For gamers, especially those who play professionally, choosing the right headset is crucial for an immersive gaming experience. This is where the old debate of “wired vs. wireless gaming headsets” comes in: which one is better, and what is the difference?
While wireless headsets offer freedom of movement for console gamers, wired headsets might be a better choice for gamers who play competitively. Wired gaming headsets don’t suffer from any latency issues.
With the introduction of the 2.4GHz wireless technology, wireless gaming headsets have become viable options for gamers. It turns out wireless headsets may not be as good as they seem.
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Wired vs. Wireless Gaming Headsets
For games that rely heavily on audio cues, or those that offer a full virtual reality experience, headsets can make or break the entire gaming experience. So, investing in a good pair is crucial to ensure that the game’s sound quality won’t be compromised while playing.
If you’re a casual audiophile, you’ll barely hear the difference between wired and wireless headsets. Depending on the type, you’ll get the same tonal quality or ambiance from both. However, if you’re an avid gamer, audio quality is critical in playing a game.
The sound quality of a headset depends on many variables. For instance, wired headsets receive audio signals directly through a cable known as analog signals.
Analog signals can handle more data than digital signals like Bluetooth, which means your audio won’t go through much processing to reach you.
The result is audio delivered in its full resolution by skipping audio compression and no audio lag or risk of disconnection. Because of this, wired headsets offer better sound quality overall.
Using a wireless headset is a better choice for console gamers or those who connect their PC to a separate monitor because it’s less constricting.
Although, depending on the range of motion and how far you are from the device itself, there might be external interference. This will also depend on the kind of wireless connection you have.
If you own a headset that uses a Bluetooth connection, it’s probably compatible with many devices, including most mobile devices, consoles, and PCs.
But the downside is that the range is shorter, meaning there’s only a limited distance you can travel to before you get disconnected from your device.
Using a headset that uses a wider radio signal will also get a wider range and better sound quality. However, headsets with radio signals have limited compatibility with most devices.
Depending on the price point, an excellent gaming headset might last you many years before the overall quality starts to wane, regardless of whether it’s wired or a wireless one.
However, wireless headsets typically cost more than wired ones. Wireless headsets require more advanced technology. A transmitter and receiver are built into the headset itself and the USB dongle.
In addition to all this, these headsets require batteries to function and usually come with rechargeable batteries, further increasing the cost. While replacement batteries are available for specific brands, they tend to be expensive and challenging to install.
Wired headsets don’t require sophisticated technology as they’ve been around a while. This keeps the design simple and the cost low. And since they are so common, their production costs are less expensive, making wired gaming headsets more affordable.
Related: Best Gaming Headsets Under $100
Battery Life vs. Movement Freedom
There’s a particular type of convenience that only wireless headsets can give, and that’s freedom of motion. Having the freedom to move without removing your headset is a convenience that many people enjoy, not just gamers.
Portability is also a factor to consider. If you’re the type to travel often, bringing wireless headsets might be easier to manage since the cords of a wired headset can get tangled easily.
However, the downside is that wireless headsets need to be recharged every couple of days. In contrast, wired headphones don’t need a power supply.
Depending on the model, charging can take up to 3-4 hours. While high-end models can last up to 24 hours without charging, lower-end models will not last that long.
The battery life of wireless headsets depends on the quality and type of headset you buy. Some only last a day of use, while others can take three days before recharging. So, that’s something to consider when looking at wireless headsets.
For almost every gamer, especially PC players, wired headsets offer better quality for a lower price. There’s no need to worry about suddenly plugging it into a power source in between games.
Also, as long as you’re using an audio jack or have adaptors available, most wired headsets are compatible with any device.
However, do consider that cables have the tendency to get tangled, and there’s limited range of movement when it comes to wired headsets. If this bothers you, this type of headset may not be the best fit for your lifestyle.
The good thing about wireless headsets is that it’s compatible with most devices, PCs, consoles, and smartphones. As long as a Bluetooth connection is available on your device, you can use a wireless headset.
Wired headsets are compatible with a 3.5mm cable or a standard audio jack, making connecting with consoles and PCs easy. However, modern smartphones are now being manufactured without the standard headphone jack.
For example, the newer iPhone models don’t have an audio jack, so you’ll need a separate adaptor. Otherwise, you can only use a wireless headset with your mobile device.
Are Wireless Headsets Good For Gaming?
Though wireless headsets offer portability and movement freedom, audio latency might become a problem, especially if the game relies heavily on audio cues. There’s also an issue of sudden disconnection from the device, especially since Bluetooth devices only have a limited range or distance.
The need to recharge the headset might also become a hassle, especially if you’re playing a time-pressured game.
Of course, the quality of the wireless headset will depend on the model and brand. Most headsets with low audio latency are offered at a higher price point.
So, if you only need the essentials for gaming, it would be best to stick with wired headsets since it’s cheaper and there’s less risk while playing.
Why Do Pro Gamers Use Wired Headsets?
Professional gamers choose wired headsets primarily because they offer better sound quality and less risk of disconnection at a lower price than most wireless headsets.
Audio-visual cues from games sync with wired headsets because the audio quality is received through a cable, making it a more reliable source for the complete auditory experience.
Also, pro gamers tend to be at their gaming stations most of the time, so having a little clutter in the form of cables is a small sacrifice to make.
Do Wireless Gaming Headsets Have Lag?
Wireless gaming headsets lag because the audio conversion process takes a certain amount of bandwidth to travel from the device to the headset, making it buffer for longer.
Wired vs. Wireless Gaming Headset: Which Should You Choose & Why?
When choosing the right gaming headset, you should consider the type of gamer you are and your overall lifestyle.
Wired gaming headsets tend to be reliable, compatible, and affordable. You will have to deal with some clutter. Still, a decent wired headset is nearly guaranteed to give you high audio quality and no latency, thanks to its analog connection.
I personally use wireless headphones that are closed-back because I don’t like hearing external noises while playing. I also use a console for gaming and need to have that range of motion for a better gaming experience.