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Plantronics RIG 800LX & RIG 500PRO | A KGK REVIEW

October 17, 2018

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Welcome to my reviews for the Plantronics RIG 800LX and RIG 500PRO for Xbox One. Let’s me start by giving you some background regarding this review. For quite some time now I have been a solid proponent that the Astra A50's Gen 3 is in my opinion the best headset on the market. When someone asks the question in KGK as to what headset should they should choose, the majority of the answers supplied are all in reference to Astro A50's, then Astro A40's and then turtle beach. The problem being that these all command a premium price tag. This got me wondering, what options are there for gamers who are unable or unwilling to pay a premium price but want amazing game and chat audio but still have premium features such as wireless connectivity? 
 

At EGX 2018 I had the pleasure to meet Julian Brignol, Plantronics Consumer Marketing Manager, who was kind enough to take some time out to show me their range of headsets. I was initially very interested in their fully wireless headset but was side tracked by their RIG 500PRO headset. Julian popped off the ear cups of the modular design and then proceeded to twist and bend the head band into some impressive shapes.  
 

I wasn’t convinced he was really applying pressure and was fully expecting my request to try bending them to be refused or laughed off. However, with just a small sideways smile he passed it to me. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!!!!!! I actually tied them in a knot. I re-attached the ear cups and gently increased the pressure as I clamped down on them and twisted the band. All that happened was Julian’s small smile spread across his face. 1 ear cup just popped out and that was all. Now I admit I didn’t try and break them but I did exert a scary amount of strength and force to test them. Even much less than half of that pressure would have snapped my A50's to bits and left them useless. I hope I am not the only one who has at some point felt that panic as you sit back down after a toilet break mid game to feel you have sat on your headset.  
 

Well I think I have found a solution... EGX is exceptionally loud and as the game they had to test the headsets on was FIFA I could not really assess spatial awareness and sound quality and although I was not going to take a punt on buying the 800LX at £150.00 without being able to fully test them and considering I already own a pair of A50's, I was willing to buy the RIG 500Pro at a very reasonable £55 at the show (ARGOS £69.99). I was also very fortunate that Julian decided to send me a set of the RIG 800LX to review, (ARGOS £159.99). 

  

DESIGN
 

Personally, I really like the look of the entire range, angular, chunky and substantial. The design is very contemporary and appears to take cues from games such as Call of Duty or The Division with a very military appearance, there are definitely more sleeker design options out there but I honestly find these rather appealing. 
 

The modular design allows the headset to be essentially unbreakable which really is a major selling point especially for those of you who are, let’s say, a little unorganised and liable to leave the headset under duvets, on the floor etc. The quality is great, no sharp edges anywhere and not a stich out of place on the fabric. I wear glasses and I had no comfort issues with either of these headsets. 
 

500PRO

 

The mic is detachable and there are no controls on the headset, audio controls are via the chat cable. A 3.5mm audio cable connects to the back of the left earcup and at the controller end there is a variable volume control. 

In game audio is amazing, I experienced a far greater spatial immersion than I could have imagined for this price point. Footsteps were very clear all around me and shows off the Dolby Atmos support, a feature across the range. I played an FPS game for a couple of hours and at no point did I think my performance suffered due to not using my A50's. The only negative we could find was that the mic is not the best, others in my party could hear a hissing noise and this affected their experience. It, however did not affect mine. The inline volume control was fiddly and I never managed to find the same level of control over party/game sound as I do on my A50's but that is to be expected considering these are about a fifth of the cost. 

 

800LX
 

 

The 800LX is the flagship headset and we found that the in-game audio is reflected in the fact that these are indeed a premium product. Featuring a similar modular design to the 500PRO, the 800LX has slightly larger ear cups which are very comfortable for extended gaming sessions.  Featuring four equaliser pre-sets, which can be changed to your own preference, they allow for some truly impressive audio immersion. I was playing the new Black Ops 4 using the "Seismic" pre-set and found that the sound was better than my A50's, something I thought I would never say. I actually felt an improved in-game advantage during my testing, picking up footsteps and directions easily. I also used them whilst watching a movie and again was really, really impressed with the very wide spatial sound.  

I also heard no complaints regarding the mic in party as I did with the 500PRO. Only issue for me is there is no mic monitoring and I could not hear my voice in my ears. This is very minor. 

 

 

To mute the mic, you just lift it up.  Audio controls are on the rear of the left ear cup. Overall volume control is at the bottom, just above is the power switch and above that is a variable control effecting game and party chat, also on that ear cup is the micro USB charge point. On the base of the right ear cup is the sound pre-set button. The 4 pre-sets are Pure, Seismic, Intensify and Vocal Focus each offering a different experience for the user. 

As the 800LX is fully wireless there is also a small base station. It’s tiny, just over the size of a match box. With a single USB cable used for connectivity from the Xbox.  

  

Sound & Mic Quality
 

One of the biggest unique points regarding this range of headsets is the free code for DOLBY ATMOS for headphones Xbox one app and rather than me attempt to explain how that works here is a link that has a far better explanation than I could ever write. 

DOLBY ATMOS

 

I also heard no complaints regarding the mic in party as I did with the 500PRO. Only issue for me is there is no mic monitoring and I could not hear my voice in my ears. This is very minor. 

  

PRO's

 

500PRO

  • DOLBY ATMOS 

  • Weight and Comfort 

  • Great Audio Quality 

  • Price Point 

800LX

  • DOLBY ATMOS 

  • BATTERY lasts 24 hours with a very quick charge 

  • Weight and Comfort 

  • Great Audio Quality 

  • Fully Wireless 

 

CON’s

 

500PRO

  • Mic quality is not great 

  • Party/Game audio is hard to get just right 

800LX

  • Mic is not the best. 

KGK RATING

 

RIG 500PRO 

7.5/10 

 

RIG 800LX 

8.5/10 

  

CONCLUSIONS

 

500PRO

Great quality headset, very comfy, excellent sound quality but the mic really does let it down. Perfect for my kids to use and one that I would 100% recommend in the future. The price point is impressive.  

 

800LX

I’ll make this simple. These are phenomenal, especially when you consider their price. I can honestly say these are on par with my A50’s and they have some features that make them better. Audible battery level indication, 24-hour battery and the small base station.  I will certainly be recommending this headset for a long time to come. A truly lovely piece of kit. 

 


 

 

 

 

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