Full immersion into a game requires more than just one of the best gaming PCs. It also requires great visuals and fantastic audio. And the best way to get great audio with a PC set up is through the best PC gaming headsets.
The Best PC Gaming Controller. Updated October 29. The Sony DualShock 4 Wireless Controller (the newer CUH-ZCT2 model) is the best PC game controller for most people. 1 It’s comfortable to hold for long periods of time, it’s responsive, it works over both Bluetooth and Micro-USB, and it works great with Steam, the place where most PC.
- The best TV for use as a PC monitor in the 40-43 inch size is the Sony KD43X720E. The Sony X720E supports most common resolutions and 4:4:4 chroma. It has an IPS panel with good viewing angles that will not cause any uniformity issues if you sit close to the TV, unlike the similarly priced Samsung UN40NU7100.
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Whether it’s to hear over the fans blasting away inside your PC or the fact that gaming monitors usually come without speakers, you’ll want to look into a quality pair of cans. Maybe you want a little privacy or want to avoid waking the neighbors or roommates. Either way, quality audio is of the utmost importance for an immersive gaming experience and one of the best headsets is your best way to get there.
And for that immersion, to experience every detail inside the worlds of the best PC games, it’s not just about sound quality but also a good sound stage. Whether it’s hearing your own death ad nauseum in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, or experiencing running around apocalyptic Washington D.C. in Division 2, you’ll want a pair that can place you in the middle of the action.
We’ve rounded up the best headphones here, loaded with all the bells and whistles you could ask for, so check out the best PC gaming headsets on the market 2019 has to offer.
1. HyperX Cloud Revolver S
Interface: Wired (USB) Features: 7.1-channel surround sound, 50mm drivers, Dolby DSP, 3.5mm jack
When we first sat down to review the HyperX Cloud Revolver S, we were a tad conflicted. On one hand, it boasts incredible 7.1-channel surround sound, delivered through Dolby's trademark digital signal processor. On the other, it's extremely expensive when compared to other similar headsets. Fortunately, as one of Kingston's most subdued pair of cans we've ever seen (or heard), the pure comfort and top-notch sound more than make up for its high price and weirdly placed detachable mic. And that’s why it tops our list of the best PC gaming headsets.
Read the full review:HyperX Cloud Revolver S
2. SteelSeries Arctis Pro
PC gaming’s best kept secret
Interface: Wired (USB) Features: 40mm drivers, Retractable boom microphone, DTS Headphone:X v2.0, RGB lighting, Included DAC
SteelSeries is known for offering impeccable audio, but the SteelSeries Arctis Pro takes things to the next level. This headset doesn’t just offer up immersive surround sound for all the explosive action of your favorite games, but thanks to its included DAC (digital to audio converter), the Arctis Pro also serves you well when listening to your favorite music. One of the best PC gaming headsets to date, this one’s a little on the pricey side, but when you consider just how comfortable and exceptional sounding this headset is, well, it’s easy to see why it’s one of the best gaming headsets you can buy today.
Read the full review:SteelSeries Arctis Pro
3. Astro A50 Wireless
Interface: Wireless Features: Dolby Digital 7.1 surround sound; Works with PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3, PC, and mobile; Astro Audio; 5.8GHz wireless tech with MixAmp; 6.0mm uni-directional noise cancelling mic; USB charging with base station
Back when the original Astro A50 was released, we called it a ‘game-changing, experience-enhancing headset.’ Thankfully, its wireless successor follows close behind – while adding in wireless functionality. It’s not ready to rock with your PC, but with PS4, Xbox One and legacy consoles as well – it’s a headset that’s robust and versatile.
Read the full review:Astro A50 Wireless
4. Beyerdynamic Custom Game
Interface: Wired (3.5mm) Features: Sound Slider, Soft ear pads, Changeable design covers, Detachable cable
While it’s more expensive than we’d like, the Beyerdynamic CUSTOM Game is one of the best PC gaming headsets we’ve used in some time. It doesn’t feature flashy surround sound or wireless functionality, unfortunately. However, this headset does excel in two of the most important categories: sound and comfort. Seriously, once you put it on and experience your games in headphones this amazing, there’s no looking back.
Read the full review: Beyerdynamic Custom Game
5. Corsair HS50 Stereo Gaming Headset
Interface: Wired (analog) Features: 50mm drivers, Easy on-ear volume and mute controls, Multi-platform compatibility
Usually when you're purchasing anything, including gaming peripherals, you get what you pay for. You don't go into Walmart, pick up a $50/£50 gaming headset and expect to be blown away, at least not usually. Well, Corsair takes this rule and turns it on its head. The Corsair HS50 is, for the budget gamer, the best PC gaming headset you can get today. Retailing at $50 in the US, the HS50 has sound and mic quality that rivals headsets that are double the price. Everything, down to the build materials, radiates quality. If you don't mind forgoing some extra bells and whistles – like 7.1 surround and Bluetooth connectivity, for example – then you need to take a look at the Corsair HS50.
Read the full review: Corsair HS50 Stereo Gaming Headset
6. SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless
Interface: Wireless (Bluetooth) Features: Dual-battery charging system, Bluetooth connectivity, 40mm drivers
Compromises are a part of everyday life, but nobody actually enjoys making them. Luckily, you won’t have to with the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless. With it, you can get high quality lossless audio playback with a wireless headset. And, when you add the unique and ultra-convenient dual-battery charging system that lets you wear this headset in perpetuity to the mix, you have a formula for one of the best PC gaming headsets we've ever had the chance to use. If you have the money, and you absolutely need the best wireless headphones money can buy, this is your best bet.
Read the full review: SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless
7. Creative Sound BlasterX H7 Tournament Edition
Interface: Wired (USB and Analog) Features: 50mm drivers, reinforced steel and aluminum build, detachable and flexible mic
Creative has made a name for itself over the years for crafting sublime audio products – and the Creative Sound BlasterX H7 Tournament Edition further cements that legacy. Instead of just sitting back and iterating on the same winning formula of its previous products, Creative gives the Sound BlasterX H7 a full overhaul, resulting in a PC gaming headset that looks just as great as it sounds. If you’re looking for a comfortable, solid and meaty-sounding headset, the Creative Sound BlasterX H7 Tournament Edition is one of the best PC gaming headsets you can get.
Read the full review:Creative Sound BlasterX H7 Tournament Edition
8. Logitech G Pro Gaming Headset
Interface: Wired (Analog) Features: Passive noise isolation, Pro-G drivers, Detachable Mic, Dolby Atmos support
The Logitech G Pro gaming headset touts raw performance over your traditional ‘gamer aesthetic’, and it’s comfortable enough to wear for extended periods of time. This headset doesn’t provide much else, but it doesn’t need to. The Logitech G Pro Gaming Headset focuses squarely on providing outstanding quality, rather than filling out a sheet of bells and whistles. If value is what you’re searching for, the Logitech G Pro may be the best PC gaming headset for you.
Read the full review:Logitech G Pro Gaming Headset
9. Razer Nari Ultimate
Interface: Wireless Features: 8-hour battery life, HyperSense haptic feedback, compatible with many devices, 50mm drivers
Anyone can simply just listen to their games, but with the Razer Nari Ultimate, you can feel them as well. This gaming headset has haptic motors in the ear cups that make your ears vibrate. That’s more than enough to make this at least a curious headset, but when paired with the long battery life, amazing sound quality and comfortable build, it’s clearly one of the best gaming headsets out there. Do yourself a favor and turn off the haptic feedback, even when you’re listening to music.
Read the full review: Razer Nari Ultimate
10. Astro A20
Interface: Wireless Features: Long-lasting battery life, Astro Command Center software, console compatibility
If you're searching for one of the best PC gaming headsets, but the $300 price tags on those high-end cans make your stomach turn, you should take a closer look at the Astro A20. Boasting solid stereo sound performance in a wireless headset, not to mention the superb 15-hour battery life, this headset has all the necessary qualities that you might want in its price range. Sure, it doesn't come with surround sound, but it more than makes up for it with its economy and battery life.
Read the full review:Astro A20
11. Asus ROG Strix Fusion 700
Interface: Wireless (Bluetooth) Features: 7.1-channel surround sound, 50mm Neodymium drivers, Bluetooth, Built-in DAC
With its Republic of Gamers brand, Asus has built a reputation for being the name behind some of the best gaming peripherals to constantly meet consumer standards. The Asus ROG Strix Fusion 700 joins their ranks. Packed with 50mm Neodymium drivers and Bluetooth compatibility, this gaming headset provides fantastic sound quality without being tethered with a wire. It’s even compatible with other gaming platforms, so you won’t have to switch between different headsets. It’s a little pricey, but considering how good this headset sounds and how flexible it is, we’d say it’s worth it.
Read the full review: Asus ROG Strix Fusion 700
12. HyperX Cloud Flight
Interface: : Wireless Features: Long-lasting battery life, durable, adjustable steel slider, PC and PS4 compatibility, detachable noise-cancellation microphone
The HyperX Cloud Flight is a long-lasting wireless gaming headset that boasts up to 30 hours of battery life. This means you can likely get two full days of gaming in between full charges. There is a catch, however – unlike the Cloud Flight’s competition, namely the Astro A20, this gaming headset only offers stereo sound, ditching any surround sound capability. You can thankfully get circumvent that by messing around with the Dolby Access app, though, and the sound profile is balanced enough to make this a non-issue, making this one of the best PC gaming headsets in 2019.
Read the full review: HyperX Cloud Flight
13. Corsair HS70 Wireless Gaming Headset
Interface: Wireless Features: Corsair CUE, Virtual 7.1 surround, Discord-certified unidirectional microphone
Corsair unveiled one of the best PC gaming headsets late last year with the Corsair HS50, and now, it has taken it to the next level by making it wireless and flourishing it with virtual surround sound capabilities. These features on their own might make a great gaming headset, but when you add in the fantastic Corsair CUE software on top of it, you get a complete package that would make a great addition to your gaming setup.
Read the full review: Corsair HS70 Wireless Gaming Headset
14. Corsair Void Pro RGB Wireless
Interface: : Wireless Features: : 50mm drivers, noise-cancelling microphone, RGB lighting, Dolby Headphone 7.1 audio
It wasn't that long ago that Corsair was only known for PC components. However, over the last five years or so, it has possibly become better known for its gaming peripherals. With products like the Corsair Void RGB Wireless, it's not hard to understand why. While at first glance, some may scoff at the asking price, the Void Pro RGB Wireless delivers on that price point with great build quality, fantastic sound fidelity and – perhaps most importantly – RGB lighting. Plus, if you've already got a full arsenal of Corsair peripherals, the Void Pro RGB Wireless fits in perfectly, and can even synchronize lighting effects with other peripherals through the Corsair Utility Engine.
Read the full review: Corsair Void RGB Wireless
15. Turtle Beach Elite Pro Tournament
Interface: Wired (USB and 3.5mm) Features: Prospecs glasses relief, Multi-platform support, 50mm drivers
If you're the type of gamer who likes to let the world know you're playing games, the Turtle Beach Elite Pro Tournament may just be the best PC gaming headset for you. Not only is it extremely comfortable to wear, but its 50mm drivers mean that sound quality is always top notch – even if it could have a bit more bass in the mix. You really do have to like the 'gamer aesthetic' however, as its plastic build and orange highlights personify the style. Still, if you can get past or embrace the looks and the price tag, there's a lot to love about the Turtle Beach Elite Pro Tournament.
Read the full review: Turtle Beach Elite Pro Tournament
Bill Thomas and Gabe Carey have also contributed to this article
Image Credits: TechRadar
- Put your audio quality to the test in the best PC games
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- Best Overall:HP Pavilion Wave at Amazon, 'It delivers exceptional performance for the size, with plenty of power to spare.'
- Runner-Up, Best Overall:Apple Mac mini at Apple, “A sophisticated and compact desktop-class computer.'
- Best Budget:Lenovo IdeaCentre 310S at Walmart, 'The 500GB of hard drive storage has more than enough space for pictures, videos, and applications.”
- Best Alternative to Windows:Acer CXI3 Chromebox at Amazon, “Browsing the web with 20 tabs open and streaming 4K video won’t slow you down.'
- Best Gaming:Lenovo Legion C530 Cube at Lenovo, “Built with one-touch, tool-free access to all the inner workings you might want to upgrade later on.”
- Runner-Up, Best for Gaming:MSI Trident 3 Arctic at MSI.com, 'One of the smallest VR-ready PCs ever made.'
- Best Value:ASUS VivoMini PC at Amazon, “The VESA support for wall mounting makes it the perfect media machine.'
- Best for Business:HP ProDesk 400 at Amazon, 'Designed to hold up for more than 120,000 hours of use.'
- Best Kit:Intel NUC8 Mini PC Kit at Amazon, 'The smallest NUC Intel has ever created, and also the most powerful.'
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: HP Pavilion Wave
At first glance, it’s easy to mistake the HP Pavilion Wave for a stylish Bluetooth speaker or digital assistant. It’s actually both of these things, but it’s also a mini PC packed with plenty of features. And that unique design serves a purpose — the top of the Pavilion Wave is a parabolic speaker that directs high-quality audio (from B&O Play) 360 degrees around the room.
The Pavilion is powered by a 7th-generation quad-core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and both a hard drive and solid-state drive that are 1TB and 256GB respectively. It delivers exceptional performance for the size, with plenty of power to spare for demanding tasks like video or image editing. This PC can easily handle 4K video playback, and multi-monitor support ensures that you can watch video on one monitor and multitask on another. Built-in Amazon Alexa adds voice control so you can check a calendar, create shopping lists, or ask questions without pulling up a browser.
The compact design weighs a nominal six pounds and measures only 9.25 inches in height.
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Apple Mac mini
While Apple’s laptops and all-in-one desktops get all the glory, the Mac mini is a sophisticated and compact desktop-class computer. As with most Apple products, the mini’s design is the first thing you notice — available in Apple’s muted Space Gray color, the hardware measures a mere 7.7 x 7.7 x 1.4 inches and weighs under three pounds. At that size, it seems like the mini might have performance limitations. But that’s not the case.
Apple’s move to a solid-state drive ensures the mini will run faster, cooler and quieter. Buyers can choose between two 8th-generation Intel processors (i3 or i5) as well as up to 64GB of RAM and 2TB of SSD storage. Note that the RAM is user-upgradeable after purchase, but the SSD is not. An Intel UHD Graphics 630 chip won’t satisfy most gamers, but it’ll work fine for basic gameplay and 4K video playback. Capable of powering up to three displays at once, the mini comes equipped with four USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports alongside HDMI and dual USB 3 ports.
Best Budget: Lenovo IdeaCentre 310S
With a striking design and affordable price tag, the Lenovo IdeaCentre 310S is a compact PC the whole family can enjoy. Packed with 500GB of hard drive storage, there’s more than enough space for pictures, videos, and applications. The IdeaCentre 310S also includes 4GB of RAM, an AMD A9-series processor, and AMD’s Radeon graphics card that can handle 1080p video playback with aplomb but probably won’t be able to handle 4K streaming.
If the lack of 4K streaming isn’t a dealbreaker, then the Lenovo has plenty of other convenient features. For one, it’s tiny — nearly 50% smaller than the average desktop-class PC. Measuring less than 3.5 inches wide, the hardware is easy to fit on or under a desk. However, the small size didn’t prohibit Lenovo from cramming in a bevy of ports. The front of the computer is adorned with four USB 2.0 ports as well as a built-in media reader for a variety of memory cards. Lenovo has even included a DVD/CD burner, which is often only found on full-size desktop hardware. The addition of 802.11ac Wi-Fi standards ensures the Lenovo can browse and download at fast speeds.
Best Alternative to Windows: Acer CXI3 Chromebox
If you’re looking for solid performance but don’t necessarily need Windows, the Acer CXI3 Chromebook is a terrific mini PC. It comes equipped with an Intel i7 processor (8th generation), 16GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Even browsing the web with 20 tabs open and streaming 4K video won’t slow you down. Chrome OS isn’t a gaming system, but it can handle some browser-based games.
The hardware itself falls firmly in the mini PC category. Measuring 5.9 x 5.9 x 1.6 inches in size and weighing only 1.2 pounds, it’s lighter than the vast majority of laptops, let along desktop units. The black plastic shell is low-profile and designed to hide the hardware components inside. The front of the computer is well-equipped with two USB 3.0 ports, a microSD card slot, power button, and a headphone jack. The rear of the hardware adds in more connectivity with four additional USB 3.0 ports, HDMI, USB Type-C and Ethernet.
Best for Gaming: Lenovo Legion C530 Cube
Small but capable, the Lenovo C530 is a serious piece of hardware in a portable package. It has the latest 8th Gen Intel Core i5 or i7 processors, 32GB of RAM and up to 256GB SSD, making this computer a true powerhouse. Fully capable of handling the latest in VR-gaming, you have your choice of NVIDIA’s GTX 1060, 1050 Ti, or 1050 graphics card. It will also last you into future, which takes some the sting out of the premium price tag: the C530 is built with one-touch, tool-free access to all the inner workings you might want to upgrade later on.
The exterior of the computer is just as smart as the inside, with an integrated carrying handle that makes it surprisingly portable. A slew of HDMI and USB ports on the back can quickly become a cable nightmare, but Lenovo has avoided this problem by adding a cable organizer in the back (a rare find on mini PCs).
Runner-Up, Best for Gaming: MSI Trident 3 Arctic
MSI’s Trident 3 Arctic is a small yet powerful VR-ready PC — it's actually one of the smallest VR-ready PCs ever made. Weighing only seven pounds and measuring 13.63 x 2.83 x 9.15 inches, it’s about as big as an Xbox One. For a desktop-grade gaming system, it’s lighter and slimmer than most gaming PCs on the market. It can also sit horizontally or vertically, depending on preference.
The Trident 3 runs on an 8th Gen Intel i7-8700 processor and an Nvidia GTX 1070 graphics card, which is enough power for playing 1080p games with ease. For a lower price tag, you can also get configurations with an Nvidia GTX 1060 or 1050 graphics card. The PC comes with 16GB of memory, a 256GB Solid State Drive and a 1TB hard drive, which is enough storage and memory for gameplay and multitasking with Windows 10. MSI’s proprietary cooling system means that when the PC is running, its fans are practically silent. But what’s most convenient about the MSI Trident 3 Arctic is its front-facing VR port, which makes plugging in VR headsets easy.
The only drawback is that the PC needs a pretty clunky external power adapter to work. But that aside, the MSI Trident 3 Arctic is a massively powerful VR gaming PC in a tiny, silent package.
Best Value: ASUS VivoMini PC
The ASUS VivoMini has long been a staple of the mini PC market and for very good reason. For home computing, the ASUS strikes an appealing balance between performance and price. Powered by a 7th-generation Intel i5 processor, the computer can also add up to 16GB of separately-purchased RAM and any 2.5-inch full-size SSD. Installing extra components isn’t for everyone, but the result is worth the time involved. That’s even truer when you consider the ASUS’ integrated 4K UHD graphics, built-in 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0. Two front-mounted USB ports include fast charging for quickly powering up portable devices, and the four-in-one card reader provides yet another option for media downloads.
The 5.1 x 5.1 x 2-inch footprint is incredibly compact, and the VESA support for wall mounting makes it the perfect media machine. ASUS even saw fit to include their media streaming applications and Remote Go! apps for boosting its entertainment capabilities. It’s easy to connect the VivoMini to your HDTV using HDMI input or DisplayPort++ connectivity.
Best for Business: HP ProDesk 400
If you’re on the hunt for a capable mini PC for business, the HP ProDesk 400 is an excellent option. Packed with an Intel i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD, the HP won’t buckle under pressure. If you require even more power, the ProDesk adds two bays and two half-height slots for expandable storage or extra RAM. At 6.69 x 13.3 x 10.79 inches in size, the computer easily fits underneath or on the side of a desk. A total of eight USB ports between the front and back means there’s plenty of inputs for multiple monitors.
As an investment for a small business, the HP is designed to hold up for more than 120,000 hours of use. “Sure Click “ technology protects against malware and viruses keeping both data and client information secure, and HP’s client manager is also included to defend against any data theft. Finally, HP Biosphere ensures that you’re always up to date with automatic updates and security checks.
Best Kit: Intel NUC8 Mini PC Kit
If you aren’t put off by the glowing skull, Intel’s NUC8 mini PC kit is a fantastic do-it-yourself option. The smallest NUC (Next Unit of Computing) Intel has ever created, it’s also the most powerful. Inside the compact hardware rests an 8th-generation Intel i7 processor with Radeon RX Vega M graphics with 4GB of dedicated memory. This kit is powerful enough for even hardcore PC gamers, so it’s more than capable of handling everyday processes like multitasking, streaming 4K video, or video editing. There’s even support for up to six 4K or 5K monitors with a variety of HDMI, Thunderbolt, USB and DisplayPort inputs.
As a do-it-yourself kit, getting the most out of this machine requires a little extra legwork. There’s support for up to 32GB of DDR4 RAM, but it must be purchased separately. The same goes for solid-state storage, which is easily installed after removing a few screws. If you aren’t afraid of a little assembly, the NUC8 has a winning combination of power and price that makes it a great option for do-it-yourself types.
What to Look for in a Mini PC
How To Optimize Pc For Gaming
Size -If you’re buying a mini PC, size is probably pretty important to you. While all the devices on our list are compact, some are more so than others, ranging from the size of a gaming console down to a deck of cards. Often times, the larger it is the more powerful it is, but the tradeoff is up to you.
Processing power - You’ll find that most processors are made by Intel and their power depends on how many cores each processor has: the more cores and the faster the speeds, the more powerful the processor. Depending on your use, though, you may not need the most powerful processor out there.
Mac Laptop For Gaming
RAM - RAM, or random access memory, is the hardware inside your mini PC that temporarily stores data. RAM lets a computer work with more information simultaneously, which usually has a big effect on total system performance. So how much do you need? We recommend at least 4GB of memory, although PCs will have an option to add more via a microSD card or hard drive.