JBL’s Quantum series of gaming headsets have been out for a while now: I reviewed the Quantum 600s on the site last year, saying my “ears were in aural heaven” but now, I’m taking a look at JBL’s Quantum 800s, a more feature-packed wireless headset and it’s second from the top in its gaming headset range.
I use the Quantum 600s as my daily gaming headset and despite the two being essentially identical in design and build, the 800s just seems more premium with a more comfortably fit. I’m not sure whether it was mind playing tricks on me but the ear cups on the 800 felt more comfortable than those on the 600s, with the leather-covered memory foam feeling a lot more dense and more secure over my ears. The headphones withstood a bit of twisting and didn’t seem to move around much on my head when I moved it from side to side.
The left ear cup houses a flexible, fold down boom mic, a mic mute button, a volume wheel, a game/chat balance wheel, a 3.5mm input and a USB-c charge port. The left ear cup also sports a a button that activates the active noise cancelling functionality. The right ear cup is home to the power/pairing button and the Bluetooth connection button.
The Quantum 800s support surround sound options DTS and JBL’s own Quantum surround sound which gives you 7.1 audio right into your ears. It also has Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity meaning you can connect your phone or another mobile device to the headset so you can still hear listen to music or hear incoming phone calls when you’re gaming. You can also use them with a console like a Nintendo Switch using the 3.5mm cable.
Speaking of the cables, it’s a small thing but the USB-c charge cable and 3.5mm cable are a nice braided cable with alternating orange and black highlights rather than straight black plastic. It’s just a small thing but shows JBL want the whole package to be a high-end one.
Like the 600s, the 800s connect via a USB transmitter and JBL’s QuantumEngine PC software lets you tweak things like in-built sound presets (clarity, deeper bass, boost high end tones or FPS specific soundscape), surround sound settings and the ear cups’ RGB lighting. I switched the lighting off as I’d rather have battery life than flashing lights, thanks. JBL promises around 14 hours with the lighting turned off and that seemed about right, although I didn’t record how much time I got between charges. Battery life is much less, of course, if you’re blasting the RGB 24/7.
The tagline for the Quantum series is “Sound is survival” so how do the Quantum 800s sound compared to the 600s which I use regularly? Much, much better, if I’m honest. I felt that the 800s delivered slightly better sound than the Quantum 600s, delivering impressive deep bass and nice, crisp highs. I tested the 800s playing games like God of War on PS5 – you can use them with consoles using the USB dongle but will need to use the 3.5mm cable on an Xbox One X console – and really noticed that the headset was able to deliver immersive and impressive sound while I was gaming.
Perhaps the biggest advantage the 800s have over the 600s is the Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) functionality, which is activated by the button on the left ear cup.
A robotic voice lets you know when ANC is on or off and believe me, you can actually hear the difference when it’s active: It drowned out the reality TV playing in the next room and let me concentrate on what I was doing on my PC: Playing games. Sure, JBL’s ANC isn’t as good as on my Bose QuietComfort 35iis but for a gaming headset, it’s an excellent feature to have when you just want to concentrate on the mission and drown out external noise.
JBL is really aiming high with its Quantum range of gaming headsets and for me, a good gaming headset must do two things: Deliver great sound when I’m gaming and be comfortable. JBL’s Quantum 800 headset delivers on both counts. Two thumbs up from me.
Thanks to JBL for the review unit. The Quantum 800s will retail for around $NZ400.