Following the launch of its new Xbox Series X|S consoles in November, Microsoft is following up with an official Xbox Wireless headset to be available on March 16. The new accessory will succeed to the Xbox One Stereo headset that launched alongside the previous Xbox console back in 2013, and it will be priced at an affordable $99.
The new Xbox Wireless Headset will use the same proprietary Xbox Wireless protocol used by Xbox controllers to deliver lower latency than Bluetooth, though the headset will also support Bluetooth to connect to smartphones and other devices. Microsoft explained that it will possible to seamlessly connect the headset to multiple devices including Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and Windows 10 PCs. Moreover, users will be able to simultaneously pair the headset to their phone and Xbox console, making it possible to hear phone calls and gameplay at the same time.
The design of the Xbox Wireless headset takes some inspiration from Microsoft’s Surface Headphones with the use of light materials, large earcups made of polyurethane leather, and rotating earcup dials for adjusting volume and game/chat audio balance. The Xbox Wireless headset also features a dual beamforming microphone with a light indicator that turns on when the mic is active, and there’s also a manual mute button plus an intelligent auto-mute feature. Microsoft also said that the headset supports voice isolation tuning that "helps the mic pick up your voice rather than background ambient noise."
The Xbox Wireless headset will support popular spatial audio technologies including Dolby Atmos, DTS Headphone: X, as well as Microsoft’s proprietary Windows Sonic technology. The Xbox Accessories app for Xbox consoles and Windows 10 PCs will be updated to allow users to change equalizer settings, bass boost, auto-mute sensitivity, mic monitoring, and brightness of mic’s mute light. This app will also be necessary to update the headset wirelessly, similar to how Xbox controllers receive firmware updates quite regularly.
Microsoft promises up to 15 hours of battery life for the new Xbox Wireless headset, though that will depend on distance from console and other factors. Anyway, the company said that 30 minutes of charging should provide about 4 hours of battery life, which seems pretty good.
Compared to the $249.99 price Microsoft is asking for the Surface Headphones 2, the new $99 Xbox Wireless Headset is much more affordable and the ability to seamlessly sync it to multiple devices sounds very appealing. The company is still leaving some room for more expensive headsets from third-party accessory makers, though the Xbox team emphasized today that it is "looking forward to bringing more value to the headset category with innovations not previously found in this price range."
You can already pre-order the new Xbox Wireless Headset from the Microsoft Store and select retailers ahead of its March 16 availability. Sound off in the comments if you think this new headset could become a killer accessory for Xbox consoles.