When it comes to the best gaming headsets – whether you're looking for PC, PS5 or Xbox – there are lots of options on the market. And future high-end gaming headsets could be getting a major upgrade in 2023.
It comes courtesy of a breakthrough from Qualcomm, which has announced its S3 Gen 2 Snapdragon Sound platform will be able to deliver hardware in a dongle format, just as you'd expect from the best gaming headsets, and bring with it leading low-latency for the quickest possible Bluetooth delivery.
So just how fast are we talking? Having attended a Snapdragon Sound briefing in London, I was shown the company's proof-of-concept hardware taking Bluetooth latency down to sub-20ms. Yup, under 20 milliseconds.
That's super-fast and, even for high-end gamers, means there will be next to no delay over a Bluetooth connection with a compatible headset. As far as Bluetooth LE Audio goes you're not going to get faster than this. The system supports up to 24-bit/96kHz high-resolution audio too.
LE Audio low-latency gaming goodness
So what's the catch? Well, at the time of writing the hardware isn't available in any form that you can buy in an actual gaming headset – but knowing how many devices feature Qualcomm chipsets inside, I suspect the wait won't be especially long.
Secondly, there are solutions out there which don't use Bluetooth, such as 2.4GHz Wi-Fi compatible products, which can net you upwards of 15ms. But that's not Bluetooth, that's a whole different system and to support both systems for best compatibility of course means greater expense. This new Qualcomm route, therefore, could mean access to more affordable and more capable kit in the future.
During the demo of Qualcomm's low-latency kit, colleagues did comparison tests with concept hardware compared to Apple's AirPods Pro and the difference when connected to an iPhone 14 Pro Max was night and day. Concept proved, I'm sold gamers will want this next-gen tech in their next gaming headset.
Until then I'll be sticking with my Turtle Beach Stealth Pro and its 2.4GHz connectivity. But if you can't afford such a pro-spec headset then Qualcomm may be your future saviour in a future gaming headset release...