While video games continue to push the graphical bar to the next level, the best gaming experiences blend cutting-edge visuals with rich, nuanced sound. And to really immerse yourself in a game, you can’t just rely on your laptop or desktop speakers.
On top of that, competitive gaming is at an all-time high in terms of mass popularity. If you’re playing online, not only is clear hearing an imperative, you need to be able to speak clearly as well. All in all, a gaming headset is one of the most worthwhile peripheral investments you can make.
After nearly a decade break from the headset game, Dell introduced the Alienware AW988 last year. Though it came with a beautiful design, immersive surround sound and wireless capabilities, the hefty $200+ price tag placed it a bit out of reach for budget gamers.
In an effort to increase accessibility, Dell recently released the more affordable Alienware 7.1 AW510H Wired Gaming Headset, which carries all the perks of its predecessor — for half the price.
Alienware 7.1 AW510H Wired Gaming Headset Features:
- Custom-tuned 50mm 20Hz – 40Khz drivers
- 7. 1 Surround Sound
- Noise isolation over-the-ear cups
- Ear pads comprised of memory foam, sports fabric and leatherette for cooling and comfort
- Cross-platform capabilities with three different connection cables
- Low-key noise cancelling microphone with discord and TIA-920 certification
Beauty on the Outside
Dell continues to win us over with the design of its products, and the AW510H is no different. If you appreciate minimalist art, then this headset will hit pretty close to home. The headband is simple and clean, with a smooth arc that mirrors the shape of the Alienware icon.
Featuring some cool UFO-inspired architecture, the exterior of the ear pads have a very futuristic look, and also serve as a directional indicator. Just remember, blasters forward! In case you need a reminder, the sides are embroidered right inside the ear cups, which is a nice touch to maintain the symmetry on the outside.
To preserve the allure of the headset, the ear cups slide up and down the inside of the headband. And the microphone is subtly nestled within the left headphone, accessible with an effortless pull.
The AW510H is available in two sleek colors: Dark Side of the Moon and Lunar Light.
Stay Awhile and Listen
As a music lover, I’ve been using an old pair of Sony MDR7506 Professional Headphones for all of my gaming needs. So when I, like a giddy child on Christmas morning, dove into unboxing the AW510H, I was a little befuddled by the three cables inside. These wires are not without purpose, though.
Two of the connectors feature your standard 3.5mm audio plug, with one for headphone use only, and the other to utilize the full headset. The third cable includes a USB, and this is the one that will unlock the 7.1 surround sound capabilities. The variety of cables allows you to use these headphones for a PS4, Xbox or Nintendo Switch, as well.
I chose my recent addiction, Fortnite, to give these bad boys a go, and I was more than pleased with the results. As a third-person shooter, great sound is quite an advantage in the gameplay. The headset broadcasted the audio of the game so precisely that finding hidden chests was a breeze. And with the accuracy of the surround sound, you will hardly be surprised by enemies heading your way. Thanks to the help of the Alienware 7.1 Gaming Headset, I pulled higher stats per game and enjoyed countless hours of fun.
It’s in these long gaming sessions that the headset exhibits another plus: comfort. Though it looks a little bulky, the weight of the headphones isn’t too significant. The headband arc is just about right and doesn’t make your head feel like it’s in a vice grip. And when you need to take a break, the ear cups can be flipped horizontally, so the headset can rest comfortably on your neck or securely on your desk.
Talk the Talk
With the popularity of team-based games like Fortnite and Apex Legends, communication has become a key part of the gaming experience. And since so many players rely on Discord for their voice chat sessions, the certification of the AW510H is a big plus. I had the pleasure of using the headset for a couple of Molten Core runs in WoW Classic, and received great feedback from my guildmates.
However, the microphone mute button on the headset’s cord is extremely discreet. It’s actually a slider in between the volume buttons. My peers had to hear the screams of my children a couple times before I figured it out. Now that you know about it, hopefully you can save yourself the embarrassment.
Customization at Your Command
The Alienware 7.1 Gaming Headset is already fine-tuned for gaming right out the box. But to fully enjoy different types of games, you may have to tweak the settings a little bit. To make it easy, Dell offers a free download of the Alienware Command Center Application.
In the software, there are a number of presets, like Shooter, Roleplay, Racing and more. You can also assign these presets to specific games so you don’t have re-open the command center every time to change the options. And if you want to take a break from gaming to watch a movie or listen to music, there are audio profiles available for them, as well.
Is the Alienware 7.1 AW510H Gaming Headset Worth It?
All in all, Dell really hit it out of the park with the AW510H Gaming Headset by harmoniously combining aesthetics, functionality and sound quality. At $100, it’s also a great value. And with the Alienware Command Center Application, you can really tailor it to your liking. Boasting crystal clear communication and sound, you and your squad will have the teamwork to make the dream work.
With Black Friday just around the corner, we may even see a price drop on this superb headset. To make sure you don’t miss it, head over to our Deal Alert page to set up your notifications. And if you are interested in other Dell products during this shopping holiday, you can always check out the Slickdeals store page for the latest coupons and promotions.
Photos by Austin Nooe | Slickdeals