Corsair HS50 Review
Pros: Relatively inexpensive, fairly comfortable
Cons: Lackluster microphone quality, not as convenient to use
Our Analysis and Test Results
This headset finished at the bottom of the pack, only really outperforming its fellow Corsair model, the Void Pro RGB, and the BENGOO X-40. It has better audio abilities, costs about $50 less, and is more comfortable than the Void Pro, but is less convenient to use and doesn't have the same number of lights. The HS50 is about $15 more than the BENGOO, but the BENGOO is just plain bad and we wouldn't really recommend anyone to get it.
We scored these headsets by buying all of the best and most promising models, then pitting them against each other in a series of head-to-head challenges. We divided these tests into four weighted rating metrics, with the results of the Corsair shown below.
Responsible for 40% of the overall score for the HS50, our Comfort metric is the most important out of the entire bunch. Our group of testers wore each headset for a lengthy period of time, then filled out a questionnaire on the comfort levels of each one. The Corsair HS50 did reasonably well, meriting a 6 out of 10 for its results.
Opinions on the comfort level of this headset were widely split amongst our panel of testers, with most people being perfectly happy to wear this headset all day and a few absolutely hating it after only a few hours. This discrepancy was mainly due to the limited adjustability of the headband and the size and shape of the ear cups. All of the testers that disliked this headset couldn't adjust the fit properly because they ran out of adjustment range or there was too much pressure pinching their ears or forcing them into an unnatural shape.
The headband is padded with leatherette and the fit is overall on the snugger side — with some of our testers with larger ears noting that the ear cups are shallow enough to actually hit the speaker plate while the headset is worn.
The ear cups have semi-firm padding, again covered with leatherette, which can cause them to get a little sticky and sweaty in warmer weather. However, it is on the lighter side at around 11 ounces.
The Corsair HS50 again delivered a slightly above acceptable performance in our set of sound quality tests, earning another 6 out of 10 for its results. We tested how well you can identify the location of a sound, the quality of both voice and music, and used a trio of benchmarking audio tests, as well as how well each gaming headset does at blocking out external noises to determine the score, which combined accounts for 30% of the total score.
The Corsair does decently well at signifying the location of sounds, doing a bit better with the quieter in-game sounds, like someone walking behind you, then the louder sounds, like gunfire or a vehicle cruising by. Our testers usually got the locations correct for footsteps, but misidentified it a handful of time with the vehicles or gunshots.
Voice is about average sounding, not coming across as terribly distorted but a noticeable difference from talking to someone in person. Music comes across with slightly higher quality, with decent bass and treble. However, the mid-range tones — especially voice — can get washed out and harder to hear over a game's soundtrack.Unfortunately, the HS50 doesn't do all that well at reducing ambient noise levels and didn't impress in our benchmarking tests. There was plenty of parasitic buzz in the bass quality test and the drivers didn't stay particularly well matched through the higher frequencies in the driver matching test. It did a little better in the binaural recording evaluation, with the position coming across fine, but the knocks on the wooden door sounding less realistic than they should.
The performance of the HS50 slipped a little into our microphone test, earning it a 5 out of 10 for its uninspiring results. We looked at both how it picked up your voice and how well it filtered out undesirable sounds for this metric, which is worth 20% of the total score.
This headset doesn't do the greatest job at picking up your voice, making it sound flat and far away, with a noticeable lack of bass and a decent amount of fuzz. It is slightly sibilant with "S" sounds, but doesn't make "T" sounds sound overly harsh. It does an alright job at failing to pick up background noises like typing, but your teammates can definitely hear if you are eating or have a fan running in the background. It does much worse with side conversations, picking them up if people are talking anywhere around you in a 25' radius, with the full side conversation usually being perfectly understandable to the other people you are playing with.
Ease of Use
For the remaining 10% of the total score, we assessed how easy to use and convenient each product is to actually use. The Corsair HS50 again failed to distinguish itself, meriting another mediocre 5 out of 10.
There are controls right on the headphones of the HS50 to control both the volume and mute the microphone. We liked that it is fairly easy to quickly hit the push button to mute the mic, but quite disappointed at the surprisingly short cord (6.8') on the HS50. We found this to be quite limiting and we routinely found that we got caught by the shorter cable. The cable also isn't detachable, so if you damage it, be prepared to replace the whole headset.
The mic is detachable, but you don't have the option to enable a sidetone.
This headset is the right price for a value purchase in this category, but you can get so much more bang for the buck with some other models.
All in all, we didn't find anything majorly wrong with this headset and it gets the job done. However, it is incredibly far from being one of our favorites. It might be worth considering if you can find it deeply discounted, but otherwise, there are far better headsets that cost the same.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer