Corsair is back again with another refresh of their current headset lineup, but do they stand on their own amongst the ever-growing competition?
With a smorgasbord of headsets now in our possession, we’ve found ourselves defaulting to one pair. The JBL Quantum 810s are the perfect combination of all-in-one connectivity and features. So when the Corsair HS65 Wireless landed on our desk, we were a little put off by the lack of noise canceling. However, after spending some time with Corsair’s latest, we were slightly more impressed.
Corsair HS65 Key Specs
- Frequency response: 20Hz-20kHz
- Drivers: Custom 50mm neodymium
- Connectivity: Wireless 2.4GHz, Bluetooth
- Weight: 275g
- Compatibility: Windows, macOS, PlayStation, Switch, Steam Deck
- Features: Lift-to-mute microphone, 7.1 surround sound
What’s in the box: HS65 headset, USB-A Wireless receiver, USB-A to C cable
There’s something to be said about the HS65 going slightly against the current Corsair aesthetic of flashy lights paired with the iCUE ecosystem. While these do support it, the overall design choices made make this feel like a true premium headset, with a more professional feel.
The Corsair HS65 has an understated outer shell. This is backed up by the smooth, matte finish across the whole body, which leaks into the cups and cushion that rests on your head. Not once in our testing did we ever feel like we wanted to tear them off due to hot ears, or a tightening grip.
This appears to be an everyday thing now, but our major complaint about the entire design is the microphone. The unattachable part drove our peripheral vision wild, and we wish Corsair – as well as all other manufacturers – would start to allow us to remove it, or stow it away. When connected to the Steam Deck, it’s almost pointless to have it on, and pulling it up barely does anything to satiate the need for a clear view.
This is where Corsair shines. The HS65 comes with 2.4GHz or Bluetooth. Regardless of where we plugged in the included wireless dongle, whether PC, Mac, or Steam Deck, it was immediately recognized. All it took was altering the game settings to get the surround sound working.
It sounds weird to say, but we appreciate how reactive the buttons are. Powering on the device is just a button press away, rather than holding it down. Bluetooth is a long press, and connecting over the 2.4GHz wireless was up and running in less than 10 seconds of plugging it in.
The Corsair HS65 might be the fastest setup you can get out of most of the headsets we’ve tested besides the completely wired options available.
We found Corsair’s latest to be a little flat in all aspects. Even after fiddling with equalizers and altering settings on the PC, we never found a good spot for the audio. This isn’t to say it’s bad, but we’ve definitely heard better and we’ve definitely played with better too.
The games we tested were Counter-Strike, Destiny 2, and Black Mesa, a remake of Half-Life. While all first-person shooters, we found that this is usually the best test of strength for headsets.
The ambient and surround sound design in these games can make or break a session for those that take their esports, MMOs, and single-player games seriously.
After altering the settings to support 7.1 over the 2.4GHz, we found that even despite the flat-sounding audio, they were loud and more than comfortable for lengthy sessions.
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In the game, you’ll need to connect over 2.4GHz to get the advertised surround sound, as Bluetooth isn’t supported.
Source Engine games like Counter-Strike and Black Mesa are where we saw the most success. Black Mesa is already more of a survival horror than its source material, and crawling through Office Complex and knowing what lurks in the vents took on new meaning with full surround audio.
Meanwhile, as we’ve seen before, the Corsair HS65 didn’t give us the skills needed to play a good game of Counter-Strike, but boy, did we know where people were to actually face them when they shot us silly.
However, in Destiny 2, while we heard all the usual suspects spawning thanks to the surround sound, we couldn’t muster much joy over it. The loudness is great, but even after altering the bass, Destiny 2 felt whisper-thin in comparison to other headsets. We could sit here and keep tinkering with the bass, but we then considered the potential for those on PlayStation consoles.
These types of settings and the tiny minutiae aren’t actively available on the PS4, and the PS5, while it now supports ‘3D Audio’, there’s still not a lot of work to be done with the bass end of things.
We also noticed that there’s no noise cancellation, but with how loud these can go, it shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
Still, the audio quality isn’t bad in the slightest, but the Corsair HS65 is just not as juicy as the competition.
There’s not much to report about the microphone itself, as it is just a bog-standard headset mic. You’ll find it’s completely fine when chatting over Discord, or in-game, but you’d want to avoid using it for voiceovers and the like for professional-sounding audio.
It’ll do in a pinch for a meeting, but you’re not going to get much out of it when it comes to streaming or content creation.
There’s nothing but love for the Corsair HS65 headset, with its comfortable cups, smooth aesthetic, and surprisingly minimalist design. However, when compared to our trusty JBL Quantum 810s, the sound doesn’t measure up in the slightest. Even when using equalizers and altering sound settings, things always felt a little flat.
However, for a PS5 alternative headset, one that we know will work straight out of the box, and if you’re willing to overlook certain faults, these are a decent choice in the massive roster of gaming headsets.