A solid option.
There are a lot of headsets out on the market. It can be confusing which one to buy, especially for multi-console owners. While Kingston might not resonate as one of the “big” brands out there, everything I have ever used from them has been quality. In fact, I still user a HyperX headset to record our weekly podcast. It is super comfortable, and it sounds fantastic.
Their newest headset is called the Stinger, and it falls into the more budget-conscious area of headsets. Weighing in at $49.99, this is more for gamers looking for a cheaper option for their headset needs.
Works On: XB1, PS4, PC
Price I’d Pay: $39.99
The first thing I always take note of when reviewing a headset is build quality. The Stinger is surprisingly light as I took it out of the package. It felt rigid when compared to other headsets I currently use. Much to my surprise it is a lot sturdier than I anticipated. Upon inspection adjusting each side reveals a metal innard that makes up the frame. This makes the headset both light on my head, and sturdy enough that I am not concerned about dropping it.
Comfort is also extremely important. HyperX headsets have always been king in this area for me, and the Stinger is no different. The earcups sit nicely on my ears, and even after 1-2 hours of game time, the band wasn’t giving me a headache with how tight it was. There is a fine line between comfort and stability, and Kingston always seems to nail that aspect.
The headset also adjusts as it is moved, making it much more flexible when resting between matches. The earcups fold down nicely, and the light weight makes it easy to lug around.
Being on the cheaper end of the spectrum, this is of course a wired headset. It works for PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4, and I tested it on each console. One gripe I have is with the massive headphone jack. With these new controllers having the input on the bottom of the controller, it makes it hard when resting the controller on your lap. The jack protrudes further down than the controller handles, making it both uncomfortable, and prone to breaking the wire over extended use.
One of the cooler features of the Stinger is the microphone. In order to mute it, players can simply flip it back into the upright position. This helps as the headset has very few actual buttons. In fact there is a volume switch on the right earcup, and that is it. So players without the additional dongle on Xbox One are left without options to adjust volumes without messing with the settings in the dashboard. I also prefer sidetone with my headsets, and the Stinger’s use is not great. It works, but is so low at times it almost feels non-existent.
As far as sound quality goes, the Stinger delivers about what one would expect from a lower-end headset. Bass is prominent, but directional audio is certainly not the best. At higher volumes there is also a bit of distortion. Nothing sounds terrible on the Stinger, but nothing stands out either. I tested multiplayer games such as Overwatch, and immersive single player affairs such as Battlefield 1 and Skyrim. The audio is passable, but don’t expect to be blown away.
The HyperX Stinger is a decent option for those on a budget, but the lack of customization and audio quality make it just that. The build is nice and the comfort is great for long sessions, just don’t expect it to blow you away.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.