Over the last few months I’ve had the privilege of immersing myself into many gaming sessions with the PDP Gaming LvL50 Wireless Headset for Xbox One firmly attached to my head. And without a word of a lie, for the very reasonable price point asked, it has more than delivered the goods. But this holiday season sees the PDP Gaming team going big with headsets, and sitting alongside their range topper comes a cheaper, slightly lower specification wired option with the PDP Gaming LvL40 Wired Stereo Headset for Xbox One. And for the price asked, PDP have just about delivered.
The PDP Gaming LvL40 Wired Stereo Headset for Xbox One comes with a mere £25 price tag attached, and that most certainly throws it deep within ‘take-a-punt’ territory. For that price, what you are getting is something remarkable too, with the LvL40 running a pair of 40mm high-definition audio drivers, a bi-directional noise-cancelling mic that flips up to mute, and construction and design which could well see it mistaken by many for its feature-rich bigger brother.
It is that design which immediately stands out with the LvL range of headsets that PDP Gaming have produced for 2019. Whilst coming in slightly smaller in stature to the more expensive headset, it still looks the absolute bomb, with a matt grey and black design only broken up by bright Xbox green covering the internals of the earcups. It looks great, and the simple but effective design is a real winner in my books, with two small PDP logos printed on each cup keeping with the theme.
A bit of padding on the underside of the adjustable headband is appreciated, and whilst not nearly as thick as that in the LvL50, it does just about do the job for short-term sessions. Whether it holds up over multi-hour long gaming events though is up for debate; I personally would like to have seen a deeper level of padding to ensure that pressure build-up isn’t an issue. But, if truth be told, you’ll start feeling the headband applying a bit of pressure a few hours into using the LvL40.
The rest of the visual design of the LvL40 Wired is then only broken up by a simple gooseneck flip-down mic on the left cup, and the standard volume dial sitting next to it. These both work well, with the mic ensuring crystal clear chat between online friends is the order of the day; easily flipped up and placed out of the way, with a precise click felt as mute is actioned. The volume dial does what a volume dial should, letting you grab the optimum sound levels for how you see fit. It’s easy to access if you’re in a hurry too, well positioned on the cup for ease of use.
The audio provided by the 40mm high-def drivers that have been included in the LvL40 are okay too. At mid-range volume they sound clear and crisp, and even though more bass would be preferred many will be happy with what is provided. Turn it right up to 11 though and things start to struggle slightly, with distortion coming into play and differing audio aspects merging into one. It’s a bit disappointing that the PDP LvL40 can’t cope with clear audio at the top end, but rarely will you ever need to power them right up to the max.
The cups are a little on the small side too – at least for me. Whilst the LvL50 fits like a glove, the breathable earcups here don’t quite cover my ears with ease, pushing down and instead feeling more like an on-ear headset would. I’m not a fan of that, but those with a smaller head, smaller ears, or that are happy to play with an on-ear headset will be fine.
So PDP’s mid-range 2019 option is great at some things whilst letdown by others, yet there is one big feature that is sure to separate the gamers on whether the PDP Gaming LvL40 Wired Headset is worth the cash or not – the wires. Now, many gamers wouldn’t be seen dead with a wired headset on their head, whilst for others a couple of connections is never an issue. I sit firmly in the latter camp and, even though wireless headsets are a delight, I’ve never been one to shy away from a wired option – after all, a simple wire to a controller shouldn’t interfere with life. That’s the case here too and I don’t mind the double cables dropping out of the earcups. Yes, a single wire would be preferred, but these headsets are sold on the stereo option and so a single cable attached to your Xbox One controller via a 3.5mm jack, splitting into two and providing power to each cup is an obvious inclusion. That does of course mean you’ll need to be running a newer styled Xbox One controller – one that caters for a 3.5mm cable – or run the XO Stereo Headset Adapter route.
And that’s pretty much about it for the LvL40, as in terms of features it’s lacking a little. Again though we have to consider the price asked for the PDP Gaming LvL40 Wired Stereo Gaming Headset for Xbox One, and taking that into account, and combining it with the brilliant design and decent sound that is delivered, then this is one headset that should certainly be considered for purchase – as long as you can look past those wires. But just remember for some extra cash you could pick up the stunning LvL50 and if given the choice that’s exactly what I’d be doing.
If you wish to purchase the PDP Gaming LvL40 Wired Stereo Gaming Headset for Xbox One then you have a few choices, the main ones being a trip to Amazon or PDP direct. Let us know if you decide to pick a pair up.
Related: Unboxing and first look at the PDP Gaming LvL40 Wired Stereo Gaming Headset for Xbox One.