SteelSeries H Wireless Headset Review
Sean Gibson / Dec 20th, 2013 1 Comment
SteelSeries has been one of the leading names in gaming peripherals for the last few years, sponsoring some of the best eSports teams in the world and obtaining an innumerable amount of awards from various review sites for their headsets, keyboards, mice, and other peripherals. Now, SteelSeries cuts the cord with the H Wireless Headset, a robust lag-free wireless headset designed to work with PC, Mac, and console systems. The unit features next-gen drivers from SteelSeries and sports three different Dolby technologies: Dolby Digital to reproduce multi-channel audio, Dolby Headphone for a recreation of a 7.1-channel surround sound experience, and Dolby Pro Logic IIx which optimizes the surround sound experience. SteelSeries has successfully launched many top-notch headsets, but will the H Wireless deliver the goods, minus the cord?
There is a lot to like with the H Wireless Headset. The concern with headsets is always lag, and SteelSeries boasts the lowest latency of any headset brand to date. Occasionally, headsets will slow down or speed up depending on the lag, but the H Wireless features a fixed stream, providing consistent and smooth audio delivery.
The headset plugs into PCs, Macs, and console systems through the use of the transmitter box, which has input ports for analog in, optical audio, and USB. Like many elite level wireless headsets, the H Wireless should be plugged in both through the USB port and the optical port, to guarantee the richest possible sound. PC games and console gamers (specifically the PS4 was tested for this review) should easily be able to plug-and-play. The transmitter box can be controlled by the headset for just about any function, including changing the mode and audio levels.
The headset also ships with two batteries, whose lifespan ranges from 15 to 20 hours. The transmitter box also doubles as a battery charger for the spare battery. As mentioned before there are three Dolby technologies at play to provide an engrossing surround-sound experience. They also feature memory foam ear cushions and extra padding on the headband, and a smooth stitched leather-like material, which provides a great deal of comfort as well as noise reduction. There is a retractable microphone that has an LED indicator that will light up red when muted. The headset also has a “share” port which allows you to daisy-chain the sound from this headset to another via an audio cable.
For the nerds out there that love to know the facts, the SteelSeries H Wireless headset has a frequency response of 20Hz-20000Hz and have a max volume of 100dB @ 1kHz. The transmit range is approximately 40 feet and the latency is fixed (no slow down / speed up) at 16ms. The microphone frequency response is 100Hz-10000Hz.
Comfort / Build Quality
Even if a headset has all the bells and whistles in the world, including the best quality sound, it simply does not matter if it is uncomfortable to wear. While most high-end manufacturers like SteelSeries understand this, there are still only a select few that understand just how many consecutive hours gamers wear their headsets. Thankfully, the H Wireless Headset can be worn for hours on end, allowing gamers to forgo the experience of headaches, ear sweats, and general discomfort. The leather-like fabric and the memory foam come together to provide the most comfortable audio experience felt – ever. It sets a new standard for comfort and on several occasions six-hour gaming sessions were put in using these headsets without any incident or discomfort.
The build quality for both the streaming box and the headset is outstanding. SteelSeries used quality parts to somehow blend impressive drivers, tons of memory foam, and a nice form-factor together so that it delivers an amazing punch in terms of audio quality but also ended up being a very lightweight 297g (0.65 lbs). Also included are a ton of plugs and cables, so gamers can use this unit wherever they happen to be and plug it in with whatever device they choose to. All of the parts, including the box it is packaged in, have significant build quality value.
Holy… and… Crap. Those are simply the words that describe the experience of using the H Wireless Headset. They are loud, powerful, and capture sounds that you simply cannot hear with lesser devices. The striking quality of the performance when gaming is the clarity of sound from both the highs, the lows, and short bursts (think guns, quick explosions) no matter what volume the unit is turned up to. There’s no lag and there is no distress experience at the highest volume levels. Leveraging the Dolby technology, the H Wireless performs majestically, fully taking advantage of the virtual 7.1 surround sound experience. Gamers will be awed by their power, offering an impressive (but not too much) rumble (bass). Fortunately, there is a mixer that allows some customizing for the user to get just the levels just right for both games and music alike for near-perfect optimization. Being able to switch between profiles on-the-fly is a nice plus. Overall, the performance of the H Wireless Headset is so impressive, they can easily been seen as the last headset you will buy in the next ten years. They are built that well and they perform that impressively on both a PC and PlayStation 4.
Given the price tag of $299, the SteelSeries H Wireless Headset is priced competitively against other premium headset brands. What this unit brings to the table is a nicely designed product that is built to last and performs as impressive as any headset we have seen. The complementary transmitter is intelligently built and the fact that it doubles as a battery charger is nothing short of brilliant. Installation on either a PC or a PS4 took less than fifteen minutes and the overall interfaces (buttons, menus on the transmitter, etc) are so intuitive even noobs should be able to get up and running extremely quickly.
Overall, the SteelSeries H Wireless Headset is well worth every penny you might pay for it, because it genuinely might be the last headset you purchase over the next ten years. It is incredibly well built, ridiculously comfortable, plugs into everything, features a plethora of Dolby technologies, and overall kicks some serious ass. This is a no-doubter – the SteelSeries H Wireless Headset wins an Editor’s Choice Award for quality.
tags: h wireless , hardware , headset , review , steelseries