I am about to do something we rarely do at The Verge — get excited for an audio product I’ve never actually touched, let alone listened to. But that’s because when it comes to wireless gaming headsets for an Xbox One, the bar is so very, very low that I can’t help thinking SteelSeries’ new dual-wireless Arctis 9X, announced today, will be a better option than what’s out there right now.
What do I mean about a low bar? Well, very few manufacturers even bother to sell Xbox-compatible wireless headsets, and those that have tried to implement Microsoft’s official Xbox Wireless to communicate directly with an Xbox (instead of requiring a dongle) have pretty much bombed for me. Each of them — the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 and 700, the Razer Thresher for Xbox, and the LucidSound LS35x — have had some trouble staying connected to my Xbox One, sometimes blasting my ears with noisy pops and clicks. Only the LucidSound had audio quality I’d consider describing as “good,” anyhow.
But SteelSeries, which produces two of the best wireless gaming headsets on the market (ask me how I know) says it’s “created the highest quality implementation of the Xbox Wireless connection seen on an Xbox headset to date” with the Arctis 9X — which could still be shorthand for “it’s better, but it still sucks,” I suppose.
The Arctis 9X also claims to have 20 hours of battery life — low battery life was a sticking point for other Xbox Wireless headsets — lets you balance game and chat volume natively, and perhaps best of all, has integrated Bluetooth so you can use it with another device (probably your phone) simultaneously, or pull double duty as a set of headphones on the go.
I’m not passing judgement just yet, but it’s piqued my curiosity enough that I’ll be trying it out for myself. If you can’t wait for our impressions, it’s available now for $199.99.