The standard of sound quality among gaming headsets is frankly atrocious. Whether it was Razer, SteelSeries, Corsair, or any other PC-gamer-serving peripherals company — I’ve tried every brand and variety — all you could expect in the past was mediocre sound, questionable fit, and a generous sprinkling of LED lights to serve as a distraction. But I speak in the past tense now, because I’ve tried Logitech’s $150 G533 Wireless Gaming Headset, and it’s the first headset of its kind that I actually enjoy wearing and listening to.
The G533 is for Windows PCs only, representing an evolution and simplification of its $200 G933 predecessor, which was intended primarily for console use. The new headset carries over the same Pro-G audio drivers, and I’m glad that it does. The sound is exceptional by the standard of the G533’s nearest competition, and it provides a very pleasant listen even when compared to cans that focus firmly on high-fidelity music.
I liked the G533 before I even jumped into a game of any kind, just listening to some Depeche Mode, Björk, Bonobo, the new T.I. and Run The Jewels albums, and, for a change of pace, the latest from Metallica. Even with the diversity of musical genre and style, the G533 kept delivering a sweet and pleasant sound that felt wide and open, in spite of their closed-back design. Being able to enjoy music might be an afterthought for some gaming headset buyers, but it isn’t for me — it’s the first, prerequisite step to finding a versatile new accessory to add to my collection.
Good fit, good sound, no silly LED lights? Are these really gaming headphones?
Getting into games extended my satisfaction with the G533 further. Identifying the location of in-game noises is very easy with these headphones, whether in first-person shooters or something as simple as hearing battle noises while waiting for a Civilization turn to complete and knowing that they came from the southeastern corner of the map.
The new headset uses a USB dongle, roughly the size of a regular USB memory stick, to create a proprietary wireless connection (using a protocol provided by a company named Avnera), which is claimed to extend a full 15 meters (nearly 50 feet). I’m confident in the veracity of that claim after my testing. In terms of range and reliability of connection, the Logitech G533 outperformed every pair of Bluetooth cans I’ve tried outside of the Beats Solo 3, which uses Apple’s new W1 wireless tech. Obviously, a dongle isn’t ideal, and the lack of Mac compatibility is disappointing, but at least the latency of the G533 is so minimal it’s unnoticeable. It’s rare to be able to say the same about a Bluetooth pair.
The battery inside the Logitech G533 is rated to last for 15 hours and is replaceable, though keep in mind that this headset doesn’t have the usual passive mode where you can just plug in a 3.5mm cable and carry on when the battery dies. You’ll always need a charge to use them. Of course, this wouldn’t be a proper headset without a built-in microphone, and Logitech has included a foldable, articulating mic with a tiny pop filter built right into it (designed to soften the unpleasant edge of Ps and Ts when you speak). In my testing, my voice came across clear, but a little tinny and digital-sounding.
Overall, Logitech has crafted a surprisingly good package with the G533. These are comfortable, lightweight headphones that do wireless just right. They have some inconveniences, but by the standards of gaming audio gear in general, they’re terrific.
The Logitech G533 goes on sale for $149.99 later this month.