CORSAIR HS80 RGB WIRELESS Gaming Headset Review

👤by Tim Harmer Comments 📅19-08-21
Conclusion

We have at times been very hard on the HS80 RGB WIRELESS in this review, and in part thatís down to our high expectations of CORSAIRís hardware and software team. Itís jarring whenever they fail to meet the standards theyíve set themselves, and this is marketed as a Premium Gaming Headset after all. So how do we feel about it in the broader scope of the market today?

From a hardware perspective itís difficult not to be impressed. It has a design that should prove to be much more durable in the long-term in virtually all aspects, particularly the articulated joints and USB connectors. Itís also very comfortable, despite the added weight incurred by larger drivers, a battery and charging circuitry.

Audio clarity is also very good, although the HS80 does lean heavily on equalisation for immersive experiences. Without either tweaked EQ or spatial surround the stereo sound stage seems very narrow, with none of the richness you find through the default configurations for other headsets and speakers. When gaming however thatís more than fine; clarity should always be a primary factor in any sort of curated or competitive environment.

With that in mind, Dolby Atmos really did add some extra punch to the proceedings. None of the frequency clarity is lost so far as we could tell, but positioning within the virtual soundstage was much more clear. We canít judge whether itís better or worse than other spatial sound virtualisation tools at this point, but its inclusion in the HS80ís package doesnít appear to be a minor footnote from our experience.

And of course we must also mention the microphone. ItísÖ okay. Certainly no worse than other headset mics weíve used in terms of clarity, even if it does pick up more environmental noise than some. The low volume issue we had appears to be endemic among CORSAIRís wireless headsets with no clear solution, only the workaround described, but at maximum volume we were able to just about have a satisfying experience in-game.



Satisfying is however not the word weíd use when describing the software. Itís not buggy, or faulty; it just fails to operate in a seamless way that would allow a novice (or really anyone without familiarity Windows 10ís sound system shenanigans) to take full advantage of their new hardware. Simple aspects like setting audio quality for wired and wireless modes, automatically handing over the headset from wireless to wired mode when plugging it in, providing a more detailed battery reading than High/Medium/Critical; each is AWOL. Windows may be standing in the way of some of these, but surely not all.

The wireless signalling is good, although we were never able to practically reach the up to 60ft range boasted by CORSAIR in a home environment with plenty of 2.4GHz devices all clamouring for bandwidth. A battery duration of up to 20 hours would be challenging to reach however, and any sort of active RGB lighting obliterates playback duration to single figure hours.

And so our final judgement is that the HS80 RGB WIRELESS is a wireless headset with excellent hardware features and build quality that, at the time of this launch, is still rough around the edges due to underdeveloped software and an end-user experience that needs work. The market should expect more when approaching £150, even though itís not a trivial matter for a wireless headset. The great news is that this is fixable, and could even be part and parcel of general iCUE improvements rolled out over time.

The HS80 RGB WIRELESS is a creditable heir to the legacy of CORSAIRís HS-series gaming headset, solidly constructed and with compelling audio features. It is however let down by undercooked software and a sometimes frustrating user experience. Itís earned our Approved award on the strength of the hardware but more work is necessary for a truly rounded experience.

Pros

+ Durable premium construction
+ Comfortable
+ Closed-back design
+ USB Type-C connector
+ Good wireless signalling

= Compatible with the iCUE suite for configuration of system-wide lighting

Cons

- Frustrating idiosyncrasies software
- Odd hardware interactions
- Quiet microphone without boosting through 3rd party apps.



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