Plantronics RIG 300 headset review: Protecting your hearing ... but not your fingers

The RIG 300 is a headset that brings affordable audio with some nifty ear-protection features.

Plantronics makes a range of quality headsets, with modular designs and great audio, at a variety of price points. The latest effort from the company is the RIG 300, clocking in at $40. People often associate lower price brackets with a cut in quality, but Plantronics has managed to build a headset that not only punches above its weight but also contains some nifty features, particularly for parents looking to buy headsets for youngsters in the holiday season and beyond. There is a potentially big downside with the RIG 300, though ...

What you'll love about the Plantronics RIG 300

The RIG 300 is a nicely built product with gloss black plastics and copper accents, and a familiar modular design that permeates throughout the Plantronics gaming brand. You can detach the ear cups and set them to one of three sizes. The foam on the ear cups is higher-quality than you often get in this price range, and the fabric feels nice against your skin. The headband is also generous with its foam, and the vented, perforated design makes this headset incredibly light.

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Frequency response100Hz to 10kHz
Speaker size40 mm
Connection3.5 mm (150 cm)
Cup space6 cm x 4.5 cm, oval
Cup styleFabric
CompatibilityXbox One, PC, PS4, Mobile, and Nintendo Switch

The vented earcup design lends itself well to environments where you might not want complete isolation. For parents looking to buy a headset for a kid, this design will allow your child to still be able to hear you when you call them for dinner or to finish their homework. No more "I didn't hear you" excuses. If you're an adult and simply prefer this sort of design, it works well, and isn't as anti-social as a fully-isolating headset might be in some scenarios.

It also comes with in-line controls for muting and volume.

It also comes with in-line controls for muting and volume.

In the audio department, the sound quality is nice overall, elevated further by Dolby Atmos or Windows Sonic for that surround sound feel. It doesn't suffer from distortion, but it's nowhere near as rich or immersive as more expensive headsets, owing to its very modest frequency range. If you have sensitive hearing, though, it comes with a nifty feature that limits audio spikes above 118 decibels. The idea is that it will protect the ears of youngsters, whose ears haven't yet fully developed, in a world where games like Fortnite have become so popular.

However, if Plantronics's aim was to build a headset that promotes safety for youngsters, it made some serious errors of judgement when it comes to the headset's physical design.

What you won't love about Plantronics RIG 300

Whether or not you like Plantronics' design conventions is a matter of taste at the end of the day. I quite like them as a gaming headset, but I find the harsh angles and shapes the company uses eliminate their products as an option for outdoor use. This is compounded with the RIG 300 by the fact the microphone isn't detachable. This is a gaming headset through and through.

Where the design really fails, however, is in how the plastic is cut. The edges of the headband are literally sharp enough to cause papercut-style wounds, which is frankly a terrible design oversight, particularly in a product that boasts safety with its volume limiting features. Someone, somewhere along the line in the design process for this headset really dropped the ball.

Should you buy the Plantronics RIG 300?

Until I noticed the sharp edges around the headband (and almost cut myself on it), I was prepared to fully recommend this headset. It's lightweight, sports solid-feeling materials, has great sound quality, and the volume-limiting features are a nice touch, particularly for parents concerned about their kids' hearing.

The chances of you sliding your finger in such a way as to actually cut yourself on the headband are probably pretty slim. As an adult, you shouldn't have an issue avoiding it. However, I'm not sure I'd want to give this headset to a youngster for that reason. Plantronics could have done a bit more to solve this issue during the manufacturing process. If that worries you, pass on this headset. If not, you'll get a quality audio option for a reasonable price.

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden is a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by tea. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his XB2 Podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!