Wearables

Microsoft adds wireless headphones to Xbox gaming accessories arsenal

Microsoft adds wireless headph...
The Xbox Wireless Headset offers gamers long-haul comfort, spatial audio support and up to 15 hours of per-charge use
The Xbox Wireless Headset offers gamers long-haul comfort, spatial audio support and up to 15 hours of per-charge use
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The Xbox Wireless Headset offers gamers long-haul comfort, spatial audio support and up to 15 hours of per-charge use
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The Xbox Wireless Headset offers gamers long-haul comfort, spatial audio support and up to 15 hours of per-charge use

About a month from now, a new pair of headphones will go on sale that are designed for gaming audio immersion without the need for cables. The Xbox Wireless Headset promises to deliver low latency spatial audio for console and PC gamers.

Microsoft says that the new headphones deliver best-in-class audio and chat performance across a host of compatible gear, including the Xbox Series X and S and Xbox One consoles, and Windows 10 computers. And the company says that gamers will be able to hear "all the subtle, yet critical sounds (like enemy footsteps sneaking up on you) that elevate great gamers above the rest" thanks to support for spatial audio technologies such as Dolby Atmos, DTS Headphone: X and of course Windows Sonic.

They connect to the company's consoles using Xbox Wireless technology (like the wireless controller) and can also simultaneously pair with a smartphone over Bluetooth 4.2+ to chat with a friend or colleague while gaming.
The headphones benefit from dual beamforming microphones that focus on spoken audio rather than ambient sounds, and there's voice isolation tech cooked in too. A companion app for consoles or PC allows for sonic tweaking, including EQ, bass boost, monitoring and more.

"We spent a lot of time in the audio testing chambers trying to characterize and understand how the headset reproduces audio in different room environments," said Microsoft's Erik Gardia. "It goes in your living room, game room, and dorm room and we want it to sound the best for all types of audio. In the same way, the team studied gameplay to ensure great sounding chat with a sensitive mic to prevent background noise."

When you're not chatting to team members, a feature automatically mutes the bendable boom microphone to keep the comms channel clear. This feature can be toggled on or off by the user, an indicator light shows when the mic is live and there's a useful manual mute button, too. And if you're not using the microphone for a while, it can be tucked out of the way until it's needed.

The headphones benefit from a lightweight design (tipping the scales at 11 oz/312 g) with large soft ear cushions for long-haul sessions without feeling the pinch. Each earcup is home to a 40-mm driver with a paper composite diaphragm and neodymium magnet that rocks a response of 20 Hz to 20 kHz and has an impedance of 32 ohms. And the per charge battery life is reckoned to be 15 hours, though 30 minutes on charge will offer about four hours of gaming audio.

The Xbox Wireless Headset can be pre-ordered now for US$99, with shipping expected to start from March 16.

Product page: Xbox Wireless Headset

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