Best Bluetooth Headphones Buying Guide [2022]

Bose QC35 headphones on a desk next to some plant and a coffee pot

The market for Bluetooth headphones has grown a lot and there are plenty of options to go through. This can make it very confusing to decide what options to go with, especially if you want specific features or need to meet a budget.

After testing many headphones options, doing hours of research, and getting opinions from others we have decided the best options in various categories for you.

Let’s check out our favorite options now.


Our Top Recommendations

1. Sony WH-1000XM5s – Our Favorite Pick

Sony’s WH-1000XM5s are regarded as one of if not the best Bluetooth headphones on the market. They build off their predecessor with a new design and slight improvements in a variety of areas like battery life, ANC, and mic quality.

Sony delivers an extended battery life of up 40 hours and about 30 hours with noise-cancellation enabled. The new microphone array also allows these headphones to have the best ANC of any Bluetooth headphones and slightly better call quality.

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2. Drop + THX Panda – Best Sound

If sound is your main priority but you still want Bluetooth then Drop and THX’s Pandas is your best bet. They deliver excellent sound quality, especially for a Bluetooth pair of headphones. For the on the go audiophile, this is an excellent option to consider.

Unfortunately, the Pandas do not have ANC but for some, the audio quality is worth the sacrifice. Drop’s Pandas still don’t have the best audio for any headphone but in the Bluetooth category, it is second to none. The sound is clean, balanced, and packs punches in all the right areas.

It is also rated for about 30 hours of battery life and has fantastic comfort.

3. Apple AirPods Max – Best Apple Exeprience

Apple’s AirPods Max is fantastic in multiple categories but where is it is best at is ANC. It is great at blocking out consistent background noise as well as sudden noises. It also features a 20 hours battery life, an aluminum design, great comfort, and sound quality that is almost as good as Drop +THX’s Pandas.

Unfortunately, you only have full access to the features of the AirPods Max if you use the headphones with an iPhone. Although the AirPods Max are great in a variety of categories because of the lack of in-depth support with Android and Windows, these headphones are not our favorite pick.

The fact of the matter is these headphones are fantastic if you use Apple products but if you plan to use Android and you prioritize ANC then the Sony XM5s may be the best option for you.

4. Microsoft Surface Headphones 2 – Best Interface

Angled view of Surface headphones from Microsoft.

The Surface Headphones 2 from Microsoft are a phenomenal pair of headphones but one area that makes them unique is the interface. Microsoft not only utilizes touch-capacitive functions that are on many Bluetooth headphones but they also provide two dials built into each earcup. The dials feel great and are very easy to understand. It allows changing volume and the level of ANC or background noise to be a very smooth process.

Microsoft’s Surface Headphones 2 have pretty good sound quality, a pretty decent battery life, and a comfortable design. They deliver a lot of what you would get with the top players like Sony’s XM5s but come at a cheaper price. If you are willing to make sacrifices on things like a smaller battery life (which is still quite good) and a slightly worse sound then the Surface Headphones 2 can provide a great experience at a fantastic price.

If you want to find out more about Surface Headphones 2, check out our review on them here.

5. Jabra Elite 85h – Best Value

If you are looking for a Bluetooth pair of headphones that gives you as much as possible at a fair price Jabra has a great option with their Elite 85h headphones.

The Jabra Elite 85h gives you ANC, a long battery life (up to 36 hours), fast charging, rain and water resistance, solid comfort, and a pretty decent sounding pair of headphones.

Jabra is known for providing great value audio devices and the Elite 85h is no different. These headphones are a great option to go for if you want all the key features and solid performance, without breaking the bank.

6. Razer Opus – Best Budget

For those who do not want to spend upwards of $200 for a pair of headphones, the Razer Opus gives you a ton of great features at a great price. While this pair still is not the cheapest Bluetooth pair out there, it is giving you a lot while not being overly expensive like the bigger players like the Sony XM5s or AirPods Max.

It is important to note that occasionally you can find the Jabra Elite 85h at a cheaper price and the Surface Headphones (1st generation) also hover at around the same price. Both are two great options to consider and out compete the Razer Opus in different ways depending on what you are looking for.

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Also Great

There are also some other competitive options that may be great for you but may not be the best in any one category.

Bose NC700

Bose NC700 headphones on a desk next to some keyboard switches

Another great pair of Bluetooth headphones is the Bose NC700. The NC700s deliver performance that is close to the Sony XM5s in every category but aren’t the best at anything. They are still a great option but we would usually just recommend going with the XM5s over them.

One reason you may choose to get Bose’s NC700s is if you like the looks. The sleek, modern design makes the headphones look good in any setting.

Surface Headphones (1st Generation)

If you still want the performance of the Surface Headphones 2 but you don’t have the budget then the original Surface Headphones are a great option. Not only are they a great value offering but they offer the same sound quality and almost all the same features as the Surface Headphones 2. The main differences are the battery life, more color options, and support for some more audio codecs.

Microsoft’s Surface Headphones are very comfortable, have a great sound for the price, and the overall package is quite solid.

Sony WH-1000XM4s

Despite being updated by Sony with their XM5s, Sony’s WH-1000XM4s, or XM4s for short, are still regarded as one of the best Bluetooth headphones on the market. This is especially the case if you prefer the design of the XM4s over the XM5s and you want to spend less money. They are great in all categories and often set the bar for things like battery life, ANC, and design.

The XM4s get around 30 hours of battery life, deliver a pretty clean sound, and have arguably the best ANC in any headphone. You also get key features like a transparency mode so you can hear everything around you.


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Is ANC Necessary?

One of the most common features among Bluetooth headphones is ANC or active noise cancellation. A question for many though is if they need ANC and if it is worth the additional cost.

ANC is a very nice feature to have because it can allow you to listen to music in more environments without being bothered by sounds from the outside world. This can help you stay focused while working in a public environment, allow you to able to listen to music outside in your own bubble or make everything quieter in a place like a plane.

In short, ANC is not a necessary feature but it can be very beneficial in many situations and along with ANC often comes a “transparency mode”. This will allow you to hear what’s around you, sometimes at an elevated volume, in case your in a situation where someone is talking to you or you need to hear anything else around you.

If you often use headphones while outside or work in a public or loud environment then ANC is very useful and a worthwhile investment. You can be more focused and enjoy music better in peace. Not to mention having ANC can make a flight much more enjoyable.

If you have extra money in your budget or ANC is useful in your use case it is a very useful feature.

Does Bluetooth Ruin Sound Quality?

One of the most important factors to consider when buying a new pair of headphones is the sound quality.

Bluetooth can affect sound quality but it also depends on the price point. For the vast majority of people, the sound quality from Bluetooth headphones above the $200 price tag will have great sound quality.

Only those who are used to very premium headphones or high fidelity audio will not be able to get the same experience with Bluetooth headphones but the Drop + THX Pandas and Apple AirPod Maxs deliver fantastic audio quality.

The amount of information that can go to Bluetooth headphones is capped unless you use them with a wire because only a specific amount of information can travel wirelessly. Again this issue won’t affect the majority of people.

In general, Bluetooth does not ruin audio quality but it will cap the potential for the audio quality. If you want the best audio possible you will either have to go with some of the more expensive Bluetooth options at $400 and $500 or just get premium headphones that aren’t Bluetooth.

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How Does Sound Quality Compare

If the only thing you value is sound quality, there are many options to consider. There are many Bluetooth headphones that have solid sound quality but the headphones with the best quality are not Bluetooth and you can get higher quality sound for the price as many Bluetooth headphones.

A lot of what you are paying for with Bluetooth headphones is the feature of Bluetooth. If all you care about is sound quality and the feature of Bluetooth is not important to you, there are various options on the market that you can look at. A solid Bluetooth pair will typically cost anywhere from 200 to 600 dollars but you can get the sound quality of a $200 pair of Bluetooth headphones for half the cost.

If sound quality is your main priority, there are many different headphones that you can consider like open-back headphones, which can offer a cleaner and wider sound.

Overall the sound quality of open-back headphones is not bad but for the price, there are better options and the best sounding headphones on the market are mostly wired, especially professional-grade options.

How To Choose Bluetooth Headphones

Top view of Bluetooth headphones and earbuds on a desk.

Choosing headphones can be very complicated and confusing. It is important to understand what budget you are looking at and then what features you prioritize the most.

Do You Need Bluetooth?

Before considering what Bluetooth headphones you want, you need to decide if you really would benefit from Bluetooth headphones.

If you want headphones to use on the go or you just want the ease of use of a Bluetooth device then Bluetooth may suit you perfectly. Bluetooth can make your setup easier and it can also make using headphones easier to use because there is no cable that you have to worry about.

If you plan to use your headphones with a desktop or in a studio environment then Bluetooth headphones may not be worth it for you and investing in a wired pair may give you better sound quality and price to performance.

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The Price

If Bluetooth headphones are right for you then the next important thing to decide is your budget. There are many Bluetooth headphones at various price ranges. If you have more money you can get headphones with features such as ANC in addition to great sound quality. There are also many fantastic value options.

Once you find what price is right for you, you should look at all the options in your price range. Finding what features matter to you is a great way to narrow down options and then you can find the best option for your price tag.

Sound Quality

The most important thing about headphones is how they actually sound. All the best sounding options will cost about $400 or more but you can still get great sound quality at a lower price tag.

When you have narrowed down your budget, understanding what options in your price range have the best sound quality is an important consideration. Of course, it is always good to maintain a balance of the best sound quality you can get in your budget while also getting the features that you prioritize.

Looking at comparisons between different options can be very helpful in deciding what are the best options.

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ANC

One of the most common features of Bluetooth headphones is ANC or active noise cancellation. This uses microphones on the outside of the headphones so an offset sound can be played allowing you to hear less sounds from the outside world.

ANC quality depends greatly but it gets better usually as you spend more. Headphones with better ANC will block out more outside noise especially sudden sounds like a door closing or someone coughing.

Noise cancellation is incredibly useful in public environments, especially very noisy ones like a plane or a public building. This will allow you to be able to listen better and get distracted less. If you want Bluetooth but are not in loud environments often you can potentially save some money. Most people will benefit from having ANC but unless you are always in loud environments you should not stretch your budget to get a pair with ANC.

Looks and Build

The build among Bluetooth headphones is mostly similar among all the options. Typically they use a mainly plastic fame with the use of materials like pleather and potentially some metal. Occasionally you can find some options that have mostly metal designs like the Apple AirPods Max.

Although more premium feeling and looking builds are nice to have they are not necessarily needed. Most premium Bluetooth headphones have solid build quality even with mostly plastic construction. If you do prioritize having an all-metal build there are a few options to consider but you will most likely have to pay a premium.

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Other Important Features

Apart from the main priorities of build quality, sound, and price, there are other nice to haves like software support, a carrying case, or other features that improve your experience with the device. These other features may help you narrow down which headphone is right for you.

Many headphones do have these additional features like software, a carrying case, and potentially additional cables so you may need to look out for more specific things about each like how good the software is.

Why Trust Us

As a team with tech and audio enthusiasts, we not only study these subjects for work but also outside of that. We gather the most relevant information and like to test as much as possible ourselves.

We have had the opportunity to test these different headphones and also have experience in many other areas of the audio world. Additionally with this content not only can you get a recommendation from a user that may have similar interests as you but you can get a view from an audiophile’s perspective.

At The Tech Frontier, we have compiled this list through our testing of different Bluetooth headphones. We also have used previous knowledge with different kinds of headphones, platforms, and operating systems to provide recommendations for all kinds of audiences.


Conclusion

Surface Headphones with a plant in the background.

Hopefully these options have helped you narrow down your search as to what options are best for you and you now know what to look for in headphones when you’re researching what to purchase.

There are many great Bluetooth headphones that have little differences in their interface of an improvement in a specific part of how it sounds so doing some additional research is very useful to make a more informed decision.

If you want to check out more guides and reviews check out the rest of our site with new articles coming out every week.

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Keychron K6 Review: The Best Board For 100?

The Keychron K6 is a mechanical keyboard that is absolutely packed with features such as Bluetooth connectivity and RGB lighting.

In a compact and efficient 65% layout, the K6 delivers many features that make it a great option for anyone who needs a solid keyboard for a good price.

Let’s dive in and take a deeper look at the Keychron K6.

The Verdict

Top view of Keychron K6 mechanical keyboard.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Keychron K6 is 65% that delivers backlighting, macOS support, and the option to get a hotswappable PCB.

In addition to that, the board features wireless connectivity with Bluetooth 5.1 with an 80-hour battery life.

You get a solid case with an adjustable height and if you are willing to pay about 10 dollars more you can get aluminum bezels.

Keychron gives you a ton of customization on what features you want, obviously at an increased cost, to get an aluminum case, hotswap PCB, and RGB lighting. You are also given the option to choose the three main kinds of switch, clicky, tactile, and linear.

If you want a board with a ton of features and great value all with a compact layout, the Keychron K6 is a great option. It’s not only a great value offering but the K6 also makes for a great travel board.


In The Box

Unboxing of Keychron K6 mechanical keyboard

In the box, the K6 comes with several items that will help you get up and running as well as some extras to improve your experience with the board. In the box you will find:

  • USB-C Power Cable: You get a nice braided cable that is USB-C and has a 90-degree angle because the port is on the side. No kinks developed after months of use.
  • Warranty and Information: Keychron gives you all the essential information on how to use the board with clear instructions along with a pamphlet for warranty information.
  • Extra Keycaps: You get additional keycaps to add orange accents and for better support for both Windows and macOS. There are modifier keys for Windows and macOS-specific keys.
  • Keycap Puller: A wire puller is included which makes the process of taking off keycaps very easy while not scratching your keycaps like with cheaper plastic pullers.
  • Key Switch Puller: If you get the hotswap version of the board then a metal switch puller is included. It is not amazing but it does the job.

Overall it is great that you get so many things in the box and the extras really tie in the experience.


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Build Quality

Angled view of Keychron K6 mechanical keyboard

The Keychron K6 has two case designs. Plastic and aluminum. The majority of the case is made from plastic aside from the aluminum top plate. If you do opt for the aluminum version there will be aluminum bezels around the sides for a more hefty feel and premium look.

There is little flex to the board and it feels quite sturdy, especially if you get the aluminum version.

There are 3 levels of height adjustment to the board with a flat typing angle, 6-degree angle, and 10-degree angle. On the bottom of the board, you will also find for moderately size rubber feet to keep the board from sliding around.

The front height was a common complaint with older Keychron boards but while it is still not ideal it is a bit better with the K6. I am able to comfortably type without my wrist rest.

On the left side of the board, you will find a USB-C port along with two buttons. The first button allows you to switch between Windows/Android and macOS/iOS. The other button allows you to switch between Bluetooth, wired, and off.

This is quite a convenient spot for the buttons as it is not in the way and easy to reach but it is not the nicest spot for the cable. It makes cable managing your keyboard cable a lot harder if you are using it in wired and removes the possibility to use custom cables.

For most people, this won’t be too much of an issue, especially if you plan to use the board with Bluetooth.

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The Keycaps

Keycaps for Keychron K6 mechanical keyboard

The K6 comes with a set of ABS keycaps in the OEM profile with doubleshot, shine through legends. Included are some alternate keycaps including some mac keys and accent keys if you want to add an orange accent to the light or escape keys.

Since the keycaps are made of ABS they will develop shine over time but since the set is pretty good quality for a prebuilt board, it will take at least a month for it to show up. This shine will come from the natural greases and oils from your hands.

The OEM profile is the standard among pre-built mechanical keyboards. the keycaps are contoured to match the shape of your hands. Since this is similar to most pre-built mechanical keyboards, if you have used another in the past it will be very easy to get used to.

Since the keycaps use the doubleshot method for the main legends this means that the legends are reliable and won’t fade away. Although the main legends are shine through there are some printed sub legends to show extra functions that work with the fn1 and fn2 keys.

The keycaps, aside from the orange accent keys, have a gray theme with the use of both light and dark gray. They have a very smooth feel too. The legends on the modifiers look modern and simplistic which is very nice in comparison to other pre-built boards that have aggressive-looking legends.

The Switches

Switches for Keychron K6 mechanical keyboard

Underneath the keycaps, Keychron gives you 3 switch options. You get a clicky, tactile, and linear switch from Gateron.

Gateron RedA light linear switch with a smooth travel
Gateron BrownA medium weight tactile switch with a light tactile bump
Gateron BlueA medium weight clicky switch. It has a loud sound and sharp tactility

Gateron provides some great switches for pre-built boards. All these switches are good options but if you get the hotswappable version of the board, you can replace the stock switches with any option of your choosing.

Gateron’s switches have a durability of 50 million keystrokes which just means that these switches will last a very long time and will probably last longer than the majority of other components on the board.

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The Stabilizers

Stabilizers often have a big effect on how a keyboard sounds and Keychron’s stabilizers are some of the better ones that I have tried on a prebuilt keyboard. Keychron has opted to use Cherry Style plate mount stabs that are factory lubed for a better sound and feel.

The sound and feel will also change based on what switches you use. Clicky switches will block out any rattle from the stabilizers while linear switches could make rattle or ping more obvious.

Overall the stabs are not perfect but they are much better than the stabilizers on most gaming keyboards. If you are coming from a Corsair, Razer, or similar keyboards these stabilizers will be an upgrade. If you get hotswap version of the board then you can easily mod the spacebar to sound and feel even better by lubing it and clipping it yourself.

Software (or Lack Thereof)

Sharpkeys Software for Keychron K6

Unfortunately, Keychron has no official software or firmware for any of their keyboards.

Keychron has rumored that they are making a software of some sort but little details are known about it and its release date.

Luckily there are some options that Keychron suggests for you to use. On Windows, they recommend that you use Sharpkeys and Karabiner for MacOS (Note: Karabiner won’t work on Linux and GNU based systems). Both softwares work by remapping the buttons of the keyboard input at a low level in the operating system.

This means that all these changes will not actually save to the board so if you move the board to another device none of your mappings will be there. This also means that if you plan to use any other board with your computer that the mappings will be changed because of these softwares.

Hotswap PCB

Keychron K6 with switches, keycaps, and switch puller

If you choose to pay extra, you can get a K6 with a hotswappable PCB. This means that you can change the switches without needing to desolder anything. This process takes a few seconds just to take out or put in a switch.

The board supports both 3 and 5 pin switches and it is north-facing. This means that the keyboard supports switches from most switch manufactures including Kailh, Cherry, Drop, and much more. The fact that the sockets are north-facing means that there could be interference between the switch and the keycap with high-end GMK keycap sets but it does allow more of the lighting to get through. This will not be an issue for most people that are in the market for this board though.

A PCB with hotswap sockets is a very useful feature and it makes this board great for those who want to get into the mechanical keyboard hobby but if you just want a keyboard to type on then there is no need to spend the extra money.

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Bluetooth Connectivity

One feature that makes the Keychron K6 such a great option is the fact that you can connect the board to three devices with Bluetooth 5.1. This is very useful for those who may use multiple devices or want to travel with the keyboard.

The Bluetooth works with Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android.

The board supports a 4000maH rechargeable lithium-ion battery. The battery is rated for 80 hours or 10 days with 8 hours of usage, while backlighting is on. This was consistent with my testing. After about 5 minutes of inactivity, the board will go into a low power mode turning off the LEDs. The only complaint you may have is that it takes a few seconds for the board to turn back on.

The latency with Bluetooth actually is not bad. Although I would not recommend it for gaming it is not a terrible experience. Depending on the game, it was not even noticeable that I was still on Bluetooth.

It is worth mentioning that I did have some connectivity issues when I first got the board. At first, the board would not go into pairing mode. I fixed this issue by leaving the board to charge for a few hours and then it worked. Ever since I have never had any issues with Bluetooth.

Mac Support

Angled view of Keychron K6

A very nice feature about all Keychron boards is MacOS support. Many boards only officially support Windows so some boards either won’t work or some of the modifier keys may have no functionality.

On the side of the K6 is a button to change between Windows/Android or Mac/IOS. This is complemented nicely by the Apple-specific keycaps.

This feature is very nice because it means you can use this keyboard no matter what operating system you plan to use. If you are primarily a Mac user then this is one of the best boards that you can get.

Back Lighting

RGB lighting on Keychron K6 mechanical keyboard

The Keychron K6 features either white or RGB backlighting the RGB option will cost a bit more. The RGB lighting is not as bright as gaming keyboards that I have tried from Corsair, Logitech, or Razer. It is not very bright but is still noticeable.

RGB lighting is always nice to have to add to a desk theme and the white blends well in an office environment.

The LEDs along with the modern font of the keycaps are not obtrusive and don’t make the board look overly gamery. The LEDs are versatile for any situation.

Due to the keyboard having no dedicated software currently, all the effects are on the board. There are a variety of effects from static colors to type lighting. With the white LED models you won’t have nearly as many lighting effects.

You can also easily turn on and off the LEDs by pressing either fn1 or fn2 and the light button.

Conclusion: Should You Get The K6?

Side view of Keychron K6 mechanical keyboard

The sub $100 price range is very competitive but the Keychron K6 emerges as a great option with great performance and features.

It delivers tons of utility with a nice-looking case. You get Bluetooth, macOS support, backlighting, and the chance to get a hotswappable PCB. You get all the utility that you need while in a compact 65% layout.

The wireless connectivity helps this board be very portable and it allows you to have a clean setup.

The board is quite sturdy with minimal flex and a decent weight for its size.

The only major drawbacks of the board are the fact that the USB-C port is on the side limiting your options for custom cables and cable management options as well as potential Bluetooth connectivity issues. Luckily the connection issue that I faced had a simple fix but, unfortunately, these issues are common.

If you are interested in checking out this board then you can see the Keychron K6 on Amazon.

Also if you enjoyed this article consider checking out some of our other keyboard reviews.

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Logitech G203 Review: Top Tier Mouse For A Decent Price

Are you looking for a cheap but decent entry into the PC Gaming world?

The Logitech G203 may be perfect for you. Logitech delivers great performance without breaking the bank making the G203 a very popular option.

Let’s take a closer look at the Logitech G203 and see if it suits your needs.

The Verdict

Logitech G203 next to keyboard

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Logitech G203 has a solid shell accompanied with a robust and good quality sensor.

This mouse is an ideal choice for PC Gamers on a budget. Its cheap price tag won’t dent your wallet while still won’t yield a technical disadvantage over other gamers with better mice. If you are like me and love RGB then fear not because the G203 has RGB accents on the logo and at the edge of this mouse.

The smaller size is very good for a claw grip although a palm grip will also work great for it. Its sides are very recessed but are symmetrical besides the buttons on the side which are not present on the left side. Furthermore, this mouse is fine for left-handers but they will not have use of the secondary buttons.

The main downsides of the Logitech G203 include the build quality, the lacking sensor compared to other mice in 2021, the lackluster software, and lastly Logitech’s history with double-clicking mice.

If the user can overlook these issues this mouse can objectively be one of the best budget gaming mice even in 2021, 3 years after its launch.

If you think the Logitech G203 is right for you, check it out on Amazon for a great price.


Logitech G203 Specifications

Length~116.6 mm
~11.66 cm
~29.62 in
Width~62.15 mm
~6.22 cm
~15.79 in
Height~38.2 mm
~3.82 cm
~9.7 in
Weight~85 g
~0.09 kg
~0.19 lbs.
Sensor TypeOptical (200-8000 DPI)
Sensor ModelLogitech Sensor 8k DPI (By Mercury)
Polling Rate125-1000 Hz
Cable Length2.1m (6.9 ft) Rubber Cable
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In The Box

Top view of Logitech G203

At this price point, you can not expect very many extras in the box and that trend continues with the G203.

In the box, you find nothing besides the mouse and some documentation. It does not include extra skates or more commonly a weight other mice may have.

All in all, besides the mouse nothing very interesting.

The Build

Mice in general are all subjective in terms of shape but sensor, build quality, and switches are some of the objective parts of a mouse.

Logitech mice are generally very well built and look like the same thing continues with this mouse even at its low price point.

The mouse does not feel like it will break if you drop it but at the same time its relatively light at a cool 85 Grams. That being said its is not the best quality. There is a sort of metallic springy reverb around the buttons when you press them quickly or if you put the mouse down with force.

Lastly, we can move on to the switches. Logitech mice have very good switches in terms of feel and responsiveness. Though one issue plagues Logitech mice; double-clicking. While this issue has been mitigated by new switches in all mice, thousands were still affected by it. That being said all the mice I have had from Logitech (G502 Hero, G203, G703) have not had these issues even after years of use. So, it’s safe to say all for the mice that Logitech will sell will likely not have double-clicking issues.

Logitech G203 next to other mice

Shape and Comfort

The G203 is a symmetrical mouse with two buttons on the left hand side. You can use it with your left hand but it is not recommended,

The mouse is definitely on the smaller side as it is much smaller than the Glorious Model D and Zowie EC-2. Depending on what you like in a mouse this may or may not bother you. If you like a bigger more ergonomic mouse this is definitely not the mouse for you as it is very short and small. That being said, if you are a left-handed user then this is gonna be great for you as it is symmetrical besides the side buttons which are on the right.

The mouse is very comfortable for the claw grip. but the palm grip can get a bit uncomfortable after long periods especially after long periods of use.

As for the button positioning it is all in excellent positions.

Buttons include:

  • Left Click
  • Right Click
  • Two buttons on the left
  • Scroll wheel
  • DPI adjustment between left & right click

As already stated, the mouse buttons are very comfortable and clicky. The same goes for all the other buttons sans the DPI adjust which has a ton of spring ping especially if you click fast.

Perhaps one of the best parts of Logitech mice is the scroll wheel. It has a very satisfying click and is very easy to grip. The only problem I found during testing was the low height. Some people may find that uncomfortable.

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Sensor and Polling Rate

On the bottom of the mouse is an undisclosed sensor by Logitech. It reaches 8K DPI (dots per inch) with a minimum of 200.

It features a 1000hz Polling Rate (how fast info is reported to the device). The mouse is very snappy in windows but compared to the hero sensor on my G502 there is a notable difference in responsiveness and speed at the same DPI and sensivity.

Colors and RGB Lighting

The Mouse comes in 4 colors. Lilac, Black, White, and Blue. These colors are flashy and look quite good overall.

The RGB on the mouse is great. It is exciting and bright compared to other budget offerings. There is lighting on the back and side in a strip and on the logo. This looks great especially considering Logitech’s three-zone lighting mode which looks great if configured properly.

The lighting is vibrant and supports a ton of effects.

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Connectivity

This mouse is not wireless, but the cable is quite good. The cable is not braided, which sounds like a con, but in reality, it’s a plus for this mouse. This is because the drag on this mouse is far better than it is on cables that are braided from mice like the Logitech G502 Hero.

The connectivity is flawless and the cable is long and isn’t prone to kinks. The cable is not detachable which is a standard in wired mice. It would have been nice to see a detachable cable but that would add weight.

Logitech G203 on the Amazon page.
CC: Amazon

Software

What good is a mouse without customization and what better way to have that than with software?

Logitech G Hub software works but is nothing great. The functionality is not its fault but the bugs. Users have reported seeing issues of profiles being reset, software not even loading, and much much more. While it seems they have fixed these bugs the past is still the past.

Aside from the bugs there is a lot of functionality with the G Hub software from in depth macros to lighting interactions with what is on your screen.

You can tune everything you would expect from a mouse software.

  • Polling rate (125Hz – 1000Hz)
  • DPI (200-8000 DPI, in increments of 50)
  • RGB
  • Button bindings

These are just some of the things that you can change with the G Hub software. It may have bugs but it is very powerful.

Logitech G Hub Software

Onboard Memory

The Logitech G203 has onboard memory so you can save specific settings like lighting, sensitivity, and button mappings on the mouse.

Onboard memory is helpful if you use your device with multiple devices or take your mouse to different places. It also enables you to keep all of your settings without a software running.

If you don’t want to run Logitech’s G Hub in the background or you want to uninstall it, you can quickly save your profiles to the memory.

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An Alternative/Upgrade: The G305

The bigger brother of the Logitech G203, the G305 is a wireless version of the G203. It retains the same shape while making some improvements to the inside and cutting the wire.

The G305 does cost more than the G203 but it has an improved Hero sensor that is more accurate and the same latency while being wireless.

If you do like RGB then sadly the G305 doesn’t have any but if you want a great sensor and lightspeed wireless connectivity, the Logitech G305 is a great value.


Conclusion: Is It Good For Gaming?

Logitech G203 next to a keyboard

The Logitech G203 is a great mouse for the 20-30 dollar price point and perfect for people who are new to the PC Gaming community. It packs punch in performance with great internals at a great price point and has amazing availability on amazon which is always a plus.

There aren’t many cons to this mouse besides commodities you would expect in a higher-end mouse. The accurate sensor, great buttons, and comfortable shape at around 30 dollars makes this mouse very easy to recommend.

It is a great mouse for gaming, especially if you are just getting into gaming or are on a budget. It delivers better performance and a nicer build than most of the competition at the same price.

And it has plenty of RGB, which obviously increases performance.

(It doesn’t)

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Sennheiser GSX 1000 Review: The Best Gaming DAC?

The Sennheiser GSX 1000 is a great DAC for gamers and those who can benefit from its many features.

With support for a mic input, virtual surround sound, a screen interface, and more, Sennheiser’s GSX 1000 is a great option for those who game often. It delivers plenty of features with only one drawback, the price.

Let’s take a look at the GSX and see if it is right for you.

Sennheiser GSX 1000 DAC

The Verdict

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

If you game often but want an improved audio experience the Sennheiser GSX 1000 is a great option for you. It will improve the audio quality for both your headphones and microphone.

Those who have been looking for more adjustment to their mic and sound setting or are looking for more clarity. If you are a fan of virtual surround sound, the GSX 1000 has the best surround sound processing in any DAC in terms of accuracy and sound clarity. As a result, the GSX 1000 can further your immersion in games.

Features such as a touch screen, dial, profiles, and more allow you to have more customization. This allows you to change the settings to suit your preferences.

The GSX 1000 won’t be able to drive power-hungry, premium headphones but that is also not what it was designed to do. It is a great way to improve a gaming headset or make a regular pair of headphones have features such as virtual surround sound.

If you need to power premium headphones or you don’t need things like the input or virtual surround sound then this option is not the best for you. Getting a non-gaming DAC and amp will probably suit your needs best.

It is worth mentioning that we tested the GSX 1200 Pro but it is exactly the same as the GSX 1000 with the addition of a couple minor features. We will high highlight the additional features of the GSX 1200 Pro in this review too.

You can find the Sennheiser GSX 1000 and GSX 1200 Pro, for a bit more, on amazon for their best prices.


In The Box

Sennheiser GSX 1000 Unboxing

When you open up the box you will find everything you need to get started. In the box you will find:

  • The DAC: The GSX comes surrounded with foam presented to you quite nicely.
  • Micro USB Cable: To power the device and send information to the DAC, Sennheiser gives you a red USB A to Micro USB cable. It is best to use this cables as you may have issues with other cables.
  • 3.5mm to 3.5mm Cable: This cable only comes with the GSX 1200 Pro so you can connect it to other GSX 1200s for latency-free LAN parties.
  • Quick Start Guide: This guide tells you how to get the device up and running and provides links to their website so you can learn how to use the device.
  • Manual: This tells you anything you would need to know that is not the basic stuff on the quick start guide.

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The Build

The build of the GSX is pretty good. The materials aren’t necessarily high end but like most Sennheiser products it is built well and does not give the impression that it can be broken easily or it won’t break quickly.

The construction is mostly plastic with some rubber, aluminum, and glass. The body is all plastic and it doesn’t feel cheap. Rubber is used for some long pads on the bottom so the DAC doesn’t move when doing things like adjusting the volume. The scroll wheel is made of aluminum with glass for the screen.

Sennheiser’s GSX 1000 weighs in at about 10.6 ounces or 0.66 pounds.

Looks And Interface

The GSX 1000 has a black build with silver and white accents on the scroll wheel and logo on the flip-out leg. There are also red accents as the wire is red and there is red LED lighting around the scroll wheel to go with the screen. Although the LEDs can’t change color it is nothing too intrusive and would not ruin a desktop theme.

The GSX 1000 is quite small being 5.63 inches long by 5.47 inches wide with a height of 2.76 inches. It is quite portable if you want to take it to move it to a different setup or go to LAN parties.

One of the most unique features of the GSX 1000 is its interface and the way you interact with it. On the top of the device, there is a screen. On the screen not only does it display the volume but it is a touch screen. On the screen, you can change the output, add sidetone, switch between stereo and surround sound, add reverb to the sound, change the direction of where the sound is focused, and choose from preset EQs.

In addition to the screen, there are also four touch-capacitive buttons or sensors on the four edges of the device to select profiles. Just slide your finger over the LED and you will switch to that profile. The only issue is that profiles will not work when HD audio is enabled. Having four profiles is nice if you want one profile for regular stereo audio and then different profiles for the different games that you play.

On the GSX 1200 Pro variant, you can hold the top left and bottom right sensors for 10 seconds and then your device will go into “Tournament Mode” meaning the settings cannot be changed. This is to make sure you don’t accidentally press something when quickly changing volume or anything else.

Gaming DACs and amps have a dial to change the volume but they are usually oriented on the front rather than on the top of the device with the GSX. Depending on your preference the dial of GSX 1000 may be more comfortable to use for you.

In addition to the main volume wheel, you have a scroll wheel on the right side to control your mic input volume and with the GSX 1200 Pro, you will also have another scroll wheel on the left side to control the amount of volume coming in from people talking to you. This scroll wheel is only needed if you are using the feature of zero latency talking via connecting this DAC to other GSX 1200s.

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Inputs and Outputs

Sennheiser GSX 1000 Inputs and outputs

As for inputs and outputs, the selection is sufficient for most people, especially the market that the GSX 1000 applies to. The GSX is not recommended for those who want a ton of outputs for a speaker setup but for gamers who it is for it will have everything that you need.

To send all the information to the DAC and power there is a micro USB cable. On the GSX 1200 model only you can have latency-free conversations with others who have the DAC next to you which is what the 2.5mm ports are for. The last three ports are 3.5mm for the speaker and headphone outputs and the mic input.

The fact that the ports for a headphone and mic connection are on the back is one of the biggest cons for me as it can make cable management harder and it can put the cable in an awkward position.

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The Sound

Sennheiser GSX 1000 screen

Although modern motherboards have pretty decent sound, the GSX 1000 is a step up and a good improvement if you have an older computer or a laptop.

You will notice an improvement an increase in the clarity of the sound and separation between different elements of music like instruments.

After using this DAC it will feel as if a veil has been lifted away from the sound and the detail of each note will be more noticeable. Sounds that may have sounded more recessed and in the background like vocals will be more forward.

Overall this benefit in sound won’t be necessarily noticeable while gaming but you will notice it when listening to music.

If you are listening to music for a longer period of time it is recommended that you enable HD audio. When you do enable this mode the sound clarity will be even clearer than before but you will be locked with stereo sound and will not be able to change the EQ, use profiles, or control Sidetone.

This mode is only really good while listening to music but while gaming you will want to go back to the regular mode or you won’t have access to most of the settings.

To enable HD audio you must go to your “Sound Settings” then go to the “Sound Control Panel”. Then you will find the GSX 1000. In the settings of the device, you will go to the “Advanced” tab and then put the quality to the highest quality.

Depending on what you are doing you will want to select a different option. If you are listening to music putting the DAC’s quality to the highest setting will put it into HD audio mode but otherwise putting it to the second-highest setting will enable all the features while retaining most of the audio quality.

It is unfortunate that you have to choose between having HD quality sound and having access to the features of this device but the option of HD audio is nice and there is definitely an improvement in clarity.

Even though the GSX 1000 will improve sound quality if you don’t need the features of this device, a dedicated amp and DAC will improve your setup the most.

7.1 Surround Surround Sound

Sennheiser GSX 1000 DAC with virtual surround sound enabled.

One of the most unique features that the GSX delivers is virtual surround sound. Headphones are a stereo device meaning they create sound using two speakers or drivers but the GSX1000 makes it possible to simulate an experience where there are more speakers for an overall more immersive sound.

The GSX 1000 is known for its virtual surround because of how accurate and immersive it is. Most gaming headsets support virtual surround sound but the directionality of the sound is often not that accurate and the sound may actually be more distorted because of how bad the surround sound method is for the headset.

Sennheiser developed this device to have much better surround sound than gaming headsets. The difference is night and day. The implementation is probably the best out of any gaming DAC or gaming headset out there in accuracy and the customization that you can have on the sound to make it more immersive. A GSX 1000 can make most stereo headphones perform better in the surround sound experience than even dedicated gaming headsets.

The virtual surround sound implementation from Sennheiser helps position sounds better than headsets from Logitech, Corsair, and other companies. These other companies create a surround experience by making all of the sounds seem to surround you rather than correctly positioning where each gunshot, engine sound, or plane is coming from.

With the GSX 1000 you can hear the exact floor and room someone may be in while gaming headsets often have more distortion and less accuracy in the sound.

I found that while testing the GSX in various titles, it was great for simulators, open-world titles, and some competitive shooters. In contrast, you will see no benefit in 2D games or titles where locations of sound are not as important.

It is also worth mentioning that surround sound is often not all competitive shooters will benefit from surround sound. You may like using it with games like CSGO or Rainbow Six Siege but surround sound won’t necessarily make you a better player.

Overall what matters are the games that you play and your preferences.

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Mic input

Another great feature about the GSX 1000 is the option for a mic input. If you have a headset with both a microphone and headphone jack then you can plug them into the GSX 1000 for more control and better sound.

With the GSX 1000, the sound of your mic should be cleaner and you can adjust the gain easily. The option to change the mic volume so quickly is great as some applications take in more or less sound than others. This can also make it easier than having to go into settings to change the volume of your mic.

Sidetone

If you have closed-back headphones, like a gaming headset or noise-canceling headphones, it can be annoying or weird to not be able to hear yourself.

Sidetone fixes this by taking your mic input and putting some of that back into what you hear. The quality of it is also quite good. It sounds as good as your mic would sound raw and you could potentially not even notice a difference.

It is similar to the transparency mode of Apple’s noise cancellation products or any other noise cancelling product with that option.

On the screen you can also change if you don’t want Sidetone or the amount of volume that you want to hear of yourself.

Zero Latency Communication

Unfortunately this feature only works with the GSX 1200 Pro but in theory what it allows you to do is quite interesting.

Typically when using apps like Discord, Zoom, or Teams there is a little bit of delay between when people talk and the other person hears it. Typically this ok when you’re not in the same room but if you are calling other people while in the same room this slight delay can be quite annoying.

If you are at a tournament or LAN party and the rest of your team or friends have the GSX 1200 Pro then you can connect up to eight devices together. Doing so will allow you to have communication with each other with no latency or lag between the sound.

You can also change the volume of how much you hear your teammates with the scroll wheel on the left hand side.

Although this is quite a cool concept in theory, in practice it probably isn’t worth it for everyone in a team to get one for just this feature.

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Alternatives

Sound Blaster G6

The biggest competitor to the GSX 1000 is the Sound Blaster G6. They share features like a mic input and virtual surround sound.

When comparing the GSX to the G6 the GSX has the step up in the interface, the mic input, and virtual surround sound.

While both have a dial for the device volume, the GSX has a screen to control the interface and a scroll wheel control for your mic volume. The G6 has neither but it does have software support and a few buttons to enable things like virtual surround sound. The software gives you the same functionality as the GSX’s screen like EQ editing.

The mic input is the same but the GSX has more features like Sidetone so you can hear yourself and control your mic volume.

Although both options have virtual surround the GSX 1000 has slightly more accurate virtual surround sound and the option to add reverb to the sound and change where the direction of sound is coming from.

There are two areas where the G6 has a step up over the GSX 1000. It provides more power and it is usually a lower price. If you want to use something that is more power-hungry than a gaming headset or efficient headphones then the G6 will fair better. The price difference is not very big but is notable because it brings up the idea of value. If you won’t need the mic input, don’t care for the screen, and are willing to sacrifice on slightly worse virtual surround then the G6 is a better option.

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Schiit Fulla 3

The Schiit Fulla 3 does not have all the features of the GSX 1000 like Sidetone, virtual surround sound, or a screen but it still packs as much power as the G6, is the most compact option here, and is the cheapest option.

If you don’t care for exciting features like virtual surround sound then this is one of the best options you can get if you need a mic input. You can find the Fulla 3 for about $100 on Schiit’s for most of the year.

The sound quality is quite good and it can power power-hungry headphones at the $300 price range. If you want to use a Sennheiser HD6XX with this then it can drive the pair really well.

Schiit Hel

Schiit’s Hel is the most expensive alternative to the GSX 1000/1200 Pro but also provides the most power. It delivers the same features as the younger brother, the Fulla 3, but significantly more power. If you have premium headphones but still want to use a mic input then this your best option.

The Hel can power premium headphones like the Beyerdynamic DT990, HiFiMan HE400i, HiFiMan Sundara, and Sennheiser HD6XX.


Conclusion

Top view of Sennheiser GSX 1000 DAC

In the category of gaming DACs and amps, the GSX 1000 delivers the most features to the consumer, albeit at a higher cost.

You may not be able to power $300+ headphones but, the GSX is a step over motherboard audio so you will get cleaner sound in your headphones or speakers with more separation between sounds and less distortion. The GSX 1000 will also improve your mic sound so you can sound better not just in discord but if you are recording something like a voice-over.

In addition to better sound, the interface, virtual surround sound, and other customization make the GSX 1000 and great DAC. The screen that always displays the volume is very useful to see volume instantly along with an easy to use touch screen and dials. The virtual surround sound implementation is accurate and probably the best out. Finally the customization to things like the mic with Sidetone is a really nice addition and gives the GSX 1000 a step over the competition.

Although the GSX 1200 Pro has a couple additional features, the sound and core features are the same. It is not worth it to pay more for the GSX 1200 Pro unless you need the additional features so for most people it is recommended to buy whatever is the cheapest option.

If you think that either suits your needs, check out the GSX 1000 and GSX 1200 Pro on Amazon for a good price.

Happy listening!

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