Logitech’s recently-announced G533 wireless gaming headset might be my new favorite headset for PC gaming. There’s a lot to consider when building a piece of hardware you expect someone to use for hours at a time and keep for years and years. Logitech took its time with the G533 headset and addressed a specific audience’s needs just about perfectly. As I explored the headset, I found a stellar set of features designed to enhance my gaming experience, from simple physical design to detailed configuration options to let me get the exact feel I want. The very few things I found missing were a matter of design choice, not of oversight.
Let’s start with that. There is no 3.5-mm audio jack on the G533. This is a PC Gaming headset through and through. It’s not a console gaming headset, a headphone substitute, a mobile phone headset, or anything else. This thing is a chef’s knife, not a swiss army knife. With so many headsets these days looking to offer an answer for every use-case, the G533 headset focuses, and does so to its benefit. If you’re looking for a catch-all solution, this is not the headset for you.
If you’re a PC gamer, though, keep reading.
Ministry of Silly PC Peripherals
Out of the box, the G533 cuts an appealing silhouette. It’s strong, simple, and elegant. There’s nothing extra on the headset. Many headsets, even from Logitech, approach the gamer market on the assumption that we want our hardware to look like it was ripped out of an alien spaceship. It might be an accurate assumption for part of the market, but some of us would like it if our families didn’t have to stifle laughs when they walked in on us playing games.
The G533, other than optional LED lighting on the sides of the headset, is jet black and seems to be built from as few parts as possible with only as much space as they needed to fit the speakers and make the headset comfortable.
At 12.5 ounces, the headset is lighter than many out there, but still has the kind of heft you’d expect from solid hardware. Once I had it on, it quickly faded into the background–again, as a good piece of hardware should. It was comfortable for extended wear, feeling both light on my head but firm in its fit. My office tends to be the warmest part of my apartment (it might have something to do with running a gaming PC, three monitors, and sometimes a game console and television in a 10’x10′ room, I’m not sure), but the headset never felt overly hot. When I took breaks from Overwatch, Doom, and Battlefield 1, it was to give my hands a break or step away from the computer–never because of the headset itself, which is so often not the case.
In terms of buttons and switches, the G533 is equally bare. There’s an on-off switch, a button that can be customized in Logitech’s G gaming software, and a volume roller. There’s a spot to plug in a USB cable for charging, but, again, no 3.5-mm jack. The battery that powers the headset can still be user-replaced, but it’s well-hidden and doesn’t seem like it made the headset any bulkier than it would’ve been otherwise.
All the Settings
Once you get the headset’s USB receiver plugged in and start working with the software, you’ll find a huge variety of options that you can customize to fit your needs, and none of them feel extraneous or unnecessary.
My go-to headset for PC Gaming has been the Astro A50s for years. While those are still great, I appreciate all the things I’m able to customize on the G533 that I can’t on the A50s.
For example, sidetone (also called mic monitoring) volume can be set anywhere from completely silent to louder than most people like. I like to have some sidetone to make sure I can hear myself talk during crowded multiplayer games, and I was able to get the setup just right. I was also able to turn off the beeping sound that is turned on by default for volume adjustment, and even able to tweak the volume of the simulated 7.1 surround sound’s individual speakers. Even the setting that turns the headset off when you idle without sound can be set at a number of options, from just a few minutes to never.
Right now, Logitech is powering all my interactions with my computer – my speakers, keyboard, mouse, and gaming headset are all Logitech-branded. Aside from the speakers, all of those appear in the Logitech G gaming software for customization. The headset, though, has probably been the simplest to get setup exactly how I liked.
Like last year’s G933 headset, the G533 sounds great during gaming. The headset uses DTS Headphone:X to simulate 7.1 surround sound, and in games that make use of this, it makes a big difference. I played Doom extensively on regular speakers, a standard pair of headphones, and on the G533 headset, and was surprised to find out that it actually mattered.
The improved sense of immersion is immediate, and it changed my experience with the game. I could tell where enemies were coming from and felt more aware of my surroundings as I sprinted, leapt, and shot my way through the hallways of the UAC Mars station and through the depths of Hell itself.
The experience with Battlefield 1 isn’t unlike that of Doom. I mean, World War I was hellish, but I’m talking about the difference the G533 headphones made when I switched to them. Shells going off around me, locations of enemies around me, it all felt that much more natural.
I put the mic to work with more hours of Overwatch than I care to admit. The mic seems to be a slight improvement on the G933. Logitech boasts a built-in pop-filter on the mic – a bit of textured material over the mic receiver – and it seems to do a good job of hiding the pops of P and B sounds without muffling the voice of the speaker.
As for music, though, I don’t think the G533 is going to replace my Audio Technica ATH-M50x headphones or Shure SE215 earbuds. The G533 does a fine job with music, but it feels a bit bass-heavy, and it just wasn’t as clean of an experience as with a set of headphones designed with music in mind.
That they’re USB-only also means that you’re tied to your computer when you’re using them. If you do all your listening at a PC, they might work fine, but they’re not music headphones, and it never seems like they’re trying to be.
In for the long-haul
Logitech advertises the G533 as having 15 meters of range and 15 hours of battery life, and those seem to hold pretty true from my experiences. The headset only complained about a low charge once while I was using it after multiple days of multi-hour sessions with Overwatch and Doom. To get the headset to cut out while walking around my apartment, I had to go around multiple corners and behind things to see any kind of degradation of audio quality.
At $150, the G533 isn’t cheap. But it’s also the best PC-only gaming headset I’ve ever used by a good margin. It offers a set of features that enhance my experience while gaming without adding on a bunch of extra “high-performance” features meant to remind me that I’m a Gamer – with a capital G.
If you’re looking for a headset to game on every platform in existence, you’ll want to look elsewhere, but the G533 headset does exactly what it was designed to do, and does a great job of it.