There are many wireless headsets designed for gamers, but three models in particular earn attention from reviewers; two PC headphones and a third set designed for use with the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 gaming consoles. Gaming headsets include microphones for chatting with your virtual teammates and usually feature several buttons and settings that don't appear on headphones intended for home theater use alone.
The PC-only Creative Sound Blaster World of Warcraft Wireless Headset (*Est. $125) features a close-cupped design, and the headphones fold flat when not in use. What immediately sets them apart from other wireless headsets is their "World of Warcraft" aesthetic -- accented with glowing, multi-colored Alliance and Horde logos on the ear cups. The built-in microphone even has an FX setting that changes players' voices to sound like game characters. The headset is fully compatible with both PCs and Macs, and its connection is maintained via a USB dongle. Its utility isn't limited to "World of Warcraft"; it can be used with any PC game where a headset can enhance gameplay.
Jason Cross at PC World raves about the Creative headset. He says it's one of the best PC headsets he's ever used, comfortable to wear and with balanced sound. The "World of Warcraft"-themed software, used to adjust settings on the headset, is also praised. However, Cross admits that the THX TrueStudio Surround sound "only sort-of works." Devin Connors, writing for TomsGuide.com, generally agrees. Connors says that "overall audio quality is some of the best we've ever heard -- on a wired or wireless headset," and he agrees that the headset is very comfortable to wear for long stretches. But the wireless headphones' cost is a bit of a sticking point, especially for Pocket-Lint.com's Duncan Geere. For the price, he says, "we'd have expected considerably better sound, a charging cradle of some sort and a less plasticky, less flimsy, feel. As it is, this just seems like an attempt to cash in on an immensely popular game's fanbase." Users on Amazon.com also voice some complaints about the unit's build quality.
The wireless Logitech G930 (*Est. $140) also receives strong feedback and works with Windows PCs or Macs. Its physical design mirrors Creative's model, and like the other set, the G930's wireless signal is sent from a USB dongle transmitter. Reviewers say that signal strength is a highlight for the headphones. "In practice, the wireless connection worked surprisingly well, letting us take our music all around a WiFi-laden house with a minimum of static or noise, and when the connection did cease it was all at once, and always due to wandering outside the unit's range," Sean Hollister writes at Engadget.com. The Logitech wireless headphones also include a flip-down microphone and a number of controls on the left ear, many of which are programmable.
The G930's sound quality can't be beat, reviewers say. "The G930 is one of the most superb PC headsets -- gaming or no -- that we've ever tried," Hollister writes. The headphones also come out on top in a gaming headset roundup at TomsGuide.com, despite being the only wireless model in the competition. Both Engadget.com and PCMag.com test the G930's chops by using them while playing "Team Fortress 2," and they report that the audio is clean, clear and distortion-free, even with the volume maxed out. Similarly strong results are reported when listening to movies and television shows.
Critics do find a few nits to pick, however; as with many other wireless headsets, the bass isn't the richest around. Engadget.com says the claimed Dolby Pro Logic II 7.1 surround sound is "more novelty than reality," though they admit that it doesn't take away from the audio quality. Hollister also says he wishes the battery issued an audible warning before dying outright, and users dislike the push-in design of the power button.
Reviewers say the Turtle Beach Ear Force PX5 (*Est. $225) is one of the best wireless gaming headphones available for use with gaming consoles. Multiple critics call the cans on the PX5 the most comfortable they've ever worn, and the sound quality is similarly highly regarded, although Wired says it's a bit bass. "The PX5 sounds incredible," Sam Sheffer writes at Engadget.com, a sentiment echoed by many professional reviewers. While Wired says the Dolby 7.1 surround sound isn't very convincing, Sheffer reports no problems identifying the location of enemies by tracking the sounds of their footsteps. Being wireless headphones, some interference occasionally slips through, and performance degrades if you lose line of sight with the transmitter. You can also program the PX5's buttons and sound presets with some included software. All that performance doesn't come cheap, however; not only is the PX5's sticker price one of the highest around for gaming headphones, critics say that they also chew through batteries.