SteelSeries H Wireless headset €299
1st Sep 2013 | 01:17
SteelSeries is getting next-gen capable and living room ready
Steelseries has outdone itself. The manufacturer known for its hardcore PC products is readying the H Wireless headset, a 7.1 system that fully embraces the living room.
It boasts a 30-foot range and compatibility for all existing consoles, as well as PC, Mac and the PlayStation 4. This is a previously unannounced product; we managed to snag an exclusive first hands on at PAX Prime 2013 in Seattle.
This is far from the first wireless audio system we've seen. It's not even the first one Steelseries has produced. The piece de resistance here is an elegant interface for managing game and chat audio as well as swapping between multiple systems and sound profiles.
It's based around a super crisp OLED display. That's the same kind of high quality, low power display that powers the Moto X's unique notification system.
Our quick hands on pictures don't really do it justice. We imagine it'll be very easy to read all the way from the couch.
The headset itself runs on a 2.4 Ghz wireless frequency capable of 7.1-surround sound, thanks to an optical port connection. Steelseries is claiming up to a 30-foot range.
We weren't able to test that in the tiny PAX meeting room, of course. Still, the fact that the headset maintained a solid connection amongst the thousands of signals that plague a gaming show instills confidence.
In case you don't trust wireless audio, or want to use the H on your iPhone, there's a concealed port for going wired. This is also where the dreaded Xbox 360 chat cable goes. As with nearly every headset on the market, there's no Xbox Live chat without a cable running to your controller.
A proprietary rechargeable battery powers the headset, and the base station serves as charger. Just like the Xbox only Tritton Warhead 7.1 Wireless headset, two batteries are included, so you can have one charging while the other is in use.
The fit on these cans is comfy, thanks to padding on the cups and headband. It's tight, but not too tight, and while we wouldn't call it noise canceling, the closed form design certainly damped the din of the show.
The headset is surprisingly light and unlike the SteelSeries Siberia V2, its headband is manually adjustable. The cups can also twist to let the headset rest flat below your neck, should you need to quickly interface with reality.
The H Wireless sounds very clean, with emphasis on clear highs and steady mids. It seemed a little low on bass though, and wasn't terribly loud. Even with the volume maxed out it didn't come close to shaking our fillings loose.
Steelseries reps told us that the prototype we sampled was a still a revision or two away from being final. Since it's not due for release until November, there's plenty of time left for tweaking.
Currently, Xbox One support is unclear, but still a possibility. We'd guess that if One compatibility does come through, it'll probably need a chat cable there too.
The H Wireless is easily some of the best design we've seen from SteelSeries, and on the market in general, but that $300 price tag is staggering. SteelSeries couldn't provide full international pricing, but told us it would be going for €299.
That's by no means outrageous, but it does mean that the H must compete with some of the best wireless headsets on the market, including the Astro A50.
However, the only thing we didn't like about the A50 was its clumsy interface. That shouldn't be a problem thanks to the crisp white visual queues the H's base station provides. However, the sound quality will really need to come through for us to recommend a headset that costs nearly as much as a PS4. Xbox One support wouldn't hurt either.