Corsair HS80 Max review: Hassle-free premium gaming headset

Microsoft
By Microsoft 14 Min Read
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At first sight

Expert analysis

Professionals

Excellent audio efficiency with impartial mid-tones Lightweight and cozy design Mesh coverings on the earcups reduce sweating Flip-up microphone to mute

Against

Omnidirectional microphone will not be removable Lacks true simultaneous connectivity for listening to a number of audio sources directly Small RGB gentle zones really feel like an afterthought

Our verdict

The Corsair HS80 Max has nearly the whole lot you possibly can need in a gaming headset for an gratifying gaming session: clear high-resolution audio, a cushty and trendy design, and good cross-platform compatibility. While you may’t hearken to audio sources from Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on the similar time, each connection varieties work over lengthy vary. The battery lifetime of the headphones can also be superb.

Price at time of overview

179.99

Today’s finest costs: Corsair HS80 Max

Retail worth

$149.98 View the offer

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$149.99 View the offer

$159.99 View the offer Corsair $179.99 View the offer Price comparability from over 24,000 shops worldwide Product Price Backmarket Price Comparison

Too typically I strive on premium headphones that, whereas they’ve nice audio, are heavy and plodding, weighed down by an excessive amount of steel and stuffy leatherette material, supplies which have change into considerably of a trademark of what constitutes a premium pair of cans. But the Corsair HS80 Max turns the tables in an enormous method.

In reality, this headset trades the leatherette for cool mesh material and an excessive amount of steel within the earcups for light-weight however sturdy plastic ones, each of which make it extremely snug for lengthy intervals of gaming.

However, whereas these headphones dare to be completely different, they do not hand over on the high-quality audio you’d count on from a premium gaming headset. At $179.99 it is also cheaper than rivals just like the $249.99 Razer Barracuda Pro AND $379.99 SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro. Read on to be taught extra.

Further studying: Check out our roundup of best wireless gaming headphones to search out out about competing merchandise.

Corsair HS80 Max: design and building

Lightweight and versatile, and with a principally plastic design that weighs simply 12.4 ounces, I discovered I might put on the HS80 Max all day with out subject. Comfort has change into an apparent precedence: the headphones function a movable headband with a canopy that protects the highest of your head from the extra inflexible headband above it.

The HS80 Max’s earcups are gentle, however they really feel good and ethereal. Their community protection stored my ears cool even throughout lengthy intervals of gameplay. It additionally stopped me from sweating, which I used to be very joyful about throughout a sizzling spell.

Even once you’re not sporting them, these cans are remarkably snug. The cups can rotate 180 levels, which means I might simply relaxation them on my neck. There’s little or no clamping strain to talk of, so there’s none of that wrestling I typically should do to get the headphones on. One small subject with the design is that the headscarf will not be vertically adjustable, which can be an issue for some customers.

Not all headphones provide you with that a lot sign vary to take pleasure in, and I used to be fast to make use of this function to wander round my work kitchen whereas maintaining the most recent episode of PCWorldThe full nerd streaming podcasts from my laptop computer…

Plastic is not all the time nice with regards to headphone sturdiness, however the HS80 Max is fairly sturdy. It held up properly in my assessments, proving resistant to wreck from an unintentional drop from the desk onto a tile ground. He additionally averted scratching himself with the keys in his backpack.

There’s one design subject you have to be conscious of: The headphones function cables that stretch by small triangular openings above the ear cups, and these are dangerously weak to unintentional cuts or breaks. Ideally, you will wish to home these headphones in a case.

Style-wise, the HS80 Max has loads of swagger. I actually just like the uniquely formed cups which can be “ear formed” somewhat than spherical or oval. They give an originality to the look that does not want a lot else to assist it.

That stated, the outside of the earcups in my metal grey set look good too, the grey paintwork contrasting properly with the black of the inside materials. The plastic has a stain-resistant end, so it feels solely premium. The headphones’ RGB lighting, nevertheless, looks as if one thing of an afterthought. It solely seems within the small Corsair sail logos on every cup.

Corsair HS80 Max: Connectivity and compatibility

I used my overview unit primarily with my PC and Android telephone, however it’ll work simply as properly with a Mac, iPhone, PS5, PS4, or Nintendo Switch console.

The headphones boast each 2.4GHz wi-fi connectivity and Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity. While you will be related to each on the similar time, they can’t be used on the similar time; The headset routinely paused sport audio for incoming cellular phone calls and resumed after I hung up.

Of course, that meant enjoying my favourite tunes from my smartphone for a number of rounds Surveillance 2 was out of the query – one thing I’d actually count on a premium headset costing $179.99 to have the ability to do. However, a Bluetooth button on the proper earcup made it very simple to change between connectivity modes after I wanted it.

origin 1The gentle mesh material that covers the HS80 Max’s earcups retains your ears sweat-free.

Dominic Bayley/IDG

The Bluetooth button doubles as a media controller. Other controls are sparse: the remaining two have been a easy quantity wheel and an influence button situated on the left earcup.

Both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth have a protracted vary: In Bluetooth mode, I received as much as 30 ft away earlier than the sign dropped out. But in Wi-Fi mode you may simply stroll as much as 50 ft away out of your system.

To make sure, not all headphones provide you with sufficient sign vary to take pleasure in, and I used to be fast to make use of that function to wander round my work kitchen maintaining the most recent episode of PCWorld.The full nerd streaming podcasts from my laptop computer to my desk.

Mentioned on this overview…

Razer Barracuda Pro

Read our review Price at time of overview: 249.99 Today’s finest costs: $214.99 on Amazon | $249.99 from Razer

The HS80 Max additionally has superb battery life, however there’s a large distinction in life relying on how you utilize it. With RGB enabled, my headphones lasted a strong 18 hours. However, Corsair claims it might last as long as 130 hours with RGB turned off and in Bluetooth mode.

Corsair HS80 Max: Gaming efficiency

The customized 50mm neodymium drivers within the HS80 Max’s ear cups convert electrical alerts into sound, and judging by the crisp, clear audio they ship, they’re extraordinarily properly calibrated for gaming. The audio high quality is considerably higher than that obtained with some headphones, being a excessive decision sign of 24 bit/96 kHz.

The headphones can comfortably reproduce very low bass notes and ear-splitting excessive notes. Treble is delivered with the type of pristine readability that makes lesser headphones sound tinny as compared. But the mid tones are by far the place these headphones actually shine: these tones sound impartial and heat, which is simply what you need for an immersive gaming expertise.

My playtest primarily included rounds of Call of Duty Black Ops AND Counter Strike 2. In COD: Black Ops the HS80 Max made me wish to play after listening to its immersive rendition of the sport’s pre-game soundtrack; it dropped deep digital keyboard notes and the full-bodied strings sounded emotional and uncooked.

Mentioned on this overview…

SteelSequence Arctis Nova Pro Wireless

Read our review Price at time of overview: $349.99 Today’s finest costs: $319.99 on Amazon | $349.99 at Best Buy | $349.99 at Dell

The headset additionally shocked me by accentuating sport sounds that I hardly ever discover, just like the beeping of timed explosive prices. This introduced a brand new depth to my gameplay.

In CS:2, footsteps have been remarkably simple to listen to even at low quantity, making it simple to trace each pleasant and enemy items close by. I used to be impressed with how the set dealt with explosions and gunshots, too: it delivered these sounds with a smoothness that I might hearken to all day. In reality, there have been no jarring thuds or creaks for which I’ve a low tolerance.

For better immersion CS:2 I used to be very pleased with the headphones’ Dolby Atmos assist. The HS80 Max comes with a free PC license, saving you the price of having to buy a license your self. I discovered that encompass sound considerably elevated my directional consciousness and introduced a satisfying cinematic high quality to video games.

The HS80 Max’s microphone is omnidirectional and has a handy mute function. I hoped it might even be removable for bus journeys the place I like listening to podcasts and do not actually wish to seem like I’m in full desktop gaming mode, however it’s inseparable.

Testing the microphone revealed that it might reproduce my voice with acceptable readability. The bendable finish of the microphone additionally allowed me to maneuver it the place I might get the very best illustration of my voice in chats.

Corsair HS80 Max: software program

The HS80 Max is used with Corsair’s iCUE software program app. Here you may change equalizer settings, customise RGB lighting, and obtain firmware updates. iCUE additionally has a singular function known as Sonarworks SoundID, which helps you to calibrate the headphones with an audio preset that most accurately fits your listening preferences.

For this function to work, you will first have to activate SoundID within the iCUE app, then take a listening to check and full a survey that may ask on your suggestions on completely different listening situations. Once you’ve got set your customized SoundID preset, you may select to show it on or off everytime you need.

In my opinion, SoundID works properly for optimizing headphone sound in a basic sense, however it’s nonetheless fairly generic. So should you want very particular audio frequencies to be delivered to the foreground, for instance to emphasise footsteps in FPS video games, it is best to manually tweak the equalizer settings. However, I applaud Corsair for incorporating a function like this, which solely will increase the extent of customization you have got at your fingertips.

Should you purchase the Corsair HS80 Max?

After spending 32 hours enjoying with the Corsair HS80 Max, I used to be left wishing it solely had two options: a removable microphone and simultaneous wi-fi audio. Everything else it does fantastically: wonderful high-resolution audio, tons of consolation and a singular, enticing fashion. At $179.99 it isn’t low-cost, however cheaper than some premium rivals, making it simpler to advocate as an incredible alternative for discerning avid gamers.

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