We sure do enjoy jumping back and forth between Plantronics lifestyle and gaming headset reviews don’t we? Well, it’s time to hop back over to the gaming side of Plantronics. Now we’re going to cover the new reimagining of the Plantronics RIG 500E headset we reviewed back in 2016. The Plantronics RIG 500 PRO eSports Edition headset, announced during E3 2018, is the new full upgrade from the RIG 500E. It is a closed-back wired headset marketed for use on the Xbox One, PS4, and PC. It continues with the very same modular approach to customizability while upgrading the components and overall build from what was seen in its predecessor.
Also, continuing the trend from recent Plantronics gaming headset releases, the Plantronics RIG 500 PRO eSports Edition headset is also Dolby Atmos ready and comes with a free lifetime activation code for use with the Xbox One and Windows 10. This single Dolby Atmos license can be used simultaneously across both platforms, just like how the Xbox Play Anywhere program works.
Let’s get into the details…
Build and Comfort
Plantronics RIG 500 PRO eSports Edition Specs
|Headphone drivers||Dynamic 50 mm|
|Headphone frequency response||20 Hz–20 kHz|
|Headphone impedance||32 ohms|
|Headphone sensitivity||111 dBSPL/V|
|Headphone maximum input power||40 mW|
|Headphone weight||323 g/11.4 oz|
|Mic frequency response||100 Hz–10 kHz|
|Mic sensitivity||-45 dBV/Pa|
|Mic signal-to-noise ratio||>42 dB|
|Mic pick-up pattern||Uni-directional|
|Cable length||1.3 m|
Out of the box, you have the Plantronics RIG 500 PRO eSports Edition headset, a pair of full mesh ear cushions, a pair of mesh-leatherette hybrid ear cushions, a swappable 3.5mm PC cable with an in-line master volume slider, a swappable 3.5mm console cable with an in-line master volume dial at the base, and a removable noise-isolation boom mic.
If you saw or remember what the RIG PRO 500E had to offer, then you might immediately notice the new exoskeleton ear cup design and new die-cast metal frame of the Plantronics RIG 500 PRO eSports Edition headset. The new exoskeleton ear cup design for the 50mm drivers work to dampen vibration, allowing you enjoy deep bass without being harassed by the deafening distortion often felt in muddy bass presentations. While there are those that enjoy the vibration in their cars or living rooms, courtesy of a subwoofer cranked to the max, that will inevitably wreak havoc on a gamer’s ear fatigue over time. This new design aims to give you enjoyable bass without discomfort.
The metal headband adds integrity to the overall build of the RIG 500 PRO eSports Edition headset, while maintaining a good degree of flexibility. Couple that with a suspension headband and ear cups that can be adjusted in three different height settings, and you have yourself a headset that can adjust to practically any head size. On top of that, the RIG 500 PRO eSports Edition headset grants you two ear cup options, a completely mesh pair and a mesh and leatherette hybrid for added sound isolation.
As far as build and comfort goes, the RIG 500 PRO eSports Edition headset is a nice blend of sturdiness and weight. Despite its new metal components, the headset remains quite light in weight. The headband’s flexibility, the ear cups’ maneuverability, and the suspension headband come together to give you a comfortable and sturdy hold, without squeezing your head. I was able to move ear cups about to make the tension just right where I wanted it. Thanks to the mesh surface on each ear cushion choice, coupled with that adjustable tension, I was able to wear the headset comfortably and with glasses for more than six hours before I noticed anything close to fatigue.
The choices in ear cup cushioning is interesting here. Here you have the choice between a full mesh and a leatherette-mesh hybrid, where each choice has you in contact with a mesh surface. So while full mesh gives you the maximum amount of “breathability” for your ears, I only felt a negligible step down in comfort by opting to use the mesh-leatherette hybrid. That ended up making the choice to use the mesh-leatherette hybrid a bit of a no-brainer for me. It simply made sense to opt for maximum sound isolation when I did not have to worry about the taxing feeling that leather can give you when it is directly against your head and skin for hours on end.
For the 2016 RIG 500E, the ear cup choices were a bit more defined as the ear cups as a whole were swappable, not just the cushioning. There, you had the choice between open-back cups with mesh cushioning and closed-back cups with leatherette cushioning. With the RIG 500 PRO eSports Edition headset, you are going with closed-back regardless of your cushioning choice, where each cushioning option feeling close to equal in comfort for me. You do not have to view this as a knock at all against the RIG 500 PRO eSports Edition, as it means both cushioning options are pleasantly comfortable. I simply felt that in an eSports or competitive setting, the choice that gives you the most isolation while still granting you comfort was too easy of a choice to make.
All of that said, you have a very solid build in the RIG 500 PRO eSports Edition headset. It is simply comfortable to wear for hours upon hours of play. Not to mention, the headset has a serious gamer aesthetic to it without being overly colorful or overstated in appearance. From the moment you hold the Plantronics RIG 500 PRO eSports Edition headset, you can tell that they spared no expense. Not that I tried, it even feels as it could easily withstand the occasional gamer-rage headset toss or two. It is quite refreshing that a headset of this level of comfort and build comes at a very approachable $149.
Continue onto Performance, Features and Final Thoughts…