What’s up gang, Keith here with another review from the Performance Designed Products, or better known as PDP, camp. Previously we checked out their Afterglow 7 True Wireless Headset for the Xbox One, which you can check out here, This time we’re tackling the upgraded version, the PDP Afterglow 9 Wireless Stereo Headset. Now, before we head into the review, I want to stress that when we review wireless headsets for gaming, we look at several factors; Is it comfortable, the range of the headset, the microphone quality, and the battery life
So with that out of the way, let’s tear into this headset review, shall we?
Afterglow Afterglow 9 Premium Wireless Headset for Xbox One
Platform(s): Xbox One & PlayStation 4
Manufacturer: Performance Design Products
PDP’s New Hotness Headset for the Xbox One?
The first thing you’ll notice by looking at the box for the Afterglow 9 and even after unboxing the headset is that it’s very similar to the previous Afterglow 7 and for good reason. Short of the issues with the microphone and range issues that plagued the Afterglow 7, it seems that PDP has introduced the Afterglow 9 to replace the Afterglow 7 headset line.
Included in the Afterglow 9 Wireless Headset package are the following:
- The Afterglow 9 Wireless Headset
- Removal Microphone
- USB Transceiver
- USB Charging Cable
- 3.5mm Audio Cable
- Instruction Manual
And while the Afterglow 9 shares a lot of similarities with the Afterglow 7, PDP has included several new tricks to the Afterglow 9 which sets it apart from its predecessor. First and foremost is the microphone, which is longer attached to the headset, not directly.
Instead, the microphone can be attached or detached via a 3.5 mm connection. While this may seem a bit on the odd side, I think that it’s a nice touch and pretty useful, especially if the microphone goes bad, then you just need to replace the microphone instead of the sending in the headset for repair or junking it.
Update: I’ve contacted PDP regarding the possible replacement for the microphone and they’ve replied stating that they are working on adding it as an item that is available for order via their website. Otherwise, you can always contact the PDP customer services team to get it replaced as well.
On top of that, it’s pretty flexible. Thankfully I didn’t encounter any issues with the microphone quality when it came to using it in-game or via Skype conversations. I’ve had several gaming sessions with the headset and they worked out great, as my teammates were able to hear me with no issues and the voice was crisp and clear.
The drivers were equally impressive, rounding out decent highs and lows with both gaming and listening to regular music. For testing I tried out several different types of music, from R&B, Hip-hop, Rock, Jazz, Opera (yes I do enjoy opera from time to time), and a multitude of video game music (RIDGE RACER!). The only complaint I had was with the amount of bass that the headset generated or actually the lack of, which was so-so until I activated the Bass Boost, which corrected that. However don’t expect earth shaking bass for the price of the headset, but it does get the job done and should be more than enough for just any gamer.
And as you can see in the pictures below, you’re still greeted with that signature Afterglow experience as via the LED’s that are attached to the speak housing, which can still be switched on and off as you desire by holding down the mode button and cycling through the LED brightness settings until you get to the one you want. I know some people are distracted by the light that the Afterglow headsets are known for, while others love it. Thankfully that option exists to appease just about everyone.
The range issues have also been corrected this time around. While I was disappointed with the range on the Afterglow 7 headset, I’m able to attest to the range on the Afterglow 9’s. In fact, I was able to walk out of my office to not only the opposite end of my house but was able to walk to the middle of the street outside of my house. And while the headset did start to beep, telling me I was getting to being out of range, I was still able to enjoy the podcast I was listening too during the test.
For the record that was easily more than the advertised 40ft. I can’t say for sure if it was a change with the USB dongle that helped extend the distance or what, but the proof is there that the distance has vastly improved. The battery life was also an improvement over the previous model, I was easily able to get well within 15 hours from the Afterglow 9. And just like that, two of main issues of the Afterglow 7 headset were addressed.
As for the headset its self, I’m happy to report that the chat and game volume controls on the headset now feature a textured wheel, so they’re easier to scroll with. The texture seems to be built onto the wheel, instead of using a rubberized surface, which would have worked out a little better. Still, it’s nice to see that PDP took that recommendation and improved on the wheels. A larger mode button is featured on the headset, which allows you to switch between the Bass Boost and Pure Audio, Other than that the headset features a line-in connection, which allows you to connect the headset to smartphones, tablets or anything else that accepts a 3.5 mm connection. A USB connection rounds out the inputs, but this is merely for charging the headset and does not double up as a connection for hooking up the headset to anything else.
And for those wondering, no, this does not work with a PC. Attempting to connect the headset via USB or the USB dongle ends up with Windows not being able to detect the headset.
The headset is still just as comfortable as the Afterglow 7 headset and feels a tad lighter as well. I’m not a fan of the headset’s size adjustment mechanism. Instead of using a system that adjusts the rails on housing the puts the rail in the middle (like conventional headsets), the speaker housing is instead attached to the outside rail/slider on the headset. Looking at speaker housing connection I can see that it’s held on with 4 Phillip screws.
I did not attempt to unscrew them to see how exactly the unit was connected, though I’m assuming based on the way it flexes that its plastic. There’s definitely some play in how this was designed and adjusting the headset is a little daunting as it doesn’t feel very secure. That said, definitely be careful if you plan on picking up the Afterglow 9 headset and try not to use to much force as this may break or damage the mechanism.
*Review sample provided by manufacturer
PDP's latest Xbox One headset improves on the previous model
PDP has made several improvements over previous attempt with the Afterglow 9, including correcting the issues with the range and battery. Combined with the 50 mm Neodymium Drivers for a respectable audio experience and its removable and flexible microphone, the AG 9 is easily one of the best sub $100 headsets available on the market for the Xbox One and PlayStation. The only issue with the headset is the flimsy feeling when adjusting the head, which I’ll be honest and state that AG 7’s were perfect in that respect.
For anyone who was slightly disappointed with the previous Afterglow 7 headset, the Afterglow 9 makes up for those nagging issues in spades.
- Loving the idea of having the detachable microphone as it’s easy to replace if damaged
- The battery, range and microphone issues that plagued the previous model have been addressed
- Lighter than the previews Afterglow 7 headset.
- Wheels now include a textured wheel for easier scrolling
- The rails that handle the headset adjustment duties has a lot of play and feels filmsy
- Would have liked to have the ability to use the headset on a Windows enabled PC