Microsoft has announced a new wireless gaming headset for the Xbox Series X and Series S. Called the Xbox Wireless Headset, it launches on 16th March and will cost £94.99 ($99.99, AU$129.99).
It connects wirelessly to your console without needing a separate dongle and supports spatial audio technologies such as Dolby Atmos, DTS Headphone:X and Windows Sonic.
The gaming headset has some clever controls, too. You can adjust the volume and the game/chat balance by twisting the rotating ear cup dials, while the microphone tucks out of the way when not needed. Those ear cushions promise to be comfortable enough for all-day sessions, and the 15-hour battery life should be more than enough for the average gaming session.
Speak, and voice isolation focuses the mic on your voice, reducing background noise, so you can be heard loud and clear. Stop talking, and auto-mute kicks in, helping keep the comms channels clear. There's also a manual mute option to give you some privacy.
A light indicator tells you when the mic is on, so you always know when people can hear what you're saying.
You can fine-tune the audio output using the Xbox Accessories app on your console, adjusting the equaliser, bass boost, auto-mute sensitivity and mic-monitoring levels. You can even adjust the brightness of the mic indicator light. And the headset can connect to your mobile device over Bluetooth to double as a pair of ordinary wireless headphones when you're not gaming. You can also pair to your console and phone at the same time, so you can simultaneously be in a Zoom meeting while blasting aliens.
In a blog post announcing the headset, Xbox Wire's Will Tuttle was keen to big up the spatial sound capabilities.
"You’ll have the advantage by being able to hear all the subtle, yet critical sounds (like enemy footsteps sneaking up on you) that elevate great gamers above the rest," he wrote.
Erik Garcia, Project Architect and Lead, added:
“We spent a lot of time in the audio testing chambers trying to characterize and understand how the headset reproduces audio in different room environments. It goes in your living room, game room, and dorm room and we want it to sound the best for all types of audio."
Given that Sony's rival console, the PS5, launched with its own optional gaming headset (the Pulse 3D) at launch, it's surprising Xbox has taken so long to follow suit. And we'll tell you if it's been worth the wait just as soon as we get our hands on a review sample.
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