Over the last few years I’ve had the opportunity to use and review a whole host of Xbox gaming headsets. I’ve used some of the most expensive cans on the market, have messed around with budget offerings and have had hands-on with pretty much everything in-between.
But if you were to hold me down and demand I pick a favourite, it would get tricky; I’d be umming and ahhing for a good while.
You see, some days I like to grab for my trusty EPOS GSP 602s and their funky design. Other times I’ll go for the ease of use of a SteelSeries – you just know it’s gonna work flawlessly. On another day though, that could well be swapped out for something from RIG, ideally the RIG 800 PRO HX; Nacon’s range topping, uber-lightweight Xbox headset.
Or at least, it was the range topper. For now – or at least depending on where in the world you live – the RIG range comes with a new premium headset – the RIG 900 MAX HX headset for Xbox.
If you’re at all familiar with RIG headsets, you’ll know what to expect from this one, for it features the same brilliant design ideas that all of their headsets are dictated by. You’ve got the same stupidly lightweight feel and skeletal framing. And it’s complete with some great sounding audio. It’s just that the 900 MAX HX goes further by integrating both Bluetooth and Xbox wireless capabilities, as well as being the first headset to feature Dolby Personalized Audio. Yes, personalised.
Is it a worthy upgrade over the previously brilliant RIG 800 PRO HX though? Well, that all depends on what you want, and where you live. If it’s new shiny gear you want and you reside in North America, crack open the wallet without delay. But those in the rest of the world may wish to hold tight just a little longer; at least until the personalised Dolby Atmos goodness rolls out worldwide.
So what do we have with the RIG 900 MAX HX? Well, there’s the usual great RIG set up, all built around a super flexible, highly lightweight skeletal frame. Complete with the usual three position push-and-click headband adjuster, this fully wireless headset rarely breaks for new ground.
All black in design with touches of RIG branding, it certainly feels good, in both hand and on head. Much of that is due to the stupidly lightweight nature and mere 294 grams of weight.
Include a suspension styled headband that takes the low weight away from your head, holding the metal headband in place, and at times it’ll feel like you’ve hardly a thing clasping to your skull. It’s a joy to grab and stick in place, with comfort right at the very top of what you would expect from a headset. This one can be worn for hours on end, with little hassle.
Plush dual-fabric oval earcups cover the ears in full too. Super squishy and running a combination of material and leather, again, that comfort comes to the fore. They house some 40mm drivers which are more than beefy enough to power the Dolby Atmos audio the way of your ears.
And there’s no doubting the sound quality of the RIG 900 MAX HX either. As with most top end RIG sets, there are moments in gaming in which the Dolby Atmos is able to blow you away in terms of what it can deliver. Whether it’s a shooter and you’re listening out for gunshots, or in The Crew Motorfest as you rev to the redline, we’ve not found a single situation where the audio delivered hasn’t been anything other than of the highest quality. There’s a great soundscape in place; not too bassy, not too tinny, just damn right.
Considering the cups completely enclose your ears, there’s some serious immersion that happens whenever you put the 900 MAX HX into action.
A large left cup mounted volume dial ensures it is a cinch to get those audio levels to your own satisfaction, working out of the box as a main volume spinner. Combine that with a multi-function button just above it, and skipping between game audio and party chat is just as easy.
Audio out is nothing to be sniffed at either. Distributed via a flip-down mic, this feels perfectly placed for decent comms. We’ve not had a single complaint at the quality of this from teammates and party members, with instructions and chatter coming across crystal clear. Flipping up to mute is as easy as pie and the fact that the mic is permanently attached means there’s just one less thing to worry about losing.
So we get to the connectivity and the RIG 900 MAX HX runs both wireless and Bluetooth capabilities. The HX moniker points to this one being designed for Xbox, and as such is the primary format of choice here. But you can also use it for PlayStation and PC if you so wish.
Connection to the console comes about via a small USB-A dongle, switchable between Xbox and other devices. Plugging it into your console allows a seamless set up, done within a matter of seconds. And once connected, we’ve not had a single drop off.
Further comes the docking station. RIG are selling the 900 MAX HX as a headset capable of providing some fifty hours of battery life. But frankly that shouldn’t ever be an issue. That’s thanks to the included dock that connects to your console, with the wireless dongle sliding neatly into it. From there, throwing the headset on to ensure it is continually powered is simpler than a simple thing, attaching via a four-pinned connection. It means that the headset will always be fully charged no matter what. And better still, with the dock in place, taking the headset from it instantly powers up the headset itself. Obviously there’s a power button if you need to use it, but one less button to press and all that…
The RIG 900 MAX HX also has Bluetooth built in, allowing you to attach to a mobile or laptop at the same time as gaming. We’ll admit that, whilst we like the idea in theory, dual connectivity can sometimes be an issue. What if you’re wanting to game but keep getting interrupted by your phone? NACON and RIG have thought of that: with a press of the Mode/pairing button ensuring you can switch between three modes – Dual mode, USB Gaming only and Bluetooth only. It means you rarely need to worry too much about breaking the gaming immersion.
But, that dual connectivity does cause issues. Minor ones, annoyances more than anything. We’ve found that with the 900 MAX HX synced up to our Xbox and our phone, we’ve constantly forgotten about it staying connected when we aren’t gaming. In fact, if the headset isn’t on the dock, it’s connected to our phone. And when we just want to watch a quick video from the comfort of the sofa, listening to the audio blare out from across the room has been an issue. Perhaps it’s on us to ensure that everytime we stop gaming, the headset HAS to be docked. But you know, we’re lazy. We could also press that little Bluetooth button on our phone and disconnect, but again, too lazy to do such a thing.
And there is one other problem. We’re in the UK. The 900 MAX HX is currently only on sale in North American regions. We wondered why that was, seeing as RIG products are usually global, but now we understand why. It seems that a big selling point of the 900 MAX HX is that of Dolby Personalized Audio – and the App that controls it (from the Google Play Store at least) is region limited. As such, we’ve not been able to test that feature. We sorely hope for a global rollout real soon. Until then, we’re left with ‘standard’ Dolby Atmos. Which by all accounts is still super impressive.
But think about it. When you’ve got to the end of a review and discovered that the only real negative to a product is something that the user can fix with ease, or is awaiting a global rollout, then that ain’t bad going. And that’s the case with the RIG 900 MAX HX.
Should you be at all familiar with the RIG branding then you’ll know exactly what you are getting from their new range topper. Ultra lightweight, total comfort is a gimme. As is great audio, both that coming in and going out. Full wireless capabilities help massively too, as does the inclusion of dual forms of connectivity. If you’re in a region that can handle Dolby Personalized Audio, this could well be a killer headset. And even if you’re not, it’s still a more than viable option.
Basically put, you’ll not go wrong by sticking the RIG 900 MAX HX on your shopping list.
Huge thanks go out to Nacon for providing us with the RIG 900 MAX HX for review. Grab one for yourself by visiting their store. You’ll be looking at a $249.99 price tag.