Plantronics RIG 500 Pro HX review: A quality (and affordable) gaming headset for Xbox and PC

Plantronics recently unveiled its RIG 500 Pro series, headlined by a powerful RIG 500 Pro Esports Edition headset. The company has also produced a cheaper version of that same headset specifically for Xbox and PC gamers, dubbed the 500 Pro HX.

The 500 Pro HX is $70 cheaper than the esports edition, which we found to be an awesome option for gamers who want amazing audio and sublime comfort. But does this $80 version make too many compromises to be worth the price? Let's take a look.

What you'll love about the RIG 500 Pro HX

Plantronics continues its tradition for high-quality, high-comfort headsets with the 500 Pro HX. At just 258 grams, this might be one of the lightest headsets you've ever used. Its modular design and mesh cup exoskeleton gives it both a flashy and functional appearance, reducing the weight by non-trivial amounts. The floating headband, combined with airy fabric cushioning and adjustable ear cups make this a true pleasure to wear.

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Frequency response20Hz to 20,000Hz
Weight258 grams
Speakers50mm neodymium
Surround soundDolby Atmos code included
FeaturesUnique volume control nub for PS4 and Xbox OneFlip-to-mute mic

One of the main compromises RIG has made with this headset versus its Esports version is swapping out the metal elements for plastic. Thankfully, the materials used still feel solid and adequately pliable. Some cheaper headsets often seem to use quite brittle plastics that snap at the first sign of pressure. Not this one.

Where Plantronics didn't make any compromises for this headset is in the speakers. It used the same 50mm neodymium magnets found in the esports edition, with the same frequency response. The audio scape on offer here is simply sublime. The major frequencies offer distinct, crisp sound, with rich bass notes and shattering highs, putting you in the center of the battle. It also features a flip-to-mute mic, which is becoming somewhat of a gaming headset staple, and a unique volume control nub that plugs into the bottom of your controller.

There's little to complain about with this product, but it's not perfect.

What you'll dislike about the RIG 500 Pro HX

There's no native surround experience, but to make up for it, Plantronics included a free code for Dolby Atmos in the box. Personally, I'm not a big fan of Atmos for gaming, but that's simply because so few games actually utilize it properly. It's certainly adequate, though, providing at least some surround sensations.

I found the microphone on this headset to be a bit of a let down when compared to similar solutions in this price range. Both on Discord on PC and on Xbox Live with friends, they reported that they could hear a soft whining interference in the background. It was very quiet and certainly not a deal breaker, but definitely present, especially when compared side by side with the 500 Pro Esports Edition version.

Finally, whether or not you like the appearance of the RIG 500 Pro will largely depend on your preferences, but I prefer the all grey design on the 500 Pro Esports Edition. The gold accents don't really scream "Xbox" to me, considering this is indeed an Xbox-licensed product.

Should you buy the Plantronics RIG 500 Pro HX?

Plantronics has produced an incredibly high-value headset with the 500 Pro HX. It feels great on your head, and provides excellent sound scaping with a decent mic experience. The lack of surround sound, wirelessness, or things like mic monitoring make me question whether or not most gamers might be served better with some other headsets in this price range. That said, I'm not sure I've experienced better raw sound quality at this price before.

So should you buy it? Absolutely. You won't regret this purchase.

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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!