Headphones VS Headsets
Headsets or headphones may not be the most essential part that goes into a computer, however, they are still quite useful whether you are into competitive gaming or just want to listen to Youtube videos or work on your computer without disturbing others. In any case, headphones can prove useful if you have a use case for them.
For the professional user, a separate headphone, and a microphone is the best choice. There are professional headphones out there which are far more expensive than headsets but offer premium quality and are designed to be used for activities like streaming and content creation. The average gamer, however, should be far better off with a headset which is a combination of a headphone and a microphone. Headsets are easier to use, they only need a USB port in order to function and are much more affordable than headphones in most scenarios.
What should you look for before buying a headset?
There are certain characteristics you should look up before deciding on a specific headset. A fancy logo and nice colors are not indicators of a quality headset. Of course, aesthetics should be considered but they are not the top priority. Factors you should keep in mind when looking to buy a headset are:
Pricing is very important when choosing a good headset. If you are on a budget, the price will be your limiting factor. A sub $50 headset cannot compare in terms of specifications with a $100 one, so you should always keep in mind what you actually need. This does not mean that there are no quality headsets below 50 or $100.
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By comprehending what you need you can save lots of money which you can invest in more essential parts like a quality PSU or graphics card.
After determining your price range, it is time to look into the actual specifications. Do you want a detachable microphone? Do you need a 7.1 surround system? Do you want a headset in order to listen to music or playing games, or both? Do you like loud bass?
These are all questions you should ask yourself before even considering spending money on a headset. Specifications are also a great way to compare different products. While specifications are not the ultimate factor to determine whether a headset is good or not, they surely help you decide between two or three potential products.
Comfort is a very important factor which is often being overlooked. Whether you are going to listen to music or play games, the headset you are going to buy should not strain your head or ears. Chances are you are going to use it for many hours in a row so do not overlook how comfortably it treats your ears.
The fact that I mentioned earlier that aesthetics are not an important characteristic does not mean that design should be taken out of the equation. If you are going to spend a significant amount of cash on a headset it should also look the part. Luckily, manufacturers like Kingston, Razer and SteelSeries have put a significant amount of effort into making their headsets visually appealing so you will not be disappointed by the looks of them. After all, it comes down to personal preference.
Whether you like a pure black design, a combination of red and black or are more fond of black and green or just white or pink, that is totally up to you. Just remember that design is not as important as comfort or specifications.
Checking out product reviews is something most people do before deciding to purchase a specific product. Websites like Amazon, Best Buy, and Newegg have a ton of reviews for each product they sell on their websites. The opinion of 500+ people who have actually bought the same product you want to buy is a good indicator of the quality and longevity of the product.
Product reviews can also offer valuable information considering after-sale service, warranties, and customer support. Besides the product itself, it is equally important to be able to have a customer support or ask for a product replacement or even refund before your warranty expires.
Always buy a headset form a trusted manufacturer
This applies to all Pc Hardware, not just headsets. You should never attempt to buy headsets from manufacturers that have not proven themselves to be trustworthy.
Manufacturers you should be looking for are ASUS, Kingston, Razer, Turtle Beach and SteelSeries.
These companies have been producing quality headsets for years, have excellent after-sale service and also offer an extended warranty if you are willing to pay a little bit extra. Their standard warranty is 2 years at a minimum which is great.
Below, you can see a list of certain headsets that I recommend based on different price ranges. The price ranges are $50, $100 and $200 which is the most you should spend on a gaming headset because from this price point and upwards the headset’s value diminishes and you will be better off buying a headphone and a microphone separately.
Hyper X Cloud Stinger
An excellent headset for just about $50. You can not go wrong with the Hyper X Cloud Stinger. The volume is great, the design is nice and you can control the volume from the ear cups. The Stinger is plug and play meaning that you only need a USB connection for it to work. The headset is pretty light and sits gently on the ears. While it is nothing impressive, it is still a great value for $50.
At $100 you can get the best value for your money. Expect a great headset with excellent sound quality, adequate bass and an impressive 7.1 Surround Sound in the form of the Hyper X Cloud II.
The Hyper X Cloud II can be found for around $80 considering that it is almost 2 years old. Its successor the Hyper X Cloud Alpha improves on almost every aspect of its predecessor including sound, comfort, and extras. However, it also costs $20 more. I still believe that the Hyper X Cloud II is an impressive headset for no more than $80.
At $200 you can expect the best headset on the market. Razer’s Man O’ War is a headset you can find for under $200. With top-notch sound quality, build design, a great 7.1 Surround Sound, and wireless function, this headset is massive and can be taken anywhere due to its easy connectivity and wireless function. Razer is widely known for their loud and heavy bass, so if you like that kind of bass, this headset should be a no-brainer for you.
Headsets are not for everyone. They are mostly aimed at people who do more regular things with their PC like listening to music or gaming. Professionals should invest in a separate headphone and microphone as these are specifically designed for professional workloads, are of much better quality but also cost more than your standard headset. Nevertheless, they are a great investment for people who stream or have their own Youtube channel, or even music producers.
Before choosing your headset it is important to check certain factors. Comfort, price, specifications and product reviews are deciding factors that should be taken into consideration. Additionally, the design is important but do not focus solely on it to make your decision.
Just like any other PC component from graphics cards to power supplies, never buy products from unknown manufacturers. If you have not heard about them before, stay away from them. The same principle applies to headsets.
Never overpay for your headset. Even if you can afford the best headset on the market, do not spend more than $150 on the headset of your choice as the price to performance ratio diminishes a lot. The best value for your money is at $100 and that is what I would spend if I were to buy a headset now.
Of course, you can not go wrong with budget headsets for $50 as there are some great products at this price range.
If you have any questions or would like to share your experience with your own headset, leave a comment below or contact me. I would also like to hear from your experiences with headsets. Do you prefer them over headphones and why?
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