Many people with an Xbox One or Xbox One X choose to go with a wired headset simply because it can be plugged into the already wireless controller. It's also worth noting that many, if not most, wired Xbox headsets also work just fine with the PlayStation 4, Windows PCs, Macs and the Nintendo Switch.
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If you want to eliminate the cord that goes from the controller to your headphones, however, there are plenty of wireless headset options. The nice thing about Xbox wireless headsets options is that most don't require a USB dongle to connect wirelessly (most PS4 wireless headsets require a dongle). Microsoft's Xbox Wireless technology allows you to quickly pair with your Xbox dongle. (Wireless models that require dongles are specifically noted below.)
In making these picks, we focused mainly on a few key variables, including design (build quality), comfort and sound quality, as well as considering extra features along with price. We also took mic quality into consideration, because that's especially important if your gaming session requires group coordination. If you can't be heard, you can't strategize!
With those basics established, let's talk about the best Xbox headset. These are the results of our own home-based testing, updated periodically, and include some options suggested by GameSpot's list of best gaming headsets.
Turtle Beach has upgraded its popular Stealth 700 headset, improving both its performance and comfort. The build quality is solid and I liked the "cooling gel-infused" memory foam ear cushions, which really fit my head nicely and play well with glasses. The headband is also sturdy and well-padded.
Turtle Beach says this Gen 2 model has upgraded upgraded 50mm Nanoclear drivers (the sound is more detailed and "precise," redesigned metal-reinforced headband and a larger, high-sensitivity flip-to-mute mic. Its engineers tuned it to deliver even "more detailed and precise sound." I thought it sounded quite good, and the headset pairs to your phone and is also good for music listening and taking calls while you're gaming (there's an "all-new" Turtle Beach Hub app for iOS and Android that allows you to tweak the audio and remap buttons. (The app feels a little beta-ish and should be updated in the months ahead).
This headset will work with current Xbox One consoles as well as the next-gen Series X consoles. Battery life is now up to 20 hours -- the headset charges via USB-C -- and thanks to Xbox Wireless technology, you can connect wirelessly to the Xbox without using a dongle like you have to do with the PS4.
If you're looking at this vs. the step-down Stealth 600 Gen 2, which retails for $100, that model is also good but the Stealth 700 Gen definitely has a more premium feel to it. It's a really solid headset for $150.
If you're looking for a really solid wired headset with an affordable price tag, the HyperX Cloud X is an excellent choice. It's sturdily built, has good sound with strong microphone performance and most importantly, it's comfortable to wear for long gaming sessions. It's designed to work with the Xbox One and the Series X/Series S but is also compatible with the PS4 (and PS5), as well as the Nintendo Switch and PCs. Read our HyperX Cloud Alpha preview.
The Razer Nari Ultimate for Xbox is a beast of wireless headset, at least in terms of size. That said, it's not heavy and its auto-adjusting headband makes this one of the most comfortable gaming headsets you can buy; just note that its ear cups really stick out from your head. The ear pads are equipped with cooling gel-infused cushions, and the Razer logo lights up.
Aside from excellent sound quality and comfort, the other signature feature is the built-in HyperSense haptic feedback technology that lets you feel the game while you're playing. One might call it a gimmick but it does add another dimension to the gaming experience. The only downside is that battery life takes a hit when you engage it. It's 6 hours with HyperSense on and 20 hours with it turned off.
It's worth pointing out that this is an open-back headset, which does help open up the soundstage and give the audio a more airy quality, but the sound will leak out of the headphones, which could annoy others around you. I found the microphone performance to be good but not stellar.
This will also connect to a PC wirelessly with an Xbox Wireless Adapter for Windows.