The Corsair HS80 has been a standout in the gaming headset market, not just for Corsair, but across the board. Its blend of quality and affordability has made it a favorite for many. Now, Corsair has introduced the HS80 Max, a revamped version of the original. But is it worth the upgrade? Let’s dive into the details.
Following the success of the HS80 RGB Wireless, Corsair has launched an upgraded version named the HS80 MAX. While this new headset largely retains the features of the 2021 model, it now boasts a dual 2.4 GHz/Bluetooth wireless connection and several subtle enhancements.
Pros and Cons
|Dual wireless connection||Headband doesn’t extend|
|Excellent battery life||No multipoint connectivity|
|Long-lasting comfort||Fixed microphone|
|Useful SoundID feature|
|Premium wireless audio|
Corsair HS80 Max Specifications
|Corsair HS80 Max|
|Wireless Range||Up to 50 ft|
|Dimensions||200 x 97 x 183 mm|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth, USB-C, 2.4GHz|
|Audio Drivers||50mm neodymium drivers|
|Frequency Response||20Hz – 40 kHz|
|Impedance||32 Ohms @ 1 kHz|
|Audio Sensitivity||116dB (+/-3dB)|
|Wireless Range||Up to 60 feet|
|Battery Life||Up to 65 hours|
|Compatibility||PC, Mac, PS5, PS4, Mobile|
|Colors||Black / White|
Upon unboxing, the HS80 Max retains the familiar design of its predecessor. The packaging is standard for Corsair, with detailed product information. Inside, you’re greeted with the sleek HS80 Max headset. Beneath the headset, there’s a 2.4 GHz dongle for wireless connectivity, a 1.8-meter USB-C charging cable, and the usual warranty documentation.
Design: Corsair HS80 Max
In this MAX version, the design of the headset remains unchanged. It mirrors the classic version in both lines and materials.
The overall finish remains commendable, with a design primarily using plastic that still exudes reliability.
The headband is adjustable, with a cushioned interior for comfort. The ear cups, covered in a soft velvety fabric, can rotate about 50 degrees, making it convenient to rest them around your neck. Weighing in at 350 grams, they might not be the lightest, but they’re comfortable even for extended use.
The headset connects through a USB to USB-C cable for wired connections. This cable charges the headset and delivers audio at the same time. The 2.4 GHz wireless connection provides gamers with a lag-free audio experience. A dedicated button on the headset activates the newly added Bluetooth feature.
To pair via Bluetooth, press and hold the button on the right headset for a few seconds. Then, choose the HS80 MAX from your device’s available device list.
A USB-A dongle facilitates the 2.4 GHz connection, and it’s compatible with PC, PS5, and PS4. The headset connects automatically when you power it on. The brand claims a range of roughly 15 meters, but in practice, it often reaches closer to 20 meters.
You can connect the headset to both 2.4 GHz and Bluetooth simultaneously, but only for answering phone calls. In this mode, pressing the “Bluetooth” button lets you switch to your smartphone and answer calls using the headset’s microphone.
Unlike some other models, this headset doesn’t allow you to blend the 2.4 GHz and Bluetooth connections. For instance, you can’t play on your PS5 via 2.4 GHz and simultaneously listen to music on Spotify from a Bluetooth-connected smartphone. However, you can easily switch between the two connections by pressing the “Power” button.
The left ear cups retains its original controls: a Power button and a volume wheel.
The right ear cups introduces a new multifunction button.
- This button allows for Bluetooth pairing.
- It also controls music playback, a feature often missing in gaming headsets, adding value to the MAX version.
- A single press plays or pauses the music.
- A double press skips to the next track.
- A triple press goes back to the previous track.
The HS80 Max boasts a 50-millimeter neodymium driver, delivering top-tier sound in the gaming world. With Dolby Atmos support, it offers spatial audio, a crucial feature for competitive gaming. Whether you’re using a wired, 2.4 GHz, or Bluetooth connection, the sound quality remains consistently impressive, even for music playback.
With the default equalizer, the headset offers a warm rendering that can adapt well to mainly gaming-oriented use. On PS5 alongside the recent FFXVI, the dantesque clashes offered by the latest Square Enix title take advantage of a beautiful dimension and we are clearly immersed in the action. If we may regret a somewhat narrow soundstage, the immersion remains there. The many sound effects stand out well, as does the music of Soken’s excellent OST.
On a competitive FPS such as Valorant, the HS80 MAX is able to offer good sound directionality and helps position its opponents better. The sounds of footsteps or shots also come out well, even more so if you activate the equalizer dedicated to these games.
Finally, note that the headset comes with a Dolby Atmos license. As often, to be tested on a case-by-case basis depending on the games and your preferences.
The microphone on the HS80 Max is flexible, allowing users to adjust its position for optimal voice capture. It can be muted by flipping it upwards. The audio quality remains consistent across different connection types, from wired to Bluetooth.
Unfortunately, it’s still not possible to remove the boom or retract it inside the headset. Not necessarily ideal if you want to use this HS80 MAX as a nomadic headset, to listen to your music on the go for example.
Corsair iCUE Software
Corsair’s software, iCUE, allows users to customize the headset’s sound profile. A unique feature, Sound ID, lets users train a model to generate an audio profile based on their preferences. Users can also adjust the Equalizer and turn off the lights to conserve battery.
From iCUE, it is possible to create different configuration profiles, which can then be loaded automatically depending on the games or applications launched. For each configuration, several tabs allow you to adjust the sound reproduction of the headphones, its lighting and some additional options.
The “Key Assignments” tab lets you customize the action that occurs when you press the volume wheel. By default, pressing the wheel navigates between the headphone’s equalizers. However, you can also set it to launch an application, write text, or mute the sound, among other actions. Corsair offers many actions, and you can even create your own macros.
The “Lighting Effect” tab allows you to modify the color of the lighting of the Corsair logos positioned on the ear cups. On our side, we will especially recommend deactivating them to save battery.
From the “NVIDIA” tab, it is possible to directly install the Nvidia Broadcast SDK in order to take advantage of the brand’s active noise reduction features if you have an RTX graphics card. Still just as effective.
The “Equalizer” tab proposes by default the choice between 5 different equalizers, configurable on 10 bands. It is also possible to create your own settings if desired.
To go further, there is also the SoundID option already present on the first version of the HS80 Wireless. Here, Corsair offers you to take a short sound test of about 5 minutes in order to adjust the rendering of the headphones by trying to assess whether you are more or less sensitive to certain frequencies then by offering you different sound renderings of an extract. et24 letting you pick your favorite every time.
One of the significant upgrades in the HS80 Max is its enhanced battery life and the addition of Bluetooth connectivity. The headset promises up to 65 hours of battery life on a 2.4 GHz connection and a whopping 130 hours via Bluetooth (with the lights off).
Price: Corsair HS80 Max
The HS80 MAX is available at a recommended retail price of $179, making it more affordable than some recent wireless models we’ve reviewed, including the Logitech G Pro X 2 Lightspeed, the Razer Blackshark V2 Pro 2023, and the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless. Meanwhile, the older HS80 is priced at approximately $119.
Final Thoughts: Corsair HS80 Max
The HS80 Max is a worthy successor to the HS80. Corsair has smartly taken an already successful product, added significant improvements, and priced it reasonably. While it would have been great to see a 3.5mm jack and some microphone enhancements, the HS80 Max still stands out in the crowded gaming headset market.
For those who already own the HS80, the decision to upgrade might hinge on the need for Bluetooth and extended battery life. However, for newcomers, the HS80 Max offers excellent value for its price, competing favorably with other brands in its range.
In conclusion, the Corsair HS80 Max is a solid investment for gamers and audiophiles alike, delivering top-notch sound quality, comfort, and the added convenience of Bluetooth connectivity.