Plantronics RIG Headset Review: The jack of all trades
When I get a headset to review, the first thing I check is what piece of machinery it's meant for. Whether it's a console headset or a PC headset, it's likely that it's intended for either one or the other. Only a few boast the ability to work across many mediums, and the Plantronics RIG headset is one of them. It's truly one of the most versatile headsets out there and is available for a relatively decent asking price.
Before I delve into the attachment that makes the headset universally work across different platforms, I'll start off with the form factor. The headset itself is extremely comfortable, with soft ear pads that surprisingly didn't make my ears sweaty during a long gaming or listening session. As far as the bells and whistles go, there are none. The majority of the control comes from the added mixer peripheral.
The mixer is really the heart and soul of the RIG and puts you in full control. The mixer is able to be plugged into your PC or console while it's simultaneously plugged into your phone. Here's a scenario that happened to me. The mixer was plugged into my PC's USB port while the other cable plugged directly into my Note 3. I then got a phone call, which I could see on my phone. With a quick press of a button on the mixer itself, it answered the phone for me, and then I flipped a switch on the top so I could hear the phone only. It was an added convenience that I never really knew I wanted or needed before, and I loved it.
What needs to be clarified is that even despite this seemingly complicated setup, the only wires present were the ones from the headset to the mixer, and then the two cables running from the mixer to the PC and to the phone. Nothing over the top.
The mixer also has a few more options like being able to mute your microphone, and mix the game audio with voice audio through inner sliders. Having the mixer near your mouse pad is probably one of the most convenient spots and gives you immediate access to controlling your sound.
The headset also comes with two different microphone setups. You can use the included boom mic, which is ideal to use during gaming session, while the other mic hangs onto the cord, making it a better solution for when you're not using the mixer and are planning on using the headset on the go.
That's actually another really amazing feature of the headset. Aside from being compatible with Xbox 360, PS3, and PC (alongside being plugged into a smartphone) the headset comes with a separate cable that allows you to plug it directly into your tablet or phone for use on the go.
Of course, the biggest hurdle you're going to face is that the headset isn't really designed to look like it's portable. Sure it looks great when you're sitting behind a PC or while gaming on your console, but unplug these bad boys and take them along with you, and they'll stick out like a sore thumb. This might not be a big deal to many, but it's worth mentioning.
How does it sound? I've put it through various tests like playing various PC games and 360 games, playing music from my smartphone and watching a movie on my PC. It managed to sound great no matter what I threw at it, specifically with a slightly heavier focus on bass, which I always appreciate in a headset. One thing to note, however, is that the headset doesn't simulate surround sound like many others do, and instead is strictly stereo. This obviously isn't a huge deal, given it's affordable asking price.
The price, which is currently $99 on Amazon, is absolutely perfect, given that the Plantronics RIG is easily one of the most versatile headsets on the market. The real star of the package might not be the headset itself, but rather the mixer peripheral, which allows for much versatility. Still, given how lightweight and comfortable the headset is, I'm willing to forgive its lack of controls.