Hardware

Hardware Review: Corsair HS50 Headset

About a year ago, I received a set of headphones from HyperX and had the amazing opportunity to review them.  I enjoyed using them so much that they became my main go to for headphones and I used them extensively whenever the opportunity arose.  Recently when Corsair got in contact with me and asked if I would be interested in reviewing their brand new HS50 headset, I agreed because I was interested to see how they compared to the HyperX Cloud Stingers I had been using.

The HS50 Headset arrived in a usual look Corsair box, adorned with the normal black/yellow theme that you see with any Corsair product.  The box contained an image on the front of the headset,

along with some brief selling points on them.  The sides and rear of the package contained more detail and selling points, which is pretty standard for any product now a days.

On the inside, the packaging seemed a little low-key.  While the HS50’s are a more of a low-cost headset, you think manufacturers are always wanting to up-sell by offering a more premium feel to the packaging.  While this packaging was efficient, there wasn’t anything really standout for it. The inner shell contained the headset and cable, and a small pocket in the middle contained a small adapter, and the documentation for the HS50.

The HS50’s themselves have a very weighty feel to them.  The main band is all aluminum, with a black finish.  The top of the band is plastic with a faux leather padded underside to make it comfortable for your head.  The ear cups are larger than I expected, with a memory foam and faux leather cover, and the inside of the drivers is covered with a standard mesh material.  The cable has a nice feel to it, though it isn’t braided, it is long enough to work with pretty much any device or setup you might want.  The included adapter allows you to convert the 3-barrel 3.5 mm connector into a PC headphone/microphone jack on your computer.

On the subject of the cable, it is long.  The first thing I did when opening the HS50’s was to plug them into my cellphone and turn on some music and listened to it for a while.  The sound was great, with deep bass and perfect treble, but I found the cord obtrusively long, and I often had to be mindful about walking around with them as it is easy to snag the cord on a door knob or cupboard.  This has me kind of confused though, as the cable is long, which is great for working on a PC, any current generation console wouldn’t require such a long cable, as the Xbox One, PS4 and Nintendo Switch all have the headphones connect directly into the controller or console in the case of the switch, which is in your hands.  Granted for the case of the Switch, it does dock with your TV, and you might have a use/case where you still want to use headphones while it is docked, but I would guess most people would have a big screen TV, and the cable is about 6 ft long, which puts you way to close to be comfortable in front of the TV if you were to use it as I listed.  About the only use for a cable of this length is if you were to use it on the PC, where 6 ft is a good length to run from your towers front audio IO ports to where you sit. This is something that could be easily done with the extension adapter they included to convert the 3-pole connector into the split connectors, except on the HS50’s the adapter is about 6 in long.  I feel a better compromise would have been to make the adapter longer and the HS50’s headphone cable a bit shorter.  HyperX did this with the Cloud Stingers and it works nicely, though they also dropped the ball by not braiding the cable.  Guys, its 2018, braided cables should be the standard.

 

Enough of ripping on the cable length, lets get on with the rest of the headset.  The ear cups as I mentioned earlier are large.  While they do fit comfortably over the ear, they are on the border of being too big.  This is coupled with the fact the overall size of the headset is really large.  Without opening the size retention mechanism on the headband, the HS50’s were over-sized for my head.  This might not always be the case for people with a slightly larger head, or more hair than I currently have, but I felt this was a bit of a downer on them.  Tali also tried them and it was even worse for her.  That aside, the weight of the HS50’s isn’t that bad once it is on your head, and after using them for a few weeks now on the PC, on the Nintendo Switch, and on my cellphone, I’ve grown accustomed to how they feel, and it really doesn’t bother me that much unless I am using my cellphone and moving around a lot, they just don’t sit properly all the time and will often need to be adjusted.

The left ear cup is also where all the business happens.  The cable is attached to the bottom of the cup, and on the back is a volume knob and mute switch.  The uni directional microphone is also here, but is removable.  In its place is a small rubber plug, which is a great touch to keep the dust out.  Sound quality of the headset is great, and I never had any issues with the sound while the HS50’s were being used.  The removable microphone is a great touch, which allows you to feel good about using these with other mobile devices such as your cellphone.  When I tested the microphone in Discord while gaming with a friend, every time we chatted, he said I came through clear and crisp, with no distortion at all.  When compared to the microphone of the Cloud Stingers, I feel the HS50’s have a huge advantage over them for clarity.  I’ll provide a speech test like I did with the Cloud Stinger.


HyperX Cloud Stinger Microphone Test

Corsair HS50 Microphone Test

Overall I feel like the Corsair HS50’s did a lot right, but there are a few short comings that could affect how people feel about them.  I like the premium materials and feel of the HS50’s with a great price point.  The build quality is excellent, and while the lack of a braided cable, and the larger feel to the headset itself is a bit of a letdown, I feel these are really good headphones and would definitely recommend them.

I want to thank Corsair for providing us this Headset for review.

CDN$ 69.99
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