Gamers are graphics enthusiasts. Tell them it looks good and they will go for it without question. Such inclination is understandable as graphics is king when thinking of a gaming PC. However, they have taken this prejudice too far, to the gaming headset. For whatever it takes, it is time gamers understood that when it comes to what goes to our ears, shiny graphics and bells is bullocks.
While we have no qualms about good-looking gaming headsets, it can never be the primary basis for selecting these peripherals. It is the ear, not the eye that is the target and as such, audio quality is king. There is nothing more fulfilling than an excellent image rendition complemented with a clear, crisp sound system. As we enter the festive season, this should be clear to all gamers who are thinking on investing on a gaming headset.
That said, there are several gaming headsets on the market today. Most of them offer the very things that audiophiles need, from wireless connectivity to super surround capabilities and yes, great graphics and whistles. The costs also vary from as low as $50 to as high as $300. We have put our expertise to task to save you the hassle of having to read all reviews on this subject. We have picked out three gaming headsets that stand out as the best among the best.
1. Astro A50 Wireless
- Wireless interface
- Dolby Digital 7.1 surround sound
- Compatibility: PC, Mobile Xbox one, Xbox 360, PS4 and PS3.
- Astro Audio
- 6.0mm unidirectional mic.
- USB charging
- Sensitivity 118dB
Astro A50 wireless is the ultimate general purpose headset. It is comfortable weighing only 13.4 ounces. Even though it is purely plastic, its design is by no means cheap. Its open backed ear cups are made from soft fabric which significantly improves comfort when using this headset. The coupling of Astro Audio technology and Dolby’s surround sound gives the audio one of the most selective audio game experience. Besides, this gaming headset is compatible with all common gaming platforms.
Ever had your headset battery run out but you were not using it? Astro A50 solves this nightmare with its accelerometer that detects usage and sleeps the headset when it is not in use. Besides this feature, it also offers a 15hour battery life. Such time allowance is not easy to come by in wireless gaming headsets.
2. ASUS ROG Centurion 7.1
- USB wired interface
- 10-driver 7.1 surround sound
- Dual USB amplifier
- Compatibility: Sonic software
- HDMI pass-through
- Amplifier with channel volume controls and audio profiles
- Unidirectional Mic
As earlier mentioned when it comes to gaming headsets, audio quality is king. It deserves a hats-off for its crystal clear sounds and full-fledged sound pass-through to external speakers. How can it deliver less when it has ten drivers in the ear cups with exceptional sound delivery? Gamers who still insist on sleek designs and fashion will have to close their eyes to enjoy this gaming headset’s outstanding performance.
In addition to its extreme looks, not the worst though, you can only use the ROG Centurion 7.1 with the amplifier. While some might find this restrictive, the amp is an excellent utility for connecting other surround systems to your PC. The number of presets you will find on this amp exceeds all amplifiers on the market. The software also allows extensive customization which is second to none. The ROG remains the best gaming headsets for people interested purely in the audio experience and nothing more.
3. Razer ManO’War
- Wireless interface
- Software-based 7.1 surround sound
- Chroma RGB lighting
- Sensitivity: 118 dB
- 12 meters signal range
The Razer ManO’War is the lightest and the cheapest of the three gaming headsets in this list. It weighs only 11.7 ounces. Its wireless signal is stronger than that of the Astro A50. It is also more comfortable than the ROG as it comes with large leatherette ear cups. However, these ear cups become hot and sweat-soaked after being used for some time.
The ManO’War comes with Razer Synapse software. It is one of the most user-friendly options in the market. It is intuitive with common presets that make it easy to achieve the sound quality you desire. The primary issue with this gaming headset is its flimsy frame. It is tempting to assume that this is because of its low price. However, there are gaming headsets, not on this list, which cost less but are more robust in design but with low-performance quality, obviously.
It is not easy to determine which of the three is the best. As mentioned at the beginning, these three are the crème de la crème of gaming headsets. Nevertheless, the Astro A50 wireless stands out as the leader due to the following reasons;
It is no question that ROG Centurion 7.1 is a spectacle to behold. It is apparent that it was built primarily for exceptional audio quality with little consideration to cosmetics. However, it is more solid-built than the good-looking but delicate Razer ManO’War. The frame of the Razer is worryingly flexible. The Astro A50 offers a better look and is more robust regarding design.
The comfort level of a gaming headset is determined by the quality of the ear cups and the weight. The Astro A50 has soft fabric ear cups which are overwhelmingly comfortable. These ear cups are of modular design hence you can remove and replace them with the spares that come with the MOD kit. Razer ManO’War comes in close second with its leatherette ear cups. However, they become uncomfortable over time as they absorb sweat.
The Asus ROG is the last gaming headset you will go for in the quest for comfort. Its powerful ear cup drivers are designed to pump the entire dB into your ears. Some critics have called ROG headsets weapons of inner destruction.
The weight of the gaming headset is crucial for the comfort of the player, especially during long playing hours. The lighter the headset, the better it is for your neck bones. The Razer ManO’War takes the lead weighing only 11.7 ounces. The Astro A50 wireless falls to the second place weighing just 13.4 ounces. The ROG Centurion again falls to the sides with a neck-breaking 16oz. The bulky robust built gaming headset weighs this before the inclusion of the amplifier.
The Astro A50 and the Razer ManO’War gaming headsets both come with a wireless connection. As such they are more tech advanced in this aspect than the wired ROG Centurion 7.1 headset. The Razer has a better wireless signal than the Astro. But who wants to play 12 meters from the screen? Therefore the remaining tradeoff is the battery life. Astro A50 easily wins this segment too with an incredible 15 hours battery life.
5. Compatibility and user-friendliness
The Astro A50 gaming headset is not as simple to set up as the ManO’War. However, it is readily compatible not just with your PC but also Xbox one and 360, PS3 and PS4. The A50 is also compatible with legacy consoles. Both the Razer and the ROG come with software-based compatibility. Even more, you cannot use the latter without its amplifier.
6. Customization and presets
The Asus ROG is the obvious winner when considering the extent of customization and presets it offers. Such is due to its overindulged amplifier. When considering the audio output quality, it again emerges triumphant. The five pairs of drives in the ear cups deliver eardrum-breaking sound quality. The Astro50 and the Razer still offer great audio even though it cannot match that of the ROG. While the Astro flaunts a Dolby digital sound technology and Astro audio, the Razer comes with a software-based technology which is just as good in audio rendition
The Razer ManO’War is the cheapest of the three. The Astro50 costs twice more than the Razer while the cost of the ROG goes at more than three times the price of the Razer. Investing in the ROG is an excellent choice for those who care about nothing more other than the quality of sound. Nevertheless, they will have to book a neck massage every few hours a day.
Though the Astro A50 is pricey, it excels its closest competition, the Razer ManO’War in nearly all aspects. Consequently, the Astro A50 remains a better investment than the two. It offers quality audio, high comfort, and longer battery life, the very three things each gamer dreams of in a gaming headset.