For the last year or so, most of my Xbox gaming sessions have been accompanied by the PDP Afterglow Karga headset. It’s been a joy to use, and a joy to look at with not just stunning sound being thrust towards my eardrums, but the glorious glow that it brings lighting up those dark evening sessions. Now though there’s a new kid on the block. The Karga has a sibling…and the AG 9 comes without any wires!
Wireless is something that I have to have in my life. Whilst many will prefer a wired controller and wired headset in order to cut down on the power issues that are sometimes associated with a cable free life, personally I’ve found that rechargeable options are more than good enough, keeping me gaming on Xbox One without a problem. So when I got the chance to check out a fully wireless headset, I was always going to jump at the chance. At least then neither the kids nor the dog can get themselves tangled up in my gear! But am I really able to ‘speak freely’ without any cables attached?
The vast majority of headsets that use the Xbox One name come with at least one cable – normally the one that connects the cans themselves directly to the Xbox One controller in your hands. Others even come with more than that and your gaming room can quite easily become nothing more than a tangle of wires.
The PDP Afterglow AG 9 wireless headset for Xbox One however does away with near on every single cable. Instead it relies soley on the connection to your Xbox One console via the included wireless transmitter. This plugs in nicely to one of your console’s spare USB ports, after which its LED light blinks as it searches for your headset. It’s then a simple enough process to press in the power button which is situated on the left cup on the headset before the sound bursts through with great effect. With a reported range of 40ft, the wireless capabilities are outstanding…and let’s be honest, if you’re not within 40ft of your console, then you probably aren’t gaming! It connects within seconds, each and every time and not once have I found an issue with the wireless situation.
The same well cushioned cup also houses all manner of adjustments, ensuring that you are able to get just the right sound quality for the situation in hand. The power button doubles up as a mute, with a quick press ensuring that none of your Xbox Live friends can hear you chatting away to those in the same room as you. A couple of beeps into your ears give you confidence that your real world conversation won’t be spread into your virtual life and it works beautifully each time. Or at least no-one has told me otherwise!
If you need to adjust your game volume, then the same left cup houses a master volume dial and indeed a separate game/chat balance volume. Admittedly this takes some getting used to as without fumbling around or taking the headset off, you’re not really sure which of the dials you need to be messing around with. It doesn’t take too long to completely memorise what is happening though, but those first few days may be a bit frustrating. Also included on that cup is an audio mode button which lets you take in more kick with the bass boost, or experience a pure audio offering with a more balanced sound. Personally, I prefer the latter, but I’m sure there will be many out there looking to listen in to every single huge explosion that Call of Duty Black Ops III allows!
Much like the power button which doubles up as a muter, this mode button also gives you the chance to switch the Afterglow’s signature lighting effect on or off. With each cup glowing brightly during your night time gaming sessions, I’m not sure exactly why you would want to kill the green light which it emits however with the headset running fully wireless, battery usage may just be an issue with the lights asking for more power. I haven’t found a great deal of difference between running with the light on or off though with the much proclaimed 16 hours or usage between charges near on being made. When you do run out of juice however, throwing in the play and charge USB ended cable will mean that you can keep on gaming for as long as required. With a 6ft cable included in the box and a small micro USB slot on the headset, there aren’t many situations I can think of which won’t allow you to play, charge and enjoy all at once.
The sounds that the AG 9 headset produces are of a top quality. Like previously mentioned, I’ve been gaming with the Karga’s for the last year and have been more than happy with what they offered. I’m not in any way an audio tech wizard and will happily listen to anything, but the AG 9’s produce a great solid experience with all manner of audio levels coming across well. It may just be that the 50mm drivers encased in the headset are exactly what I want, or it may be that the removable and fairly flexible noise canceling mic allows others to hear me precisely, and for me to hear them clearly. The well cushioned cups also allow very little in the way of sound leakage and it’s quite possible to sit in the same room, listening to music or pounding the race track in Forza 6 without anyone else hearing anything. In a busy household, this is a vital part of a headset’s repertoire, but then I wouldn’t expect anything else from a PDP product.
With a 3.5mm audio in-line option as well, you can also quite easily take these huge cans on the bus, connecting them up to your mobile phone with the included auxiliary cable for mobile musical loveliness. With the mic working fully even when the headset is connected to a mobile, should you wish to take a call and use these as a ‘hands-free’ device I guess the option is there. You won’t however find me wandering the streets with a huge pair of bright green cans on my head! I prefer the more subtle look.
Is there anything I don’t like about the AG 9’s? Well, the initial settling in period is a bit of a pain but then I guess fumbling around trying to adjust the volume settings isn’t really the end of the world. I had slight concerns that a fully wireless headset wouldn’t be able to cope with the huge amount of gaming action that I get involved with, but the battery life has never been an issue for me. I am however only a few weeks in to their usage so I guess the real test comes in six months or so, once the rechargeable battery has been battered a bit more.
The PDP Afterglow AG 9 Wireless Headset for Xbox One WILL be my daily driver for the foreseeable future though. It’s super comfortable to wear, even on the lengthy sessions, and sounds great. The chance to be truly wire-free is lovely and with some glowing ear cups, I really don’t know any reason not to check the headset out.
Many thanks to Jake at PDP for providing us with a unit for review. You can check out the guys at PDP either at pdp.com, on Twitter, via their Facebook page or on that good old image sharer, Instagram.
Related – Unboxing the PDP Afterglow AG 9 Wireless Headset for Xbox One