With the Roccat Elo 7.1 Air gaming headset you've got a high-end, wireless gaming audio solution for a more mid-range sort of price – or at least that's the theory. On paper, this can compete against the best headsets currently on the market without breaking the bank.
In this Roccat Elo 7.1 Air review we'll tell you exactly what it's like to use – the sort of sound quality you can expect, the tweaks that can be applied through the accompanying software, and the features that might make you choose this over any other headset.
If you're in the market for a new gaming headset, then by the end of our review you should know whether the Roccat Elo 7.1 Air has the features you want at a price you can afford – or whether you should look elsewhere to find the right upgrade for your PC gaming setup.
Roccat Elo 7.1 Air review: design and setup
As soon as you get the Roccat Elio 7.1 Air headset out of the box, you can tell you've got a quality bit of kit: dark grey plastic merges with a metal headband, with a leatherette and foam pad on the top. There's leatherette-covered memory foam on the ear pads, with RGB lighting on the opposite side – the Roccat logo on your left ear and the word Roccat on your right ear. While it's fair to say you wouldn't confuse the headset with something at the very premium end of the market, it stands up well in terms of its aesthetics.
Wearing the headset is mostly a comfortable experience too, with the 345 gram weight not an issue and the padded cans feeling tight yet easy on the ears. The top band is a self-adjusting one, so you don't have to touch it – just pull it over your head. We found we were able to wear the Roccat Elo 7.1 Air for several hours at a time without any problems with clamminess or ear ache, and that's about the best you can ask for when it comes to a headset like this.
In terms of buttons and ports, you've got on-board switches for volume (both headphones and mic), power and mute, as well a USB-C port for charging the device and applying firmware updates from Windows. There's a USB-A to USB-C cable included in the package, but it can't double-up as a wired connection for the headphones – you need to use the 2.4Ghz USB-A wireless receiver for listening (and talking) through the headset.
Having been promised "hassle-free" connectivity from the Roccat Elo 7.1 Air marketing materials, we were pleased to find that getting the headset connected to Windows was indeed a straightforward process: plug in the USB wireless receiver, turn on the headphones, and you're ready to go. Extras such as the RGB lighting customisation options and the equaliser panel can be accessed through the companion utility available from the Roccat website.
- Get hold of one of the best gaming headsets available today
Roccat Elo 7.1 Air review: features and performance
We really can't fault the Roccat Elo 7.1 Air headset for the richness and vibrancy of the sound that it pumps through – from the quietest and most delicate sounds to the loudest and deepest bass, it'll leave your ears impressed. We tested it on games, music and movies, and found its audio performance very capable throughout: even as the volume gets cranked up, the fidelity remains.
The added software makes the overall package even more appealing, because you can tweak the characteristics of the sound you're hearing, and even save multiple profiles. The 7.1 surround sound works a treat too, where supported – while not quite on the same level as actually having seven speakers and a subwoofer set up in the same room, it's nevertheless very good for a pair of headphones.
We had no complaints with the mic either: we didn't spend a huge amount of time testing it, but our voice came through loud and clear when needed. There were no problems with the strength or the stability of the wireless connection in our testing either, and no lag that we could notice – it really is a headset that you can rely on without a wire. Another neat feature is the way the headset automatically turns off after an extended period of silence, to conserve battery life.
Roccat promises 24 hours of continuous use on a single battery charge though of course it's going to depend on how much you use the Elo 7.1 Air. In our testing we didn't hit that mark, but we weren't far short of it. Admittedly we didn't use the RGB lighting extensively, and kept it off for some of that time, but overall we'd say that the headset is able to get you through at least three or four gaming sessions before a recharge is necessary. In other words, you don't have to remember to put these cans back on charge every time you've finished using them.
- Here are the best gaming laptops on the market right now
Roccat Elo 7.1 Air review: price and verdict
If you take a look at the widgets embedded in this page you'll see the latest prices the Roccat Elo 7.1 Air is going for online, but at the time of writing you can pick them up for around the £80 / $100 mark – that's not exactly cheap, but nor is it the sort of premium price that some competitor headsets are going for. Based on our testing, we'd say this is a piece of hardware that gives you a lot of bang for your buck, and really that's all that a gadget can do.
There's also the Superhuman Hearing feature that we've seen on other headsets from (Roccat owner) Turtle Beach: it deploys the 50mm audio drivers and 7.1 surround sound to pick out bits of audio that matter from games (like approaching footsteps). You can also use the functionality to distort your voice if you're looking for a bit of anonymity while you're shooting down enemies and completing levels in the virtual world.
While the Roccat Elo 7.1 Air doesn't offer audio quality that's revolutionary in its impressiveness, it does handle multiple uses very well, and with a very decent level of fidelity throughout. You're not going to confuse this for a set of headphones costing two or three times as much, but considering the price you're paying, you're definitely getting value for money here and then some. We were very pleased by the sound coming through the cans in just about every scenario.
The bottom line is that the headset gives you a lot for a decent price – very good audio quality, surround sound support, wireless connectivity, and even customisable RGB lighting. There aren't that many headsets out there that are able to pack so much in for the price, but this is a competitive market, so be sure to check out all the other options available to you before you decide on the Roccat Elo 7.1 Air.
- Choose one of the best gaming chairs from our curated list