SteelSeries H Wireless Headset Review
SteelSeries takes quality seriously at all price levels which makes it an easier choice when it comes time to spend the big bucks on a great headset. ~J.A. Laraque
SteelSeries H Wireless Headset
Often when you are looking to make a purchase your thinking about what you need the product for and how much you are willing to spend. We also know that style, branding and personal preference often come into play. If you have read any of my reviews you know that I try to put myself in the shoes of the various consumers out there that will be making the decisions on what to buy. You will get the technical data you need and my personal options, but it is also about hitting the important points that a wide array of shoppers look to be hit upon when doing research to make the right choice.
When it comes to headsets you often have two major camps, those who only use headphones when they have too, and those who prefer to always use a headset. So when reviewing the SteelSeries H Wireless Headset, I thought of those two camps first. Now before looking at the various decision points first thing first is the price. At $299.99, this is a purchase for someone that is serious about headphones. While spending for quality regardless of how much you may use a product is a smart move, those with a budget need to think as well as research before making the decision to spend this amount on any headset.
Most likely if you are reading this review you are a gamer and I can say right off the bat that this headset is truly built for gaming. You have to keep in mind however, that just using the term gaming headset does not mean that it is necessary for gaming. Think of it like a home stereo system. I have friends over on the AVS forums that have spent thousands of dollars to build the perfect home theater system, but even they will tell you that it is not 100% necessary nor is it needed if all you do is watch a few hours a television a week. On the other hand, if you are seriously into gaming then the high quality sounds the H Wireless Headset delivers will not only increase the experience of gaming, but in competitive gaming the Dolby Headphone surround sound allows you to hear things all around you clearly which is a major plus for games where you hunt or are hunted.
Now comfort is king, while it may be more important to those who always have their headsets on, comfort should be important to everyone. The memory foam padding on the headband and ear cups are seriously comfortable. I personally made sure to test this by wearing it during my off day working from my home office. I played music, games, talked on Skype and Ventrilo and watched Netflix. It was about 6 hours total of me wearing the headset and I never felt the need to take it off due to discomfort or because my ears were getting sweaty. The microphone quality is great and the Chat and Live Mix features balance the audio from games to music and movies to your voice and the voices of others. Also the wireless capabilities are about 40 feet and it worked from different highs through doors and other rooms of the house.
One of the questions about wireless headsets was battery life and interference. As far as battery life, again the H Wireless Headset knows what gamers need. They understand that when your battery goes low you need to pop in another one fast. The good news is the battery life is a little over 20 hours and the transmitter holds a secondary battery that charges while the other is in the headset. It is quick and easy to remove the plastic cover on the headset, remove the battery, pop out the other fully changed one in the transmitter, pop it in, pop the other in the transmitter to begin charging and get back to gaming.
The transmitter itself is also a great feature. First, you get all the cords you need to hook up your PC, Xbox, Playstation even your television. You can connect the transmitter via USB or a standard AC power cable that is included. Now the box itself is very small, but stylish. It kind of reminds me of the Apple TV box. It is well put together with a clear display that shows you the various menu and settings options, volume and battery life. As stated, you can connect different and multiple devices and use the profile system to switch between them. You can also adjust the various audio settings using the transmitter menu and can be done for your different profiles. I have profiles for my Xbox and PC and played around with another for my friends PS4.
Now interference, I really wanted to test this since people used to hate wireless headsets because of this. I tried everything from having a large number of other wireless devices to being near my microwave, my large speaker system and even outside my home far past the 40 feet distance. I never got any interference, not even with my phone, this is due to the frequency hopping and fixed audio stream that the H Wireless Headset has so there is no lag and it is low latency, in everything I did the audio remained smooth and clear.
So here is the problem. As said, if you are a gamer who always uses a headset and are into seriously good gaming audio quality then the price point is not an issue. However, if you are not, it will be. Consider that one of the main critiques of the H Wireless headset is it does not perform well with other media. I do not completely agree, what I would say is that for the price and even just comparing it to other SteelSeries headsets I find the H Wireless headset did not make a vast improvement over other models.
I also own the Siberia headset and have for a while now, for under $100, I found it had great quality for gaming as well as music, movies and voice. Now obviously it is not wireless nor does it have all the features of the H and the H beats it in gaming. However, I used the Siberia for a long time and loved the way it played music and the surround sound I heard in TV and movies. It is also very comfortable and has similar noise reduction and microphone features. So the issue becomes, if you are not an avid gamer do you need the H series. My honest option is that you do not especially if having wireless capabilities are more of a bonus than a must.
The H Wireless headset preforms to me just as well as the Siberia in music and movies, but it is within games that it shines and makes the price point understandable. Also it is additional features like the retractable microphone that hides away in the headset and glows red when you mute it which you can do via the buttons on the headset itself or the transmitter. You can also control the volume from both devices and for those with Bluetooth devices like Android or iOS, you can connect those to the transmitter as well.
Overall for the gamer who lives with his headset and demands the best in gaming audio performance the SteelSeries H Wireless Headset delivers that hands down. For those on a budget or who are more casual with gaming as well as headset use, perhaps the Siberia would be a better choice. Either way it shows SteelSeries takes quality seriously at all price levels which makes it an easier choice when it comes time to spend the big bucks on a great headset.
Product Notes and Statistics
Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20000Hz
Weight: 297g (without battery)
Max Volume: 100dB* SPL @ 1kHz
Ports: Wired Mode / Share Port,
Chat port, mini USB FW update port
Wireless Range: 12m (40ft) straight line
Latency: <16ms, fixed
Ports: Analog In, Analog Out, mini USB,
Optical In, Optical Out, Power
Battery Type: Rechargeable Lithium-Ion, 1000mAh
Battery Life: 20 hours per pack, typical usage
Frequency Response: 100Hz – 10000Hz
Mic Pattern: Unidirectional
Indication: Red LED on mute
H Wireless Headset & Transmitter
(2) Battery packs
(6) Cables: Optical, USB, Power,
Analog, Mobile, Chat
Power adapter with (4) worldwide plug ends