Rounding out our recent coverage of Amazon’s entry into the gaming headset market comes the AmazonBasics Pro Gaming Headset. This product has a pretty volatile sale price, sometimes going for as low as $7 or up to $30 depending on the color you pick and when you look.
Given headsets twice its price were categorically bad gaming headsets, does this fair any better?
Editor’s note: This review was updated on March 17, 2020 to reflect changes in price.
Who is the AmazonBasics Pro Gaming Headset for?
- Gamers looking for a simple and cheap headset that works wherever you need, and don’t mind something that looks gaudy as hell.
- Parents looking for something to stick on their kids heads that won’t make their wallets hurt when it eventually breaks.
What’s in the box?
Like other AmazonBasics products, the AmazonBasics Pro Gaming Headset doesn’t come with much in the box. Apart from the brief instructions pamphlet, it’s just the headset and its detachable 3.5mm cord.
What’s the AmazonBasics Pro Gaming Headset like?
Don’t be fooled by the name, folks—this is not the gaming headset to buy if you’re looking to get into esports. Leaving aside the oxymoronic nature of giving something in a “basic” stable of products the “pro” moniker, this is still a very cheap headset. You get what you pay for—to a degree, at least.
The AmazonBasics Pro Gaming Headset is made primarily of plastic, and not the durable plastic you’d find on a premium pair of headphones. A single strip of metal runs through the band, lined by what feels like cardboard through the leatherette cushioning, but it doesn’t really make things feel any sturdier. This headset is, in a word, flimsy. It hasn’t broken in any way during my time with it, but the ease with which I can bend it (in places it probably shouldn’t bend) doesn’t inspire confidence. It reminds me a lot of the Beyblades I played with as a kid, which probably makes sense given their comparable price.
However, flimsy though it may be, this isn’t an uncomfortable headset. The band is relatively loose, but its cushions are actually pretty nice. The earpads are wide, with thick cushions covered in leatherette. The headphones don’t have rotating hinges to accommodate different head shapes, but I found it only takes a little adjustment to find a decent position.
The attached microphone sits on the side of the left headphone on a rotating flexible plastic arm. I never ran into any issues using it while gaming or talking over Discord, but when recording it with a program that doesn’t offer any sort of noise reduction, there was some pretty noticeable static. The in-line control unit’s mute switch has a potentially confusing label, but otherwise it was easy to use.
Gaming with the AmazonBasics Pro Gaming Headset was pretty straightforward. This is a 3.5mm headset—it’s basically just a plug-and-play affair. There’s no splitter included, so if you’re a PC gamer with a separate mic and headphone jack, you’ll need to find one elsewhere. Otherwise, this works well on console and PC.
I never ran into anything particularly glaring while testing it with various games. Playing games like Dauntless and Overwatch, this headset had no trouble creating a realistic enough soundscape. There’s no surround sound, or any other more premium features, but otherwise this is a pretty competent stereo gaming headset.
How does the AmazonBasics Pro Gaming Headset Sound?
The AmazonBasics Pro Gaming Headset might not feel like a “pro” headset (whatever that means), but for $10 it sure sounds like one. Aside from a dip in the bass range and minor de-emphasis in the high range, this headset offers pretty accurate sound.
The underemphasized bass means explosions might not come through quite as clearly as they should while gaming. The difficulty with the highs likely won’t pop up too much, but sibilants (F, S, and SH sounds) occupy that part of the sound spectrum, and not being able to hear them clearly can make voices sound a little less natural.
Listening to music, the underemphasized bass can result in, well, bass tracks sounding less prominent. The dip in the highs can affect cymbals and some string sounds, which is very apparent in In The Face Of Evil by Magic Sword, the underlying bass track comes in a little quieter than it should—and the very high sweeping swells in the background are just a little too faint.
The AmazonBasics Pro Gaming Headset ear pads make it easy to get a good seal for isolating you from outside sound—just don’t expect anything like active noise cancelling. You shouldn’t have to worry about homebound distractions like a whirring fridge in another room or roommates talking down the hall, but anything louder than that might cause a little trouble.
The headset’s microphone is a little all over the place, under-emphasizing bass and mid range sounds. Most voices can come through slightly less clearly, though I never ran into any particular issues using Discord. As I mentioned above, there was pervasive static over the mic output in a number of programs, however something like Discord’s noise reduction function got rid of it without problem. For in game communications, it’ll do just fine, but don’t expect anything you can reasonably record with.
Should you buy the AmazonBasics Pro Gaming Headset?
If you’re looking for the absolute least amount of money to spend on a gaming headset, you could do a lot worse than the AmazonBasics Pro Gaming Headset. Its build quality is questionable, to say the least, but it sounds better than headsets in its own product line that are twice the price.
If you’re not quite in a place where you need a headset that’s cheaper than some deli sandwiches, the Razer Kraken X or HyperX Cloud Alpha are both better options, without a doubt. However, relatively cheap though they may be, they’re still five times and 10 times more expensive than the AmazonBasics Pro Gaming Headset. At time of writing, the red and purple versions are the cheapest ones, so you’ll have to be comfortable wearing a big gaudy piece of plastic if you want the best deal. However, for often under $10, having to deal with a purple or bright red headset is a small price to pay.