Microsoft has announced the Xbox Stereo Headset, the latest official addition to its peripheral family.
As a wired device, the Xbox Stereo Headset is pointed firmly at the entry-level market. That means it's geared toward offering a value contender for the best Xbox Series X headset or best Xbox One headset categories. It launches this September, 21, but you can pre-order it now.
The Xbox Stereo Headset shares the same design language as the Xbox Wireless Headset, and it includes many features that are key to a quality of a good gaming device - no matter its place on the price spectrum, from premium sets to the best cheap gaming headsets. Hopefully, it stays in stock longer and is more readily available than the Wireless alternative...
Also, given there's a Christmas tree in the promotional images, this must have been done and dusted a long time ago. Perhaps now is the best time to release it (coming out in September) with the stock troubles of the wireless Xbox companion headset.
Speaking of that design language, Microsoft says that the Xbox Stereo Headset has a lightweight design with an easily adjustable headband, while the soft earcups (which look leatherette or similar from the images) will offer comfort for long periods of time.
This is a wired headset, which is a bit lame because we are in the age of going wireless, but it's also a good way to keep costs down and ensure there is no latency in the audio given to your brain and ears from the game. It's also simple: just plug into your controller or PC, and you're away. On the latter, given the price point and the success of the wireless set, it's likely to be some folks' ideal PC headset for gaming too.
What else does the Xbox Stereo Headset offer? Onboard features see a retractable mic accompanied by a volume dial and mute button on the right earcup. In terms of further features, it's definitely worth noting that the Stereo Headset will play nice with Windows Sonix, Dolby Atmos, and DTS Headphones: X meaning you can have the opportunity to enhance and customise your audio as you see fit.
It's worth noting that there isn't any info on the size or makeup of the drivers within the headset yet, though.
Microsoft and Xbox peripherals have been pretty good about forward and backward compatibility between the console generations, and also with use on PC, and the new Stereo Headset is no different. It'll work with Xbox One consoles, Xbox Series X and S, and PC (and presumably mobile platforms too, but Microsoft doesn't explicitly say that).
And while the name includes the word 'stereo' which does indicate more 'basic' audio, the development of this headset has taken steps to "replicate the intended audio recording source that the creators wanted you to experience." Whether this is some light form of feature similar to that of Sony headsets' audio profiles or whether it's just a description of audio quality remains to be seen.
The Xbox One Stereo headset was quite popular throughout the last generation, given its simplicity, official badge, and low cost. While the new Xbox Stereo Headset doesn't quite go down to the same price level as the older version, there's definitely going to be a place for it for folks who can't fling wedges of cash at a headset, yet still want something quality to play with - plus it retains that official badge, which always gives confidence.
However, the Xbox Stereo Headset joins an increasingly crowded - in a good way - market of options. Below are some of our favourites, and their latest prices.