There are probably lots of reasons why there is not much wireless gaming headset around in the market. It’s quite challenging to have it lag-free and we all know how bad lag is in a competitive multiplayer game. Even if it is some microseconds lag. Promising a completely lag free experience, the SteelSeries H Wireless blows my mind completely in its sound quality and most importantly, experience.
Oh, how I love that small rectangular hub that comes with the package, but we’ll get back to that later.
The packaging includes:
- 2 Batteries
- USB cable
- Optical cable
- Analog cable
- Chat cable
- Mobile cable
- Power cable
Design & Features
The headset itself is made of mixed materials but has a consistency look overall. Coated in black, the H Wireless looks really elegant, beautiful, and professional. To prevent a bland black look, red stitches around the leather ear cups add a nice touch. The design is minimalistic, which I really like. It looks good on a desk and it looks even better on a headset hanger.
The microphone boom is retractable, so it can be stowed away to give a clean look when you are not using the microphone. Unfortunately, the microphone does not mute automatically so it’s something that you need to remember to avoid any embarrassment (though most games are in “push to talk” mode by default). There is a nice, subtle ring around the edge of the microphone which will turn red when it is on mute.
The headband is heavily padded with soft leather cushions, which makes the headset really comfortable to wear. In fact, I tried gaming with it for a few hours straight and the soft-padded cushions did not disappoint me. The same experience goes to the leather ear cups that cover the entire ears. Ears tend to get warm as time passes by but it never gets uncomfortable.
On the right ear cup surface, SteelSeries has added a volume control wheel to adjust the volume and other controls. The control wheel is easy to reach at all times. There is also a Sound Share port if you want to have a friend to join in and listen together with his/her own headset/earphones. It’s pretty handy if you have 2 kids playing together at home (so one can play and the other can watch+listen at the same time). That same port can also be hooked to a portable device (such as your smartphone) with a handy 3.5mm cable. This will “transform” the H Wireless into a regular headset (wired).
What really excites me the most, is this headset’s versatility. The H Wireless headset can be used on any gaming platform: Xbox, PlayStation (3 and 4), PC, Mac, smartphones, tablets, and any device that supports 3.5mm audio connection. It also supports multiple connections simultaneously and can be switched instantly via the Transmitter box (or from the volume control wheel).
At home, I connect the H Wireless to my PS3 (via optical cable) and to my PC via USB. Switching between sources is easy and seamless. Setting them all up require a few steps but you only need to do the hassle once.
The battery lasts for days in my experience, but I guess it depends on how long you are gaming for. SteelSeries claims the battery should last around 20 hours. The packaging comes with 2 batteries, so you will always have a spare handy.
The battery is located inside the left ear cup and can be swapped quickly. But wait, here is the best part. You can charge the battery using the Transmitter box while you have the other in the ear cup! Pretty nifty, right? It’s a really clean and elegant solution. This way, you can pretty much game for days without ever running out of juice (or for a few seconds at least, while you swap the batteries around).
The Transmitter features an OLED display that shows your current battery level inside the ear cup, the battery level being charged in the Transmitter box itself, volume level, and a few others. The scroll wheel button makes it easy to switch between the settings. The only thing that I wish can be changed is the way you turn the thing off (i.e Standby mode). At the moment, if you want to switch back from the headset back to your desktop speakers, you have to go through a few menus to shut it down. It’s not ground breaking, but more like a minor annoyance that can be solved with a firmware update inside of the Transmitter (I think).
Sound Quality & Gaming Experience
The sound quality is top notch: great clarity, rich, and balanced. It’s probably not the best headset to go to if you are a heavy bass lover, but it excels in everything else. The bass actually feels quite warm and I love how one of the Final Fantasy XIII-2 battle soundtrack sounds (the bass heavy one). In Last of Us (which I’m currently playing), environment sound effects come to life in H Wireless; such as the sound of rain pouring on a metal surface. Having to sneak around while listening where the Clickers are (i.e zombies that can’t see but can hear you), was a breathtaking experience as I relied heavily on the headset’s sound clarity and audio positioning.
In CounterStrike: Global Offensive (PC), I could pretty much hear my enemy footsteps and pinpoint their locations before they could even see me. This gave me a lot of advantage to sneak around and score a kill. Though the headset is a virtual 7.1 surround sound, it still gives a good experience in FPS games.
I also love how I can now watch movies on my PC through the H Wireless headset. This way, I can lay myself on the bed and crank the volume up, even at night! Something that I could never do before. The H Wireless also features the Dolby Headphone, Dolby Digital, and Dolby Pro Logic IIx. You can also control the audio balance between chats and in-game sound (make sure to read about LiveMix and ChatMix over at the official SteelSeries H Wireless product page.
Listening to any audio through the headset also feels as if the sound comes from some speakers in front of you. It is as if you are not wearing any headset at all. It’s that good.
All these glowing experiences, design, and features come at a cost as the H Wireless is no cheap headset. At the time this review was written, it comes with a $299.99 price tag, which is probably not really affordable to everyone. However, if you have the money and you game on multiplatform, it’s an easy decision. You will not regret getting the H Wireless.
The SteelSeries H Wireless is like a dream comes true where you can get a wireless headset that works on any platform, has astounding audio quality, made for gaming with no audio lag, provides an elegant solution for charging and controls via the Transmitter, various connection support, and elegant design.
Owning the H Wireless feels like being in heaven for gamers. A bit exaggerating perhaps, but that is exactly how I feel every time I turn my H Wireless headset on.
Disclosure: Sample was sponsored by SteelSeries for the review. All opinions are 100% mine.