Corsair HS35 Headset Review: A Lateral Step
Corsair's new HS35 gaming headset is a budget model of the HS50, which we reviewed last year. I liked the HS50, especially at $50. It was, and still is, a serviceable, good-sounding headset that I recommend.
It's somewhat strange, then, that the HS35 exists at all. In many ways, it gets rid of the more premium aspects of the HS50 and drops the retail price $10. Problem is, what it removes were some of the things I liked about the HS50, and what it kept, I didn't like so much.
Despite all of that, it's hard not to recommend the headset in general, specifically to anyone looking for a fantastic budget option or a lateral choice to the HS50. Gamers aren't made of money, and one could do far, far worse than the HS35.
The HS35 comes in several different colors:
- All black
- Black with green earcups and headband cushion
- Black with red earcups and headband cushion
- Black with blue earcups and headband cushion
The frame of every submodel is lightweight plastic, except for the adjustable section of the headband, which is your standard silver aluminum. As is custom, "Corsair" is emblazoned across the top of the headband.
Each earcup tilts inward to provide more comfort for different shaped heads, an expected but nice tough. On the outside of each, the Corsair ship logo is placed nicely in the center. There is a glossy black channel that runs around the earcups, providing a stark contrast to the matte black around the rest of the headset.
One thing I do not like about the HS35 — which I also did not like about the HS50 — is that the earcups do not swivel. It's a crime in modern headset design, but that's just whining from an entitled writer that likes to rest his headsets flat when not in use.
On the back of the left earcup, you'll find the volume wheel and the mic mute button. On the front, you'll find the port for the unidirectional, detachable mic.
For the HS35, Corsair opted to drop the leatherette earcup and headband padding found on the HS50 for fiber mesh. The mesh is a tad hotter than the leatherette over long periods, and although the earcups are supposed to manage moisture better, my ears did feel a tad sweaty after prolonged use.
What bothered me more, however, was the depth of the earcups. Unlike the roomy earcups found on the HS50, those on the HS35 feel very shallow, as if my ears were directly on the drivers and the mesh that covered them.
However, a plus is that during my time with the headset, the headband never bothered me; it felt just as comfortable as the one found on the HS50. Perhaps the headset's newer lightweight design contributed to that as the HS35 is 60g lighter than the HS50.
The HS35 sounds pretty great for a $40 budget set. It's hard to complain on most levels. While I did moan a bit about the HS50's bassier leanings, I found I missed that punchier sound in the HS35s. Here, bass isn't as pronounced, with highs and mids garnering the most attention.
In games like DOOM, that means glory kills aren't as meaty and visceral, and the thrum and thunk of a shotgun takes a backseat to clankier tones of individual parts — or even the slug itself.
There's nothing wrong with that, and I never felt I was "missing out" on tones or cues, but it's worth noting.
For dialog in games and podcasts, for example, the HS35 shines. Voices are clear as a bell, and the stereo power of the headset's 50mm drivers really shines through.
The microphone is Discord certified, and it performs swimmingly on the app. A colleague of mine said I sounded decidedly better than when using Logitech's G432. She said my voice was crisp and clear.
- Great sounding Discord-certified mic
- Good sound on a budget for gaming, movies, and music
- Plug and play for PS4, Switch, and mobile
- See below
- Earcups are shallow
- Detachable mic is easy to lose
- Overall construction is flimsier than HS50
- Not all versions come with Y-splitter
- May need XB1 3.5mm adapter (sold separately)
All in all, the HS35s aren't necessarily worse than the HS50s; instead, they're simply different. Gamers love options, and Corsair has provided them an option to the HS50. Seeing as gamers can buy an HS50 from third-party retailers for about the same price as an HS35 these days, price shouldn't be the deciding factor.
For a low-tier headset, the HS35s sound great. Music, movies, and games are all enjoyable. Since it's plug-and-play, you won't find any fancy software here; what you hear is what you get.
One thing to keep in mind if you decide to pick up a pair of HS35s is color scheme — it actually seems to mean something. Although every color works with every platform, only the all-black Carbon version comes with a Y-splitter for PCs.
Here are the headset's full specs:
|Frequency Response||20Hz to 20kHz|
|Sensitivity||113dB (+/- 3dB)|
|Impedance||32 Ohms @ 1kHz|
|Mic Type||Unidirectional noise canceling|
|Mic Frequency Response||100Hz to 10kHz|
|Mic Sensitivity||-40dB (+/- 3dB)|
[Note: An HS35 review unit was provided by Corsair for the purpose of this review.]