Wireless & Wonderful
The Plantronics GameCom P80 wireless headset is a relaunch of the Gamecom 818, this time focusing on the product’s capabilities for use on the Playstation 4, alongside previously supported Playstation 3, PC & Mac options. At a pricetag of AU$129.95 it does what it’s supposed to reasonably well, boasting the added bonus of very strong wireless without breaking the budget.
The headset itself is sleek and nondescript. It’s black with hints of orange and a mix of matte and shiny plastic, not bulky or heavy at all. If you’re looking for a headset to use on a regular basis that doesn’t have the appearance of a gaming headset like the Astros, this design really fits the bill. The microphone swivels down from the left side when you need it, muting itself when you push it back out of the way.
The USB you use to connect the headset to a computer or your console is equally simple. It’s big enough to not get lost easily without taking up a tonne of space. I only had one issue with it – the curvature on the bottom and top of the stick is too much to fit in between the top and bottom edges of the PS4, around the front USB ports. I found if I gave it a firm push past the initial hitch it’d go all the way in to the port and work fine without damaging anything, but it would have been nice to see it a little bit thinner to accommodate the ports. If you’re worried about this and after a P80, a PS4 USB hub can easily fix the issue.
Comfort is probably the only aspect I took issue with during my time with the headset. The top of the headset is quite a firm plastic, and even with the sliding adjustment for the earcups it never quite sat super comfortably. This wasn’t too bad in short bursts, but when playing for a long time I found the headset put a fair bit of pressure on my ears and the side of my head. I’ve had some success by simply gently stretching it, but overall it felt less comfortable to wear than some other headsets I’ve used.
This is not the first headset I’ve had this sort of issue with, so it may simply be I have a larger than average head. It’s not a huge issue overall in the light of all the pluses this headset has, but you may want to think carefully before buying if you’ve had an issue with headset fitting before.
The wireless feature of the headset is probably the best thing about it. I could easily walk around my living room and kitchen wearing the headset, listening to music or chatting to friends on skype without the sound dropping out, even through a brick wall. It was really nice to be able to be mobile while using the audio, with no cords tangling or tying me down. In the time between matches I found myself getting up from my desk a lot more, be it to grab a cup of coffee or tidy up my place.
For the most part, audio quality on the P80 is great. I used it a lot while playing the Black Ops 3 Beta on my PS4 and during Dota 2 sessions on my laptop, delivering game audio and voice chat pretty admirably. I could pick up the footsteps of foes quickly with a good sense of direction and ambient audio wasn’t too overpowering. It’d be nice to have a little more control over the settings for the headset’s audio than just the volume, but considering the price it definitely isn’t a huge problem.
The only times I found the quality to be less than stellar was when I used the headset to listen to music and movies – while it’s not specifically designed for this it’d be nice to see it perform as well here as it does during gameplay. Songs just didn’t sound as crisp as I’d like and I often found myself returning to my Razer Adaros when writing and chilling with Spotify.
I was however quite impressed with the longevity of the battery after a charge – the packaging promises around ten hours of use on a single charge – and I feel like I got that out of it. After a two hour charge to full the headset lasted about three days of intermittent use, ready to go whenever I needed it.
Apart from the issue of comfort for extended play sessions and when listening to music casually, the GameCom P80 is an excellent choice of headset, especially on a budget. I can’t fault the wireless capabilities, with plenty of range, great sound quality and a clear mic close or a short distance away from the USB adapter. If you’re looking for a good headset to use across a range of devices, the P80 may very well be right for you.
Price: $129.95 AUD Market Avg. | Available September 1st | A review unit was provided by the vendor.