If you’re going to splash out on a new Xbox, it makes sense to get yourself the best gaming headset you can afford. The Xbox Series X and S are fantastic machines. Although they might not shout about proprietary Tempest 3D audio like a certain rival console manufacturer, the new Xbox consoles do have spatial audio technology built in. Specifically, they support audio standards like Dolby Atmos, DTS X and Windows Sonic, which means picking out a new headset is an exciting but daunting prospect.
Whether you’re gearing up to step into the shoes of Senua in the Hellblade sequel, or you’re looking for a replacement for your last-gen headset, picking out an audio peripheral can be tough. There’s so much research to be done and so many questions to be answered. Why not let us make your life easier? These are our picks for the best gaming headset for the Xbox Series X/S that you can buy right now.
Best Xbox Series X/S headset: At a glance
How to choose the best headset for you
Should I go with wired or wireless?
This really comes down to preference. If you’re sick of wires sitting on your lap while you play, wireless might be the way to go. On the other hand, owning yet another wireless device that you need to keep charged might seem like a bit of a chore.
In terms of quality, you won’t notice much difference. Wireless headsets nowadays use a mix of Bluetooth and USB wireless connectivity. Bluetooth is certainly convenient and allows for quick setup. That’s why it can be found in most wireless earbuds and AirPods. However, Bluetooth isn’t always the best for sound quality and it can also tend to give you more latency issues, which you definitely don’t want when you’re gaming.
Wireless gaming headsets that use USB dongles and plug into your console or PC instead transmit a specific radio wave frequency that doesn’t have to compress sound files as much, and offers you less latency. To find out which method each headset uses, take a look at the key specs of our listed headsets below.
A quick note for content creators: If you use an Elgato capture card or other wired capture device, we recommend you stick to a wired headset. Getting these third party capture softwares to play ball is hard enough, and if you throw a wireless headset into the mix, you might make your life even harder.
Should I worry about driver size or surround sound?
If you ask us, headsets with virtual surround sound are great if you can afford them, but do you need them? Absolutely not. It tells you a lot that the majority of competitive esports athletes turn off any virtual surround sound settings their headsets have. Sound design in games has come a long way and a lot of developers now put in the extra work to make positional sound cues more accurate, regardless of what headset you use. So when an extra bit of software is being used in a third party headset, quality and accuracy of sound mapping can sometimes suffer as a result.
What you should pay slightly more attention to is the size of the driver in a gaming headset. The drivers in gaming headsets are usually between 40 to 60mm in diameter. The larger these drivers are, the more powerful the mini-amplifier that’ll be transmitting soundwaves into your lugs.
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How much do I need to spend?
Chances are, you’ve had to save up to get yourself a new console, and if you chose an Xbox, you’re going to be spending even more money on the likes of a Game Pass subscription. Although there are some cracking headsets on the higher end of the pricing scale, you absolutely don’t need to go over £100 for a great gaming headset.
Do I need RGB lighting?
Short answer: no, you do not need decorative RGB lighting on a product that sits above and behind your eyeline.
If you do want headsets with all the bells and whistles, though, RGB lighting is definitely an option on many newer models. Some are customizable too, so you can pick a colour that compliments the background of your stream set-up, for example.
Admittedly, a few headsets do have practical LED lighting on the microphone or the headset itself that will tell you if you’re muted, or if your headset needs charging. These can definitely be useful, although we’re still trying to figure out if RGB lighting in general actually makes you a better gamer or not. More on this story as it develops.
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The best gaming headsets for Xbox Series X/S
1. Xbox Wireless Stereo Headset: Best official Xbox Series X headset
Price: £90 | Buy now from Xbox.com
The official headset for the Xbox Series X and S features direct, easy pairing to either console, a light and flexible build quality, and some clever design elements. It’ll provide you with a quoted 15 hours of battery life in wireless mode, and has a USB-C charging cable that’s 35cm long. If that seems a little on the short side for you, there is a wired version of this headset which is also a tad cheaper. The driver size in these headphones is 40mm, which is a tad on the smaller side, but what it lacks in power, this headset makes up for in comfort and design.
Both ear cups incorporate large rotating dials that control volume and game/chat audio mix. With the latest console software updates, you can also save some EQ settings for your varying gaming activities. For the price, there are better options with bigger drivers and longer battery life, but it’s always useful owning an official peripheral like this, not least because future software updates may net you even more exclusive features.
Key specs – Connection: Bluetooth, USB-C wired; Quoted battery life: 15 hours; Microphone type: Flexible crane mic; RGB Illumination: Microphone function LED; Driver size: 40mm; Noise cancelling mic: Yes
Buy now from Amazon
2. SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless for Xbox: Best all-rounder
Price: £100 | Buy now from Argos
This is the headset that gives you a bit of everything. SteelSeries is a very consistent brand when it comes to headsets, and this is no exception. Powering this compact and lightweight product is a 40mm driver which punches well above