Plantronics RIG 500 PRO Esports Edition review: Modular at odds with itself

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The RIG PRO 500 Esports Edition may not be entirely worth its (light)weight in die-cast metal but it's still a sturdy, modular headset with above-average stereo and top-notch Dolby delivery built for rough and tumble gamers.

Strengths

  • Spectacular modular.
  • Solid stereo output with surprisingly sound directional mixing.
  • Sturdy and stylish gunmetal grey band.
  • Dolby Atmos included.

Could be better

  • Quality wireless options at the same price.
  • Console-licensed options aren't worth the $10 saved.
  • Game audio dial is neat but lacking in features.
  • Noise isolation not what's it's cracked up to be.

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Thanks partly to a solid presence in Australian retail stores like JB HI-FI, EB Games and Harvey Norman, Plantronics has enjoyed unrivalled success in Australia this past year, holding the crown as the market leader for gaming headsets Down Under for the better half of 2018.

A strong physical presence made Plantronics a household name but the company's flexible pricing tiers and suite of options have opened up a world of online gaming for your average punters.

With that said, the headset pusher's latest range is a more premium line-up aimed at serious gamers and esports competitors. The RIG 500 PRO series stands out from the crowd in two particular ways: its premium modular design and its unique game audio dial.

For the sake of our review, we tested the RIG 500 PRO Esports Edition headset, the top-tier multi-platform option with a die-cast metal frame and headband. We'll discuss the other options further down.


Design

  • Modular design lets you save money on features you don't need
  • Die-cast frame can take a lot of punishment
  • Angular style isn't exactly subtle

Performance

  • Noise reduction isn't quite as effective as promised
  • Excellent audio quality across the board
  • Dolby Atmos support is especially impressive

Features

  • Moving the volume dial to the end of the cable is a great idea
  • No mute or balance controls

Verdict

The Plantronics RIG 500 PRO Elite headset's modular nature and sturdy build will suit rough and tumble gamers with a bad track record with preserving tech. The 50mm neodymium drivers can't be faulted for their above average stereo quality and top-notch Dolby Atmos delivery.

Plantronics is a company known for its variety, a massive selection of options tailored to very specific needs and budgets, but the Plantronics 500 PRO series doesn't quite know where it should sit.

Its priciest option is $199, which is edging on unreasonable when you look at the competition at the same price point: the wireless Corsair Void Pro or even Plantronics own RIG 600LX which comes with an audio amp that bests the new Game Audio Volume Dial.

If you're looking to go modular, I'd recommend forking out for the full Esports Edition bundle but if you're not looking to pay the premium you can always opt for a cheaper model and pay for the extras as you go.

Just don't get suckered into paying $10 less for a console-specific variant.


Pricing and availability

The Plantronics RIG 500 PRO Esports Edition is $199 and is available through JB HI-FI, Harvey Norman and EB Games. We're told accessories and replacement parts will also be sold through the same retailers.

Plantronics RIG 500 PRO High-Resolution Gaming Headset for PC/Consoles

Plantronics RIG 500 PRO High-Resolution Gaming Headset for PC/Consoles

Go modular with the versatile Plantronics RIG 500 PRO Esports gaming headset.

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    Specs

    Plantronics RIG 500 PRO High-Resolution Gaming Headset for PC/Consoles

    Build

    Wired/Wireless
    Wired
    Weight
    281g
    Speaker Driver
    50mmmm
    Frequency Response
    20Hz - 20kHz
    Ear Cushion
    Over-ear
    Microphone Type
    Uni-directional boom mic with noise cancelling
    Colours
    Gold

    Connectivity

    Connection Type
    3.5mm
    Cable length
    1.3m

    Features

    RGB Lighting
    No
    Detachable Microphone
    Yes
    In-line Controls
    Volume

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