I consider myself an early adopter. I’m also someone who is neck deep in the Xbox ecosystem. For those reasons, I picked up an Xbox Wireless Headset shortly after it released. I’d never used a wireless headset prior to this one coming out in March, preferring instead to plug a wired headset directly into a controller. But this one sold me. The Xbox team was making it, after all — what could go wrong?
The Xbox Wireless Headset isn’t a bust by any stretch. For the most part, it does a lot of what I want it to do. It lets me chat with friends during games without tethering me to my controller. It also lets me streaming movies and TV on my Xbox without having to touch a joystick every 10 minutes or so (the Xbox controller will automatically turn off if you’re inactive).
Unfortunately, there are some very real reliability issues with the headset. Sometimes the audio will get spotty and begin to drop in and out. Other times the headset will just lose the signal entirely. It’s still on — I confirm so by looking and seeing its white microphone light sill active. But my Xbox will act as though the headset has been turned off. To the console, it has basically vanished.
The act of actually pairing the thing to another device is somewhat confusing, too. Microsoft uses the same button to turn the headset on, turn the headset off, and pair it. I can never seem to grasp at any given moment how the button will behave. So when I’m trying to use it with my PC and the Xbox Wireless Adapter, I have to fiddle with it for several minutes. Holding down this button in hopes it’ll enter a pairing mode will sometimes turn the headset on or off instead, and that is very irritating.
Chris Plante over at Polygon took a whack at reviewing the Xbox Wireless Headset, and I found myself agreeing with much of what he said in his piece. Namely, “the Xbox Wireless Headset is a strong option — when it works.”
It’s a pretty device, and one with a lot of upside if Microsoft can work out the kinks and keep the audio from cutting out as much as it does. We’re two months out from its launch, though, and I’m still waiting for that to happen.