Corsair HS80 RGB Wireless full review
The Corsair HS80 RGB Wireless is the latest premium gaming headset from the gaming peripheral powerhouse, offering a premium gaming headset experience with a high – but not extortionate – price tag.
Sporting features like Dolby Atmos, Hi-Res audio playback and cross-platform compatibility, the HS80 RGB Wireless is certainly a tempting headset – although it’s not perfect for everyone, as you’re about to find out.
Design and features
Let’s start with the basics; the HS80 RGB Wireless is made from a combination of machined aluminium and matte-finish plastic that looks good while allowing for a lightweight build, weighing in at just 367g – fairly lightweight compared to the likes of the 400g Sennheiser GSP 670, and that translates to a more comfortable gaming session overall.
It’s not the only key factor when it comes to comfort though; headbands and earcups also have to do their part, and when it comes to the former, the HS80 relies on its floating headband design. Though it’s something seen on other gaming headsets for some time, it’s a first for Corsair, with the aim of making the headset rest on an elasticated fabric strip and not the hard main headband to alleviate pressure build-up on the top of the head.
The issue is, even with adjustable Velcro straps to tweak the tension, it’s not quite enough to stop my head from making contact with the headband. That doesn’t sound like much of an issue, but with Corsair assuming little-to-no contact would be made, the bottom of the headband is devoid of cushioning.
That means there’s still a build-up of tension on the top of the head over time, but it’s worth pointing out that you may have a totally different experience to me – I have been told I have a larger-than-average head in the past (I know, right?) after all.
The good news is that the earcups sport thick, ultra-soft memory foam cushioning, and there’s a decent rotation on each cup via pivot points to help them fit a range of head shapes too. The cushioning is just about the right size to snuggly fit around your ears without directly sitting on them, and the material is breathable too.
The cans are also where you’ll find RGB lighting, though don’t expect something akin to the Logitech G935 with its bright RGB strips. Instead, Corsair has taken a more subtle approach, choosing only to add lighting effects to the Corsair logo.
The colours and effects of the RGB panels can be personalised via the iCue software for PC, but with a relatively low impact on the overall look, it’s not something I imagine people will be scrambling to do.
Instead, the main reason for most to download Corsair’s companion app is to adjust the EQ of the headset. Depending on how granular you want to go – potentially having different EQs for different games – you can save up to 5 EQs to the headset at any one time, and cycling between them is as easy as pressing the volume wheel embedded on the back of the left cup.
The only annoyance is the lack of local storage for EQs, meaning you’ll have to have the iCue software running on your PC to take advantage of them.
Elsewhere, you’ll find an integrated boom microphone with flip-to-activate functionality, meaning it’ll only unmute itself when it’s in position by your mouth, and there’s a handy LED indicator at the end of the mic to give you a visual indication of your mute status too.
Connectivity and battery life
The wireless nature of the HS80 RGB Wireless is impressive; it offers a range of up to 60ft, allowing you to go to the kitchen for a snack while still chatting with your mates in Discord, and it doesn’t compromise on the overall audio quality either, but more on that in a bit.
The only wireless annoyance is that there’s nowhere within the headset to store the dongle required for wireless connectivity like with wireless options from Razer and Turtle Beach, and that increases the likelihood that you’ll lose track of it over time – especially if you want to take it to a friend’s house for a good ol’ fashioned LAN party.
Being a wireless headset, battery life is another element to consider. When it comes to the HS80, there are 20 hours on offer, which could be extended a little further by disabling the RGB lighting on the cans.
Regardless of whether you can squeeze a little more out of the cans, it’s not the longest battery life we’ve ever seen – the Sennheiser GSP 370 offers around 100 hours, give or take – but the good news is that you can use the headset while it’s being charged via USB-C, so it shouldn’t be too much of an inconvenience.
Oh, and it’s worth mentioning that it’s compatible with PS4 and PS5 as well as PC, though some of the more advanced audio features of the headset aren’t supported on Sony’s consoles.
So the Corsair HS80 RGB Wireless looks good and, for the most part, feels comfortable to wear, but how do the cans sound? In a word, impressive – albeit more on PC than on console.
The audio experience is powered by custom-tuned 50mm high-density neodymium drivers with an expansive frequency range of 20Hz – 40,000Hz – double that of the 20KHz of most gaming headsets and many similarly priced music-focused cans too.
With impressive technical prowess, it should come as no surprise that the headphones offer a balanced audio experience with powerful, prominent bass tones that perfectly replicates the rumble of overhead thunder and the impact of big explosions without drowning out the mids or highs, sounding just as warm, clear and crisp as ever.
The detail on offer is exquisite, and that’s not often said of wireless gaming headsets that tend to fall behind wired counterparts in terms of overall audio quality. That’s partly down to Corsair’s Slipstream wireless technology, offering support for up to 24 bit/48kHz audio resolution – allowing high-res audio playback capabilities that also allow for added detail when playing games.
You can even take it a step further by hooking the cans up to a USB-C cable, at which point they’ll be able to handle high-fidelity lossless music playback at up to 24bit/96kHz, making the cans ideal for general use, not just when gaming.
There’s also support for Dolby Atmos spatial sound, with the headset capable of making sound feel like it’s coming from above, below and all around you with pinpoint accuracy.
While it’s more immersive than standard audio playback, it can also help improve your in-game performance by being able to identify the sound and direction of incoming footsteps or the click of a reloading gun. It’s best in games that officially support Dolby Atmos, but it’ll add a noticeable boost to most games that you play.
Rather than just supporting the codec, a free Dolby Atmos license is included with the HS80 cans – you need only download the Dolby Access app for Windows and plug the cans in to activate the codec and enjoy the immersive spatial sound on offer.
The only disappointment is that it’s exclusive to PC users, with PS4 and PS5 users unable to join in on the Dolby Atmos fun – though that’s down to Sony rather than Corsair.
At £139.99/$149.99, the Corsair HS80 RGB Wireless is a premium headset, but it’s still affordable compared to truly expensive gaming headsets like the £249.99/$249.99 SteelSeries Arctis Pro & GameDAC and £299/$299 Sennheiser GSP 670, especially when you consider the features – like Dolby Atmos and hi-res wireless playback – on offer.
If you are tempted, you can buy the Corsair HS80 RGB Wireless from Corsair and Overclockers in the UK, and Corsair in the US. We also round up the best gaming headsets separately, and if you’re on a budget, we’ve got a selection of the best budget gaming headsets too.
The Corsair HS80 RGB Wireless offers a premium understated build that isn’t nearly as in your face as some gaming headsets, and the premium earcups really aid overall comfort even if the floating headband design isn’t a complete win.
Crucially, the headphones sound great when playing games, with powerful bass that doesn’t overpower the mids or highs, and there’s even support for wireless Hi-Res audio playback and Dolby Atmos too – albeit only on PC and not PS4 or PS5, which are also supported.
It’s very much a premium headset, but it’s one of the more tempting options in the £100+/$100+ category.
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