Review: Plantronics Rig 800 LX and 500 Pro HX Gaming Headsets

Posted on November 17, 2018 by Brad Sams in Games with 5 Comments

A couple weeks back, Plantronics reached out and asked if I would be interested in reviewing their top-end Xbox headsets and considering that I play PUBG…a lot, the timing was perfect. The company sent over their 800LX and 500 Pro headsets and after a few weeks of using the hardware, here is what you need to know.

Before we go any further, keep in mind that the 500 Pro costs $69.99 and the 800 LX will set you back $149.99 – there is a significant price gap between the two products. That being said, they are also targeting two slightly different demographics.

The biggest difference between these two products is that the 800 LX is wireless and the 500 Pro is wired. And I can honestly say, both are good headsets; you will be happy with either option.

I was upgrading from an aging Turtle Beach XO7 which you can still find today on Amazon for $199.99 but they are not worth the money. If you are going to be spending that type of cash on a headset, you will be much happier with the 800 LX.

800 LX with the microphone in the ‘muted’ position

The 800 LX wireless feature works by plugging in a small box to the USB port on your Xbox One and then it connects directly to the headset. Plantronics says that it has a 10-meter range and I have had zero issues with connectivity with the headset; battery life is posted at 24hrs and that feels about right in my testing.

Audio quality with both devices is a step up from my older XO7’s but the 800 LX is more clear than the 500 Pro. I thought this might just be placebo but others have reported the same as well. That being said, the 500 Pro does feel more premium as it has a metal headband whereas the 800 LX is entirely made of plastic.

One of the downsides to the 800 LX is that mic fidelity is a bit lower than the wired 500 Pro. When gaming with friends while playing PUBG, they could tell an immediate difference when I would switch headsets as they all stated my mic quality improved.

500 Pro with the microphone in the ‘on’ position

On your head, both headsets are comfortable with soft ear cushions that don’t get hot after a couple hours of gaming. Notably, the 800 LX is marginally more comfortable than the 500 Pro.

Both headsets use a lift-to-mute mechanism where you push the mic up until it ‘clicks’ and then it is muted. It works well but 500 Pro has a much lower actuation point for muting making it easier and faster to mute that I wish the 800 LX offered.

800 LX with the microphone in the ‘on’ position

Volume is controlled by either a knob on the cord that connects to your controller for the 500 Pro or with various controls on the back of the 800 LX. The 800 LX has the option to dynamically mix the voice chat and game volume with a wheel on the back whereas, with the 500 Pro, you must do this using the console options which means you need to pause your game.

Both of the headsets support Dolby Atmos and inside each box is a code to redeem the software download needed to enable this functionality at no additional cost.

800 LX volume, power, and mixer controls

What it really comes down to with these two headsets is if you want a wireless setup for your headphones. If you don’t care about it, then you will be quite happy with the 500 Pros but if you have the extra cash, I would personally opt for the 800 LX.

When I first got both devices, I thought that the wired headset would likely be my preferred setup as I didn’t want to worry about having to charge yet another device. But, once you get used to not having a wire between the controller and the headset, there is no going back.

500 Pro volume control knob that plugs into Xbox controller

The gaming headset market is highly competitive and there are more options available from a wide variety of vendors. The key is to figure out what specs are most important to you: wireless, Atmos, battery life, audio quality, or channel mixing, or price. Once you know what you desire, you will be able to find an option within your budget.

The one downsides to the 800 LX is that I wish it had the metal band like the 500 Pro, it feels significantly cheaper despite the higher price tag. Also, the power button doesn’t exude confidence, I worry that it may break over time. And for the 500 Pro, the lack of direct controls of mixing is a downer which can leave you fumbling with the clumsy Xbox One UI to tweak your audio settings.

But you will be happy with either, the 500 Pro at nearly half the price of the 800 LX offers good value, comparatively speaking, but for me, it’s 800 LX going forward.

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Comments (5)

5 responses to “Review: Plantronics Rig 800 LX and 500 Pro HX Gaming Headsets”

  1. stevek

    Look into the Astro A50s.

    I've not seen anything that comes close to being as nice IMO.

  2. Bats

    Eight years ago, I realized how immensely important sound is to gaming. I realized it, while playing Call of Duty after I had just bought and used a Astro wireless headset. I swear, when I say that I really do believe the 7.1 headset improved my gaming when playing in PvP, because I was able to locate my enemy on the sound of his footsteps approaching me.

    If it were me, I definitely would go for the wireless 800 LX. Like I had mentioned in previous posts, regarding smartphones with headphone jacks, I prefer going wireless. I just feel more "free-er" that way. However, in my experience, a wireless headset (particularly) gaming doesn't necessarily have to be used without a wire. To this day, I still use my Astro wireless headsets, but when I run out of juice I simply plug the connected amplifier to the base and can continue to play in 7.1 sound. Perhaps the same can be done with the 800 LX ? In the picture above I do see the port.

    • Chris

      In reply to Bats:

      From what I can see on other review sites, the 800 LX uses a simple USB charging cable. It seems to be maybe a half metre long (max), so you would need to use a USB extension cable to be able to keep gaming while charging the headset.

      It would be just as simple to charge the headset while you aren't playing, but each to their own.

  3. HellcatM

    I have the Arctis 5's and they're awesome! I looked at the Rig headphones at the time (about a year ago), but the Arctis got great reviews plus they have a great sounding mic.