The Xbox Wireless Headset has the important thing options I would like from gaming headphones: I can pair it with my Xbox Series X and my laptop computer (through Bluetooth) on the similar time. I can simply modify the combo of voice chat and sport audio with a twist of an ear cup. It appears to be like good, and at $99.99, it’s cheaper than a lot of the competitors. If solely its high quality matched its promise.

When the Xbox Wireless Headset works, it offers a comfy expertise with serviceable sound. In video games, the headset creates a 360-degree soundscape that favors dialogue. The seal of the headphones did an OK job blocking exterior noise, however it can’t evaluate to the lively noise-canceling know-how of its dearer counterparts from corporations like Sony and Bose — understandably so!

No, it can’t compete with high-end headphones, however in comparison with so many midrange online game headsets, the Xbox Wireless Headset is a robust possibility — when it works. For many reviewers, it seems to work well most of the time. For me, not a lot.

Across two weeks of testing, I skilled many points. Both gameplay and chat audio commonly reduce out and in. Sometimes I might hear myself speaking on a one-second delay. Other occasions, the sport audio would come from the TV, regardless of my Xbox settings directing the sound to the headset.

The side-view of the Xbox Wireless Headset against a black background.

Image: Microsoft

I used the headphones for a full playthrough of It Takes Two with my colleague Russ Frushtick. He joked that we wanted to bake time into the start of every play session for me to fuss with the headset in order that it would reliably work. If you’re an grownup with restricted sport time, it’s maddening to lose even 5 minutes to IT help on headphones when you possibly can simply plug in earbuds and activate Discord.

The headset fared higher in different use instances. It was ideally suited for bingeing chatty tv like reruns of The Simpsons, however sounded off when it got here to extra cinematic content material. While watching each Malcolm X and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, I observed that background crowd traces had been almost as loud and clear as the principle character’s dialogue. It was disorienting.

Perhaps there’s one thing uncommon about my workplace setup, that one thing continues to intervene with the headset. Or maybe the headset wants a few software program updates earlier than it’s prepared for prime time — like most video games do nowadays. Whatever the case, I hope it works higher ultimately.

The design is by far the most effective within the area: a easy, smooth, and cozy over-ear possibility. The mic is versatile and unobtrusive, its LED tip lighting as much as present whether or not it’s been muted. But for now, the look isn’t sufficient to maintain the Xbox Wireless Headset in my rotation. I’ll give it one other shot when Halo Infinite seems — hopefully then I can end the struggle with its fussy connectivity and different sporadic frustrations.

The Xbox Wireless Headset is out there now and suitable with Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Windows 10 gadgets, and Bluetooth gadgets. This evaluation was carried out utilizing a unit supplied by Microsoft, and is predicated on testing with an Xbox Series X, a Windows 10 PC, and an iPad Pro. Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These don’t affect editorial content material, although Vox Media might earn commissions for merchandise bought through affiliate hyperlinks. You can discover extra details about Polygon’s ethics coverage right here.