Any of the good, and especially the best gaming headsets, will strike the perfect balance between comfort and audio quality. This is something Microsoft’s first-party offerings have often struggled with, forgoing premium sound in the hopes of developing a relatively affordable product intended to ‘get as many people as possible’ online. The responsibility for something more specialist, therefore, falls upon third-party manufacturers and with the RIG 700 line of professional gaming headsets, Poly (formerly Plantronics) has absolutely risen to this challenge. Its latest is the 700HX gaming headset: an exceptional choice for Xbox One and PC players, one that’s practical, blessed with numerous extra features, and with decent audio too. This is among our best Xbox One headsets for sure.
RIG 700HX - Design
First things first, the RIG 700 HX looks sophisticated. It boasts a simple yet effective all black design, featuring solid plastic construction with padded headband and ear cushions that manages to feel high-end despite the headset’s inherent light weight. My one worry with dedicated gaming headsets from the likes of Corsair, Razer and now Poly is always that they’ll look garish, but in the RIG 700 HX there’s been some restraint shown – it’s all the better for it. Some might be left a little disappointed that other colour options are lacking, but for me it’s a plus.
The RIG 700 HX is being advertised chiefly as an "ultra-light wireless headset". More than just a bold claim, however, I was left extremely impressed with how airy it always feels to wear even during the most extended of play sessions. On top of this, each earcup can be adjusted to one of three pegs either side, allowing you to easily adjust to your head size, so it’s reasonably versatile too. It’s so light, in fact, that I would have forgotten I was actually wearing it were it not for the left-side boom mic poking out in my peripheral vision. Overall, the RIG 700 HX doesn’t disappoint design-wise.
RIG 700HX - Features
While the RIG 700 HX might play it subtle in terms of how it looks and feels, it’s in the various quality-of-life features where it packs the most punch. Simply put, all the expected gaming headset heavy hitters are here and then some, really justifying its still fair but not insignificant $130 / £119 price. I’ve already mentioned its incredible light weight, but on top of this you get an impressive 12 hours of wireless use. The headset connects via a simple Bluetooth receiver that plugs into either your Xbox One or PC, working anywhere up to 30 feet. I don’t know in what world such a long distance would be required, but the battery life did indeed see me through an entire playthrough of Gears of War 4 entirely lag-free.
The boom mic is detachable, which I’m usually not a fan of, but it clicks into the RIG 700 HX’s left earcup so firmly that the risk of losing it or any disconnection was never a problem. Of course, this does mean you don’t get the cool ‘flick up to mute’ feature most gaming headsets boast, but doing so is as simple as holding down one button. That same button doubles up as your microphone sensitivity adaptor, which can be toggled between three settings with a simple tap. Just as easy is the ability to adjust overall volume using one slider and tweaking the levels between in-game sound and party audio with another. A small gripe is that all this extensive functionality is accessed via the left earcup, which can feel a bit like overkill at times. Why not pop a few buttons on the right?
RIG 700HX - Performance
The tagline for Poly’s RIG 700 line is "Gear Up", so to test the audio performance of the RIG 700 HX gaming headset I thought it appropriate to play through some Gears of War – namely, a bit of Gears 5 and its 2016 predecessor. I’m pleased to report that the chugging of J.D Fenix’s lancer always sounded appropriate, successfully delivering both the deep-toned punch of shots and satisfying high-pitched click of reloads to great effect. The RIG 700 HX’s 40 mm, high-sensitivity drivers with bass tubes results in incredibly sharp and clear in-game audio, only aided by the cushioned isolated earcups that work to trap all of this in.
Sticking with the theme of Xbox One exclusive games, I also gave the RIG 700 HX the tall task of accurately immersing me in the thrills of Forza Horizon 4. Again, the revs of each car engine could be fully heard from every direction and angle, whether I was pulling ahead of rivals in the lead solo or aggressively battling it out neck and neck with other racers on the track. Flicking between radio stations and listening to the licensed music equally served to showcase the RIG 700 HX’s strong surround sound capabilities. Cruising down the English coast felt so immersive.
Overall – should you buy it?
Does the RIG 700 HX gaming headset live up to its bold ultra-lightweight claim? Absolutely, but where it serves to impress further is in the many other audio benefits and quality-of-life features it packs into such a quaint but stylish package. It helps that the RIG 700 HX also won’t break the bank, giving Xbox One and PC players a reliable wireless headset option that comes in well under $130, despite comfortably being comparable to some more expensive peers.