(Pocket-lint) - The Corsair HS80 is another addition to Corsair's line-up of headsets. This is a more affordable device that offers the same great high-resolution sound as the Corsair Virtuoso XT - but at a more accessible price.
It's still a premium gaming headset though. Offering ultra-low latency wireless audio or 24-bit/96KHz high-res quality when plugged in on PC. It also has Dolby Atmos spatial audio and 50mm drivers able to deliver a 20Hz-40,000Hz frequency response. Add to that a broadcast-quality microphone and superb comfort and you've seemingly got a winner.
What's it like to game with though? We've been getting our game on to find out.
Superb and superior comfort
- Lightweight reinforced aluminium construction
- Floating headband design
- Flip-to-mute microphone
- Plush fabric earcups
The first thing we were struck by when donning the Corsair HS80 was the comfort. This headset has an interesting setup that uses a floating headband design, which combined with a lightweight construction means it puts very little pressure on the head.
The earcups have a pivot point that allows them to turn easily to adjust to the shape of your head. On the inside of the headband are two Velcro points where you can tighten and loosen that headband to adjust the fit. This setup gives the Corsair HS80 RGB Wireless a fantastically well-balanced clamping force that's not too tight and not too loose.
More importantly, it's wonderfully comfortable thanks to the plush fabric earcups which are ideally shaped to fit the ear. This isn't the usual scratchy cushion design you'll find on other lesser gaming headsets either. It's a wonderfully soft material similar to that on the Astro A50 or Logitech G Pro X wireless. Soft, comfortable and breathable. These earcups do an OK job of blocking out external noise, but they're much better at just keeping you comfortable while you play.
The earcups are also big enough and deep enough to cover the ear without constantly pressing against them. This means the HS80 is not only easy enough to wear all day long, but it's also a joy to wear during those hours.
Externally the HS80 is pretty stylish, with some nice aluminium accents and a solid construction. The outer earcups also have a dash of RGB lighting in the form of the logo. That lighting can be turned off or changed through various colour settings in iCue software, but it's understated enough that the HS80 doesn't scream "gamer" to all around you.
Naturally, the other appeal of this headset is its wireless capabilities. Wireless freedom means you aren't constantly tethered to your gaming PC and can enjoy the convenience that brings. The Slipstream wireless dongle is an easy plug-and-play affair too, offering ultra-low latency sound with up to 20 hours of battery life.
You can get a 48kHz/24-bit sample rate wirelessly, but if you want the best sound then you'll need to use the USB-C connection. Plugging in enables you to set 96kHz in Windows sound settings and enjoy the full high-res audio experience.
Rich sound and Dolby Atmos too
- 50mm Neodymium drivers with 20-40,000Hz frequency response
- Dolby Atmos licence included on PC
- 2.4Ghz wireless over 60-foot range
We're happy to report that the Corsair HS80 sounds great on PC. There are a number of equaliser (EQ) settings you can change via the iCue software, but even the standard profile is great. If you aren't a fan of that, then you can use Windows Sonic sound or Dolby Atmos.
A free Dolby Atmos licence is included with the HS80, you just need to download Dolby Access from the Microsoft Store and it'll automatically recognise the headset. You can then customise the sound depending on what you're doing, including activating performance mode which will focus positional audio to give you the edge in competitive games.
Dolby Atmos works best when it's built into the game by the developers, but even for default sound, this setup offers a rich virtual surround sound experience. It's also superb for music, movies and more.
The HS80 is loud too. So it ticks the boxes on many fronts, delivering great sound on PC both in wireless and wired mode. The superb surround sound from Dolby Atmos really rounds the package off nicely.
Broadcast grade microphone
- Omni-directional broadcast-grade microphone
- 100Hz to 10kHz frequency response
- 2.2k Ohms microphone impedance
- -40dB sensitivity
One thing Corsair has got right is the microphone setup. Like the Corsair Virtuoso XT, the HS80 has an epic broadcast quality mic. It captures a rich sound and does a decent job of blocking out external noise so you can be heard clearly by your teammates.
It's a flip-to-mute microphone, which means that when you don't need it you can simply flip it up out of the way. There's an LED around the end that lets you know when it's muted, but you can also get an audible cue in the headset (as long as iCue is running) to tell you as much. Sidetone levels can be easily adjusted and tweaked too, so it's possible to hear yourself easily enough.
There are some minor problems with this headset, but some that could easily be tweaked with future firmware updates.
The first is wireless range. The range is good enough, but when you wander out of range you'll get an audible beep in the earcups to let you know. This is an issue because it keeps beeping until you're back in range. So if you've wandered away from your PC for a drink or to fix a sandwich there's this frustrating constant beeping.
The other problem is settings. The headset's settings only really stick if you have iCue running. You can push the volume wheel in to switch between EQ settings, but this will do nothing if iCue isn't running in the background.
Some people with larger heads might also struggle with the size of the headband. We had to extend it to maximum but found it still occasionally nagged at the bottom of our ears.
In our mind, if you're gaming on PC, the Corsair HS80 might be the company's best gaming headset. No, it doesn't have a 3.5mm connection or high-res Bluetooth like the Virtuoso XT, but it is superbly comfortable and has great sound.
Overall, the Corsair HS80 RGB wireless could well be one of the best PC gaming headsets available at this price point. And seeing as we've tried dozens, that's why this one gets the full five-star treatment.
Logitech G Pro X wireless
This headset has a similar appeal to the HS80. It boasts some serious style and great sound with DTS Headphone X 2.0 surround sound. This headset also offers an interesting mic setup that works with Blue Voice tech for on-the-fly audio customisation.
Razer BlackShark V2 Pro
The Razer BlackShark V2 Pro is a nifty looking headset with good sound an a decent mic too. Highlights include THX surround sound and an unstated aesthetic. It's not as comfortable as the HS80, but it's still well worth a look.