Some wireless headphones are designed specifically to suit the needs of video game enthusiasts. Gaming headsets include microphones for chatting with virtual teammates, and usually feature several buttons and settings that don't appear on headphones intended for home theater use alone. However, not all wireless gaming headphones will work with all gaming platforms. Some only work best with certain video game consoles like the Sony PlayStation 4 (Est. $350 and up); workarounds are possible, but often at the cost of missing features.
Three features any gaming headset needs are good sound quality, a strong wireless signal and a comfortable fit that's easy to wear for long play sessions. The Astro Gaming A50 (Est. $300), according to reviewers, delivers all three. "If you're looking for a best-in-class headset, the A50 is it," says Will Greenwald at PCMag.com, where the A50 is the Editors' Choice.
The Astro A50 is compatible with Windows PCs, Mac, the Sony PlayStation 3, Sony PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Xbox 360. However, while it can deliver game audio on the Microsoft Xbox One, you won't be able to chat wirelessly -- you'll need to plug in the included chat cable so your opponents can hear you talking.
All reviewers agree that the A50 delivers great sound and comfort, as well as decent battery life (6.5 to 8.5 hours in tests). Greenwald says the microphone delivers "top notch" voice quality as well, and it flips out of the way when not in use. Greenwald finds the placement of the controls on the Astro gaming headphones "slightly awkward," but most users don't find it to be a problem.
Owners are impressed with the A50's signal strength and range, and they like the surround-sound feature. TomsGuide.com calls it "rich" and "detailed," and it proved the best in TechSpot.com's test of six wireless gaming headsets. The main complaint we saw from owners -- aside from the high price tag -- is that the A50 can be unreliable or buggy. Some users say their headsets freeze up unexpectedly and won't work until the battery has been depleted and recharged. Astro's customer support is often criticized for providing little or no help. Considering the price tag, that's certainly disappointing. Still, most reviewers seem to think that for truly hard-core gamers, the headphones' performance and features are worth the price. The Astro A50 carries a one-year warranty.
The Steelseries H Wireless (Est. $250) is also very much worth considering. In fact, PC Gamer likes the Steelseries better than the A50 -- but only "by a whisker." It loses to the A50 by a hair at TechSpot.com, due to a "poor microphone, irritating mute button and stiff fit," and at PCMag.com, where the A50 proves slightly better than the Steelseries for listening to music. Experts say both models deliver great sound and wireless performance, but for a similar price, they prefer the Astro A50. The Steelseries likewise carries a one-year warranty.
A less expensive option that still gets good reviews is the Logitech G930 (Est. $80). These gaming headphones work only with Windows PCs (not gaming consoles or Mac computers), and professional reviewers say their sound quality can't quite match that of a high-end headset like the Astro A50. Their biggest plus is their long wireless range. Logitech claims these headphones can transmit up to 40 feet, and in tests at PCMag.com, they actually do maintain a strong connection for this full distance. Most owners find them comfortable to wear, if a little heavy.
Though most owners seem happy, the Logitech G930 does draw a fair number of complaints from users about reliability, although there's an impressive three-year limited hardware warranty. Logitech tech support also comes in for some criticism.