Corsair’s mid-range options are really impressive for their price, but also require extra effort from the user.
Tested product: Corsair HS80 RGB Gaming Headset
As is well known, Corsair is an expert on components, but also manufactures all kinds of accessories for computers and game consoles. Among these are a number of gaming headsets in different price ranges, both wireless and conventional cord-based. One of the mid-range models offered is the HS80 RGB Wireless – a really powerful alternative, considering its price.
Design and comfort
The HS80 headset does not stand out in appearance, but in the gaming context, it is only positive. Were it not for the non-removable microphone, the headset could even be confused with regular audio headphones, which is not a shame. The whole outer part feels really luxurious. The matte surface is mixed with glossier parts and sparingly with aluminium on the most important parts (those that hold the covers to the frame).
The frame is in turn equipped with a flexible foaming band that protects the head against the hard, curved plastic. Unfortunately, only this band can be adjusted, not the frame itself. For us, it is not too big a problem, but if you have the main model of size XXL, there is a risk that the headset simply does not fit.
Otherwise, the headset is stately, reasonably heavy and also feels more luxurious than other plastic options. Of course, there is no guarantee for the actual sound quality, but all the more so for how much “stroke” the headset can withstand before something breaks. Not because we expect to lose it, because the headset is really stable, but because we can never be really sure when the accident occurs.
In terms of function, the HS80 RGB Wireless offers some features. Some are activated through Corsair’s own software Issue and others via external programs. The former controls everything from software updates of both headsets and USB transmitters, but also the mandatory equalizer. Here we are given a series of preset profiles and free reins to move the sliders at will.
Each shift is immediate, but also means that the program must be run in the background. Fortunately, we can switch between the different preset eq modes by pressing the volume wheel. It’s also a clever way to keep the headset stylish, without a million visible buttons.
Surround sound is also offered, but then you have to shut down Icue in favour of the Dolby Access app. The programs can not be started at the same time, as both need to sync in real-time with the headset. Occasionally, however, these programs have clashed with Windows’ own spatial sound settings. Extremely annoying to and from. However, this of course does not apply if you use the headset with Playstation 5, then the console handles everything automatically.
Regardless of format, the surround sound is more than convincing, at least in the games we tested with the headset. The same goes for the non-removable microphone, which is one of the better ones we tested in these contexts. Chat conversations are not as noisy as with other alternatives, to the extent that we are tolerant of the microphone’s very visible and non-discrete placement. The Icue software delivers sidetone controls, but we would have preferred additional shortcuts with the headset’s existing buttons.
For its main purpose, ie gaming, the sound that streams are of high quality. Whether we use the virtual surround settings or Dolby Atmos in compatible games such as Halo Infinite and Cyberpunk 2077. Loud explosions, distant dialogues, clattering shots – all deliver without having to turn up the volume to the highest controls. And without crackling side effects.
The HS80 Wireless also works very well for other purposes, such as film and music. Here, however, we recommend experimenting in the various apps for optimal eq settings. The apps themselves are also the only difficult part of using Corsair’s headsets. Dolby Atmos access is included, but only if you run Dolby’s own app in the background. Here we have simply spent a lot of time testing ourselves with both apps and Windows’ own settings. More than with other options. That, if anything, is likely to deter some from an otherwise high-performance and discreet headset.
Product name: HS80 RGB Wireless
Tested: December 2021
Connection: 2.4GHz usb transmitter, usb-c
Weight: 367 grams
Range: 18 meters
Surround: Yes (via Dolby Access on PC)