The last time I checked out a headset from Plantronics was back in 2016 with the RIG500E, and I scored it a 9/10. I have learned a lot since then, going through many headsets from different manufacturers and I know now what is good and what is rubbish. In this review, I am taking a look at the new RIG800HD Wireless Gaming Headset for PC, However, I did get it working on the Nintendo Switch without surround sound.
The Rog800HD is a nice little upgrade over the RIG500E but was it worth it, well the first thing I did before deciding anything was to check it out on the shop floor, there was no headset available to check out and get my hands on just the box.
The first thing I noticed about the headset was its frame, headband, and cloth earcups, and I said to myself, these are going to be light just like the RIG500E. I was right in saying they are light as they do come in at only 289g compared to the RIG500E that came in at 199g, but comparing that to the SteelSeries Arctis 7 Wireless which weights 372g it is substantially different. However, holding the Arctis in one hand and the ROG800HD in the other the weight difference is not noticeable.
So what else did I take away from just looking at the box, Dolby Atmos, huge smile on my face, I get a free copy of the product, even though I already have a copy, so I can now pass this over to someone else to experience what I feel is the best surround sound experience available for headsets and speakers. 24Hour battery was the next thing I took away, now this is not a huge issue for me as I charge my headset after each play session, but for gamers that fling their headset to one side after gaming and forget to charge, this is a good feature to take note of. Then the final part was game/chat mix, this is something I have come to use a lot, as sometimes I need someone’s voice to come through more clearer over in-game sounds, like discord for example.
Moving around the box to the back, you can view the frequency response you can expect from this headset along with a bunch of features;
- Ultra lightweight
- Self-adjusting headband
- Noise-cancelling boom mic flips up to mute
- Noise-isolating earcups
- Balance game sound and team chat
- Power on/off and pair
- Volume control
- Micro-USB charge connector
- Select EQ modes
- A wireless base for PC’s
- USB and Optical connections
I then moved to one of the sides and found all the tech specs;
- Lag-free 2.4GHz digital RF
- 10 m range
- 1,500 mAh battery
- Freq, response: 100Hz-10kHz
- Sensitivity: -45 dBV/Pa
- Signal-to-noise ratio: >42 Db
- Pick-up pattern: uni-directional
There we have it, tech specs and features all wrapped up, now for the part you been waiting for the headset itself and I shall start off with the microphone which is always attached to the headset and flips down to turn on and flips up to turn off. What you want to know though is how does it sound, well for this test I am using xSplit Gamecaster, I have the microphone set to max and the game volume set to 3 bars when recording, I am playing Diablo 3.
As you can hear, it’s not to bad, and it had good background noise cancellation as I had the TV on and Windows open and for some reason, it was rather busy outside.
What I found pretty cool, was when you turn the headset on, there is a female voice that tells you that the headset is on, connected and even the current battery level. There is also a small LED that illuminated Blue when you turn it on and red when you turn it off or when charging.
The headband is self-adjusting, so hopefully, it will fit many head sizes, but you can also remove the earcups from the frame and set them to a different position, this allows for a little more height, the frame itself that surrounds the headband and attached to the earcups has plenty of flex, so when it comes to width, there should be enough room to make this headset rather comfortable on any gamers head.
Now check out these earcups, see image below, they look comfortable right? but are the sound isolating? well yes, they are, they are just as comfortable as the SteelSeries Arctis earcups with a good amount of padding and I love those, they can even be removed and replaced with different variants like maybe leather. The best thing about these ear cups is that they hold everything you need to control the headset.
The left earcup has voice chat and game volume control, which allows you to bring down the volume of the game to listen to your teammates, or the other way around if your teammates are annoying childish douche bags. There is also the volume dial, on and off and the charging point. On the right, you have an equalizer button with 4 presets;
- Vocal Focus
Now this headset is easy to connect up, all you have to do it plug it in, Windows 10 will recognise it, install it and set your speakers to it, then to turn Dolby Atmos on, you just have to right click on the speaker icon, bottom right of your Windows 10 desktop taskbar and choose your special sound. But the wireless bass also had the option for an optical cable connection, the extra optical port is if you want to mix chat and game audio. You plug in the optical cable into the optical out on your computer tower, and you’ll be able to mix the game and chat audio. Most motherboards come with an optical out, hence the inclusion of the optical port.
Being wireless allows you to use them for more than just gaming in front of a screen, you can listen to music around the home, or when having a no2, or just hiding away from your family in the toilet for some personal time, not the type of personal time you might be thinking of, you dirty thinking person. Plantronics say this headset will work up to 10 meters, now I live in an old built home with thick brick walls throughout and I did get the headset to work in the upstairs toilet next to my office but it cut out in the back bedroom which is around 6 meters away, this was no surprise really as almost no connection works in that room, not even wi-fi. I also got the headset to work downstairs in the living room and kitchen which is around 10 meters at its max, but when I head outside, not a chance its cuts out.
The sound is exceptional from listening to music to playing games. I seem to be saying this a lot recently, however, its true a lot of the headsets I have got myself have produced amazing sound quality and I am glad Plantronics have moved past there own 7.1 surround sound system and gone for Dolby Atmos instead. What you get from Dolby Atmos is astounding, a sound experience within a 360-degree bubble all coming through two drivers (speakers) through your headset.
Just jump into Battlefield V, you can hear planes fly above you in a direction you instantly know where to look, hear troops or fellow teammates in the precise direction they are coming from, explosions rumble in your ears, bullets whizzing past you, everything is awe-inspiring.
So should you purchase a pair of RIG800HD? well, the SteelSeries Arctis 7 has an RRP of £159.99 and these have an RRP of £129.99. They are lighter, just as comfortable, the microphone is good, but can not remove all background noise to the degree that the Arctis 7 can. There is plenty of flex and adjustment available through the frame and headband, and everything you need to work the headphones are available on the earcups. I can not really fault them when it comes to sound, even though they use Dolby Atmos to create the 360-degree soundscape experience, but they do give it to you as part of the package.
What an amazing headset, if they can work on the microphone, they will have a top class headset. Not everyone will like a headset made of plastic, but trust me when I say this, it is not easy to break due to the amount of flex available.