Corsair HS45 Surround Headset Review
Published: 29th November 2019 | Source: Corsair | Price: |
Almost everything we thought about the Corsair HS35 applies to the Corsair HS45 Surround.
After all, it has the same design, same light weight, same build quality, same frequency response. We're not sure but given the surround of the HS45 is virtual we think you could probably plug the HS35 into the USB adaptor and get the same listening experience too.
It is easy when you're reviewing things to get swayed by the expensive stuff. They have the most obvious qualities, the flashiest bits and bobs. They are the dessert to the meat and potatoes of this end of the market. But, in the words of Pink Floyd, if you don't eat your meat you can't have any pudding. There is an honesty to the products that come with great value pricing which is attractive in and of itself, whilst the need to keep the cost to the consumer low means you also get the biggest variation in designs as each manufacturer tries to blend the balance sheet with the requirements of the end user. After all, if you take it to its logical extreme the best value product is nothing at all as it's free and lasts forever. The Corsair HS45 Surround continues the good work of the HS35 though in being more comfortable, sounding nicer and having a more premium feel than it has any right to do at this price point and certainly when compared to many of the hundreds of sub-£50 headsets on the market.
Comfort is undoubtedly the star attraction here. The combination of a regulation design - no square ear pieces here - and extremely light weight coupled to thick padding give us a headset which is perfect if you're the type of user who wears them all the time. Additionally we know some people who find the top of their head gets irritated by hefty headsets pressing down on them, and with the Corsair HS45 Surround you have none of those elements. 260 grams and deep soft foam will see to that. We also are keen on cloth ear coverings as leather ones, or mock leather, can trap the heat in and you take the headset off after a few hours only to discover your ears resemble a flannel. With cloth there is plenty of air movement so you are not only cool but comfortable.
Build quality hasn't been sacrificed in the quest for this light weight and low cost though. There is a steel band connecting the left and right ear pieces, the hinges feel robust and even the plastics themselves have a nice tactile quality. It seems crazy to talk about how plastics feel, but anyone who has experienced both ends of the scale will know that there are plastics and plastics. Returning to the flexibility of the connection options on the HS45, your genuine XBOX One or Dualshock 4 pads feel very different to that unbranded one someone brought you without realising. The Corsair HS45 Surround feels much more like the real deal.
The sound quality is very much on a par with all the headsets around this price point. With a 20Hz-20kHz response it's right at the heart of all gaming headsets, although the use of 50mm drivers rather than the 40mm ones helps lift it up a notch, giving a little more air to the sound quality which helps the main three elements - bass, mids, highs - sound more distinctive than they might otherwise do. The virtual surround is something which we've always felt looks good on the specifications but there is no replacement for genuine surround, and the HS45 Surround doesn't really change our mind. At least Corsair have eschewed the temptation to just use tons of reverb in a mock surround effect. Lastly the microphone is much better than you might expect it to be at this price, with the flexibility allowing careful positioning and the quality of its components ensuring that even if you accidentally move it too near or far it still sounds good to those listening.
The HS35 was a very affordable headset which was perfect for throwing in a bag or, if funds are tight, your first headset on the road to quality audio. The HS45 Surround is exactly like that, but with the addition of virtual surround in the form of expanded connectivity options. It's a very good entry level headset and the addition of the USB connectivity is enough to push it up from our VFM award to our Gamers Choice.