When it comes specifically to gaming, wired headsets present better value for those who play games exclusively at their desk. On the other hand, those who prefer consoles or connecting their PC to a TV are bound to appreciate the flexibility of wireless headsets. There is hardly any discernible difference in sound quality with the latest wireless technology, and lackluster sound in wireless headsets is most commonly cause by inferior drivers.
We live in a world where cables are slowly becoming obsolete. All sorts of products are getting rid of cables and ports in favor of a more convenient wireless approach. Gaming peripherals, including headphones and headsets, are no exception.
But is this a good thing? What are wireless gaming headsets sacrificing along with the cable and the analog connector?
Let’s find out now!
Types of Wireless Connection
Not all wireless headsets are equal. Of course, there’s the quality of the headset itself, but let’s not forget one important factor: there are different wireless technologies that they can utilize.
Namely, modern wireless headsets can either use Bluetooth or 2.4GHz radio signals.
Now, both of these technologies have their advantages and disadvantages:
Essentially, Bluetooth headsets are great if you intend to use the headset with multiple devices and, while older versions of Bluetooth did suffer from bad audio quality because of compression (they were never intended for audio streaming, after all), the headsets which use the newer versions of Bluetooth don’t lose much in this regard.
On the other hand, if you only plan on using the headset on your PC and, potentially, on some other computers, then choosing wireless will give you the best sound quality possible. Just keep in mind that, in order to use it on different devices, they need to both have a USB port for the dongle and to actually support the headset.
Wired vs Wireless
Now, we come to the main question: wired headsets vs wireless headsets.
Of course, this is the first thing that comes to mind when you consider making the transition from wired to wireless.
First of all, it should be noted that the sound quality offered by a headset depends on more factors than just the connection type, mainly on the quality of the drivers. That said, a wireless $300 headset is bound to sound better than a $100 wired one.
When it comes to measuring sound quality, the best way to do so is to take a look at bitrates. And indeed, a wired connection supports bitrates much greater than wireless connections do. However, the question is: are such high bitrates necessary?
In most cases – no. In fact, digital audio rarely reaches bitrates that are not supported by a quality wireless connection, so a wired one is only truly necessary if you’re listening to top-quality lossless digital audio or to analog records such as vinyl. When it comes to MP3 files and in-game audio, you will hardly notice a difference, if at all.
The bottom line is, wireless signal compression is minimal today and the tech will only get better as time goes on. Most importantly, current wireless tech is wholly capable of handling most digital audio that your devices throw at it.
Freedom of Movement vs Battery Life
Yes, wired headsets can be a hassle to manage: tangled cables, limited range of movement… but at least you don’t have to worry about their battery charge!
In contrast to wired headsets, wireless ones may allow you to move freely, but they are still partially dependent on those pesky cables for charging. Naturally, the battery life of a wireless headset will inevitably differ from model to model and will vary based on how much you use the headset.
Most wireless headsets do have to be charged daily or every couple of days, but it’s entirely up to you to decide whether the freedom of movement they allow is worth dealing with the regular re-charging of the batteries.
And finally, we should consider the pricing. Seeing as wireless technologies are more expensive than your regular wires and connectors, so will wireless headsets be more expensive than their wired counterparts. What this also means is that wired headsets will generally offer better quality at lower prices.
As such, if you’re on a budget and looking to get the best value for your money, a wired headset just might be a better choice.
So, when all is said and done, which is better?
Well, objectively, neither is necessarily superior to the other and it comes down entirely to your needs.
The subject of wired vs wireless headphones in general is a broad one, but when it comes solely to gaming, we’d recommend that you stick to wired headsets if you only ever play games are your desk. On the other hand, if you like hooking up your PC to a TV or use consoles as your gaming platform of choice, then wireless just might be a better choice.
And finally, if you’re shopping for a new gaming headset, we have already compiled a selection of the very best ones that you can get in 2018, so be sure to take a look!