When it comes to gaming and audio technology, you typically get what you pay for - and if you're not spending a lot, don't expect much. With a $50 (£55, AU$89) gaming headset, that's certainly true, but Corsair's HS50 gladly defies the trend with a surprisingly expensive offering. It's a simple stereo headset designed to fire shotgun blasts and thumping beats into your ears while still keeping you in touch with your team through its unidirectional noise-cancelling microphone. In fact, it's remarkably similar to the somewhat more expensive Astro A10 headset that we just evaluated - yet the Corsair HS50 outperforms the Astro A10 in practically every way.

Corsair HS50 Stereo Gaming Headset
True, the HS50 isn't going to blow anyone's mind, and it can't compete with far more expensive headset alternatives, but that's not the point. The fact that you can purchase a gaming headset with this level of quality and performance for less than the cost of a new game is incredibly intriguing. And that's quite incredible.


The Corsair HS50 does not have the appearance or feel of a cheap headset. Corsair's headset punches a couple notches beyond its weight class in both smoothness and build quality, while the very solid Astro A10 comes off as a simpler, utilitarian regression from the company's costlier efforts.

The capacious cans on this huge headset should comfortably wrap over your full ears, and they're also very comfortable. The memory foam cups are encased in faux leather and softly squish against your head without putting too much pressure before returning to their original shape when removed. The cans give the appearance of a speaker grille on the outside, with green or blue colour accents available if you wish to match your Xbox One or PlayStation 4. There's also a normal black edition.

The broad metal arches that link the cups to the headband add a quality touch while also allowing the headband to fit on a variety of heads. The band is also made of elegant faux-leather with color-accent stitching on the plush interior and a Corsair logo on top. At first appearance, I'd estimate this to be a $100 headset, if not more. It doesn't scream "entry-level" or "low-end," and the metal foundations give it a solid feel.

However, because it's a wired stereo headset, there's a permanent 3.5mm cable coming out of the left cup. The Corsair HS50, on the other hand, has a normal audio connection, so it can be plugged into and used with just about anything: gaming consoles, cellphones, PCs, Macs, and so on.

The Corsair HS50's inputs are likewise kept on that cup: it includes a modest volume control and a useful on-off toggle button for muting the microphone. Although there isn't a raise-to-mute option as on Astro's A10, the button still functions. Better yet, the microphone – which is also on the left cup – can be completely removed, making the HS50 an even better on-the-go headset. Just keep an eye out for the mic, which is small and thin and easily misplaced.

The headset is attractive and, luckily, comfortable to wear. The huge cups easily fit around my ears without feeling awkward or excessively heated over time, and it stays in position on your head without squeezing too hard. To be honest, I don't have any problems.


That goes for the sound quality, which is surprisingly good for a simple stereo headset. Corsair chose 50mm drivers for the Astro A20 ($149, £149, AU$249), which are somewhat bigger than the 40mm drivers in the Astro A10 and the more expensive wireless Astro A20 ($149, £149, AU$249) and provide slightly better sound.

Rocket League for PlayStation 4 is where I spend the most of my gaming time these days, and the HS50 did not disappoint. The throbbing electronic beats included crisp highs and robust – but not booming – bass tones, with good separation between them. Similarly, the thunderous thud of a well-timed leap, the thump of a bouncing ball, and the explosive defeat of being smashed by another automobile all rang true and clear.

In Star Wars Battlefront II, the pew-pew of my TIE Fighter's laser shots reverberated loudly around my ears amid the thunderous propulsion. The sound area isn't massive, but it does appear to be more expansive than Astro's choice. And Forza Motorsport 7 on Xbox One's screaming motors were almost as impressive as the game's stunning aesthetics. Almost.

Similarly, whether you're streaming media on your console or PC or using the headset with your smartphone, the HS50 can handle music, movies, and other media with ease. Corsair's budget-priced headset lacks the bells and whistles of more expensive headsets, such as 7.1 surround sound, yet it still performs admirably in this price range.

The bendy, removable microphone is little, but that doesn't detract from its excellent recording quality. When playing online, my teammates could clearly hear me, and local recordings were very clear. According to Corsair, it's Discord-certified to operate flawlessly with the famous gaming chat service, and based on my tests, it should work well regardless of how you want to communicate with your friends.

The final word

The Corsair HS50 is clearly not the best gaming headset on the market. There are, of course! It'll only set you back $50 (£55, AU$89). However, you'll be hard pushed to find a better budget gaming headset than this one. It excels in practically every way, beginning with the sturdy, premium-feeling design, which has a wonderful understated appeal and gives the impression of being a more expensive gadget. And, after you've installed it and plugged it in, the HS50 continues to outperform its price tag with rich, immersive sound and great microphone performance.

If you're willing to pay a little extra on a headset, you'll get a lot of benefits, such as Bluetooth wireless compatibility, stunning designs, and surround sound capabilities - all of which may be worth it. However, if you don't want to spend a lot of money on a headset and just want something that's functional, adaptable, and appears to be made to endure, the Corsair HS50 is perfect for you.