When we looked at the Corsair HS50 gaming headset last fall, we were initially concerned with the build quality concessions made to keep its price down, but we ultimately came away impressed with a headset that got the job done without breaking the bank. Now, Corsair is back with the HS70. Like a superhero after a continuity reset, Corsair's budget headset has returned with a very slightly updated look and noteworthy new powers. The cord is gone, replaced with a wireless USB dongle, and there's now 7.1 surround sound virtualization on tap.
Once again, Corsair is going for a premium-feeling headset with a relatively budget-minded sticker price of $90. Since this headset is so similar to the HS50, we'll be digging for differences between the two to see if the wireless connectivity and surround sound are worth the extra $40 Corsair is asking for the HS70.
Unveiling an upgraded piece of hardware means keeping the features that work while trying to bring something fresh to justify a higher price tag. The build quality on the HS70 is all about not fixing what isn't broken. In fact, the headset is all but identical to its predecessor. The only visible differences come from what isn't there with this headset. If you cut off the cord, you'd have a hard time telling the HS70 apart from the HS50 in a lineup.
Both headsets feature the same strong metal band and earcup harnesses, as well as the same plastic casing. The headband uses well-cushioned leatherette with a quilted-stitch pattern, and the ear cups seem to use the same material without the quilting. The actual differences between the HS70 and the HS50 are a Micro-USB charging port on the left earcup where a cord would otherwise go, and a power button on the right one. The mute button and microphone are in the same spots on the left ear, too.
That all means that while wearing them, the HS70 feels identical to the HS50. The headset offers enough clamping force to stay on without budging during normal use, perhaps until you start headbanging. The earcups swivel just enough to account for different head shapes, but not enough to sit flat on your collar when you take the headset off to get some air. The mic bends easily in and out of the way with a steel gooseneck-style boom arm and holds its position firmly.
Like the HS50, the HS70 looks good, too. However, while the mic is removable like with the HS50, the fact that the HS70 require a USB connection means you won't usually be able to wear them outside the house. You could, however, plug them into your work computer and wear them for calls and music alike without getting a second look. Corsair went with a simpler color scheme this time, too—you can get the HS70 with white or black plastic. Alongside PCs, the PlayStation 4 is the only console supported by the HS70s, so Corsair has forgone the blue- and green-accented options offered by the HS50 to coordinate with the latest consoles from Sony and Microsoft.