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JBL | Quantum 800 Wireless Gaming Headset Review
Review By @ 01:34pm 09/02/21

Product: JBL Quantum 800 Wireless Headset
Type: Gaming Headset (Wireless)
Price: $349.00 AUD
Availability: Out Now

A good headset, in all honestly -- these days -- isn’t that hard to find. Price is obviously a barrier depending on what bells and whistles you want, and if you want them gold-plated, but the benchmark for audio quality and accessibility isn’t an Everest to climb anymore. Like a good wine maker who’s already won multiple awards for expensive whites and reds and only wants the masses to taste the rainbow at an affordable price in his or her twilight years, headsets from major brands are dropping in price, but not so much in quality. Enter JBL’s Quantum audio series of peripherals, designed to infiltrate the gaming landscape with some of the best clarity on the market, and at an affordable price.

Out of the box with the JBL Quantum 800 Wireless Gaming Headset you get a Bluetooth-ready wireless headset that also features noise-cancelling and pure comfort. There’s also a wired option for devices like your Nintendo Switch and surprisingly even through the 3.5mm audio cable, sound is crystal clear. Additionally, the headset is compatible with almost every gaming platform on the market, though QuantumSOUND, the headset’s surround setup, is PC-only from a software perspective.

Tech Talk

Bluetooth 5.0 and lossless 2.4GHz audio gives the Quantum 800s an edge in moving around your gaming space. Need a drink from the fridge while your level loads, or you’re waiting for more players to join your lobby? Don’t take them off, take them with you. This freedom coupled with the comfort and lightweight overall design (410 grams) makes the 800s a tantalising option. And while they’re gaming-first in features, I’ve been using them as music and video options as well where mobile streaming is concerned, just because they feel and sound so nice.

"The headset’s mic is Discord-certified for all your organisational needs, or for expletive-laden discourse among teams...”

ANC (Active Noise Cancelling) as mentioned earlier is a clincher over some other similar options on the market, while a solid 14-odd hours of battery life at full charge means long wireless sessions aren’t an issue, especially for console couch gaming. The headset’s mic is Discord-certified for all your organisational needs, or for expletive-laden discourse among teams, and we didn’t really have any issues here where clarity of voice is concerned, across all platforms tested on -- PC, PS5 and Xbox Series X.

For the audiophiles out there though, here’s the headset’s official specs:
  • Frequency response (Passive) -- 20 Hz - 40 kHz
  • Frequency response (Active) -- 20 Hz - 20 kHz
  • Microphone frequency response -- 100 Hz - 10 kHz
  • Max input power -- 30 mW
  • Sensitivity -- 95 dB SPL @1 kHz / 1mW
  • Maximum SPL -- 93 dB
  • Microphone sensitivity -- -40 dBV @1 kHz / Pa
  • Impedency -- 32 ohm
  • Microphone pickup pattern -- Unidirectional

Additional information to the more technical side of the headset is that while under the hood there’s some impressive tech and software support (QuantumENGINE for PC is an easy-to-navigate dashboard with a control suite to help you setup the best surround sound you can for the desktop platform), the 800s also bling your ears if you’re into the whole LED-for-gamers lean (which I am, thanks specifically to LIFX) with RGB controls a part of the overall user-customisation trip, while six presets are also on offer in case you’re not as confident in playing with the equalizer settings in the headset backend.

Design and Comfort

We’ve talked about the lightweight design, but there’s a higher level of comfort with the 800s, that’s actually on par -- from a foam over-ear perspective -- with other high-end headsets on the market. There has been some concern over the presentation of the full package with adjectives like “cheap”, “flimsy” and “plasticky” being thrown about, but I wholeheartedly disagree with such descriptions. If anything, I’ve found the 800s robust and sturdy without feeling like you need a wrench to adjust them. This works for me with both a nine-year-old who thinks he’s the next big esports thing and so wants to use them all the time, or with a naughty pug (Hulk the Pug™) who sees them only as a toy when no one is looking. They’re still alive, still shiny and most importantly still ready to use, despite being handed around the house like a piece of cake (not a lie).

"Especially for those of us opting to double these “gaming headsets” up as our audio on-the-go options as well (feel a bit dorky walking down the street with a mic’d headset Kbit bangers)...”

The extendable/expandable headband seems stretchy at first but once you quickly adjust the headset to your noggin, you’ll notice they’re a tight and comfortable fit, which is super-important when your headset sports ANC, as locking out external sounds is part of that process. And the 800s do a fantastic job of just feeling right in this department. A few asides, however, do exist. For example, the mic is locked-in on the headset where it should have been removeable, especially for those of us opting to double these “gaming headsets” up as our audio on-the-go options as well (feel a bit dorky walking down the street with a mic’d headset cranking Kbit bangers), while the left earcup is too heavy on the controls side of things with volume, mixer, mute and noise cancelling all in an awkwardly-close line. It just means mid-game you can find yourself fumbling to utilise the button you want with any degree of ease. But even typing that made me feel like an over-privileged git, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was sometimes annoying.

Sounds Like

I’ve dropped the quality of the 800’s audio a few times throughout this review. What’s most surprising is the quality you get in the console space utilising the USB dongle receiver for the bigger machines, as well as the audio cable for the Switch. You don’t get the same level of customisation or control as you do when using these for PC, but if you’re swapping them around console to PC to console, there will be a noticeable difference. That said, I was still very happy with the level of audio out of the consoles. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, for example, saw the 800s picking up all of the game-world’s natural sounds; birds chirping, squirrels shrieking, snow crushing beneath your feet, waves crashing off in the distance. It wasn’t the simulated 7.1 you get with QuantumSURROUND settings for PC, but it was more than serviceable.

Where the headset stands tallest is in its diversity. Not being locked into a specific skew allows for them to be the bicycle of my household, though it’s also where they get held back the most. What is promising, however, is that this is early days for JBL and gaming, and while bay steps are baby steps, like any baby proclamated as an “old soul” JBL’s long history in the audio world before its jump into games means those steps will soon move to a light yog before eventually sprinting towards a sonic boom and beyond. Starting here though, isn’t at all a bad place to kick off this journey and the headset’s strengths far outweigh any of its drawbacks. Definitely recommended if you’re in the market.

What we liked
Active Noise Cancelling
Excellent sound with multiple device clarity
Wireless or wired options
Decent battery life
Robust and tough
QuantumSURROUND and ENGINE for PC allows for great customisation
What we didn't like
Said customisation is PC-only
Too many buttons and dials on the left earcup
No removable mic option
We gave it:
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