Wireless gaming headsets have come a long way over the years and nowadays they can be as good as their wired counterparts. It's still a struggle to find a decent wireless headset at an affordable price, however, which is what Roccat plans to change with the Elo 7.1 Air.
On paper, this headset ticks all the boxes: 7.1 surround sound, long-lasting battery life, 50mm drivers, and a price tag of $100. If you've not used a wireless headset before, the Roccat Elo 7.1 Air appears to be a solid entry point. But how does it fare in the real world with some games and media? Is it a contender for one of the best PC gaming headsets?
Bottom line: Roccat's Elo 7.1 Air is a great pair of wireless cans for gaming. You can clearly hear all the required audio cues to enhance your experience, but it falls a little short for audiophiles and has some questionable design choices.
- Impressive battery life
- Wireless audio
- Good audio quality
- 7.1 true surround sound
- Better wired headsets
- Sound isolation
- Volume wheel in an awkward place
What I love about Roccat Elo 7.1 Air
|Drivers||50mm neodymium magnet|
|Freq. Response||20hz to 20kHz|
The Elo 7.1 Air features over-the-ear cups that hug each side of your head to create a tight fit. It's not uncomfortable, but you won't forget you're wearing headphones. For a wireless headset, it's also fairly light, which is another plus for all-day wear.
There's enough adjustment in the headset to position it just right on your noggin. The cups allow for some swivel too, just in case you need to adjust them to perfectly mold to your head shape. The headset doesn't feel cheap; it actually feels like the Elo 7.1 Air costs more than $100. There's good use of metal for rigidity too.
Because this is a wireless headset, there is an array of buttons on the left cup. These allow you to manipulate audio and microphone volumes separately, power on and off the headset, and mute the microphone. They're a little awkward to use, which I'll expand on later, but they're good to have.
The headset is entirely black with the worded brand on one can and the logo on the other side, both lit by addressable RGB lighting. Roccat uses faux leather for the cups and breathable foam in the headband for added comfort, and they're perfectly fine for long gaming sessions.
One thing I don't like about gaming headsets these days is RGB lighting. I just don't get it. This is exasperated with wireless headsets since I'd rather have the batteries be used for audio only. Luckily, Roccat's lighting effects aren't too obnoxious, so I can at least appreciate the subtle colors.
Actually using the Roccat Elo 7.1 Air was a pleasant surprise. The audio is pretty good with the drivers Windows 10 preemptively installs. But in order to truly enjoy the headset as intended, you will want to download Roccat's Swarm software. Firing up PUBG, GTA V, Path of Exile, and Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord, the audio is brilliant.
There's enough bass without it being anywhere near other gaming headsets that can feel like they're pounding your ears. The mid and high ranges aren't too bad either, and the 50mm drivers are excellent. The microphone is good enough for communication with friends on Discord, though you will want to pick up a dedicated microphone if you plan on becoming the next big streamer.
If you're an audiophile, you may laugh at how much of a step down these cans are from your favorite $400 (or higher) headphones, but that's the point. This is a budget-friendly choice for those seeking a wireless gaming headset that offers higher value. Most people who play games don't require high-fidelity audio.
Roccat claims the ELO 7.1 Air can last for around 24 hours and I can attest to that claim. These cans can easily last a heavy weekend of PC gaming. The included USB-A to USB-C cable allows you to keep it topped up. It's a toss-up whether you prefer hot-swap packs or the ability to continue using a headset while plugged in.
What I dislike about Roccat Elo 7.1 Air
The Roccat Elo 71. Air isn't priced into the hundreds of dollars, which means Roccat had to make some sacrifices and you can clearly tell this headset isn't rocking the absolute best drivers on the market. If you also take your music and media consumption seriously, something like the Audeze Penrose X will be a better buy.
You will be able to locate better-sounding wired headsets for $100, but this, of course, sees you tethered to your PC. If you're not fond of wireless or don't see it as the most important factor for your next gaming headset, I'd recommend looking elsewhere, especially if the quality is up the top of your list. But if you really want a wireless headset, this offers tremendous value.
The sound isolation also isn't as good as other headsets. SteelSeries nailed its cup design, effectively isolation your hearing from outside noise, which is a blessing when you're gaming in the same room as someone who's talking on the phone or watching some shows on TV. It's not awful on the Roccat Elo 7.1 Air, but I can see why they didn't include Bluetooth here.
I also find the button layout a little confusing. The volume wheel for the main output audio is located up top right next to a separate wheel for the microphone. It's easy to be swinging the mic volume wildly, expecting to see the Windows 10 volume pop-up appear on-screen.
Should you buy the Roccat Elo 7.1 Air?
Who it's for
- Those who want a wireless gaming headset
- Those who are intrigued by 7.1 surround sound
- Those who don't want to spend more than $100
Who it isn't for
- Those who are serious about music and media
- Those who play games in a noisy environment
- Those who want the very best audio experience
I was pleasantly surprised by the Roccat Elo 7.1 Air. For a $100 gaming headset, you're getting plenty of features here, including good enough audio for gaming and a microphone that should pick up your voice for communication just fine. The battery life is also impressive for a wireless set of cans.
It doesn't offer the clearest and most powerful audio on the market, but it's not designed to. Roccat nailed the most important part, which is gaming. You'll be able to clearly hear footsteps, explosions, and more with all the expected ranges, but if you're also into music and media, you may want to look elsewhere (and into more expensive territory).
A few complaints I have with the Roccat Elo 7.1 Air include the placement of the volume wheels for output and the microphone. They're both fairly high up on the left cup, making it almost impossible for me to increase or decrease the sound coming out the cans without inadvertently turning down the mic.
There's also the fact that, while it's impressive Roccat was able to bring to the market a wireless gaming headset with good audio for less than $100, you can find better-sounding wired headsets at this price. If you're not into wireless connectivity for your audio experience, you may want to give this a skip. If you don't want any wires, the Roccat Elo 7.1 Air is a great value purchase.
Finally, can we please stop putting RGB lighting on headsets?
Budget Wireless Audio
Roccat made a budget-friendly wireless headset for gamers. If you're short on cash and can't afford a pair of $200 cans, the Roccat Elo 7.1 Air is a worthwhile consideration for your gaming battle station.
Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.