Wireless gaming headsets are a product category with a lot of players and very few superstars. Some headsets make syncing a simple affair only to produce subpar audio, while others trade battery life for good looks. In short, there are very few products that hit half of the high notes, much less all of them. Then there's the SteelSeries H Wireless headset, which not only claims lag-free, 7.1 surround sound, but also works for Mac, PC, Apple TV, iOS and all home consoles. That's a bold claim, and not one to be taken lightly.
Weight: 0.6 lbs. (297 g)
Wireless Range: 40ft (recommended)
Battery Life: 20 hours per battery pack
Both the headset and the wireless transmitter are slick looking, drenched in black with just a few accents to be seen. The earphones are surrounded by plush cushions that feel fantastic, and the headband over the top is likewise padded with what feels like a memory foam-type of material. This is the type of headset that you can forget you're actually wearing -- they're that comfortable.
The transmitter itself is very tiny, about a quarter the size of a Mac mini. The back is covered in various ports for all the systems it supports, and the front features a clickable volume knob and a single additional button. The LCD readout on the transmitter is bright and clear, but not distracting, and it automatically dims when you haven't messed with it in a while.
The battery compartment is hidden underneath one of the removable covers on the earphones and the batteries (two are included in the package) can be hot-swapped in just a few seconds. The batteries are actually charged by the transmitter itself, which has a small slot on the side to dock them in. It's actually a really convenient charging system since you'll always know exactly where both of your batteries are, and at least one of them will always be fully charged.
Where do I begin? These things can really do it all.
You can use optical audio for your computer or game console, but for many Mac users you'll be using either the USB option or the standard analog output. You can power the transmitter via USB or a wall outlet, which is a nice option and a huge bonus for people like me who are already staring at two full power strips with no other option.
Setting up the transmitter was a breeze and there's no syncing or other hassle required. You quite literally set up the tiny box through a series of intuitive menus, turn on the headset and you're ready to go. It's a very Mac-like experience in that "it just works."
Controlling the headset volume via the transmitter knob or volume wheel on the headset itself is a nice touch, and the range is pretty impressive. I was able to walk all over my apartment and even out to my patio (40 to 50 feet away) with zero interruptions. There's also a built-in Sound Share port so that a nearby friend can tap into your audio.
The sound these headphones put out is quite remarkable, handling deep bass and crisp notes without issue. The built-in equalizer on the transmitter is a huge bonus here, too, letting you perfect the audio without messing with in-game settings or fiddling with your Mac or iOS menus.
The 7.1 surround sound is phenomenal in games that support it, and even if your favorite game is a bit behind the times in the audio department, these headphones will make the best of an imperfect situation. It just doesn't get any better than this from an audio standpoint.
The SteelSeries H Wireless gaming headset is as close to cordless perfection as I've experienced, and I can't even really think of any worthy competitors. You may find some things you don't like about them -- if you're looking for something more flashy, that's understandable -- but from a functionality and fit-and-finish standpoint, they are essentially flawless.
Rating: 4 out of a possible 4 stars