Pitching itself as a gaming headset ideal for Switch, PC, Mobile and seemingly the kitchen sink, the HS35 represents Corsair’s newest attempt at offering general players an affordable, no-frills audio solution that can still be relied upon for great sound quality and comfort. It certainly undercuts the price of more premium Corsair headset options, like the beefier HS50, but the real test comes from whether it can maintain those benefits without feeling like a cheap product. Thankfully, it perfectly strikes this balance. The Corsair HS35 Stereo headset is a great all-rounder as far as over-ear gaming headsets go, looking stylish and sounding superb despite the lack of 5 or 7.1 surround sound.
The Corsair HS35 Stereo headset makes a great first impression when you take it out of the box. It’s fairly light, isn’t too chunky, and the cable being colour-matched to both the memory foam earcup and headband cushions does a decent job of making it look more expensive than it actually is. At $40/£40, this is an extremely good-looking and well-designed headset, built using sensible materials that feel comfortable to wear during extended play sessions – even for those with large ears. The HS35 is available in Carbon Black, Microsoft Green, PlayStation Blue and Nintendo Red, boasting a smart aesthetic in all colour options.
The only area it really falls down in design-wise is in how it handles microphone placement. You see, rather than act on a swivel which can be flicked up or down depending on if you need it, the thing is detachable. As such, it must be inserted into the left earcup any time you want to hop on party chat, unless you always opt to always keep it in. It connects well enough and features a flexible arm, but I’d have much preferred it being built into the unit, rather than coming as an added piece always at risk of being lost. Still, it’s not a deal-breaker.
Coming in at the more affordable end of the over-ear headset spectrum, here is where the HS35 struggles to compete with the bigger boys. As mentioned, the microphone is detachable, but it also comes Discord approved with unidirectional pick up and active noise-cancelling. I test it both on my head as well as a friend’s, and I can confirm that his voice sounded very clear from the other end. Volume is easily adjusted thanks to the on-ear slider that’s also found on the left earcup, while muting all audio comes with just a simple button press. There’s no option to adjust levels between in-game sound and party audio, but then that’d probably be asking a bit much.
Onto the main event, and the Corsair HS35 Stereo headset continues to impress in the performance department. It might not be able to output audio at top-tier 7.1 surround sound, but thankfully the cushioned earcups work very well in locking in any and all meaningful sound worth listening to. This being a headset intended for use across multiple platforms and game genres, I took the HS35 on a tour from PS4 to PC to Nintendo Switch and back again. Audio fidelity was around the same on each platform, but large explosions and low bass noises did sound a tad bit tinnier on the latter.
The scrawl on the side of the box promises that you’ll "never miss a beat" while wearing the Corsair HS35, and while I’d misplaced my copy of Dance Dance Revolution during testing, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’s sweeping score had me instantly engrossed. The same can be said for the synth-infused pops of a game like Hotline Miami, which the HS35 had me killing and grooving to in no time. So yes, game scores are appropriately heard in depth, but it was really in the weapon sounds where the HS35 surprised me.
Wolfenstein Youngblood is one of the latest first-person shooters to release, making it a great candidate to test how punchy the HS35 could output those weapon shots, cocks and reloads. Wouldn’t you know it my expectations were more than surpassed, with Youngblood’s artillery giving great, deep-toned feedback to all of my actions. On the slightly less aggressive side, Resident Evil 2 saw the HS35 make excellent use of the direction-specific sound effects, with everything from zombie groans to creaking doors setting a spooky tone either on the left or ride-side cup.
If you’re looking for an affordable over-ear gaming headset that provides decent sound, apt comfort, with just a splash of elegant style thrown in then you can’t get much better than the Corsair HS35. It’s a budget headset disguised as a more premium product, still managing to focus on the areas of audio that matter. This should suffice so long as you can live without any special extras like the ability to toggle the sound mix between in-game and party chat audio. Outside of this, its memory foam headband and earcups add a nice finish to a very solid headset!