With the pandemic forcing us all to work from home I needed a good headset for use on Microsoft Teams and Zoom calls, and I also wanted something wireless and something I can game with. Strictly speaking the term "gaming headset" is just a marketing gimmick - what does a gaming headset do that a non-gaming headset doesn't? But that's not the point of discussion here.
I decided on the Corsair HS70 Pro Wireless Gaming Headset as a mid-range headset that doesn't look out of place in the office, nor does it look out of place gaming. I didn't want any of the RGB lighting that other gaming headsets offered, but I did want wireless. My previous two headsets used in the office are wired and I didn't want to be tethered to my home office desk. On the wireless technology, there is Bluetooth and there is proprietary Wireless technologies. Whilst I would have liked a Bluetooth headset as they are compatible with anything Bluetooth enabled, like a phone, but at the time Bluetooth headsets did not have as good battery life, audio quality or range. The Corsair HS70 is proprietary Wireless only. On balance I chose the HS70 for the features vs cost.
The headset is an over-ear design which means that your entire ear sits inside the foam cup. This is much more comfortable than on-ear when the headset squishes your ear. They are really comfortable to wear for long Zoom meetings as well as hours of continual gaming. The sound quality is also really good and the surround sound 7.1 makes gaming all the more atmospheric, especially in games like Alien Isolation where sound is a key factor to detecting the Alien and staying safe. The headset is also nicely bassy, explosions pumping your brain and music sounds both bassy and crisp.
The overall feel of the headset is of a premium product. It's made from metal, high quality plastic and PU-leather on the ear cups and head band. The headband features a nice cross hatch stitching. The outside of the cups features a black mesh with the corsair logo.
On each ear cup there are hand controls. On the right hand side is the power button, on the left there is a nice mechanical volume dial, mute button, micro USB charging port and a detachable microphone. As with most, if not all, headsets the head band is adjustable to suit most head sizes.
The detachable microphone is a nice feature, one that I particularly wanted, since when gaming I never speak so I simply unplug and use as normal headphones. When I am using the headset for work I just plug it back in and good to go to my meetings. The microphone has a noise cancelling feature which helps eliminate background noise when you are taking. The microphone arm is flexible and always holds the position I set it to, there is no slippage.
The headset has its own USB dongle which acts as the Wireless transmitter. You can only connect these headphones to devices that support USB audio, so smartphones and tablets are out, but consoles and desktop PC/Mac work really well. The adaptor works on USB2 and USB3 ports as well as USB hubs.
In terms of range, they quote "Up to 40ft" which is 12 metres or thereabouts, but realistically it is far less than this. The signal certainly does not penetrate walls so even being less than 5 metres from the transmitter as soon as a wall gets in the way it loses signal. Moving within the room or maintaining line of sight I was able to get around 8m which is still plenty far away. The sound is either really high quality when it does have signal, or non-existent when out of range. There is no "fuzzy" reception. The headphones automatically reconnect and continue playing when they come back into range.
All the settings and EQ presets are handled with the optional Corsair iCUE software package. You don't necessarily need this to be installed as Windows is capable of handling most settings, but would recommend installing iCUE. The three main things that I use this for is the voice prompts on mute/unmute, the battery level and enabling surround. Without the software installed, mute and unmute is by a two tone beep notification which can be difficult to hear depending on what you are listening to. iCUE replaces the beeps with a voice prompt "Mic On" or "Mic Off".
The software also allows you to create multiple EQ profiles, use customisable presets, configure an auto shut down, control sidetone (allowing you to hear your voice in the headset), and more importantly, it lets you activate the impressive 7.1 virtual surround sound feature, which works really very well by the way.
In an iQUE version update in early 2021 Corsair added Mic Feedback - you can hear your voice in the headset when you speak. They also added "Mic Feedback On" and "Mic Feedback Off" to the voice prompt. When muting and unmuting you now hear "Mic On, Mic Feedback On" and "Mic Off, Mic Feedback Off". This is really annoying to have to listen to, especially on a group Teams or Zoom call. If you don't want the mic feedback enabled at all, you can disable it which prevents the voice notification. Simply "mute" Sidetone from the iCUE software. It is the right hand slider in the screenshot above. Now we're back to just "Mic On".
After 5 months of daily use I am really pleased with this headset. My only criticism with it, and I guess this is because its a "gaming" headset is that it is not certified for Teams or Zoom so things like the mute button on the headset does not reflect into the mute button on Teams - you end up double muted. The headset is however certified for Discord which is the main voice chat application for gamers.