This AOC GH300 review proves that you don’t need to spend hundreds on the best gaming headset to get clear 360-degree audio, but you can’t have it all, so an affordable price tag does mean you’ll have to make some sacrifices.
Expanding on their product categories, AOC has released their first two gaming headsets in 2021, the AOC GH200 and GH300. Their expertise began largely in display technology and they’re no stranger to T3’s guide to the best gaming monitors, so it’s good to see the brand branch out into other arms of the gaming peripherals market. You’d expect AOC to understand exactly what their customers want from a gaming headset, given they already have the trust of the gaming community.
In this AOC GH300 review, I’ll cover everything you need to know about their first attempt at a budget gaming headset, from its features and price to the design, setup and finally how well the set coped with gameplay and music.
AOC GH300 review: features
The AOC GH300 is a wired gaming headset with 50mm drivers, a detachable boom microphone, 7.1 Virtual Surround Stereo with Hi-Fi audio and RGB-backlighting on the earcups that can be controlled via the in-line remote and adjusted from the AOC Audio Center desktop app.
It differs from its cheaper sibling (the AOC GH200) with a USB cable as opposed to a 3.5mm audio cable, better audio quality with 7.1 Virtual Surround Stereo and the addition of the RGB lights and the muted-mic LED.
AOC GH300 review: price and availability
Available to buy now from a number of retailers including Amazon, the AOC GH300 gaming headset costs £62.61 in the UK and AU$105.34 in Australia. If you live in the US, you’ll be able to pick up the headset for around $53 from May 2021. This is definitely a budget option so it’s great to see AOC has still managed to pack in the detachable mic, surround sound and RGB lights.
AOC GH300 review: design and setup
A matte-black plastic and faux-leather design coats the AOC GH300, with red details like the stitching on the headband, anodized steel band and the wiring between the earcups. On the outside of the earcup, the RGB-lit AOC logo is covered by a black metal mesh. For comfort, the earcups and headband use memory foam padding, and you can adjust the size relatively smoothly by pulling out the band.
You won’t want to wear these out in public as their design is far too bulky and the earcups stick out too far. In the summer heat, you may also find that the faux leather fabric lacks breathability so it could get uncomfortable.
A detachable microphone is placed on the left earcup, with a flexible plastic cable holding it up. Hanging from the same side is a 2m braided USB cable with an in-line remote featuring a volume dial, mic mute button and LED switch. I found that the controller wasn’t placed particularly well, it’s too far down the cable to where your hand naturally sits so ended up resting on my leg when I was sat at my desk.
The cushioned earcups cover the whole ear which should prevent sound from getting out and stop outside noise from getting in, however they were quite loose around the ear which meant they didn’t do the best job at containing the sound. Despite that, the headset was actually very comfortable over long periods of use, I didn’t find myself readjusting it often because they just felt so light - that’s no surprise when they weigh just 363.5g.
Setting them up on a PC was easy, you just need to plug in the USB and download the AOC Audio Center app from the bottom of the GH300 product page. Unfortunately, there’s no wireless connectivity. A 2m cable is perfect for PC gaming, it gives you plenty of space to get to the back of a big desktop. Because of the connectivity, this headset is definitely for PC gaming so console users steer clear.
The computer software is incredibly basic and a little old-fashioned, you can change the volume, customise the RGB lighting, and switch the mic on or off. With four RGB modes to choose from in the app, you can personalise the backlit AOC logo as you wish with a breathing effect, cyclic and static effects, as well as turn it off entirely. Because of the mesh cover, it doesn’t look particularly impressive, yet it’s still a nice touch.
AOC GH300 review: audio and performance
One area the AOC GH300 does deliver really well in is the audio quality. Despite not having a very wide soundstage, during gameplay, noises sounded detailed without being overbearing. Providing the spatial surround sound you’d expect from a more expensive headset, I found it did a good job to emulate 360-degree audio so I could hear opponents coming from all angles before I could see them, perfect for FPS and even racing games. Although admittedly, it was really only when those noises were close to me that I got a good idea of where exactly they were coming from. Because of that, this headset won’t compare to say, the SteelSeries Arctis 7P but for this sort of price, it definitely does the job.
Switching over to music, the sound quality surprised me. Although the focus was heavily on the low-end, the sound was warm, rich and detailed. I wouldn’t have a problem using these as a pair of at-home music headphones as well as a gaming headset.
The omnidirectional microphone does let the headset down a bit, voices come through slightly muffled so it could be much clearer. In saying that, it cuts out breathing and ambient noises quite well so it’s not all bad.
AOC GH300 review: verdict
To get the very best gaming headset, you will need to spend upwards of $100 / £100, but if you are willing to make a few sacrifices then you can find a capable headset for much less.
The AOC GH300 gaming headset does have a few downsides: it looks chunky, the in-line controls are weirdly placed and the desktop software is far from perfect. You won’t get a super clear microphone and it doesn’t have wireless connectivity either. Yet despite those points, I would still recommend this budget offering from AOC. A lightweight design and memory foam padding make the AOC GH300 incredibly comfortable to wear for long gaming sessions and the RGB lights will add some flair to your setup. But the main reason I think this headset is a good buy is because of the clear surround sound - and that’s what really matters.
AOC GH300 review: also consider
If you want an even cheaper headset that can be used with both PCs and consoles, take a look at the Aukey GH-X1 RGB Gaming Headset. It may not feel particularly solid and the microphone isn’t great either, yet this headset has got pretty decent audio quality considering the price.
Another affordable gaming headset worth considering is the Razer BlackShark V2, which is the best headset under $100 / £100 for most types of gamers. It has super clear audio, noise-cancelling technology built-in, and a detachable Hyperclear Cardioid Mic.
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