Microsoft’s new $99 Xbox Wireless headset isn’t perfect, but it’s the best attempt at being an Xbox gaming headset and an everyday set of wireless headphones I’ve tried yet. It’s compatible with the Xbox Wireless protocol, making it easy to pair with any Xbox One or Xbox Series X / S console. It’s also compatible with Bluetooth (version 4.2, SBC codec), and better yet, it can connect through both protocols simultaneously. So you can take a call or have audio from any app come through from a phone, tablet, or a PC mixed in with the sound coming from your Xbox console.

This is far from the first gaming headset to do this, or even do it well. Microsoft’s latest headset just stands out as being particularly impressive for the number of things it gets right for $99. Its design is stellar, a logical fit in the company’s headphone lineup. Next to the Series X, it looks the part with a touch of glossy green detailing around the ear cup dials, covered in matte black plastic. The little holes in the recessed areas between the faux leather ear pads and the dials seem to be there just for cosmetic reasons, but it looks fantastic nevertheless.

Crucially, these are comfortable, even though my head size nearly pushes them to their size limits. The sidearms require two hands to make adjustments, which I like. There’s no worry that they’ll resize just from being moved around. And while I wish this model had a bungee-style headband and swiveling ear cups like most SteelSeries headsets, not having these features didn’t equate to comfort issues here.

In addition to how the headset looks, its functionality is similar to the Surface Headphones, with twistable dials on the outside of each ear cup for adjusting elements of the audio. Unlike the company’s more premium headphones, there’s no active noise cancellation here (I’d complain, but they’re $99), though the passive noise isolation is better than average for this price. The left dial acts as a chat and game audio mixer, so you can tune your playmates down a bit during a dialogue-heavy cutscene or vice versa. I appreciate that Microsoft put it front and center. On the other dial is the volume control. Twist to increase or decrease, nice and simple — no buttons necessary.

The green button pulls double duty, serving as the pairing and power button.

Xbox Wireless headset

There’s an LED on the mic facing your, well, face, indicating when the mic is active.

Over on the right ear cup, there’s a USB-C port for charging. Microsoft includes a USB-C to USB Type-A cable to charge it, but you’ll get all of the same headset features if you plug into a Windows 10 machine with your own USB-C to USB-C cable. That’s not the case when plugged into a MacBook Pro, which won’t work over a wired connection with the headset. You can still connect to a macOS device and use the headset over Bluetooth, though.

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