Corsair HS55 Wireless Core: One minute review
With the Corsair HS55 Wireless Core, Corsair seems to be throwing its hat into the versatile and travel-friendly gaming headset ring. But, while the will of the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro wireless and Arctis Nova 7 are filled to the brim with all the stuff you could want from a PC gaming headset that you can use anywhere and with anything, the brand scales it back to something simpler and much cheaper.
It might not be the stuff of the gaming headset legend, but the Corsair HS55 Wireless Core still has all the hallmarks of a gaming headset on the go. It has a lightweight design that easily folds flat for storage. It has a decent 24 hour battery life and fast charging. And it has on-the-fly EQ preset controls that let you cycle through four of the most vital sound presets in the gaming headset scene.
So while we’ve been spoiled by the Arctis Nova Pro’s plethora of features and extras, we also appreciate what Corsair is trying to do here, which is to give gamers a great wireless gaming headset alternative that costs less and still offers all the basic amenities. We only wish the sound quality was as good as the wired one Corsair HS65 Surround.
Corsair HS55 Wireless Core: Price and Availability
- How much is it? $99 (£99, AU$169)
- Where is it available? now available
- Where can you get it? Available in US, UK and Australia
Corsair HS55 wireless core: SPECIFICATIONS
Couple: 2.4GHz wireless, Bluetooth
Compatibility: Windows, Mac, PS4/5, mobile devices
microphone: Omnidirectional flip-to-mute
Surround sound: Dolby Audio 7.1 on PC and Mac
Weight: 9.38oz (266g)
The Corsair HS55 Wireless Core costs $99 (£99, AU$169). While that sounds like a lot to spend on a gaming headset, even a wireless one, it’s also fair to mention that it’s more affordable than the competition.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7, which we’re reviewing, will cost you twice as much for very similar features and a few smaller drivers. Meanwhile, the Razer Barracuda will cost you $60/£60 more, and again, for much the same specs and features.
But is the price tag fair for its feature set and level of performance? It might be a little cheaper. But also considering that wireless gaming headsets still aren’t cheap, we can say that this price tag isn’t surprising either.
If you want something affordable, you can opt for a wired option. Both the Corsair HS65 Surround ($79 / £79 / AU$129) and the Corsair HS55 Stereo ($59 / £49 / AU$89) are great for budget gamers.
Corsair HS55 wireless core: design
- Lightweight, elegant design and good construction
- On-the-fly preset sound control
- 2.4GHz wireless transmitter still no USB-C
While it’s not the most rugged and premium gaming headset we’ve tested, the Corsair HS55 Wireless Core is still designed to be travel-friendly. It’s light at 266g (that’s less than 0.60lbs), comes with ear foam that’s soft and plush, has clamping force that keeps it in place even when you’re moving through a crowd, and features ear cups with plenty of rotatability so that you can store the whole flat in your weekend bag or laptop bag.
Of course, all those elements also help to make this gaming headset comfortable. The plush leatherette ear foams feel luxurious against our ears and don’t get too warm even after an hour or so of wearing. However, there is slightly more clamping force than necessary, so you may have to break it in before use.
The construction is generally quite solid, despite the fact that it’s mostly made of smooth, matte plastic, which is nice to the touch. We don’t presume to know how sturdy it is, although we can safely speculate that it will crack easily if dropped from a higher floor or under the weight of a gaming PC. However, we think it is sturdy enough to survive normal wear and tear.
There are three buttons here, with the Bluetooth and power buttons on the right earcup and the microphone mute button on the left earcup next to the volume rocker, which you can also press to cycle through the aforementioned sound presets. The choice to add a mic mute button seems bizarre because the microphone boom itself is a flip-to-mute button, and it feels much more convenient to flip it up and down.
The buttons have some resistance when pressed, but that’s really not good or bad, it’s just a matter of preference. We only wish we didn’t have to hold down the power button to turn it on and off – although even that’s standard with most gaming headsets.
Disappointingly, Corsair still went with a USB-A 2.4GHz wireless transmitter instead of a USB-C one. At least Bluetooth connectivity so you can use it with your smartphone or Nintendo Switch.
Corsair HS55 wireless core: performance
- 2.4 GHz wireless connectivity with a range of 50 feet
- Good spatial audio and decent sound quality
- On-the-fly sound presets instead of app support
One of the things the Corsair HS55 Wireless Core does is its 2.4GHz wireless connectivity. It offers a range of 50 feet (or 15 meters), which is impressive for a mid-range gaming headset, as others start to break up as soon as you step into the next room.
We also appreciate the effort to deliver digital surround sound. While this headset sounds more intimate rather than expansive like true surround sound, it’s great in terms of spatial audio. You can hear the different individual elements around you, be it the wind blowing from right to left or a battle around you. Don’t expect a wide soundstage though, as it doesn’t feel very spacious, limiting immersiveness.
The sound quality is generally good, although not as rich and full as we’d hoped. By default there’s plenty of bass here, though maybe not enough low bass extension to deliver that rumble you want from games and movies. There’s also a decent high end, but it’s been rolled off a bit, so it doesn’t sound quite as crisp and detailed. The midrange sounds a bit sunken, which mainly affects the dialogue, which is not as crisp and clear. While you can still hear what the characters are saying, it sounds a bit hollow.
Funnily enough, the cheaper 3.5mm Corsair HS65 Surround delivers more rumble, clearer sound and a lot more punch. Usually it’s the other way around, and the one with the digital connection sounds better, even if it’s 2.4GHz wireless. So this doesn’t make much sense. We can only assume that Corsair probably used cheaper drivers so they can fit all the other features in the Corsair HS55 Wireless without costing much more – it’s only $20 more than the HS65 – or they tuned it a little differently .
Unlike the H65, the HS55 Wireless also has no app support. We tried using it with the Corsair iCue software, and all we could do was pair it with the 2.4GHz wireless transmitter, which was nonsensical as they were already paired. This means that you are not getting the proper EQ privileges here.
However, you can cycle through four different sound profiles on the fly by pressing the volume button. You have standard, bass boost, cinema and FPS competition at your disposal. These profiles don’t differ very audibly from each other, but the bass boost does give you that nice rumble that’s missing by default, while the FPS competition makes the individual elements sound just a little bit sharper.
Unfortunately, when it comes to the microphone, there is no rejection of background noise. The person on the other end of the line will hear your clicks and clicks on your keyboard. However, your voice comes across as loud and clear and dominant, albeit slightly compressed, so as long as the background noise isn’t very loud it shouldn’t be distracting.
There’s up to 24 hours of battery life here, which is good, if not amazing. Thankfully it has fast charging, and 15 minutes should get you up to six hours of gameplay.
Should I buy the Corsair HS55 Wireless Core?
Buy it if…
Don’t buy it if…
Corsair HS55 Wireless Core: Report Card
|Where the||This mid-range gaming headset comes with all the essentials for less than the price of some of its rivals.||4 / 5|
|Design||A lightweight design with beautiful details that make it travel-friendly, the HS55 Wireless comes into its own when it comes to shape.||4.5 / 5|
|Performance||The sound quality is good. Just like the spatial audio. But there is room for improvement here.||3.5 / 5|
|Total||Overall, the Corsair HS55 Wireless Core is a great and affordable choice.||4 / 5|
- Rated first Sep 2022
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