There are a lot of gaming headsets available across a large range of prices from a wide range of manufacturers. Alienware is a brand that has become synonymous with gaming accessories so you would expect a couple of gaming headsets from them to be decent quality.
So what would you want from a decent gaming headset? For me with a good gaming set you would expect good overall sound quality with great comfort and a decent microphone — something that can be used comfortably for long gaming stints. So do the newest Alienware headsets live up to this requirement? We put them through the ringer to find out.
Alienware in their latest update to their gaming accessories have produced two new wired gaming headsets, the 310H and the 510H. The two headsets are basically the same as each other with only a couple of small differences between the two.
For both headsets the ear cups themselves are a soft hybrid of plush memory foam, sports fabric and leatherette which are meant to optimise cooling and comfort while maintaining noise isolation. They are extremely well padded and as such fit extremely comfortably on the head without squeezing it too hard. You could easily wear these for a long time without running into any comfort issues.
The fit of the cups though could be an issue for those who have hot ears with the noise isolation fit not allowing any air to circulate inside or around the ears. The fit of the cups did make for very good noise isolation though so you can’t have everything it seems.
The headband is padded and sits ever-so-lightly on the top of the head. I could barely even feel it sitting there so this also adds to the feeling of comfort.
The left ear cup houses the boom mic which slides in and out as required. The microphone will slide out and then can be bent to wherever you desire it to be to produce the best narration/chat for yourself. The microphone was apparently crisp and a decent sound although it did pick up a lot of ambient noise — but then you do want a microphone to pick up everything you say loud and clear.
Both headsets are wired with the 510H coming with a rather long USB connection cable as well as a 3.5mm audio jack cable — both of these cables have audio controls on them via an inline remote. Depending on your platform you can choose either of these. For those who prefer or need a separate jack for the audio output to the mic input there is also a Y-cable with these audio and microphone connectors.
The 310H only come with the audio jack cable and the Y connector — no USB connection cable here.
So they fit well, have varying amounts of connection types and are extremely comfortable but how are they in real world use?
Using the USB cable with built in DAC was a great sound so using on PC it was high quality with some half decent bass. Obviously though for a gaming headset rather than bass you would rather more of the higher end sounds that are more prevalent in games so this is not as important. YouTube and other music was great on the headphones — don’t expect them to be Bose premium sound quality. The overall sound quality of the USB DAC cable was really good though and one of the better gaming headsets I have tested out.
Of course the USB DAC connection is only usable on PC gaming and if the headset is used on other systems such as PS4, Xbox etc you will be stuck using the 3.5mm jack cable and will not experience the high quality sound of the USB DAC. Using the 3.5mm jack cable on both headsets gave less of an experience — while the sound was still great it was not of the quality as that from the USB DAC cable.
The 5.1 surround sound of the 510H made for a great gaming experience giving you the ability to hear people behind you — yes I sprung my 11 y.o. sneaking up on me a few times.
You are also meant to be able to adjust the sound profile for the 510H in the Alienware Control Center but like many reviewers before me I was unable to install the sound module and get it working. Those who have managed to get it installed (after many attempts mind you) have commented on the quality of inbuilt profiles for FPS, RPG, Movies and Music as well as the ability to set your own customised profile.
In the end I can find it easy to recommend the 510H but mostly if you are using a PC or absolutely must have surround sound in your headset. The design of the headsets are sleek and extremely attractive and while the sound is not perfect and lacks bass (especially with the headphone jack cable) they still sound half decent. If you do not need or can’t even use the USB DAC or surround sound then I suggest going for the 310H as it is still a decent quality sound at a very cheap price.
The Alienware 510H can be purchased from Dell in either Lunar White or Dark Side of the Moon with the pricing for each being different once again — just as it was for the mouse and the keyboard. The Lunar White will set you back $124.80 and the Dark Side of the Moon colorway will empty your wallet of $132.30.
The Alienware 310H is only available in dark colour for just $61.50 — a very cheap headset — and at that price is definitely worth a consideration if money is tight and you are using a gaming console rather than a PC.
If you are into your PC gaming though the Alienware 510H is where you want to land out of these headsets. The styling is different to nearly all other gaming headsets and the sound and features (if you can eventually get them working) make it a compelling purchase.
It is hard to recommend it for anything other than PC gaming though — the specs between the 310H and the 510H are not all that different and the sound is very similar from each when using the headphone jack cable. This makes the 310H a compelling purchase considering their cheap pricing and decent quality sound.