One of the most essential things that a gamer must have is a good pair of headphones. But, while audio headphones are great from a pure listening standpoint, gaming headsets provide even more.
The best gaming headsets out there really depend on what you value more. Do you value better surround sound? Do you want a clear microphone? Do you favor wireless over a wired pair of cans?
Fortunately for you, you do not have to scour the internet to find the answer. Today, I am going to talk about the best gaming headsets of 2020. Gain a competitive advantage right away!
Why Do You Need a Gaming Headset?
Well, you actually do not need a gaming headset, per se, but it definitely improves the experience. While you can get a good mouse or a great gaming keyboard, having a gaming headset will allow you to hear more things than relying on a standard set of speakers.
Plus, what separates a headset intended for gaming from a regular pair of headphones is that it always includes a microphone and other features that may improve your overall gaming experience.
Best Gaming Headsets of 2020
1.HyperX Cloud Alpha
Choosing the best gaming headset for you will entirely depend upon what you are looking for and if you want the best overall, look no further than the HyperX Cloud Alpha.
This headset is amazing from a pure audio standpoint. While some gamers would prefer a boomier sound, the Cloud Alpha provides you with a cleaner sound that doesn’t muddy the entire profile.
You see, part of the reason why audio enthusiasts veered away from using gaming headsets back then is that the lows (or the bass response) drown out the highs and the mids.
As a result, while you do get a punchier sound, the clarity of the voice, as well as the sounds in the higher frequencies, is just not great at all.
The HyperX Cloud Alpha sets to change all of that. It has a frequency response of 13Hz-27,000Hz which is definitely one of the best in the market.
The headphones use 50mm neodymium drivers with a dual-chamber design. This is great because the design itself can isolate the highs and the mids from the lows that is why you are getting a more balanced and clearer sound.
For the price, you are getting a carrying case, a detachable microphone, and the headset itself.
The only downside to this otherwise perfect product is that it doesn’t come with surround sound but if you want the overall champion, this is the one to get.
2.SteelSeries Arctis Pro
If you want a truly premium gaming headset, then the SteelSeries Arctis Pro is one that I can wholeheartedly recommend.
Sure, it doesn’t have that punchier bass compared to the previous recommendation, but its included DAC or Digital to Audio Converter will allow you to tweak the sound to your liking.
The product supports DTS Headphone: X technology that is known to provide an extra edge and has a retractable ‘boom’ microphone that provides crystal clear voice clarity when you are talking to your teammates.
And oh, since it is a product intended for gaming, these headphones come with RGB lighting as well.
There are two things that brought this recommendation down a notch lower than the Cloud Alpha and that is the price and its wired interface.
The SteelSeries Arctis Pro is one of the most expensive gaming headsets on the market today so people might not have the funds to get one.
Furthermore, its wired interface might deter people from getting it since you can only use it by plugging the headset to your computer via USB.
Other than that, this is another solid choice indeed.
3.Logitech G Pro X
When you are looking for a pair of headphones, it is crucial that you also consider the overall comfort. Even if a pair of cans has a lot of great features, if you cannot wear them for hours on end, it would be pointless.
That is why I’ve included the Logitech G Pro X on this lineup. It has a versatile sound that is a notch lower than the Cloud Alpha but it is still definitely much better than others out there.
Its design is something to take note of here. The product has a flexible headband that conforms to your head nicely. Even if you move your head, it will stay in place. In other words, this headset is quite comfortable to wear even during prolonged gaming sessions.
I also love the inclusion of the Blue microphone here. For those of you who do not know, the company actually creates amazing standalone microphones so you can rest assured that voice clarity is topnotch when you are talking to your teammates online.
Its Hybrid Mesh, ‘Pro-G’ 50mm drivers provide excellent sound quality and you can adjust its EQ settings using Logitech’s own software. Even if you are not good at tweaking audio, this product works great out of the box.
Originally priced at $130, the Logitech G Pro X is available now for just $79.99.
4.Astro A50 Wireless
Another premium gaming headset, the Astro A50 is worth considering if you have the money to spend.
You see, while a lot of people are okay with a wired configuration, using a wireless headset gives you more freedom and that is where the A50 excels.
From its amazing sound quality and the fact that you can use this headset on your game consoles as well makes it really appealing.
It uses a 5.8GHz wireless connection and it also comes with the company’s ‘MixAMP’ functionality which helps you tweak the sound to your liking.
Since this is a wireless pair of headphones, it comes with a charging dock where you can just place the headphones on top of it and it should provide power to your headset immediately.
I love the fact that the headset itself is quite comfortable, despite its somewhat odd shape. Its clamping force keeps the headphones in place and its overall material just makes it quite comfortable to wear even in long gaming sessions.
The only thing that you really need to consider here is the price. At $299.99, it might just be out of the ballpark for many people.
However, for those that do have the money to spend, the Astro A50 Wireless should definitely be on your shortlist.
5.Razer Thresher Ultimate
Razer’s gaming headsets in the past are either hit or miss. While there are some that have the amazing build quality and are comfortable to wear, their sound quality leaves much to be desired.
The Razer Thresher Ultimate, however, is arguably the best gaming headset the company has ever produced.
It has many technologies that just improve your overall gaming experience. For one, its frequency response is almost as similar to that of the HyperX Cloud Alpha at 12Hz-28,000Hz which means that it doesn’t have any problem with sound output at all.
People that want positional audio would love the fact that its included 7.1 surround sound functionality is class-leading, especially for a gaming pair of headphones.
It also comes with a retractable microphone which you can simply tuck away if you are not using it. There is clarity in terms of voice quality but it is not better than the Logitech G Pro X. Still, it is definitely clearer than the others.
The Thresher Ultimate is also a wireless gaming headset so you can move around while you are gaming. If you’ve somehow run out of battery, you can plug the headset to your PC using its included 3.5mm analog connection instead (though, you cannot use the 7.1 surround sound by doing this).
I am also happy to report that this product is also quite comfortable to wear, though keep in mind that the leather material might peel off in the future.
If there is one disadvantage to this headset, I would say that its battery life needs improvement. At just 10 hours of audio playback, it is definitely not its strongest suit.
However, for the fans of Razer, the Thresher Ultimate is the company’s best gaming headset to date.
6.HyperX Cloud Stinger
Who said that you cannot get a great gaming headset on a budget? The HyperX Cloud Stinger is definitely one that I would recommend for people that do not have a lot of money to spend on one.
Its comfortable build allows you to wear them for prolonged periods of time. Keep in mind that the faux leather ear cups might cause some sweating after intense gaming sessions simply because the material itself isolates the heat within.
The lightweight frame of the headphones and its clamping force just adds to the overall comfort level and is really great compared to others.
The Stinger comes with 50mm drivers with a frequency response of 18-23,000Hz. HyperX really knows their stuff when it comes to audio.
While there is no positional audio here since the headset doesn’t come with a surround sound feature, it is still really good because the sound quality is quite balanced like its big brother, the Cloud Alpha.
You will also be happy to know that because it uses an analog connection (3.5mm), you can plug it in your PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. For the price, this is really tough to beat.
While the previous recommendation is what I would consider as a budget gaming headset king, this is a close second.
The Corsair HS50 is a stereo gaming headset that connects to your PC or game consoles via a 3.5mm headphone jack.
Its 50mm drivers provide a boomy sound despite the lack of any software tweaking and whatnot.
Gamers will also love the fact that you can find the volume control and a mute button directly on the headset itself for easier adjustments.
While it doesn’t come with 7.1 surround sound and other things that are found in more premium gaming headsets, the Corsair HS50 is also a great choice if you want its design more than the HyperX Stinger.
Amazon Luna- Everything You Need to Know About Amazon’s Cloud Gaming Service
It seems that cloud gaming is the future as a lot of companies are pooling their resources just to make things happen.
Amazon Luna is Amazon’s foray into cloud gaming and it is going to be available soon. Read further to find out more information about this new experience.
Google has paved the way for cloud gaming to come to the fore with the release of the Stadia not too long ago. Although it was mired with a lot of different issues, it seems that the company has found a way to make things work.
Amazon also wants in on the action and although there are some similarities with Luna and Stadia, there are also some stark differences as well.
Before I begin, I just want to explain the concept of cloud gaming. Basically, instead of downloading games to your gaming PC or whatever platform you choose to install them, you will just stream those games using data centers that are scattered all over the world.
It should go without saying that you need to have a fast internet connection to make this happen and so that you will not experience high latency (which was a huge problem when Stadia launched).
That being said, the premise of Google Stadia is that you need to either purchase an individual game so that you can play it at any time (forever) or you could subscribe to the monthly plan and play the games that are on offer every month (and continue to play them so long as you’re subscribed).
With Amazon Luna, you will be presented with different channels that you can subscribe to. Each of these channels has different games on offer which makes this quite appealing for game developers to show their mettle.
Right now, the platform is still in beta and there are only two channels available at the moment- Amazon’s own Luna Plus and the Ubisoft Channel. The latter will have 50 games that you can play right away and more Ubisoft games will be added in the future.
Keep in mind that this channel-based system makes it so that developers can price their services accordingly. It remains to be seen how much Ubisoft will charge individual users, so stay tuned for that.
1080p and 4K Gaming
Just like Google Stadia, Amazon Luna will support both 1080p and 4K resolutions. Of course, the latter would be more taxing and you will need a fast internet connection to be able to enjoy high-fidelity gaming. I suggest that you get a WiFi 6 router and a compatible device to make the most out of your experience.
Unlike Stadia, Amazon Luna is more flexible in that it supports a lot of different devices. Not only can you play on your PC, but you can also choose to play it using your iOS devices, Android phones, and you can even utilize the company’s own FireTV devices as well.
Now, there has been this entire debacle about Apple’s 30% cut on every app in its App store but the good news is that Amazon can circumvent that.
You see, when you are going to play on your iOS devices, the application will actually be a PWA or a Progressive Web App. Basically, the game that you want to play will run in a contained web browser instead of it being an actual application that you install in your device. This bypasses the whole 30% cut issue which is a good thing.
NVIDIA Hardware Use
According to a recent Steam survey, the vast majority of PC users are all using NVIDIA graphics cards. This is a good thing for Amazon Luna because it means that it can support a lot more people.
That is because the company’s cloud gaming service will use NVIDIA GPUs instead of AMD cards (which Stadia uses for graphics processing).
Supposing that Amazon Luna will be more popular than any other cloud gaming service out there, NVIDIA will enjoy huge profits as a result.
Can Be Streamed to Popular Sites
Twitch is arguably the most popular streaming platform today and Amazon is looking to forge a partnership with the said service to allow you to stream your games to the popular website.
The said platform is widely used as a means of generating revenue- something that is quite popular today due to the recent pandemic.
This move also makes it appealing as well as more and more content creators can use Amazon Luna to reach a broader audience.
New Controller with Alexa Support
Just like Google Stadia, Amazon Luna also requires you to get a special controller. The good thing is that the control will have a microphone so that you can use Alexa for specific voice commands.
What’s interesting about the Luna’s controller is that it is completely connected to the Cloud, which means that you do not have to pair it with the specific device you are going to use to play games online.
According to Amazon’s website, it should have a grippy texture and will feature low-friction thumbsticks that provide maximum performance across the board. By using the controller’s microphone, you can actually tell Alexa to fire up the specific game that you want to play, so long as it is inside the channel that you’ve subscribed to.
Amazon Luna is quite enticing, at least, on paper. It is shaping up to be a better cloud gaming service compared to its competitors but the service is still in beta, so there are more things that need ironing out before its official release.
Right now, there are only two channels that are available and Ubisoft hasn’t imposed its pricing yet. The Amazon Luna channel is priced at $6.99
If you are interested in getting in on the action, you can be an early beta tester by subscribing to the service.
Amazon Luna will be out sometime in October.
Acer Nitro XV340CK Review- A Greatly Competitive Ultrawide Gaming Monitor Under $500
Ultrawide monitors used to be a niche display in that the only people who work on productivity tasks and creative workloads usually buy them.
Fortunately, the display technology has evolved and gamers, too, can enjoy a much wider screen.
Today, I am going to review the Acer Nitro XV340CK which is a 34-inch ultrawide gaming monitor that is priced competitively.
Even though this is marketed as a gaming monitor, the Acer Nitro XV340CK actually doesn’t look like it. It looks simple and I love the aesthetics, especially if you want to place this in your office.
The only thing that might make you think that this is a gaming display is that red accent that you can find on the base of the monitor but that’s about it.
Anyway, let’s start with the stand. Aside from the aforementioned red accent, the stand provides good ergonomics.
It gives you the ability to swivel the monitor a complete 360 degrees, you can tilt it to 35 degrees back and you can adjust the height up to 5.9 inches. Because this is an ultrawide monitor, you cannot put this thing in portrait mode.
I love the fact that this monitor has slim bezels. At only 0.4 inches, you can place another monitor right beside it and it wouldn’t really take a lot of screen real estate at all.
The overall build quality is good. Despite the fact that it doesn’t feel premium, at least when compared to the best gaming monitors out there, it still feels sturdy nevertheless.
For the ports, you get two Displayport 1.4 ports, two HDMI 2.0 ports, and two USB 3.0 ports. Due to the wealth of ports on offer, you can use this for your PC or your game console.
The only thing that might be cumbersome for some users is that the OSD controls are situated at the back of the monitor- particularly on the bottom right side. The buttons are also a bit smaller than usual, so you may have a hard time pressing the right ones.
The Acer Nitro XV340CK has a 34-inch IPS display with a resolution of 3440 x 1440 and an aspect ratio of 21:9. It is the same as other ultrawide gaming monitors that you can find on the market so there is no problem with that.
You do have the option to enable the picture-in-picture mode so that you can divide the display in two if you wish to fire up two different programs at the same time. This is why it is not only a handy gaming monitor, but it can also be used for office work as well.
Its contrast and brightness leave much to be desired. With a native contrast ratio of 1048:1 and peak SDR brightness of only 247 nits, it is not the best display when it comes to these things.
However, its redeeming quality is that its colors are accurate. After calibration, I got 95% sRGB, 82% AdobeRGB, and 81% DCI-P3. It is relatively color accurate and it would have been nice for creative workloads, but its peak brightness just falls short of making it an ideal display for such use-cases.
It is also worth noting that if you are in a well-lit room that the brightness could be a huge issue. The good thing is that the display’s matte finish can help reduce glare significantly, though you will still find that it is not bright enough in some situations.
I am surprised by the fact that there is literally no color bleed on the Acer Nitro XV340CK. This is unheard of, especially since ultrawide monitors are notorious for this.
Sure, its peak brightness and contrast could have improved, but gamers are not especially focused on those things. If anything, it is the performance of the display that usually takes the cake and I am happy to report that you won’t be disappointed with the Nitro XV340CK.
Normally, with IPS panels, they tend to not have a good response time, but that is actually not the case here. At just 5.3ms, it is definitely one of the best out there even when compared to other, more premium models.
How about input lag? This is a speed monitor and as expected, input lag is minimal. At just 4.2ms, I am really blown away by the performance of this thing. Every keypress on your gaming keyboard will register almost immediately and that is really great from a competitive standpoint.
It is also worth noting that its 144Hz refresh rate is ideal, especially since most gamers are clamoring for high refresh rate displays anyway.
This is a FreeSync gaming monitor and you can enable this variable refresh rate feature in both AMD and Nvidia graphics cards.
To get a hold of the said features, it is important for you to know that you should use the DisplayPort cable that is included in the box. There is also an included HDMI cable if you want to use this display for your Xbox or Playstation consoles.
With all of those things being said, if I were to ask you how much this thing costs, what will be your guess? If you’ve guessed around $700, you’re wrong.
The Acer Nitro XV340CK is priced at just $450! At that price, you are getting a relatively color-accurate monitor, a really fast display with minimal input lag, and a vast number of ports that you can use for your PC or game consoles.
Sure, its contrast and peak brightness could have been improved, but if you are talking about raw gaming performance, the Acer Nitro XV340CK blows other ultrawide gaming monitors out of the way.
Just make sure that you have a nice gaming PC for this thing to work nicely. Other than that, I highly recommend the Acer Nitro XV340CK for its price and performance.
HyperX Cloud Stinger S- A Comfortable 7.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headset
As an audiophile, I’ve always loved HyperX’s gaming audio solution. They are inexpensive and for the price, you are actually getting sound quality that you normally would only hear from expensive products.
In today’s article, I am going to review the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. This is a budget offering that aims to improve upon the original Cloud Stinger with the inclusion of a 7.1 surround sound option.
Do I recommend this headset? Find out later on in the article.
The HyperX Cloud Stinger S is actually quite similar to the original version. It has the same pleather ear cups that envelope your ears quite nicely and the clamping force of the headset itself is actually quite okay.
I’ve been receiving reports that there are some people that have problems with the tightness or, shall I say, how loose this thing can be. But that will probably be a result of the size of your head and not the actual product itself. For me, the fit was okay, but your mileage may vary.
Although this thing is predominantly made in plastic, the overall build quality is good, though I would advise you not to throw this headset when you lose a round in a MOBA game or first-person shooter.
There is a microphone on this headset and just like the original, it is not removable. It would have been nice if you could remove it when you are not using it because even if you fold the microphone (which also acts as a way of muting it), you will still see it which can be annoying at times.
This thing is quite simple and all you have for the controls is the volume slider that is located on the right ear cup.
While other HyperX gaming headsets come with a carrying pouch, I am sad to say that the HyperX Cloud Stinger S doesn’t have one.
All you get in the box aside from the headset is a USB dongle that is attached to a relatively long cable and some documentation. And, since you use this thing completely wired, it can also be used in your Playstation or other game consoles as well.
The 3.5mm analog cable should be inserted in the USB dongle if you wish to use its 7.1 surround sound implementation, but if you are just going to watch movies or play non-competitive games, I suggest that you do not use it.
There are two modes that you can utilize if you are going to use the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. You can use its 3.5mm headphone jack and enjoy stereo sound or you could insert that into the included USB dongle and use the 7.1 surround sound feature.
Keep in mind that if you are going to use the 7.1 output that it is only supported on the PC since you will need the NGENUITY software to enable it.
That being said, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S’ sound signature leans more toward being bright and with a little emphasis on the bass. This seems to be the preference of the majority of gamers since lower frequencies can make those in-game sounds pop-out more.
I also love the mid frequencies as it is quite balanced as well. I’ve had no problems listening to in-game dialog and when I am using the microphone, it just works really well.
Although the high frequencies are okay, I would say that it is the weakest of the bunch, though not so much as to diminish the overall sound quality. You will still hear the sibilance of the cymbals and lead guitars, but it is not as pronounced as the lower and mid frequencies.
As for the 7.1 surround sound, you should enable it in the companion software and it is only available when you are on the PC.
Anyway, its surround sound is okay but I say this because it is a budget gaming headset. If you compare it to the more premium ones, this is subpar at best. Still, you could enable it in your favorite games but I will advise against it if you are just listening to music or watching movies.
Despite a relatively good clamping force, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S doesn’t do so well in terms of sound isolation. People around me can still hear what I was listening to, so this might not be ideal if you are playing at night and there are people sleeping.
There is usually this notion that budget headsets have horrible microphones but not the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. In fact, I would go on to say that it has one of the better ones on the market.
Instead of sounding tinny, the microphone quality of the Cloud Stinger S is full-bodied and my teammates can hear every word I said without any problems.
The volume of the microphone is also quite good as well. Normally, with budget offerings, you tend to sound a bit ‘too far’ but that is not the case here.
Overall, I am quite pleased with the microphone. The only thing that I do not like is that the flippable microphone may impede your vision sometimes, but I think that you can adjust to this.
For a budget headset, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S is definitely one of the better sounding ones. I also love the fact that the microphone’s quality is top-notch and it can even go head-to-head against its more premium counterparts.
I am just a bit disappointed that you do not get a carrying pouch with this one because other HyperX gaming headsets have them. But, this is a minor inconvenience.
I did not feel the need to talk about the NGENUITY software mainly because it is pretty barebones and all you can do with it is to enable the 7.1 surround sound, adjust the volume and microphone, and that’s about it. There is no equalizer present which is quite odd.
Still, for what it is giving you, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S is highly recommended. This thing costs $60.
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