The JBL Quantum 800 ($ 200) is an excellent wireless gaming headset that could have been great. Although JBL is a newcomer to gaming audio, JBL has been offering everyday audio products since 1946, and its family tree speaks for itself. Like many of its other headsets, the JBL Quantum 800 is comfortable to wear and sounds incredibly useful for both music and games. The problem is that usage is sometimes very frustrating. Let’s discuss it in ours JBL Quantum 800 review.
JBL Quantum 800 Review: Design
The JBL Quantum 800 looks a little cheap for an expensive headset. The expandable plastic headband looks a bit thin, and the ear cups are equipped with plastic mirrors that take fingerprints like no other. The microphone on the left auricle is not removable. I think a microphone in such an expensive headset should be removable or retractable, but at least it’s there when you need it.
Most of the action takes place in the left auricle. These include a noise canceling button, a chat / game mixer wheel, a volume control and a mute button. I was sitting on my high horse before juxtaposing the chat and volume buttons, but I think the point is still there. If the two dials are so close together and feel exactly the same, a headset almost prompts the user to set the wrong one. There’s also a USB-C power connector and a 3.5mm audio jack. In addition to a USB dongle, the headphones have a USB cable for charging and a 3.5 mm audio cable for console playback.
The right auricle contains only the on / off switch, which also acts as a Bluetooth activator. This button was one of my first and most consistent points of device frustration, as the differences between the On, Off, and Pairing modes are subtle at best. I often want to wake up the headset after a long sleep and disconnect it from the USB dongle instead. (To pair again, you have to press a button on the dongle yourself. Good luck if it’s on the back of your PC.)
While Quantum 800 is navigable enough, I hoped for something that looked a little more elegant and felt a little more elegant. There are cheaper wireless gaming headsets that look and feel a lot better – the Arctis 7 from SteelSeries ($ 150) and the Elite Atlas Aero from Turtle Beach ($ 150) for beginners.
JBL Quantum 800 Evaluation: Comfort
With soft foam ear cups and a padded, airy headband, the JBL Quantum 800 is very comfortable even over long distances. The ear cups provide a surprisingly tight seal around the ears, but in my experience, this didn’t cause discomfort or pain over time. However, it hid a lot of strange noises, which I really appreciated. The ear cups can also be folded flat for easy portability.
A good fit is quite comfortable thanks to the numbered notches in the retractable headband. I wish the headband was made of metal instead of plastic because after a few years the plastic of the headband would become quite brittle and fragile. It looks like a cheap design decision in an otherwise expensive gaming headset. I found the JBL Quantum 800 comfortable and fairly easy to get a good fit, but if you prefer headphones on the loose side, it may not be for you.
Here the JBL Quantum 800 does not work as well as it could. I’ve already talked about the power switch on the Mercurial, but turning the system on and off is a breeze compared to a computer to recognize it. Unlike most other USB headsets, Quantum 800 uses five different drivers to manage the sound. If you think it’s complicated, you’re right.
Windows does not initially recognize the correct drivers. This means that you have to call up your sound settings and switch manually from the “headset” driver to a “speaker” driver. This also means that the headset volume does not directly match the volume in Windows. This is a problem when you want to use the keyboard media driver. With all of these drivers, it is also very difficult to get any program to recognize the correct input.
Sometimes I listened to music in VLC, paused to go to a YouTube link, and instead let the YouTube music play through my speakers. I often had to restart my entire system before Google Meet recognized the Quantum 800 microphone. In the most frustrating incident of my time with the headset, Discord’s voice chat identified the microphone in order, but did not recognize the audio output for love or money. When I tried to restart the headset, I pressed the power button too far and wanted to pair it again instead.
I ripped the USB dongle out of my computer, threw it aside, and plugged in a tried and tested Corsair headset instead. This is pretty much the worst-case scenario for a game headset. There’s also all the annoying, loud sound effects to discuss. When you start or shutdown the Quantum 800 (or shut it down after an idle period), you hear a series of shocking beeps and buzzing sounds. You cannot turn the volume down or turn it off.
JBL Quantum 800 Review: performance
JBL is one of the best known names in audio technology, and from the moment I put the Quantum 800 on, it was clear why. I’ve taken the headset through a series of games on different consoles, including Doom Eternal, Assassin Creed Odyssey, Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition and Shadow of the Tomb Raider. The headset works wirelessly on PC and PS4 as well as via a 3.5 mm audio cable for Xbox One and Switch.
I was particularly happy with the wireless performance of the device on the PC and PS4. The Quantum 800 has done a great job of balancing language work, sound effects, and music, whether it was Lara Croft’s moans of scaling a rocky structure, or the rapid firing of bullets that tear apart a demon’s guts. I especially loved playing Age of Empires II because with the Quantum 800 I was able to concentrate on the beautiful soundtrack and the zone with the cool medieval melodies.
When it comes to the quality of the music, the JBL Quantum 800 is successful where many gaming headsets fail. Just like the JBL audiophile headphones, the Quantum 800 offers rich, detailed soundscapes that offer a healthy amount of bass, robust highs and crystal clear voices. The audio performance is almost as good in the 3.5 mm audio mode – and in the Bluetooth mode, which is a great blessing for modern smartphones without a socket. The fact that Quantum 800 works with almost any system is a spring in the cap.
The battery life, the software and the microphone are all right. JBL claims that you can get 14 hours if you turn off all lights; I have about 10 with the lights on, so that’s conceivable. Quantum Engine software lets you switch surround sound, select equalization profiles, and adjust microphone options. However, you cannot set profiles for individual games and apps, which would have saved unnecessary manipulation. My colleagues cursed the microphone with vague praise for its “standard gaming headset quality”.
JBL Quantum 800 Review: conclusion
I’m looking for two essential criteria for a gaming headset: is it comfortable to wear? And does it deliver good sound? If the answer to both questions is yes, the rest is often of minor importance. As explained in my JBL Quantum 800 test, I sometimes found the device angry. For such an expensive device, it feels pretty unpolished. Sometimes it’s more difficult than just getting a PC to recognize the right audio channel.
At the same time, Quantum 800 is rich in functions and sounds excellent for both games and music. The connection is made via USB, Bluetooth and a 3.5 mm cable. This allows you to customize your EQ profiles. It works with almost every gaming system on the market. That’s all a pretty convincing argument for the Quantum 800.
The Arctis 7 or the Atlas Elite Aero are still my recommendations for wireless gaming headsets. If you don’t mind spending a little more money on excellent music, the JBL Quantum 800 is worth considering. Please note that you sometimes have to work for fun.
8th total score
The JBL Quantum 800 offers great sound and a comfortable fit, but frustrating problems with the user interface impair the experience.
- Outstanding audio quality
- Wired and wireless connections
- Comfortable fit
- Frustrating surface