In brief: Microsoft’s latest addition to the Xbox accessory lineup is an aggressively priced pair of over-ear wireless headphones packed with nifty features, a lightweight construction, and wide device support. They’re designed to be used with the Xbox One and Series X|S consoles and can also connect with Windows 10 PCs and mobile devices via Bluetooth.
Unlike Sony with its Pulse 3D wireless headset and other PS5 optional extras, Microsoft’s next-gen console launch was quite barebones in terms of accessories, accompanied only by a subtle redesign of the Xbox controller. That now changes with the Xbox Wireless Headset, the company’s second attempt at a gaming-focused headphone following the original model made for the Xbox 360 back in 2005.
Thankfully, Microsoft’s confusing Xbox nomenclature doesn’t apply here. The new audio accessory is simply called the Xbox Wireless Headset and features a clean, understated design heavily inspired by its Surface Headphones. They also carry over the latter’s intuitive rotatory ear cup dials for adjusting the volume and balancing game/audio chat.
In terms of features, the 312g headphones come with an adjustable headband and thick ear cushions made from synthetic leather. They’re designed to accommodate a variety of head sizes, notes Microsoft, and should be comfortable for extended gaming sessions. The sound experience, meanwhile, benefits from the Xbox wireless protocol, allowing these headsets to produce low-latency, lossless audio. There’s also support for spatial sound technologies like Windows Sonic, Dolby Atmos, and DTS Headphone:X.
The tuckable microphone on the front packs dual beamforming mics, voice isolation, auto-mute functionality, and a light indicator to let the user know when the mic is active. These features, along with an equalizer and bass boost, can be tweaked via the Xbox Accessories app on console and Windows 10 PCs.
PC users need to have Bluetooth 4.2+, an Xbox Wireless adaptor, or a compatible USB-C cable to operate the headset. There’s also simultaneous pairing support that enables listening to phone calls (with a paired smartphone) and participation in Xbox party chats at the same time. Battery life for these headsets is rated at 15 hours. It’ll take 3 hours to fully recharge from zero (when idle), though users will be able to gain around 4 hours of use by plugging it in for 30 minutes.
Microsoft plans to release the $99.99 Xbox Wireless Headset worldwide on March 16 and is currently accepting pre-orders through its store and select retailers.