ProsBig drivers = big sound; great microphone; good battery life; affordable price; no RGBs
ConsWeak virtual surround; heavy and slightly bulky; no 90-degree lay back
We've tested a lot of headsets lately, so many in fact that we sometimes forget which model we tested last. The number of new headets that have hit the market over the past few years is a sure sign that there's plenty of demand for feature-rich models, and in turn that there are many choices from various manufacturers. So it didn't surprise when Corsair reached out to us about another new headset, the HS70 Wireless. What did surprise, however, was the price: hitting the market at $100, this model arrives as part of Corsair's budget-oriented HS lineup rather than its gamer-focused Void lineup, and yet it's packed with features, starting with that wireless bit we mentioned.
Now, Corsair is no stranger to gaming peripherals, and as far as we're concerned, it has the gaming keyboard market all locked up. At this point, there's little reason to buy a keyboard from anyone else. But it's had its fair share of stumbles in the mouse and heaset market, as we've previously found its M65 mouse only mediocre, and its original Void headset below average. Hey, nobody's perfect, but has Corsair learned anything new when it comes to headset tech that can put it over the top? Read on to find out!
Special thanks to Corsair for providing a sample of the HS70 Wireless Gaming Headset for this review.
Description & Features
The specifications for the HS70 are incredibly impressive given the price, which sits comfortable in the range of similarly-spec'd wired headsets. That includes 50mm drivers, virtual 7.1 surround processing, and a removable boom microphone. Of course, being wireless, however, you also get a built-in battery, good for up to 16 hours of run time according to Corsair, as well as a 40-foot range, which is pretty standard for proprietary wireless. Note that this is not a Bluetooth-compatible headset, and requires the use of the included USB dongle.
The HS70 weights 340g according to our scale, which makes it the heaviest wireless headset we've ever tested. Chalk it up to simple but heavy-duty metal construction. Whether that's a pro or a con comes down to the individual user, but since we're not too rough on equipment, we would have traded some of that metal for a lighter weight. That being said, a number of headsets we've tested in the past have felt flimsy, with creaky joints and cheap-feeling plastics, which the HS70 thankfully avoids.
To get the most out of the HS70, you definitely need to download the latest iCUE software from Corsair, which integrates all the functions of several older software suites into one system. In addition to the stereo/surround selection button, it had a great feature hidden away in the "Dashboard" tab: the battery meter. You could go a long time using the HS70 without ever realizing that there was actually a way to know how much battery life you have left! Another cool Easter egg: once you install iCUE, the HS70 is endowed with voice prompts like "initiating auto power-down", "7.1 Surround", and "microphone muted." It's very cool, but only available if you're running the HS70 with iCUE in the background. Without iCUE, you just get far less informative beeps for button presses.
Interestingly, although one of iCUE's main functions is to control RGB lighting, the HS70 has no lighting whatsoever. If you're a fan of RGB effects, that may be a let down, but we honestly welcome it as a breath of fresh air in the headset market. That's not because we dislike RGB lighting; to the contrary, we love it, but we've found that lighting on headsets is simply counter-productive. It drains precious battery life, while adding little to the user experience, given that headsets are typically situated on, you know, the user's head!
In the video below, we provide a full overview of the styling and features of the HS70, as well as an evaluation of the onboard microphone, which we used to record the audio!
Hopefully that video sums up just about all of the HS70's features, so let's jump into the discussion of performance.