If you're gaming on the Xbox One or a new Xbox Series X and want to use headphones, you can plug any old standard pair with a mic into the controller's 3.5mm jack. Note that we said you *can* do that, not that you *should* do that. Even a semi-serious gamer can tell you that a good set of gaming headphones can be the difference between a successful raid and an embarrassing defeat caused by subpar game audio.
Many people with an Xbox console, whether it be the Xbox One, Xbox Series S or Series X, choose to go with a wired headset simply because it can be plugged into the already wireless controller. It's also worth noting that many, if not most, options in the wired gaming headset category also work just fine with the PlayStation 5, Windows PCs, Macs and the Nintendo Switch.
Top-notch wireless for $150
Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2
CNET TAKE: Turtle Beach has upgraded its popular Stealth 700 headset, improving both its performance and comfort. The build quality is solid and we like the "cooling gel-infused" memory foam ear cushions, which really fit nicely and play well with glasses. The headband is also sturdy and well-padded.
Turtle Beach says this Gen 2 model has improved 50mm Nanoclear drivers and there's a redesigned metal-reinforced headband and a larger, high-sensitivity flip-to-mute mic. Its engineers tuned it to deliver even "more detailed and precise sound." We thought it sounded quite good, and the headset pairs to your phone and is also good for music listening and taking calls while you're gaming. There's an "all-new" Turtle Beach Hub app for iOS and Android that allows you to tweak the audio and remap buttons.
This headset will work with older Xbox One consoles as well as the next-gen Series X consoles. Battery life is now up to 20 hours — the headset charges via USB-C — and thanks to Xbox Wireless technology, you can connect wirelessly to the Xbox without using a dongle like you have to do with the PS4.
Best wired under $80
HyperX Cloud X
CNET TAKE: If you're looking for a really solid wired headset with an affordable price tag, the HyperX Cloud X is an excellent choice. It's sturdily built, has good sound with strong microphone performance and most importantly, it's comfortable to wear for long gaming sessions. It's designed to work with the Xbox One and the Series S and X, but is also compatible with the PS4 and PS5, as well as the Nintendo Switch and PCs.
Best wireless with haptic feedback
Razer Nari Ultimate for Xbox One
CNET TAKE: The Razer Nari Ultimate for Xbox is a beast of wireless headset, at least in terms of size. That said, it's not heavy and its auto-adjusting headband makes this one of the most comfortable gaming headsets you can buy; just note that its ear cups really stick out from your head. The ear pads are equipped with cooling gel-infused cushions, and the Razer logo lights up.
Aside from excellent sound quality and comfort, the other signature feature is the built-in HyperSense haptic feedback technology that lets you feel the game while you're playing. One might call it a gimmick, but it does add another dimension to the gaming experience. The only downside is that battery life takes a hit when you engage it. It'll last 6 hours with HyperSense on and 20 hours with it turned off.
The following CNET staff contributed to this story: Executive Editor David Carnoy and Copy Editor Jim Hoffman. For more reviews of personal technology products, please visit www.cnet.com.
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