Plantronics RIG 800HS Review: Keep on blasting

Alex Kidman 5 April 2017

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Plantronics’ latest gaming headset delivers a lightweight and high quality gaming audio experience with exceptional battery life.

While there’s plenty of attention paid to the visuals within a game, whether they’re the shaky animations of Mass Effect Andromeda or the stunning vistas of The Legend Of Zelda: Breath of The Wild, the reality is that good or bad audio can play as much of a part of your enjoyment of a game as anything you can see.

Plantronics RIG 800HS from Amazon

The high-quality set of headphones that impress with crisp and clear audio and especially that light carrying weight. Order them today from Amazon.

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Some of that comes down to good audio choices on the part of the game’s designers, but you’ve then got to match it up with quality output choices. For many folks with home theatre setups this is easy when you’ve got full command of your TV, but what do you do when others don’t necessarily want the full glories of battle booming through the family home? The solution is a good quality set of headphones, and you have plenty to choose from. The Plantronics RIG 800HS is just the latest in a long line of gaming-centric headphones from Plantronics, pitched at the console gaming market.

Plantronics RIG 800HS: Why you’d want them

  • Good audio quality: This is the key thing that any gaming headset needs to deliver. The RIG 800HS has four equalisation modes with reasonable differentiation between them depending on whether you prefer thumping gunshots or more clear speech throughput. We tested the RIG 800HS with a wide variety of games and rarely hit a point where we weren’t happy with what we were hearing, even when switching away from a full 7.1 surround system.
  • Noise isolation: One large benefit of using gaming headphones as distinct from speaker is that you can more easily isolate yourself from the outside world and lose yourself in your game of choice. The full soft cups of the RIG 800HS perform this task very well. Almost too well, so if you’re gaming in an environment where other real world responsibilities might beckon, be ready for others to be annoyed with you because you can’t hear them. That’s OK. You’ve got worlds to explore and enemies to slay.
  • Lightweight construction: The RIG 800HS’ construction is rather skeletal, which gives them an unusual look, but also an exceptionally light weight. They weigh in at just 290 grams, which is exceptional. It’s not just a number counting exercise, because you can appreciate how light they are after a few hours of gaming time, where a larger headset can really dig into your skull.
  • Long battery life: Plantronics rates the RIG 800HS as being good for up to 24 hours of gaming time. Marathons of Desert Bus notwithstanding that’s not a good or healthy idea in one sitting, but the practical reality of this is that you can engage in lengthy wireless gaming sessions without too much fuss.
  • Simple flip-down boom mic: The RIG 800HS’ boom mic flips down to switch on, and up to mute, making in-game chat simple to manage, whether you’re screaming commands at your team or after some silence while you sip a nearby drink. It’s not unique, but it works very well.

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Plantronics RIG 800HS: Why you might not want them

  • Needs USB and optical audio: The chances are pretty good that your PS4 Dualshock 4 controllers probably spend a fair bit of time charging on the PS4’s USB ports. It’s a natural consequence of their own light frames and small batteries. The downside here is that in order to both connect and manage speech and audio, you’ve got connect the RIG 800HS both to a USB port and the PS4’s optical audio port. That only leaves you with one USB port for controller charging, which could be problematic.
  • Thin optical audio cable: Plantronics does supply an optical audio cable with the RIG 800HS, but it’s rather thin and somewhat prone to interference. Maybe it was just our review sample, but it took some time for it to play nicely with our test PS4 and deliver crisp sound. It’s also slightly awkward if your PS4 sits in a TV cabinet in terms of installation.
  • Long charging time: This is unavoidable, but if you want that full 24 hours of battery life, you’ve got to give the Rig 800HS more than four hours of charging time. As such, if you come to the RIG 800HS and it complains in its very polite voice that the battery is low, you can either manage a small charge for just a couple of hours of play, or wait a long time to get full power back.

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Who is it best suited for? What are my other alternatives?

If all you want is team chat, any Bluetooth headset will do you just fine on a PS4. For full audio you’ve similarly got a number of high quality options, including other Plantronics headsets at lower price points.

At the asking price, the RIG 800HS headphones need to deliver quality sound, and that they do manage. They’re a high quality set of headphones that impress with crisp and clear audio and especially that light carrying weight. You would want to be serious about your game audio at this price, but if you are, they're highly recommended.

Where can I get it?

Plantronics RIG 800HS sells in Australia for $249.95 outright.

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