The Best Wireless Budget Headset
- Memory foam for the earcups ensures soft padding
- Detachable microphone
- Reduce clutter from wires with 5 in 1 output
- Earpads are not replaceable
- iCUE software is laggy and offers not a lot of options
Connection type: Wireless | Battery life: 16 hours | Driver type: 50mm neodymium | Range: 40 feet
VERDICT:Put the HS70 by Corsair on and you will not feel a thing thanks to the memory foam and an overall great construction. Along with many features, it also offers great bass response coupled up with a wide soundstage. There are a few quirks that might make you second guess your choice but if comfortable and immersive gaming experience is what you’re looking for, Corsair HS70 is the one for you
Its hard to believe that a name like Corsair is not one almost everyone is familiar with. They’ve dedicated their business model to give the most craftily and state of the art peripherals. Today, we’ve decided to dig in their headphones department and put their HS70 wireless headset under the microscope. The HS70 wireless headset follows the footsteps of its predecessor HS50 and adds its features and some more, onto a wireless pair.
Priced just under $100, the HS70 by Corsair is one packed with many features that deserve praise. The build quality- although nothing too appealing to the eye- is durable and strong. Minor tweaks around the earcups such as extra padding and rotatory motion ensure that you’re able to immerse yourself in the game world without feeling pressure around your head. HS70 excels in not just comforts but sound quality as well. Having used neodymium magnets, the bass is very audible and clear which really helps deliver an immersive gaming experience. HS70 is compliant with Corsair’s iCUE software which allows for 7.1 surround virtualization tech and customizable EQ profiles. Another loveable feature is the detachable microphone. With that added in, there is no need to have an extra piece of hardware being held to your headset when there’s no use for it.
With all that said, there were some visible flaws that we found with this headset. In terms of comfort level, HS70 is simply great and we had little to not like about that. However, upon noticing that the earpads are not replaceable, we were left with some disappointment. It’s unfortunate that Corsair decided to go with the irreplaceable pads with the HS70. Additionally, we found out that the iCUE software is not just buggy, but only supports the surround EQ for PC only.
But, there is much more to be said about this pair of headset. So keep on reading and find out more about both sides of the penny.
The design department for the HS70 has done a very good job and they surely deserve praise. Unlike the Void Pro, this one is intended towards a more casual gaming audience. Therefore, the overall design is carefully structured with that mindset. The HS70 is available in 3 colors- Special Edition, Carbon, and White. The Special Edition is just a mixture of cream and tan color on the headband and ear cups. As the Corsair had claimed, the HS70 will sport a very sturdy and durable aluminum chassis with plastic finishes. This surely was pleasant news to hear and even more so when Corsair actually delivered.
It primarily is constructed using very premium grade metal, which speaks volumes. In the current market of creating the most flamboyant designs that catch your eye, the HS70 sits quietly at the back. The top headband has a surprisingly comfortable design and clamping force. The headband foam is very soft and comfortable to bear which allows HS70 to be used for hours without fatigue. Moreover, the earcups have plush memory foam guarding them which is the softest and most comfortable type out there. Unfortunately, these earcups are not detachable, making cleaning a drag. The thin leather coating adds to the comfort level, however, is known to be not very durable. We’ve had similar experiences with thin leather and they get worn out very quickly. That ultimately lies down on how the individual user takes care of them but, it is a point to be kept in consideration.
Inside the box, you get the headsets themselves, Bluetooth USB dongle, micro USB charging cable and a 2.5mm microphone. The detachable microphone is one of the most usable and stand-out feature of the HS70. When playing games where team communication is absolutely vital, attach the microphone and you’re good to go. In other instances, simply detach the microphone. However, since the microphone is “plugged in”, so to speak, there is not much room for adjusting the orientation. Apart from the flexible cord, there is no way to have the mic tucked in such a manner as to not have it interfere with your face. Volume control, mute and power buttons are all there along with a micro USB charging port.
To sum up the design parameters of the HS70, we’re very pleasantly surprised how well it’s been executed. From the clamping force of the headband to the soft and plushy earcups, everything compliments the other to make this a comfortable headset. It is advised that the HS70 be handled with care as the thin leather cups don’t really speak durability.
The sound quality of the HS70 is not very different from the HS50. And that is a good thing and a bad thing. The sound delivered is energetic and vibrant which essentially helps enhance the auditory experience. The sound quality was very crisp and it worked marvelously. It uses top grade neodymium magnets to capture the sound and deliver deeper and better sounding audio. For those unfamiliar with the term, neodymium magnets are the most sought after magnets that are used to build the speakers. They have a significantly greater size to magnetic size ratio which helps even miniature designed speakers deliver far better sounding quality.
HS70 has a 20000Hz – 20Hz frequency range. Higher the frequency means more clear and audible treble whereas lower means a stronger bass. Keep in mind that this range is nothing too fancy but, it’s wide enough to deliver the really deliver the variations in sound. Be it an emotional Last of Us moment or a high thrill car chase in Uncharted, this headset will not disappoint. The sound variations are very efficiently handled. And that’s in part thanks to the more “openesque” sound system with the HS70. What that means is that the overall sound stage’s approach is more leaned towards a wide range than a small but focused one. Don’t let this get you down though because unless you’re an audiophile, this difference is hardly noticeable.
After testing this out in games, we decided to try out music. The 50mm audio drivers made sure that the sound had packed a big punch with a very well adjusted frequency curve. On testing EDM genre songs on HS70, we did notice that the bass highs were a little too much. Depending on the magnitude of these highs, the sound was sometimes distorted. Once again, this is us being nitpicky as most of the users will hardly notice this. Of course, if this persists out to be a problem then the bass levels can be adjusted using iCUE.
We’ve witnessed wireless headphones have a tendency to deliver a robotic sound. Alas, the HS70 is no stranger to that. HyperX Cloud Flight and Logitech G533 both have a better sounding microphone. There is not much depth to the sound which is why it wouldn’t be our first choice for recording purposes. Moreover, HS70’s microphone does not have a windshield protector therefore, it is prone to the breathing sounds being heard on the other end. You need not worry about inconsistency however as despite being it does not suffer from lag issues that you’d normally expect from wireless headsets. The low latency, unidirectional and detachable microphone will especially be incredibly useful for PS4 users. The sensitivity ratio is very optimized so PS4 users won’t have to fret over making the adjustments.
The HS70, as stated earlier, is a wireless headset and therefore connects with a USB dongle. This dongle is responsible for making that 2.4GHz wireless connection. There is no wired connection with the HS70, it is a wireless headset through and through. That’s why it is not usable with smartphones and tablets. The USB dongle has a stated range of 40 feet and we found that the actual range to be very close to that. Depending on the line of sight to the dongle, the actual strength of the signal may end up varying a little bit.
HS70 has a battery life of 16 hours, as promised by Corsair. We tested out the battery life and found that it was able to function for about 14-15 hours. As claims by high companies go, the battery life was very pleasing and we were satisfied. 16 hours is a very standard and somewhat average battery life timing so there’s nothing too special about that.
The software side of the HS70 is where things get a bit tricky. Obviously, the ultimate decision falls in the hands of the buyer themselves but here are our two cents on it. Using the iCUE software, you can change the EQ presets. There are 5 pre-defined profiles set already but changes can be made. iCUE also lets you change microphone sensitivity as well as toggle the 7.1 Surround Sound on. One inconvenient feature is that the battery percentage is not immediately displayed on the front main menu of iCUE. This can get rather confusing as in order to view the remaining battery, you have to navigate to settings for that. It would’ve been much better if there was a simple battery percentage icon somewhere on that massively unused space in the front menu. All of these options are accessible only via iCUE so PS4 players may feel left out.
While the iCUE software makes customization option accessible, there were some things that bothered us. Primarily, it was the long delays. At times it took about 10 seconds to just fire up the iCUE software, and it would take even longer for iCUE to pop up. Another quite distasteful experience with the iCUE was with the drivers. HS70 requires its own drivers to be installed which are done via iCUE itself. However, upon plugging it in, Windows installs the standard audio drivers on its own. This was not a case on all the PCs we tested it out on but most of them required us to uninstall the auto drivers, reinstall iCUE drivers and then use the headset. All of these along with the occasional crashing left us with a sour taste when having to reconfigure some settings.
In today’s age where all peripherals are very carefully designed to catch the eye of potential buyers and lure them in, HS70 simply does not stand out. It’s a rather bland and simplistic design. Gamers who find ways to enhance their overall gaming rig aesthetics may not be very attracted by the HS70. Underneath this all though, there’s a comfortable design with the memory foam and soft headband.
We do recommend this for the users who’re always looking at long hours of continuous use. HyperX Cloud Fury II comes off with a similar price tag but has a better sounding microphone and a closed stage sound. Other alternate models might go off over the price range but they surely do perform very well.
The low price of HS70 doesn’t quite justify the buggy software interface and a somewhat decent sounding audio. Nonetheless, the features that the HS70 does offer work very well in its favor. We really like the design of this headset and each component complements the other to make it a comfortable headset. Move past the laggy software and you have a headset with a solid construction, decent audio and customization options with a 7.1 Surround Sound.
Price at the time of review: $90
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Prices taken/valid at the time of review.