Plantronics RIG 800HS Review – Wireless Headset for PS4
Wireless headsets can be hit-and-miss, given they can rely on a range of different wireless technologies and standards, and have varying levels of success with both range and battery life. The Plantronics RIG 800HS for PlayStation 4 aims to tackle these issues head on, with a headset priced at AU $249 that promises 24-hour battery life, a 10m range, and more.
Setting up the headset is quite simple, although it doesn’t use the built-in Bluetooth on the PS4. Instead, it comes with its own small controller unit, that requires a USB port and your Optical audio out from the PlayStation4, which can be a little inconvenient depending on your set-up (and whether, like me, you have to juggle your PlayStation VR feed, surround sound system and charging cables). However, the connection provided by this controller unit is excellent, as I was able to move around basically my entire 1-bedroom apartment and still get high quality audio, which is impressive.
I’m also partial to believing Plantronics’ advertised 24-hour battery life on the headset, although I haven’t used the unit for that length of time straight, it did survive through two complete playthroughs of Resident Evil VII Biohazard with me, and was only reduced to ‘Medium’ power level. The headset gives you voice feedback on your battery level whenever you turn it on, which is a nice touch to keep tabs on how much playtime you can expect.
These voice prompts can get a little funky at times, particularly when charging. The headset takes about 4 hours to completely recharge, through its micro-USB port, and if you’re like me and left the headset on while it charges, it can get stuck in a loop repeating the same ‘battery level’ message over and over again, at least it did in my case.
But let’s talk about the most important aspect of the headset, aside from its wireless capabilities – the sound quality. Despite only being a stereo headset, lacking 7.1 surround sound, the RIG 800HS still wowed me with its crisp, clear audio and great positional sound. Playing a game like Resident Evil VII, I was able to pinpoint enemy placement around me with great ease, and the numerous creaks and groans of the mansion actually occasionally fooled me into thinking it was coming from my actual flat. For immersive games like RE, the headset is a definite winner.
The headset also is no slouch when it comes to general action games either. It’s 40mm drivers to a good job delivering a bit of punch to gunfire and sound effects, although voices aren’t quite as strong, even through the included 4 EQ modes. For general music and movies, these EQ modes give you a decent range of options to play around with, but it wouldn’t be my go-to choice for non-gaming entertainment when there are other surround options available.
The RIG 800HS’ noise-cancelling microphone is activated pretty simply by lowering it in front of your mouth, and raising it back up again when you’re finished. It’s a neat way to automatically activate and deactivate its use, and is accompanied by a little audio cue inside the headset as well. The audio quality from the microphone is fine for voice chat over PSN, but not the super crisp high-quality that streamers or other higher-end users might be looking for.
The RIG 800HS does score major points for comfort and flexibility. The ear-cups, headstrap and cushion inside the headband are all removable and adjustable, and the frame itself twists and turns quite easily without breaking. It’s also remarkably lightweight for a headset, and can be fairly easily fitted over the band of a PlayStation VR unit for that kind of use (although Plantronics does sell a headset specifically for the device with the RIG 4VR). While I haven’t had the headset for a great deal of time, it feels hardy enough to survive quite a few sweaty sessions on the couch.
As far as wireless headsets go, the Plantronics RIG 800HS provides a lot of bang for your buck, particularly in audio quality and battery life. There are a few minor niggles I have with the headset, and it is worth remembering it is technically only stereo rather than surround, but it still fairs excellently at providing a well-balanced and atmospheric soundstage for most games you’ll throw at it. It won’t be the streamers headset of choice, thanks to a decent but not overwhelmingly impressive microphone. But, for most users looking for a solid wireless headset, it’s hard to pass up.