Playing a game without audio is like eating a pizza without any toppings.
There is no doubt that audio is an important aspect of gaming and a good pair of headphones delivering it to you makes the experience even better. The HS70 is the latest wireless gaming headset to launch in India and comes in at a sensible ₹11,999 with a lot of promise.
Design and Build
I opted for the white version of the HS70, simply because I already use a white Steelseries Arctis 5, and also because it blends in with my setup. The black variant will be the obvious choice for most users and the design feels closely inspired by the HyperX Cloud II. There’s no RGB lighting here, neither is there any solid lighting present, which would have been a good touch, although useless in terms of functionality.
Put the HS70 next to the Steelseries Arctis 5 and there’s no doubt that the Arctis nails the game in the design department. The RGB ring around the cup and the illuminated Steelseries logo just accentuates the look and it outclasses not only the HS70, but also some other rivals around the same price point. The HS70 though is built a little better and feels sturdy although you may not want to throw it at the wall when you rage quit. You get metal cup holders on the HS70 that cleverly hide the wires in a seamless presentation and give you eight levels of adjustability options, so if you have a noggin that looks like a giant wheel with hair, you could still use the HS70 without any issues, but probably with a few stares.
The accessibility buttons to control the unit sit under the left ear cup and the positioning is familiar and pretty much intuitive. The buttons and the volume rocker itself are pretty standard stuff and there’s no special feel to either of them, unlike the plush feeling SteelSeries. Another bit that might be a bug bear for absent-minded people is the detachable mic. It would just be really easy if the mic slotted into the headphone, but that’s not the case here. There’s also no visual indicator on the mic to notify you about its ‘mute’ status.
The stitched foam band feels quite premium and the white stitching accentuates the feeling of plush. The leather treatment has also trickled down to the pads and they too ooze quality. Those familiar with the HS50 might find their noggin in familiar territory and there isn’t a vast difference between the two.
Comfort and Fit
With all those quality bits that Corsair has fit in, the issue of weight creeps in. The HS70 sit flush on your head and you feel that little bit of extra weight almost immediately. However, the thick padding on the top band is pretty comfortable and the memory foam earcups are soft, but not as breathable as we’re used to. Your hand travels to the mic mute button and volume rocker in an intuitive way and the mic doesn’t intrude the view no matter what direction you twist and turn it in.
Long gaming sessions (5 hours or more) do get a little cumbersome when using the HS70 and your ears start to get warm, prompting you to take a break and give them some room to breathe. There is no swivel function either, making these beauts fussy travel companions and space eaters in your backpack. But you can throw them in there without a worry of anything breaking or snapping off thanks to the robust build quality. In fact, I was more worried about the HS70 damaging other stuff in my bag - they’re that tough.
It takes just a few minutes of play time to know where you’re spending your money. The 50mm neodymium drivers wreak havoc and get quite loud as well when pushed to 11. I started off diving into the beautiful world of Forza Horizon 4 and took my Pagani Zonda R for a little spin. The sound effects of gear shifts and the backfires that the HS70 reproduces are loud and have quite some oomph to them, making the Zonda even more enjoyable.
There’s also a wide soundstage and the HS70 also have great control over direction. You get clear indications of where enemy footsteps emerge from and the direction of fire. Gunshots sound convincing and explosions burble with bass, but it’s here where things get really impressive. The HS70s don’t overdo the explosions and the output is well controlled, giving you a slightly more detailed experience than the rest of the competition.
The 50mm drivers are the real winners here and the 111db sensitivity gives it a slight edge over the others in terms of dynamics and outright volume. The HS70 is great for some light movie/music session, but don’t expect the absolute detail and precision you get from a dedicated audiophile headphone. The 7.1 surround sound is good for movies and certain games that don’t require dependence on direction-based sound.
The mic output is also quite weighted, but does tend to sound a bit nasally. You may want to avoid handling the mic too much during in-game conversations as sometimes the disturbances are quite pronounced and there’s also no ‘pop’ filter included. But apart from these few minor niggles, we’ve got little to complain about.
The HS70, like most other Corsair products is supported through the iCUE software. The software is pretty straightforward and is the hub to control the HS70 and other members of Corsair’s family like our test bench built around the Corsair Crystal 570X and its colourful fans. You get to fine-tune the sound output of the HS70 through an equalizer and if you’re not into fiddling around too much, there are presets for both gaming and entertainment including a profile for an FPS-tuned output. It is worth fiddling around with these settings to find the sound best suited to your application.
At this price, the Corsair HS70 makes a very strong case for itself. They’re built to last, they look good, they have a fuss-free, plug-and-play application and look like a more matured approach to a gaming headphone when compared to the design silo of the Void. And to top it all, they score well in the sound department. It is quite rare to find a pair of cans that get a lot of things right at this kind of money. Plus there’s the advantage of having no wires that otherwise prove irritating and sometimes cost the game, if they come in the way during a crucial point. PlayStation 4 compatibility sweetens the deal even further.