ROCCAT ELO 7.1 AIR WIRELESS SURROUND SOUND RGB GAMING HEADSET REVIEW. My first reaction to “RGB gaming headset” wasn’t a positive one. However, after spending a couple of weeks testing the new ROCCAT gaming headset, I’ve come away very impressed. Users get a lot for their money here, with a headset that delivers on a combination of great features that come together to make one of the best headsets of 2020. Here’s the full review.
Unboxing and first impressions
Inside of the box, there’s the ROCCAT Elo 7.1 Air RGB headset itself, a detachable microphone, a USB dongle, a USB-C(!) charging cable, and a setup guide. Right off the bat, a detachable mic and USB-C connection satisfy two of my must-have features.
Taking a closer look at the headset itself, I’m immediately impressed by the general weight and feel. It’s got swivel earcups, making it easy to lay flat on a desk or around the user’s neck. My favorite type of adjustable headband is used here, as it automatically adapts to each new position or new user’s head.
The memory foam earpads are covered with an unexceptional “leatherette” material, which is fine, but may cause ears to get warm after long periods of time. Despite the tight seal and material, a lot of sound does leak out of these. If you’re trying to game in a bedroom while your partner sleeps, this could pose an issue. Otherwise, it doesn’t hinder the actual listening experience.
Speaking of long periods of time, there’s a promise of “up to 24 hours” of battery life. This claim is pretty damn accurate. I measured around 22 hours at my louder-than-average listening level with the RGB lights off. Enabling lights cuts battery life by around 30%, which is obviously significant. Battery life here matches up well to the competition and it’s great to see wireless solutions lasting a full week of game time.
So, the ROCCAT Elo 7.1 Air RGB headset looks good on the outside, but none of that matters if it fails to deliver solid gaming audio. Thankfully, this headset delivers great sound in all areas. There’s no ridiculous bass boost as I often find with gaming headsets. Instead, everything feels accurately portrayed, with no offensive boosts. Bass is still there and helped to deliver a blockbuster experience in Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War‘s single-player campaign, but then the headset delivered great directional audio and clear footstep noise in the game’s multiplayer. It’s a versatile headset that works well for music listening, too.
When it comes to the microphone, I’d call it “good enough.” It’s pretty average, as headset microphones go, and will be fine for voice chat during games. I wouldn’t use this for livestreaming on Twitch or anything like that. You can monitor yourself with sidetone, which I always love to see on gaming headphones. It helps prevents users from yelling too loudly, which is always a plus.
Marathon gaming sessions were spent in relative comfort. Taking the headset off every 90 minutes or so allowed my ears to breathe, which is the case for most closed-back designs that have a moderate clamping force. Summer months will force more frequent breaks, but that is, again, expected. The headband is the standout star here, as it sits comfortably and is perfectly adjusted every single time.
Though this headset is listed for PC, I found that it also worked great on PS5 and PS4. This is assuming the user forgoes virtual surround sound, which is something that I’ve never liked using on any headset.
To actually use the 7.1 virtual surround sound, users must download and install ROCCAT’s Swarm software. This app allows for additional RGB customization, mic settings, and EQ for incoming sound. Honestly, I would just avoid installing this. It’s definitely the weakest point of the package. Unless you absolutely need ROCCAT’s own version of virtual surround sound, I’d just use the headset as is with nothing installed.
ROCCAT Elo 7.1 Air RGB Wireless Headset Review | The Final Verdict
The ROCCAT Elo 7.1 Air RGB wireless headset gets an easy recommendation. At $99.99 (and $84.99 in the Amazon.com sale, at the time of writing), this is an awesome mid-range choice for a headset that ticks the majority of boxes on my “must-have list.” The software is a bit messy, but I simply avoided using it, and the lack of Bluetooth may turn some potential buyers off, but those really are the only significant weak points.
This a damn good headset choice at a price that won’t make you balk. I’m a big fan and excited to see what ROCCAT does next!
ROCCAT Elo 7.1 review unit was provided by ROCCAT.