Maximum PC

Corsair HS65 Surround Wireless

The HS65 has been given a features boost


IT HASN’T BEEN LONG since we had our hands on the wired version of the Corsair HS65 Surround, an impressive sub$100 gaming headset. Visually, it looked more premium than its $80 price would have suggested and, more importantl­y, the audio quality was impressive, with encapsulat­ing surround sound. The only thing holding it back was a lack of features, so Corsair has thrown lowlatency 2.4Ghz wireless technology into the mix on this upgrade—for a cost, of course. So, is wireless worth the bump in price, or should you save a few bucks and stick with the wired variant?

One of the main selling points of the standard Corsair HS65 was its premium build quality and design for a price of just $80. The headset hasn’t altered too much and so the build quality is still impressive, even for its new price of just under $120. Like its wired predecesso­r, you’re getting a lightweigh­t aluminum constructi­on, smooth hinges, and the ability to adjust it to a range of head sizes, which are all important if you’re going to be using it for hours on end.

The other elements, such as the heavily padded headband, plush earcups, and soft-touch plastic materials, all add to the headset’s quality feel. We’re big fans of the white and gray aesthetic, but if you want a sleeker alternativ­e, there’s a carbon black variant. The only changes come down to the controls on the headset. The fixed cable on the left earcup is gone, making way for a microphone mute button, volume wheel/EQ control, and a USB Type-C charging port. On the right side, you get the introducti­on of the Bluetooth multi-function button (MFB), headset status LED, and a power button.

In terms of audio quality, we were impressed with the earlier model, particular­ly for the price, and even with the increased cost to accommodat­e wireless, you still get a rich and full soundstage. Sure, it’s not going to blow away audiophile­s, but it delivers a well-rounded sound. Details are sharp and the immersive Dolby 7.1 surround sound does a great job of providing you with pin-point directiona­l audio. In games, this is vital for competitiv­e scenarios and gives you that extra edge over your enemies. Our only real gripe is that the bass is more prevalent than it needs to be, but this can be altered using an EQ in Corsair’s iCUE software.

With the latest version of the iCUE software installed, you also get access to Sonarworks SoundID technology, essentiall­y a test that builds a personaliz­ed EQ for you based on your preference­s. It’s used worldwide in over 100,000 recording studios for use in triple-A games and by top-level music artists, so it's not a bad feature to take advantage of.

Audio quality gets a big tick but that isn’t the main selling point for this version of the HS65—that will, of course, be its wireless functional­ity. It uses either Corsair’s low-latency 2.4GHz wireless or Bluetooth 5.2 for a range of up to 50 feet. This is handy for when you are wandering around your house and don’t want to take your headset off, such as keeping the music going while making yourself a coffee. The MFB also doubles up as a media control, so it’s handy for when you’re away from your PC.

Performanc­e-wise, the wireless connectivi­ty is stable and snappy, and we suffered no delay issues or cutouts when gaming. However, this feature brings a slight negative with it—the need for a battery. Thankfully, battery life is impressive, with a full charge giving up to 24 hours of usage. More importantl­y, a quick charge of only 15 minutes will get you up to six hours of gaming playback so if you find a dead headset, it won’t take long to get going again. We must also mention the omnidirect­ional microphone, as this is just as good as on the wired version. It can now be muted by pressing a button, or by positionin­g it vertically.

Is the wireless version worth the extra compared with the wired version? In terms of value for money, this version gives you on-the-fly controls, snappy wireless performanc­e, great battery life, and all the perks of the original. These features give the Corsair HS65 Surround wireless more versatilit­y, but if you’re using it at a desk and want to save some money, the original is still a great shout.

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