Wireless headphones can be pretty expensive, but they can also be pretty damn convenient. Sometimes I don't feel like fumbling with wires, as it helps keep my setup clean, and the ability to wander around within a limited distance helps keep me in the action -- say, while I'm respawning in an FPS and grabbing a quick drink.
Every once in a while you do need to plug them back into something though, especially after some lengthy gaming sessions. The SteelSeries Wireless H does a great job of handling the power issue with two swappable battery packs -- so you're always charging a backup. I wish every wireless headset was this simple to use -- but expect to pay for the convenience.
Product: SteelSeries H Wireless Headset
Input: 3.5mm jacks with USB adapter included (wireless)
So what's the deal with this headset anyway? Well, they're basically another set of wireless headphones from SteelSeries -- except this pair will work with full feature parity on the PS4, as well as the 360 and PS3 (more on supported platforms later). With a sleek black and orange design, the H Wireless headphones look great, and have enough flash without being too flashy.
The foam headband is comfortable, but not nearly as comfy as SteelSeries' own Siberia Elites. It's adjustable, but for those of you who have bigger heads, it may fit a tad too snug. Having said that, this is one of the lightest headsets I've ever used, so other than the snugness I don't have any problems with the design. It thankfully comes with a ton of cables should you decide to hook it up to legacy devices, or essentially any other device out there with an audio port.
Sound-wise, it's a cut above the vast majority of headsets out there, but the lows weren't particularly strong during my time with it (they suffer especially on bass-heavy music during my non-gaming tests). The "H" is competent for non-gaming, but it's really build for its intended use. Still, the 7.1 virtual surround sound is near perfect in all the places it matters, as you can hear pretty much everything in any given game -- whether it's above, below, or behind you. The advertised range is 40 feet, a number that's been accurate with my tests with it, and as is the case with most wireless sets, a volume control knob is located on one of the ears.
The best part of the H Wireless unit however is the transmitter. It's a full-lit display showing everything that's going on, including the system that's being used, and the current profile. It has a convenient volume dial, as well as a power button, which allows you to access the unit's many menus. You can change practically everything audio-wise from the box, including multiple settings for different output devices. The display is only a few inches wide, but it sports plenty of real estate to clearly read every notification and not take up too much space in your setup. It can be hooked up with a standard AC power cable included in the box, or it can run directly via USB from a console.
Then you have my second favorite function -- the dual battery system. Built into one ear of the Wireless H and the transmitter itself is a tiny slit for the two included battery packs. This ensures that at any given time, your set is charging, which is a really nice touch. The transmitter shows your battery level, giving you plenty of opportunities to pause the game and quickly pop out the fresh battery pack. As someone who's dealt with failing wireless headphones in many online games leading me to rush for a charging cord, this small feature is a godsend. It also helps that the set has a whopping 20 hours of charge per lihium-ion battery.
So what platforms are supported? Basically everything from Android, iOS, PS3, Xbox 360, to PCs, up to and including the PlayStation 4 (the Wii U doesn't have an optical port). It does pull audio from the Xbox One, but it doesn't work with the chat function -- nothing will, actually, until Microsoft finishes their development of the chat adapter. I've been using these on my PlayStation 4 for the past week, and they work like a dream.
The retractable mic is perfect as well, as I don't even notice it when it's slipped into the headset -- it also glows red while muted, which is a nice touch. Voice chat sounds crystal clear, and the addition of ChatMix allows for a great balance of voice effects and in-game sound.
At $299.99, the H Wireless set is a cut above the median price for other wireless headsets -- a headset that by its very definition of lacking wires, is typically inferior in sound quality. The good news is it's future proof, and as soon as Microsoft gets to work on a chat converter, it'll function on basically every modern gaming platform. The dual-battery concept is also genius, and ensures that you can stay truly "wireless" at all times. All in all this is my new favorite headset for my gaming needs, but it doesn't do a whole lot more than existing sets for the price.
For those who find the price point to be a little too rich, Turtle Beach and Astro offer more affordable wireless options. Or just deal with wires, pay less, and get better sound quality.
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