The Xbox Wireless Headset has the most important features I want from gaming headphones: I can pair it with the Xbox Series X and the laptop (via Bluetooth) at the same time. I can easily adjust the mix of voice chat and game sound with a twist of an ear cup. It looks good, and at $ 99.99 it’s cheaper than most of the competition. If only the quality matched the promise.
When the Xbox Wireless Headset works, it provides a comfortable experience with sound that can be used. In games, the headset creates a 360-degree soundscape that favors dialogue. The headphone seal did an OK job of blocking noise outside, but it can not be compared to the active noise canceling technology of its more expensive counterparts from companies such as Sony and Bose ̵
No, it can not compete with advanced headphones, but compared to so many medium-sized video game headsets, the Xbox Wireless Headset is a strong alternative – when it works. For many reviewers, it seems to work well most of the time. For me, not so much.
Through two weeks of testing, I experienced many problems. Both games and chat sounds are regularly cut in and out. Sometimes I could hear myself talking with a second delay. Other times, the game sound came from the TV, despite my Xbox settings directing the sound to the headset.
I used the headphones for a full replay of It requires two with my colleague Russ Frushtick. He joked that we needed to bake time for the beginning of each game session in order for me to push the headset so that it would work reliably. If you’re an adult with limited playing time, it’s crazy to lose another five minutes on IT support on headphones when you can just plug in your earplugs and turn on Discord.
The headset performed better in other uses. It was ideal for bingeing chatty TV reruns Simpsons, but heard of when it came to more movie content. While looking at both Malcolm X and Falk and winter soldierI noticed that the background volume lines were almost as high and clear as the main character’s dialogue. It was disorienting.
Maybe there’s something unusual about my office setup, that something continues to interfere with the headset. Or maybe the headset needs some software updates before it’s ready for prime time – as most games do these days. Anyway, I hope it works better eventually.
The design is without a doubt the best in the room: a simple, elegant and comfortable over-the-ear option. The microphone is flexible and unobtrusive, the LED tip lights up to show if it is dimmed. But for now, the look is not enough to keep the Xbox Wireless Headset in my rotation. I give it another shot when Halo Infinite shows up – hopefully I can end the fight with his fussy connection and other occasional frustrations.
Xbox Wireless Headset is available now and compatible with Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Windows 10 devices and Bluetooth devices. This review was performed using a device provided by Microsoft and is based on testing with an Xbox Series X, a Windows 10 PC and an iPad Pro. Vox Media has affiliated partnerships. These do not affect editorial content, although Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased through affiliate links. You can find additional information on Polygon’s ethical policy here.