“Corsair's Virtuoso RGB Wireless XT isn't perfect, but the way it offers the practicality needed to replace both your gaming headset and everyday headphones puts it in a league of its own.”
- Great chic looks
- Excellent build quality
- Versatile connectivity
- Can replace two headsets
- Convenient RGB mic-mute indicator
- Below-average battery life
- Short wireless range
Shopping for a gaming headset isn’t easy. It can be, if you set your expectations low, but if you’re shopping for something a little upmarket, then the thought of dropping $269 on a wireless gaming headset can be a bit daunting.
That’s the cost of Corsair’s latest flagship gaming headset, the Virtuoso RGB Wireless XT, and while it certainly looks worth its price tag, lets find out if the stuff you can’t see is good enough. Unlike many headsets, there’s a lot to cover with this one, so lets dig in.
Build quality of the Virtuoso RGB Wireless XT is excellent, as expected. The headset uses a lavish amount of pleather and metal, giving it a highly chic look and feel. Corsair’s back-to-basics elemental design also plays well here, as it gives the headset a very ‘contemporary headphones’ look, rather than the look of many garishly styled offerings.
I quite like the design, actually, and because the microphone is removable and it supports Bluetooth with Apt-X, you can easily get away with using this set on the go, in public. The light bit of RGB might even draw in curious eyes.
When it comes to comfort, the Virtuoso RGB Wireless XT is generally good, but a bit of a miss – that might be a personal observation, but I find the earcups too shallow. Of course, that’s done to keep a slimmer profile for the modern look, but it presses against my right ear a little, leading to discomfort with prolonged use.
That’s my only complaint with comfort – the pleather is soft, the cushions are … cushiony, and clamping force is minimal, so it’s not going to give you a headache. If your ears fit better than mine, which is more likely than it is not, you’ll find the Virtuoso XT plenty cozy. For bigger ears, Logitech’s G Pro X (Wireless) headsets are generally more comfortable thanks to more spacious earcups.
Control ergonomics are also excellent, with most buttons at the bottom of the right earcup. The only button that’s on the left cup is the mic-mute button, and actually, it’s on the microphone itself, right at its base where it connects to the headset.
The microphone even has an RGB light ring at the end of it, and I think it’s brilliant, even though it’s not strictly an ergonomics thing. It shines bright red when you mute the mic, and participates in whatever light show you have going when it’s not. That might seem like a small detail, and it is, but tell me, when’s the last time you forgot you muted yourself and found yourself wondering why your friends won’t respond? Yesterday? Today? Yeah, me too. Every headset needs to have this.
Most wireless PC gaming headsets come with two or three types of connectivity. First and foremost, there’s a wireless interface with its own dongle, then a 3.5mm jack for when you need the cable anyway, and they often work over their USB charging cable as well.
But Corsair throws in one extra goodie: Bluetooth with support for the Apt-X codec. On most gaming headsets, this wouldn’t be quite as important, but this one looks quite good, and it’s nice to be able to connect it to your phone for use on the go. Pull the mic off, and nobody would say it’s a gaming headset. The closest alternatives with this set of features are the Steelseries Arctis 9 and Arctis Pro Wireless headsets as they also support Bluetooth, but they don’t do Apt-X and still look very much like gaming headsets, making them less suitable for wearing in public.
The headset also supports multiple device inputs simultaneously, which is another nice practicality feature. Having the headset connected to your PC over the dongle, and to your phone over Bluethooth, is great not only for easy on-the-go switching, but you also don’t need to take the headset off when you receive calls. Music quality is also better over Apt-X.
A quick range test showed disappointing results. In my apartment, I have my office at one end, and most headsets can reach all the way to kitchen midway through while maintaining a stable connection. The very best headsets will stay connected all the way to the other side of my flat, but not the Virtuoso RGB Wireless XT: I was barely able to take a step out of my office into the hallway.
Sound quality is always a bit of a mixed bag with gaming headsets, especially wireless units. Of course, this makes sense: The drivers are tuned to help you pick up the enemy’s footsteps and reloading noises, and to give an engaging amount of bass for explosions. And since the wireless connection is tuned more for low-latency than audio quality, you end up with sound that generally doesn’t please audiophiles.
And while the Corsair Virtuoso RGB Wireless XT is no exception to that set of premises, it actually fares quite well, especially over the Bluetooth connection when using a source device that supports the Apt-X codec. Music is enjoyable, voices are clear and there’s enough detail to please most listeners. It’s not going to compare to the best hi-fi headphones out there — it’s not even in the same league — but for a gaming headset that has the practicality to double as your everyday headphones, it’s more than adequate.
But again, keep in mind that audio quality will suffer a bit with the included 2.5 GHz dongle on PC – this isn’t something you’ll notice in game at all as most games don’t have rich enough audio quality anyway. The incoming voice streams from multiplayer chats also aren’t any good, but if you’re playing music for enjoyment, you may prefer to run that from your phone or using a wired connection. The only catch is that battery life on dual devices is quite limited – you’ll be lucky to reach 15 hours.
Corsair’s Virtuoso RGB Wireless XT is a stunning wireless gaming headset that tries to achieve it all. And while it doesn’t do a perfect job, it offers up a ton of practicality with its excellent connectivity options, great control ergonomics, beautiful production quality, and decent comfort. If you’re asking whether the $269 price tag is worth it, I’d say probably — if you need one headset that can do it all. Just keep in mind that wired headsets often sound better, the battery life isn’t the best, and it has a very short wireless range.
Are there any alternatives?
There are always a ton of alternatives in the gaming headset space, but few look as good as Corsair’s cans and practicality remains an issue – Bluetooth often isn’t present on many models and a mic that isn’t removable, along with garish gamer styling, makes use as an everyday, outdoors headset a tough sell on many units. With this combination of connectivity features, the Virtuoso RGB Wireless XT is in a league of its own. The closest alternative would be Steelseries’ Arctis 9 and Arctis Pro headsets, but they don’t carry the same visual appeal, nor do they support the Apt-X codec for high-quality sound over Bluetooth.
If you’re looking to save some money and don’t mind skipping Bluetooth altogether, Logitech’s G Pro X Wireless headset is a great alternative that’s more comfortable, but less practical.
How long will it last?
This headset should last you about three to four years, depending on your usage style. The delicate pleather is likely to fall apart first after intensive use, and I have my concerns about battery life over the years as it isn’t the best to begin with.
Should I buy it?
If you’re in the market for a new wireless gaming headset and want it to double as your everyday, go-to headphones, the Corsair Virtuoso RGB Wireless XT is certainly worth considering. It’s a little pricey, but as it can replace multiple