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SteelSeries Arctis 9X vs. LucidSound LS35X: Which headset should you buy?

LS35X and SteelSeries 9X
LS35X and SteelSeries 9X (Image credit: Windows Central)

The biggest differences between the two frankly stellar headsets boil down to Bluetooth, ultimately. With a virtually identical feature set, similar sound quality, attractive subtle designs, and solid construction, you won't be disappointed with either headset. The more affordable LS35X however, does edge out the 9X slightly in the audio department due to its broader sound stage, but you sacrifice Bluetooth versatility for the privilege.

SteelSeries vs. LucidSound: Design, comfort, and features

LucidSound LS35X (Image credit: Windows Central)

SteelSeries 9X (Image credit: Windows Central)

LS35X (left) vs. Steelseries 9X (right)

In terms of performance and design, the SteelSeries Arctis 9X and LucidSound LS35X square up pretty closely. Both of them feature snug, comfortable ear cups and durable, adjustable headbands, and both of their microphones transmit voices crisply and clearly. Arguably, though, the LS35X takes the edge here, due to the coolant gel used in its earcups. They're simply dreamy to wear.

SteelSeries Arctis 9XLucidSound LS35X
Speakers40mm50mm
Frequency response20Hz to 20kHz20Hz to 20KHz
ConnectionWireless (Xbox One and Bluetooth), Wired (3.5mm jack)Wireless (Xbox One), Wired (3.5mm jack)
CompatibilityXbox One, PC (Xbox Wireless), Mobile (Bluetooth), other devices via wired 3.5mmXbox One, PC (Xbox Wireless), Mobile and other devices via wired 3.5mm
MicrophoneRetractableDetachable
Battery18-20 hours15 hours
Price$200$180

Both headsets sport optional 3.5mm fall back if you run out of battery juice or want to use them with a non-compatible wireless device, both with loud mic monitoring and on-ear controls for sound mixing, and muting. The 9X also sports Bluetooth as well, allowing you to mix sound from a compatible laptop or phone if you fancy using a different device for voice communication or music. It's a handy feature, but you'll pay slightly more as a result.

SteelSeries vs. LucidSound: Audio

After comparing both headsets ear-to-ear, we found that the sound quality of both are extremely close. Both headsets have gaming-oriented tuning, accentuating highs for tactical sound, where enemy movements and reloads typically sit. Both have comparable frequency ranges, although the larger drivers and chambers on the LS35X give them a far broader sound stage, with better distinction for positional sounds and immersion.

You won't find yourself disappointed with either headset.

The differences are so slight, however, and you won't find yourself disappointed with either headset. Sweeping, reverberating bass, crisp, distortion-free highs, and clear mids, make for an excellent experience across both products. Both headsets represent the best of Xbox audio, even if the LS35X takes the sound stage advantage.

Where SteelSeries begins to take an edge is with its software. On the SteelSeries, you can fully configure aspects of the headset, including EQ options, sidetone volume, and much more. By comparison, the LucidSound LS35X headset has a very, very rudimentary firmware updater, which even triggers Microsoft's anti-virus warning for being unrecognizable software. LucidSound could do far more in the software department, as it betrays what is otherwise an extremely stellar, premium-feeling product, particularly since the LS35X has some issues without running a firmware update right out of the box.

It's also worth noting that the 9X has utterly insane battery life, upwards of 20 hours in testing. Neither headset will run out of juice in a single session (unless you're drinking a lot of coffee), but you'll find yourself charging the 9X a lot less over time.

SteelSeries vs. LucidSound: Which should you buy?

At the end of the day, both the SteelSeries Arctis 9X and the LucidSound LS35X are great wireless gaming headsets, but for different reasons.

The SteelSeries Arctis 9X is perfect for gamers who want to inject some additional Bluetooth connectivity, with a subtle design worthy of being used both outside and inside. It'll serve you well both on your Xbox One, and also on your phone for music or taking calls. The LS35X is probably the best pure Xbox gaming headset, with a broader sound stage and perhaps the best earcup comfort on the market, it's also cheaper, making it a more affordable option.

If you want mobile Bluetooth versatility, grab the 9X, if you want the best wireless gaming experience on Xbox today, grab the LS35X.

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.