From a live poker session to a sci-fi fantasy wargame, playing games on screens has become one of the world’s favourite entertainments.
Whether you’re into surviving a session of Call of Duty or aiming to hit a jackpot at casino777, players are increasingly offered more and more accessories to improve their gaming experience.
This can range from special multi-coloured chairs to high-tech adjustable tables. But there’s one set of kit that makes everyone’s gaming experience better – a decent headset.
A headset can make any game more immersive. It can provide high-quality audio and allow players to communicate more effectively.
Good audio allows players to hear every detail, from dangerous approaching footsteps to vital dialogue. The soundtrack has become a vital component of modern games.
Hearing it via a quality headset helps players stay aware of their surroundings and make better gameplay decisions. The better the sound quality the faster you can react.
A good built-in microphone means clearer communications with other players. This is vital for team-based games.
Players need to communicate strategy, call out any enemy positions and coordinate actions with teammates.
There’s another less obvious benefit to a headset – reduced distractions. If you're playing in a noisy environment, a headset helps reduce external noise allowing you to focus on the game
A headset can provide a level of privacy, as it helps prevent others around you hearing the game's audio and communication with other players.
Playing without a headset is certainly possible – but using a headset can help you to play better and have more fun.
Online retailers currently offer hundreds of different gaming headsets. Which are the best to buy?
We spoke to experienced players to review the best headsets available on the market. Here are some of their most popular choices with typical online prices:
1. HyperX Cloud II Wireless £120
The Cloud II is one of the most popular wireless choices among gamers because it provides great audio quality, comfortable ear cups and a detachable noise-cancelling microphone, all at a decent price. It has a brilliant 30-hour battery life too.
2. SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless £330
Pay a lot more and the specs rise. The Nova Pro offers sophisticated parametric EQ to fine tune your sound profile.
There’s active noise cancellation with the quad-mic system to filter out any ambient noise.
And you can hot-swap batteries for infinite power. One charges while you play with the other.
3. Razer BlackShark V2 Pro £140
The latest version of the BlackShark has bigger 50mm drivers for premium sound quality. The removable hyperclear supercardioid mic has advanced noise-cancelling tech too.
Best of all it boasts a very lightweight design and memory foam ear cushions for comfort during long gaming sessions.
4. Logitech G533 Wireless Gaming Headset £82
The Logitech is good budget choice for gamers. Surround sound audio is sharp thanks to the specialist 40mm drivers, the battery is rated around 15 hours and the mic has built-in noise-cancelling tech plus a mute button. The makers claim a useful 15m wireless range.
5. Sennheiser GSP 670 Wireless Gaming Headset £109
The Sennheiser concentrates on its seamless connectivity, promising lag-less and glitch-free operation. The advanced lossless Bluetooth and wifi dongle feature sophisticated low latency tech – the rest of the spec is a good standard too, with a 10m range and up to 20 hours battery life.
6. Corsair Virtuoso RGB Wireless £170
The ultra-light machined aluminium Virtuoso headset is comfortable for even the longest session. The studio quality mic offers omni-directional tech but experts reckon this isn’t as useful as the immersive surround-sound via the top notch 50mm drivers.
The specs are good: 18m range, 20-hour battery and clever smart sleep system that turns the set off when you put it down.
7. Astro A50 Wireless £200
The highlight of this pricey set is the base station. Click the headset into the dock for automatic pairing, magnetic charging and battery monitoring.
The dock acts as a 5GHz wireless transmitter for delay-free interaction. All this tech drinks the power though, expect less than 15 hours of battery life.
Overall it’s important to consider your budget before you start looking, it’s easy to get lead into higher and higher price ranges.
Spending more only marginally increases sound quality so consider what your priorities are. Battery life and range may be more important than fancy features you may rarely use.
For effective game playing it’s often more useful to have better separation of channels and more accurate spatial audio than fantastic bass response like a music system would offer.
And perhaps most vital of all, the headset has to be comfortable. If you are buying online the only way to check this is by reading reviews.
Read what other gamers like you say about wearing the set for longer sessions. Remember it’s supposed to be entertainment – not torture.