E3 2016 – Plantronics Gaming Showcase Preview – NASA Approved
Plantronics is well-known for making quality headsets. They’ve even been deemed high enough quality to accompany NASA astronauts into space. The company had a smattering of new products on offer at E3 2016, and we spent a little bit of time checking out the headsets they had on offer.
Starter and VR
First up, the RIG 400HS. This over-ear headset boasts a response range from 20 Hz – 20 KHz, ensuring that you hear everything from low-range bass to high-range gunfire. This is Plantronics’ entry-level headset, but still features compatibility with the RIGS line of accessories. This and all headsets shown by Plantronics at E3 include a microphone. In this case, muting the microphone is done by simply flipping it up.
Interestingly, Plantronics is planning to support the PlayStation VR headset with the RIG 4VR. This headset sports a 20 Hz – 20 KHz range as well, using similar 40 mm dynamic drivers. The ear cups are shaped specifically to work well with the VR headset, and the cord is just under four feet, which should provide enough length to move around with, but be short enough that you won’t trip over it as you play immersive VR titles.
Next, the RIG 600. This is a platform-agnostic headset (though technically, since all of the featured wired headsets use a 3.5 mm connector, they will work on any console, phone, tablet, etc., which has a standard headphone jack). It features the same response range of 20 Hz – 20 KHz, and a large 40 mm driver inside the ear cup. The ear cup that the 600 comes with is its standout feature, which has a more breathable material to allow for longer, comfortable gaming sessions. The microphone on this headset can be swapped out, and you can choose between a boom mic, inline, or none at all.
Last but certainly not least, we have Plantronics’ ultimate headset, the RIG 800HS. This is a wireless headset, geared towards those who want the freedom of a wireless headset but don’t want to be constantly worrying about the thing’s battery life. The 800HS features an impressive 24-hours battery life. This is 24 hours of play time, not just standby. The headset maintains the same response range as the other headsets of 20 Hz – 20 KHz, and the same dynamic 40 mm drivers as well. The base station has controls to balance game versus chat audio levels, as well as EQ settings, and can provide 1.5 hours of play time after a 30 minute quick charge, for when you just gotta play.
A Modular Approach
For those unaware, Plantronics took a more modular design to their latest round of headsets. You can swap out the headband and microphone, for instance, and customize the look of your headset. Furthermore, while other manufacturers allow you to swap out a headset’s earcup cushion, Plantronics allows you to swap out the entire ear cups. The company claims that swapping out just the cushion is nice, but changes the sound signature of the ear cup, an unintended and unwanted side effect. By swapping out the entire ear cup, each cup can have better acoustics tuned specifically for the cushion type which is paried with it.
Plantronics has been in the electronics game for several decades, and their latest gaming options contain premium features at affordable prices. The RIG 800 HS will have an MSRP of $149.99, and availability this September 2016. The RIG 4VR will arrive with an MSRP of $69.99, and launch holiday 2016. The RIG 400 and 600 series will be available fall 2016, for as-yet undisclosed MSRPs.