For the social gamer, the number one accessory has to be a headset. Most of the first party offerings that come with consoles leave a lot to be desired due to the headset being powered purely by the audio cable. Third party offerings typically fare better with the inclusion of an amp in some way to boost the sound but are often limited to one console and possibly PC. The SteelSeries H Wireless Headset is the answer with support for current gaming consoles, next gen consoles, and PC. It can also be considered one of the top-tier headsets but at a price… a $299 price. When the headset costs almost as much as the console, is it worth it? For the SteelSeries H Wireless, the answer is yes.
The H Wireless headset does audio right by combining a few Dolby technologies like Dolby Headphone, Dolby Digital, and Dolby Pro Logic IIx. These technologies are great to name drop but the key thing that matters is that it creates crisp and clear 7.1 surround sound in headphones making it perfect for living room gaming while not bothering the rest of the household. The Dolby technologies mixed in with some fixed-latency and frequency hopping systems help make that beautiful audio nearly lag free avoiding the issues some other high-end headsets have suffered.
While great audio is always key, the gaming features of the H Wireless is what makes it stand out. Balancing game audio and voice chat audio is made easier with ChatMix that allows users to manually find the perfect balance. For those that just want to let the magic of the machine handle everything, LiveMix dynamically reduces game audio whenever voice chat is detected. The headset also features a profile system that can be tied to the console type that allows the user to have different setups for their Xbox and their PlayStation.
The thing at the center of all the great features found in the SteelSeries H Wireless Headset is a little hub like black box with a crisp OLED information panel. Changing settings is easy without remembering a morse code like system of button presses and holds to get the audio just right. The display keeps track of battery power, shows the volume, and displays the profile currently in use. The hands down best feature on the hub is the ability to charge the battery for the headset. The H Wireless comes with 2 batteries so as long as one is kept in the hub charging, downtime is limited to the time to switch out the batteries.
The back end of the hub has a couple different connections to allow the set up to multiple consoles. The usuals are there with optical digital audio, USB, and traditional analog. The set up for the PlayStation 4 was painfully easy by running an optical audio cable and USB cable from the console to the hub and at that point everything worked out of the box with no special set up. The Xbox systems work a bit different with the need of running an analog cable from the headset itself to the controller.
Awesome sound means nothing if the headset is uncomfortable to wear and H Wireless is nothing but comfortable. The cups of the ear muffs and headband are both extremely padded and tight but not tight enough to be painful. The mic part can be retracted into the headset when not in use and when the headset is muted, the tip lights up red to help avoid those awkward moments. The ear muff cups twist to a flatter position to rest on the chest when the headset hangs around the neck. The whole design screams comfort and the materials just feel quality.
The SteelSeries H Wireless Headset is the definition of quality and is hands down the best headset I have put on my ears yet. Unfortunately, sometimes premium quality comes at a premium price. The $299 cost will drive away many but the fact that the headset can be used on all consoles out of the box balances out the need to buy 2-4 substandard headsets at a lower price tag.