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Saturday, April 20, 2024

Alienware AW720H Review

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Alienware has long been known for its uniquely designed products – from futuristic PC builds to its sleek, yet powerful gaming laptops. Its latest addition, the 720H Wireless Gaming Headset, features a modern design, all-day battery life, and a comfortable, lightweight frame. However, in the crowded gaming headset market, it does little to differentiate itself from others and justify its premium price point.

Alienware AW720H – Photos

Alienware 720H – Design and Features

The Alienware 720H Dual-Mode Wireless Gaming Headset boasts a striking, modern design that stands out amongst the homogenized look of gaming headphones these days. The side profile features a unique suspended ear cup shaped a bit like an angled teardrop with the sharp end chopped off and in the center is the small, iconic glowing Alienware logo.

Good design aside, the headset is also built well. It sports a lightweight, flexible frame that can be bent and twisted without fear of snapping. With an overall weight of 348 grams, or about ¾ of a pound, it feels nearly weightless thanks to the adjustable elastic band that rests on top of your head. This floating design also reduces pressure and fatigue that plagues many other headphones after long periods of use. The earcups are just as comfortable, featuring a plush memory foam core and breathable fabric that keeps things cool during gameplay.

The Alienware 720H features two connectivity options: a 2.4GHz wireless option for PC, as well as a wired alternative for use with PS5, PS4, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and just about any device that utilizes a 3.5mm auxiliary port. While the additional device support is nice, many of the best features of this headset are only available in the 2.4GHz mode, or more simply put, only available on PC. These features include Dolby Atmos audio, game/chat dial support, AI noise-canceling on the microphone, RGB support, and of course, the ability to play wirelessly.

On the exterior of the left earcup you’ll find a boom microphone that can be fully retracted into the headset when not in use. It utilizes AI to intelligently eliminate background audio in your room in an effort to keep your comms clear while playing with your friends. It’s automatically muted when retracted, but there’s also a physical mute button on the exterior of the earcup to quickly mute during play. An internal voice inside the headset announces when the microphone is muted or unmuted, and the microphone illuminates with a red ring when it’s muted, as well, so you can easily determine its status in your peripheral vision.

The left earcup also features a game and chat toggle, although as previously mentioned, this feature is only available when utilizing the 2.4GHz wireless mode on PC. Below this toggle is the 3.5mm auxiliary port for wired connections via auxiliary cable. This auxiliary cable does have in-line volume controls and a built-in microphone, though, so it’s a bit more than just a basic connection. On the opposite earcup you’ll find a tactile volume dial and power button, as well as a USB-C charging port tucked into the glossy cutout portion on the front of the earcup.

When playing wirelessly, you’ll enjoy up to 30 hours of battery life from the rechargeable internal battery. This allows you to easily game all day without the fear of your headphones losing charge. However, with USB-C quick charge, you can easily get another six hours of listening time from a single 15-minute charge. Additionally, you can always game using the wired mode without requiring a charge at all.

It’s worth noting that this headset is Hi-Res Audio certified, meaning it’s gone through a strict certification process by the audio industry to ensure it supports 24-bit/96Hz audio formats, and can reproduce sounds up to 40KHz. For non-audiophiles, this is the equivalent of listening to audio in “high-definition” like a Blu-Ray versus something like DVD, or even VHS in many cases. Although, to an untrained ear, most people may not even be able to tell the difference. Additionally, you’ll need to ensure you’re listening to lossless audio files, or streaming from a service like Tidal, in order to even get the benefits. That being said, most video games don’t utilize a lossless format for audio as the file sizes are much larger, and the majority of players don’t have equipment that could reproduce the audio to the fullest. While it’s definitely a unique selling point that the Alienware 720H headset is Hi-Res Audio certified, unless you’re planning to use the same pair of headphones to listen to your music as well as game, it’s likely a moot point.

Alienware 720H – Software

While there isn’t any required software to utilize the Alienware 720H headset out of the box, you can download the optional Alienware Command Center app on PC to customize the RGB using AlienFX, as well as update the headset firmware. It’s a pretty barebones experience for a premium headset, given there isn’t even an option to tweak EQ settings or create custom profiles for specific games.

Alienware AW720H – Software Screenshots

Alienware 720H – Gaming

I spent most of my time testing the Alienware 720H headset on PC using the 2.4GHz wireless mode. While playing, I was impressed with the wireless range it provided, as I was able to leave the room to get some water and never had any audio cut out, nor experienced any issues with my teammates able to hear me speak.

Audio-wise, this headset was pretty par for the course when it comes to PC gaming headsets. The addition of Dolby Atmos audio is definitely welcome, as enabling that in Windows gives you better surround sound capability for supported media. However, the list of games that actually support Dolby Atmos is still painfully small. That being said, the surround sound audio experience is still very good, as I had no issues locating enemies and taking in the glorious space sounds as I traversed Destiny 2’s new Lightfall expansion. I also spent some time exploring Tallon IV in Metroid Prime Remastered on Nintendo Switch using the wired audio mode and found the audio experience to be good there, as well.

The battery life is also superb, as I was able to play for 4-5 hour sessions while losing only about 8-10% of the battery life. Numbers like that give me no doubt that you could easily get multiple gaming sessions in on a single charge.

Another highlight is how comfortable I found the headset. The large memory foam earcups didn’t press hard against my ears, and the height-adjustable elastic band made it feel as though the headset was floating on my head. And, even after extended play sessions, my ears never got too warm thanks to the breathable fabric of the earcups. Overall, these are some of the most comfortable headphones I’ve worn.

My biggest complaint is that these are clearly intended for PC use, as most of the best features like the 2.4GHz wireless mode, Dolby Atmos audio, and the game/chat dial are only available when playing on that platform. So, if you’re a multi-platform player who wants to use the same pair of headphones for everything, you’re severely limiting yourself with this pair. For its premium price, there are far better options available, like the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 that work wirelessly across multiple platforms, as well as feature simultaneous audio playback via Bluetooth. If you’re strictly a PC gamer, though, this is definitely a good pair of headphones that you’ll likely enjoy.

Verdict

The Alienware 720H Dual-Mode Wireless Gaming Headset is a comfortable, lightweight headset that you can wear for hours thanks to its 30-hour battery life. However, with so many of its features only available on PC, it’s definitely not an ideal choice for multi-platform players. For a brand being so closely associated with aliens, this headset doesn’t quite provide the premium out-of-this-world experience I was hoping for; instead, it finds itself in a universe of infinitely good gaming headset options available.

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