Alienware is back once again with another entry to the crowded market of the best gaming headsets (opens in new tab), this time with the Alienware AW510H. But rather than going for a premium-priced product showcasing the absolute best audio technology around, it costs just below $100 / £90. That's impressively cheap for what the headset boasts.
Despite this, that doesn't mean it's a must-buy. How does Alienware AW510H fare in terms of comfort, audio quality, and general gaming performance?
Type: Wired (3.5mm jack / USB)
Sound output: 7.1 surround sound
Microphone: Retractable boom, active noise cancelling
Compatibility: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, mobile
Controls: Mute, volume
Impedance: 32 Ohm
Frequency response: 20 - 40000 Hz
While the AW510H headset does come with dedicated drivers, there's no specialized software like you often find with Turtle Beach or SteelSeries products. This means that you can't customize your audio outside of the volume, but thankfully, the 7.1 virtual surround sound from the Alienware headset makes that less of an issue.
Even though the headset is light and comfy to wear, it also provides substantial noise cancellation; something I wasn't expecting whatsoever. Just don't turn it up too loud, or you'll definitely miss that delivery you've been waiting for.
Along the wire, there's a chunky remote which can adjust the volume and toggle your mic mute. It also has the option of USB or 3.5mm audio jack connectivity on PC, or just the 3.5mm on consoles.
Alienware's reputation of producing sleek, clean looking peripherals has stood strong here. The AW510H is a smooth matte black (also available in silver) with the classic alien logo embossed onto the sides of both ends of the headband. It's lighter than most other competing headsets, which means that, when combined with the cushioned headband and possibly the comfiest ear cups I've worn on a gaming headset, this one is perfect for long gaming sessions. In addition, the lightness makes it easy to wear in warmer environments.
The Alienware AW510H features a retractable mic that snugly fits inside the left ear cup, so if you're just listening to music or playing a single-player game, you won't have it in your peripheral vision. This headset is wired though - the lack of wireless functionality no doubt helping to drag the price down - which can be a dealbreaker for some.
How does the Alienware AW510H actually fare, in-game and when listening to music? To be frank, it's far better than what I was prepared for. Footsteps in games like Valorant (opens in new tab) and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (opens in new tab) are clear and easily heard over the sound of gunshots, although the ability to place the exact location of an enemy isn't always perfect.
If you're playing a single-player title and care more about the cinematic experience then there are definitely better headsets out there, but for the price? You can't go too wrong here.
When it comes to the mic, it features built-in noise suppression and sounds excellent. Not studio-mic quality, of course (because at the end of the day, it's still a gaming headset), but it does the job adequately for those quick in-game calls when you need to trade kills with an enemy. It could be the echo caused by my office, but a few people claimed it sounded better than my previous microphone - a standalone Blue Snowball, and a strong contender for the title of best microphone for streaming (opens in new tab) - which makes me wonder why I bought that in the first place.
Overall, you seriously cannot go wrong with the AW510H. The only drawback for me is that the cable provides some minor feedback when it brushes against my T-shirt or the chair I'm sat on. If I could get a wireless version of this headset for around the same figure, I'd switch over in a heartbeat.
Otherwise, the Alienware AW510H is one of the best choices for those looking to grab a mid-range headset for console gaming or a PC headset for gaming (opens in new tab).