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 connect 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 inferior drivers most commonly cause dull sound in wireless headsets.
We live in a world where cables are slowly becoming obsolete. All sorts of products are getting rid of ports and wires 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.
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Wireless Connection Types
Not all wireless headsets are equal. Of course, there’s the quality of the headset itself, but let’s not forget one crucial factor: there are different wireless technologies behind them.
Namely, modern wireless headsets can either use Bluetooth or 2.4GHz radio signals. As with everything, both of these technologies have their advantages and disadvantages.
- Compatible with any Bluetooth-enabled device
- Generally more affordable
- Lower sound quality
- Shorter range
- Better sound quality
- Longer range
- Needs own wireless dongle to connect
- Limited compatibility
Bluetooth headsets are great if you intend to use your headset with multiple devices. While older versions of Bluetooth did suffer from bad audio quality because of compression — after all, they were never intended for audio streaming in the first place — the headsets that use the newer versions of Bluetooth don’t lack 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 to use your headset on different devices, these need to have an available USB port for the dongle and support the headset as well.
Wired vs Wireless
Now, let’s dive into the main question.
Wired headsets or wireless headsets? Let’s start with the most important aspect:
Of course, the sound quality is the first thing that comes to mind when you consider making the transition from wired to wireless.
First of all, it should be mentioned that the sound quality of 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. Indeed, a wired connection supports much higher bitrates than wireless connections do. However, the question is: are such high bitrates necessary?
In most cases, no. Digital audio rarely reaches bitrates that are not supported by a quality wireless connection, so a wired one is only essential if you’re listening to top-quality lossless digital audio or 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 of the 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, and so on. 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 have to be charged daily or every couple of days. Still, it’s entirely up to you to decide whether the freedom of movement they allow is worth it, considering the regular re-charging of the batteries.
Finally, we should consider pricing. Wireless technologies are more expensive than your regular wires and connectors, and wireless headsets will be more costly than their wired counterparts.
This also means 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 might be the best choice for you.
So, which one is better? Objectively, neither is necessarily superior to the other, and it entirely comes down to your needs and preferences.
The subject of wired vs. wireless headphones, in general, is a broad topic, but when it comes to gaming, we’d recommend that you stick to wired headsets if you only play games at 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 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 2021, so be sure to take a look!