Microsoft is getting into the high-quality gaming headset market with the Xbox Wireless Headset, an official accessory that will be released March 16 “in most worldwide Xbox markets” for $99.99, the company announced Tuesday in an Xbox Wire post.
The Xbox Wireless Headset is natively compatible with the Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and Xbox One, as well as Windows 10 PCs. It connects to consoles via Microsoft’s proprietary wireless protocol, so it shows up like an Xbox controller. The headset also supports Bluetooth, through which it can connect to mobile devices. In fact, you can simultaneously pair the headset to a phone and an Xbox, allowing you to “dial in to a conference call on your phone and play on your console at the same time,” according to Microsoft.
This is Microsoft’s first attempt to compete in a higher echelon of gaming headsets. The company previously released a wired stereo headset for Xbox One, but the new Xbox Wireless Headset appears to be going for the same segment of the market as Sony’s Gold Wireless Headset for PlayStation 4 and its Pulse 3D Wireless Headset for PlayStation 5. Microsoft said its headset supports the two most common spatial sound technologies, Dolby Atmos and DTS Headphone:X, as well as the company’s own Windows Sonic format.
The Xbox Wireless Headset features dual beamforming microphones and voice isolation tuning, which allow the device to separate speech from ambient noise, according to Microsoft. You can use the auto-mute feature, which relies on those technologies, or hit the mute button. And as you’d expect, you can move the mic up to keep it out of the way when you’re not actively using it.
With its inner metal headband, the headset should be able to take a beating. The headband is adjustable and comes with a cushion, and Microsoft said that it “easily fits wide-ranging head sizes.” The rotating dials on its over-the-ear earcups let you adjust the volume and game/chat audio balance (and the Xbox Accessories app lets you tune things further with an equalizer and bass boost setting). Battery life, according to Microsoft, is rated at up to 15 hours. Most importantly, the Xbox Wireless Headset’s color scheme and design don’t scream “GAMER.”
Pre-orders for the Xbox Wireless Headset are available now.