Plantronics RIG 700HX Review: Lightweight Punching Above Its Weight Class

NOTE: This article is a contribution and do not necessarily represent the views of Player One.

Plantronics has been building up a line of quality headphones over the years and the most recent release is the RIG 700HX, a wireless offering built for the Xbox One and PC (the PS4 version of the headset is called the RIG 700HS, which is identical outside of the whole “wireless headsets made for one console can’t work on the other” thing*). How does the 700HX fit into the lineup of Plantronics gear? Kind of awkwardly, to be honest.

While that statement sounds a little harsh, it should be mentioned that the 700HX is a really good headset on its own. The 700HX features a virtually seamless set up thanks to a wireless USB-powered dongle, and once everything is plugged in, you’re good to go. The most immediately noticeable feature of the 700HX is just how light it is. Seriously, I think I’ve used earbuds that weigh more than this headset does. Considering this is a wireless headset, that’s very impressive.

However, there’s a reason why the headset barely weighs anything, and it’s because common features you’d expect on any pair of headphones have been removed, notably the adjustment headband. Instead of sliding the ear cups out to perfectly fit them to your ears, the 700HX uses three notches built into the headband to hold the cups in. If the standard setup is too small, you pop the cups out of the headband and slot them into the next notch. It’s weird, but thankfully my head fit nicely into the largest notch.

Outside of the odd adjustments, the 700HX is really comfortable. The ear cups don’t squeeze too tightly, and because the headset is so light, there is virtually no neck strain or pressure on the top of your head. I wore my 700HX headset for a few hours straight and didn’t even notice. The ear cups also have a cloth fabric on them, allowing a little bit of breathability. This means your head won’t get too hot wearing the headset, while still blocking out some noise around you.

As far as performance goes, the 700HX holds up very well. Games sound crystal clear. Playing through something like Gears 5 is perfect with the 700HX, because you can pick up on the tiny details of footsteps and soft dialog, while getting to enjoy the full sounds of explosions and other bombastic moments. There is no way to easily adjust the audio, even with preset settings, but the audio balance is nice and feels like it’s right down the middle between high, mid, and low-range sound.

The side view of the RIG 700HX
The side view of the RIG 700HX Plantronics

In-game chat sounds clear as well, and is easily adjustable with a dial on the back of the headset. Simply slide the dial one way to maximize chat, or the other to put more emphasis on game audio. A second dial also adjusts overall volume. This system works great, but because the dials are on the same ear cup and are located on the back of the headset, it’s easy to get them confused for one another. Thankfully, chat adjustments can usually be made before starting a game, and once you find a good balance point, you don’t really need to move the dials around any further.

The in-game chat also mixes your own audio back in as well, which is nice. If you are talking with your friends while playing a game, you’ll hear yourself a little bit along with your friends and the game. This makes talking feel more natural, as you aren’t drowning yourself out with other audio.

I also really appreciate any headset that includes a removable microphone arm, which the 700HX has. The microphone arm isn’t terribly distracting or anything, but when you just want to use the headset to listen to your game without bothering anyone else or to simply listen in higher quality than your TV speakers, it’s nice to just pop it off and place it to the side.

Another minor feature that goes a long way is battery level indicators. Many headsets I’ve used seem to skip this entirely, which makes it frustrating when you are playing a game and your headphones die unexpectedly. While the 700HX doesn’t specifically tell you exactly how charged your headset is, it does mention if the battery levels are high, medium, or low when you turn it on. It’s a small touch, but a welcomed one.

The RIG 700HX is an incredibly lightweight headset, but don't think that means it skips out on quality audio
The RIG 700HX is an incredibly lightweight headset, but don't think that means it skips out on quality audio Plantronics

However, compared to the other headsets from Plantronics, the 700HX does seem a little out of place. One step above the 700HX is the 800LX. The 800LX is very similar to the 700HX, but features a more cushioned headband, a battery that is twice the size (24 hours compared to 12 hours from the 700HX), and higher quality audio with a punchier bass. The 800LX also includes audio presets if you want to customize your audio to what you are playing or watching, and a subscription to Dolby Atmos for a more immersive audio experience. Pretty much the only things that the 700HX has over the 800LX is the 700HX is slightly lighter and the mic for the 800LX can be flipped up, but can’t be removed.

While many headset companies offer different products for different prices, these headsets usually have bigger gaps with price tags. However, the 800LX is only $20 more than the 700HX. While I don’t want the price of the 800LX to go up, it seems like the 700HX is a bit lacking for a very similar price.

The 700HX is a fine headset. It is easy to use, has a removable microphone, and is insanely lightweight. While it features some great audio quality, the 800LX has noticeably higher quality audio and is only a couple of dollars more. If you’re looking to get the 700HX, you’ll be happy with your purchase, but I do recommend spending the extra cash to get the better overall headset.

*NOTE: This issue isn’t exclusive to Plantronics. All wireless headsets can only be compatible with one console or the other due to chat protocols. This is something enforced by Microsoft and Sony.

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