Review: Roccat Elo 7.1 Air gaming headset – a solid entry in the $100 headset market
Extremely comfortable, but the sound lacks a bit of punch.
Gaming headsets in the sub-$100 market are a dime a dozen. There are many options available so deciding on which one is right for you can be difficult. Today, we’ll be looking at the Roccat Elo 7.1 Air gaming headset.
Roccat has been a name in gaming hardware since 2006, and back in 2019, the company was acquired by an even bigger name in gaming – Turtle Beach. Now, Roccat acts as more of the PC line of gaming accessories for the company, and the Roccat Elo 7.1 Air wireless headset fits nicely in that niche.
I’ve spent the last couple of weeks putting this headset through the paces on PC. Also, while it seems this offering is more geared towards PC (more on that later), it also works on consoles like the PlayStation 4 thanks to the USB dongle.
Comfort and features
I am what some might call “a picky bitch” when it comes to headphones. I genuinely find most of them to be somewhere between passable and vice-grip-around-the-skull. The Elo 7.1 Air headset is genuinely one of the most comfortable headsets I’ve ever worn. This is thanks to the lighter, less-condensed earpads and the star of the show, the suspension band up top. It really helps remove some of the pressure you might normally experience around your ears and down towards your jaw.
Those earpads come with a caveat, however, as the unit doesn’t do a great job of canceling external sounds. If you live in a quiet household, you’ll be fine, but if there is a lot of noise going on around you, you’ll definitely notice.
Features on the headset are pretty minimal. You have a power button, a mic mute button, and volume rollers for the headset and mic. The two rollers are exactly the same, so expect some confusion early on. Also, the volume rollers are in an awkward place and feel higher up on the headset than they should be.
Roccat says the battery life is 24 hours, and from testing, that is pretty accurate. Keeping on the RGB lighting lowers that a bit, but you should still be able to hit 15 hours with them on.
Finally, the mic is detachable which is a nice touch and the sound is clear. It picks up some background noise, but it is within an acceptable level.
How does the headset sound?
Features are great and definitely help round out a gaming headset, but at the end of the day, the sound is arguably the most important feature of them all. Overall, Roccat’s offering here is pretty standard for the $100 headset market, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Lows are low and bassy and highs are nice and crisp. As it is with many gaming headsets, things can get a bit muddled when a lot is going on, but for gaming, it never felt like an issue. For music, I have a hard time recommending them as other options do a better job of replicating the sound.
Using the Swarm app (which we’ll discuss in a minutes), you can also activate 7.1 virtual surround sound and it’s a nice touch that adds just a little bit something extra to your gaming sessions. It’s not out of this world, but solid nonetheless.
Wonky app, wonky connection issues
A staple of PC headsets in this day in age is an accompanying app that lets you set things like RGB lighting and sound levels. This offering from Roccat is no different, using the Swarm app to help you manage your settings. The problem? It’s wonky. Battery displays are weird if not flat out wrong and sometimes the settings don’t seem to stick.
The only reason you really need this is to add 7.1 virtual surround to your headset. (Also note: this feature is not available when using the headset on PlayStation)
Also, something happens with audio stabilization when listening to music, where some loud parts of songs will quiet slightly, making the musical experience less than ideal. I have not had this issue with any other headsets and even after messing with settings both with the headset and the PC the issue is still there. Thankfully, I never had this issue while gaming.
The app does feature the Superhuman Hearing mode made popular by Turtle Beach. Essentially, this mode messes with the EQ to lower some volumes while bringing things like gunshots and footsteps to the forefront. It’s honestly the best part about the Swarm app and great for first-person shooters.
One interesting feature of the Swarm app allows you to change your voice and while it is a bit gimmicky, I’m certain some people will enjoy it.
As a final note, the USB dongle does seem to struggle at times. Personally, I found that upon turning on the headset it would sometimes just not connect and would require me to unplug things, turn other things off, and offer human sacrifices in order for it to work. Other times it worked perfectly and it’s quite possible it is a “me” problem and your mileage may vary.
So, should you buy the Roccat Elo 7.1 Air gaming headset?
At the end of the day, the Elo 7.1 Air from Roccat is another competitive option in the ~$100 gaming headphone market. The headset is not going to blow you away, but the sound and comfort are solid nonetheless. Superhuman mode is a great feature for first-person shooters, but the rest of the app needs some work.
If you have a hard time finding comfortable headsets, this is definitely one of the better options I have reviewed over the years and definitely deserves high-marks, if only the overall sound profile and functions could match that.
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