Headset falls short of expectations
I’ve always been big into console gaming. But I like to play loud games later in the evening so I typically use a set of headphones to enjoy my play time. I hate wires and as a result, I seek out wireless gaming headsets to complete my set-up. I’ve had the same set for a few years now and am looking to upgrade so when I saw that Plantronics, a brand I’ve liked for a long time, had a gaming headset with Dolby Atmos included as a feature, I took a chance and tried them out.
The Plantronics Rig 800HD Gaming Headset is designed for gamers to get a competitive edge. They feature Dolby Atmos for Headphones that will pull you into the game. Each headset comes with a pre-paid activation for the feature. The headphones have a long-life battery — up to 24 hours of wireless listening — and a 10M range of lag-free wireless audio. The microphone function is designed to activate when the boom (the mechanism that rotates the microphone up and down) is flipped down to use it’s active. When it’s flipped up, the microphone is muted. It has 40mm drivers to deliver immersive game audio and the mic is noise-canceling to ensure your teammates can hear you no matter what is going on in the game.
- Mic frequency response 100 Hz–10 kHz
- Mic sensitivity -45 dBV/Pa
- Mic signal-to-noise ratio >42 dB
- Mic pick-up pattern Uni-directional
- Headphone weight 290 g/10 oz
- Headphone frequency response 20 Hz–20 kHz
- Headphone impedance 32 ohms
- Headphone sensitivity 111 dB SPL/V
- Headphone maximum input power 40 mW
- Headphone drivers Dynamic 40 mm
- Compatibility PC/Laptop and PC
The headphones come in a heavily branded box with an image of the product on the front. The details that are printed on the box show that the headphones should have a 24-hour battery, provide immersive 3D sound, and work with either a PC/Laptop or Xbox. The main label on the box actually indicates that the headphones should ‘only’ be used with a PC, but there is an activation code for the Dolby Atmos app for the Xbox. I would love to see a more inclusive label that indicates more systems are compatible with these headphones so that someone who sees them on the shelf won’t just pass them by based on the “PC GAMING” label on the box.
Style: The Rig 880HD headphones have a fairly unique style to them. They look like other gaming headsets in size and form, but in my opinion, they look like ‘techie’ and like they belong on a military base. They are black with some gold accents. The headphones are quite heavy. I held them up with some other wireless headphones (non-gaming) and found them to be quite a bit heavier.
Set-Up: One of the first things I noticed about these headphones is that they don’t have a traditional adjustable headband. In order to move the earpieces to the proper place for you, you have to snap them out of the headband and replace them into the right slot. I’m not sure why Plantronics took this route to make these adjustable. There are only three levels to choose from rather than a sliding headband which allows you to fine-tune your adjustment. The inner band is elastic and flexes with the shape of your head, but it’s not the same as a fully adjustable headband.
The headphones are wireless and communicate to your system through a transmitter. That transmitter connects using USB-A and Optical cables. Plantronics does not include an optical cable for set-up. The optical cable is used for the audio signal while the USB connection is for powering the transmitter. The headphones automatically connect to it and I had no issues with a lost connection. One thing I would love to see incorporated into this set-up though is the ability to connect it to my laptop. My Xbox and desktop gaming machine had an optical connection, but my PC laptop does not. It would be nice to have an alternative hookup so that the headphones could be used with more systems.
The headphones’ controls are located on the left ear. There is a power switch, volume knob, analog dial for game/chat audio control, and an EQ preset button (on the right ear). The analog dial for the game vs. chat audio control was a nice choice. There is a notch in the dial that allows you to feel where the dial is resting so that you can precisely select the level of the game and chat audio you want in your gaming experience. The volume knob is the exact opposite – you have no control over your volume level. The dial spins and spins and you have no idea what level you are on. It would be nice if it had a firm start and stop point. The other controls are easy to use.
Comfort: Despite the lack of adjustable fine-tuning available, the Rig 800HD was actually pretty comfortable to wear. The padding around the ears is very soft and even though this headset is a little on the heavy side, it didn’t cause any headaches for me.
Sound/Mic quality: The sound quality was just ‘ok’ for me. I could hear highs and lows just fine, which can be kind of tricky for me, but I had some issues with volume. Even when I thought that I was at 100% on the volume control, it just didn’t seem loud enough to me. I had some issues with the microphone when it came to gameplay. I was able to hear myself in the microphone when I tested it (I blew some air into the mic) but the chat icon never appeared in-game when I was talking.
The most unique feature these headphones have going for them is the incorporation of Dolby Atmos. I was very excited to try out this feature, but sadly, I was unable to. After I got the headphones set-up, I went to redeem the code provided with the headset in the Microsoft Store on the Xbox. I kept getting an error with the code (invalid code) and so I tried the free version of the app. I tested out the Atmos sound by looking up a Dolby Atmos demo on YouTube. While the surround sound was working accurately, it was missing that Atmos feel. I was never able to get it to work properly.
When I started having issues with these headphones I looked up other user reviews and found that a lot of people had the same issues I did. I’ve liked Plantronics as a brand for a long time. In fact, my first Bluetooth headset for my mobile phone was Plantronics. I had high hopes for this headset, but they fell short of my expectations. Even though they have above average sound quality, the other subpar features of the headphones weigh them down. I think for the right person, these might be the ideal set of headphones, but they’re not for me.