Console comforts

Plantronics RIG 800HS. By Ade Putra (GameAxis)

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Plantronics RIG 800HS. By Ade Putra (GameAxis)

My Reading Room




DRIVERS 40mm, Dynamic

MIC Uni-directional


PRICE $289

Wireless gaming headsets often feel like a compromise, where questions of price, comfort, and quality get obfuscated by battery life and convenience. While I’d still recommend headphones paired with something like a ModMic for PC, that combination falls  at when it comes to console gaming. I’d long though we’d just have to settle for what’s out there, and then the Plantronics RIG 800HS arrived. 

Made for the PlayStation 4 (there’s also a RIG 800HX variant for Xbox One), this is one of the most comfortable gaming headsets I’ve tried by far. The magic comes down to the memory-foam ear cushions, soft faux leather and lightweight construction (290 grams).

The faux leather did raise some concern given our humid weather. The ones on the RIG 800HS work great in air-conditioned offices and hold up well in living rooms, but if you’re cooped up in a warm bedroom, then it may get uncomfortable by the second hour. My ears weren’t feeling hot per se, but the cushions were getting a little too skin-sticky for my taste.

The over-the-ear cups are a perfect fit too, with just enough clamping force to stay on. I’ve tried supposedly full-sized headsets that pinch and trap your ears, while others may as well have been a latched-on headcrab with how tight they get.

I should also point out that the height adjustment isn’t ratcheting or sliding. Instead, the ear cups are simply snap-fit to the frame along three vertically arranged slots. They’re easy to set, and I was lucky enough to find the default center position perfect, though the lack of finer control may prove troublesome to others.

As mentioned, the RIG 800HS is designed for the PlayStation 4. Since the console doesn’t support Bluetooth headphones, Plantronics provides a wireless station connected via USB. It comes with an optical cable and port for those with earlier PS4 models, but the Slim only requires USB. You can hook it up to a PC too and everything will work just fine.

Once powered and connected, the headset will spook you with some verbal feedback. There doesn’t appear to be any way to change those into beeps or something less distracting, but I learned to live with it after a while.

The 40mm drivers on the RIG 800HS offers a balance that works well across the entertainment board. Vocals are crisp, with enough midrange clarity and separation to make it a good musical companion. I was surprised by the soundstage too, which makes it a great fit for shooters such as Star Wars Battlefront II (for all the game’s problems, it does have some great sound). I also put the headset through Dragon Ball FighterZ, Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum Session!, Nioh, and a bunch of demos on the PlayStation 4. I even watched a few shows through the PS4 Netflix app. Let’s just say that audio performance is not the weakest link here; I’m firing that arrow at the microphone instead.

The recording quality and pickup is good, plus the flip-down boom is smooth, swift, and painless, if a tad low. What lets it all down is the lack of noise cancelling. Listeners heard background chatter and the odd clink of glassware more often than usual, compared to other headsets or the old ModMic.

Plantronics states the headset has a wireless range of up to 10 meters, which has held reasonably true in a fiveroom apartment. If the base station is in the living room, then I can easily grab a refill from the kitchen without losing a signal. Battery life is superb and should easily last through marathon weekend sessions. I left the headset streaming music overnight and found it still going at the 22-hour mark.

Now, there’s something fairly critical not mentioned on the box. There’s an extra dial on the left ear cup that balances the levels between in-game audio and voice chat. This feature requires the optical cable on the wireless station to be plugged in. You may recall that the PS4 Slim does not have an optical port, which means one of their marketed features will be rendered useless unless you have the original model, a PS4 Pro, or fork out extra for a HDMI audio extractor. 

It’s not quite perfect, but the Plantronics RIG 800HS is exactly what I was looking for as a go-to recommendation for console gamers. It isn’t physically or sonically fatiguing, either, so you can bank on some great gaming nights.


"Sound that’s worth the price tag with comfort and long battery life to boot, but the mic could be better."

My Reading Room
The headband is not freely adjustable, and only has three snap-on sizes.
The headband is not freely adjustable, and only has three snap-on sizes.
Since the PS4 doesn’t directly support Bluetooth headphones, you need to connect the wireless base station to a free USB port.
Since the PS4 doesn’t directly support Bluetooth headphones, you need to connect the wireless base station to a free USB port.


My Reading Room