It seems like the market for dedicated Switch headsets is pretty empty right now. And why shouldn’t it be? Nintendo Switch only has one game that supports chat from the console, Fortnite, and the rest of the game chat has to be routed through that silly Nintendo Online app on smartphones. The Head:Set S isn’t the first peripheral that developer SnakeByte has put out, but it is the first Switch dedicated marketed headset.
It’s important to note though, that despite being marketed for Nintendo Switch, the Head:Set S is clearly capable of working on other devices that use 3.5 mm connections. For the purposes of this review I tested sound and chat on a handful of additional devices, but we’ll get to that in a bit. The packaging on the Head:Set S is actually really nice. The red and white design matches Nintendo aesthetics really well, particularly sitting next to the second design of the Amiibo packages. Even though Fortnite is the only game that supports chat when using a direct in-line to the console, it’s still surprising to see the logo for the mega-popular battle royale on the box.
Considering that a ton of other games can use the headset through the app, it feels like pandering towards unsuspecting parents, or even kids that don’t know any better. Despite this small gripe, the box looks really nice, and the small size of the entire package is deceptive when compared to the headset. This is due to the Head:Set S’s foldable design, and seems to be the biggest marketing point for the headset. The portability of the design is going to be the biggest selling point, especially at the $19.99 MSRP it’s being sold at.
That being said, anyone who already has a headset they are comfortable using while out and about probably won’t want to spend the twenty bucks to invest in another new headset. The Head:Set S is something I’ll be packing for vacations though to complement my LucidSound headset though. Being able to pack a light bag (seriously, the weight of the headset is commendable) and take a foldable headset with me is something most audiophiles will want to take note of, even if you don’t use it exclusively for Switch.
The Head:Set S’s 40mm drivers are hit or miss depending what you’re using them for though. Chat sounded great while using the Nintendo Switch Online app, while game audio sounded tinny, and noise location was hit or miss. Testing on Playstation 4 and Xbox provided the same game audio problems I was having on the Switch, but my friends while chatting sounded great. The actual microphone provided the same hit or miss results as the audio. It sounded great on the Nintendo Online app according to a few friends, but sounded mediocre on Playstation 4 and Xbox One. Even though it’s being marketed for Nintendo Switch, I have a hard time believing that the results shouldn’t have been the same across the board, considering the in-line is universal across all headphone jacks.
For a budget headset, the actual unit looks really nice. The black and red padding and top of the headset is really sleek, and the matte finish on the driver containers makes the Head:Set S one of the prettier budget headsets I’ve gotten my hands on. The in-line mute and volume button is a nice addition to the package too, and not something that most headsets at this price point include. Sure, it isn’t going to win any awards, but for an extremely portable budget headset, the utility the in-line controls provide is great.
My biggest gripe with the Head:Set S is the size of ear padding. At about two inches, they don’t entirely cover the ear. Personally, I think the comfort level on headphones declines significantly when headphones don’t cover the entire ear. The lack of coverage also allows for extensive outside noise pollution, so if you want to become completely immersed in the sound, look elsewhere. That aside, the comfort from the Head:Set S despite the lack of ear coverage is pretty good. The light weight of the unit helps alleviate some of the other issues, and offers a decent range of flexibility for most head sizes.
Also included in the box is an extension cord for the audio line. A three meter extension cord allows anyone lounging on the couch some extra room if the volume on the TV needs to be turned down for whatever reason, offering some additional utility and uses for the headset even when the Switch isn’t being used for portability.
While the Head:Set S doesn’t offer the type of specifications any of the higher-range of headset models can, this is a decent alternative for someone looking for some extra portability or utility. The word “decent” came up a lot in this review, and that’s for a good reason. The Head:Set S is far from great, and far from poor. This is very clearly an entry-level headset, but falls right in a range where it can provide some great use for anyone looking for an on the go headset. It’s definitely one of the better-looking models in the price range, and could fit right at home for anyone on a commute; whether listening to music or playing Switch.
The Snakebyte Head:Set S is available now. This review is based on a sample provided by the publisher. Purchases are available here.