AG 9 Headset Review
We are back with yet another PDP gaming headset review. Why wouldn’t we be? Overall, every headset from PDP has received a passing grade from us here at Games Reviews, and many of you have hit us up on social media to let us know which headset you bought and why. What Performance Design Products has going for is not necessarily having the best headset available, but for providing a better than average headset for the MSRP. The AG 9 is no exception. For a mere 99.99, gamers can grab one of the few true wireless headsets on Xbox One – the other being the AG 7 from PDP – that will out perform many headsets in the same price range from other companies.
This is review of the Xbox One version. While many of the features are similar to that of the PS4, feel free to watch the video at the bottom of this review from reviewer Jezy (@OMGitsJezy)!
A few people have direct messaged me on twitter after I post headset reviews telling me “that headset is crap.” This applies to every review I do of a sub 100.00 product, PDP or otherwise. After a bit of communication back and forth, I realize they are trying to compare a 100.00 headset to a 300.00+ headset. Be fair warned. This is not a surround sound headset. You will not be getting 300.00 quality for 100.00. What you will get, however, is an excellent gaming accessories that eliminates one of the biggest problems I have with the Xbox One: Wired headsets. That alone makes the PDP AG 9 True Wireless headset one of the best sets available on the market, regardless of price.
For us at Games Reviews, this is not our first PDP headset rodeo. We have reviewed the Nur, Karga, AG7, and Prismatic headsets in the past. The design and look of all PDP headsets is relatively the same. Lately, I’ve been describing them this way to people, “You know Halo? Well, the PDP headset looks like something out of Halo.” It’s true, and I made it a reality using this headset to work on the multiplayer portion of our Halo 5: Guardians review. PDP has comfortable headsets, better than any at this price, but not better than headsets which will cost you 50.00 more. The big ear cups fit nicely around the ears, and include sufficient padding that makes wearing the headset even during long gaming sessions tolerable. From some of the early headsets, PDP has continued to increase the comfort level around the top of players heads. Perhaps it is just my mind playing tricks, but I feel that the AG 9 is even a slight comfort improvement over the AG 7 that is essentially is replacing.
Again, since the headset is wireless PDP has provided all the tools you need to change volume, mute the microphone, and change the balance between chat audio and game audio on the headset itself. For the first little while this may become an annoyance for some people as they fumble around for the correct buttons mid game, but within a few hours, it will all come naturally.
Here are three areas PDP has highlighted that make the AG 9 Headset stand out from the competition.
Two Impressive Audio Modes: The AG 9 offers an outstanding acoustic design, including two distinct audio modes: Pure Audio and Bass Boost. While I can appreciate PDP giving players options, in most of the games I played I never noticed a huge difference between the two. Slight yes, but huge? No. I spent most of time using the Pure Audio mode, and I felt things sounded fantastic; those who want the bass to pop just a bit will probably use Bass Boost exclusively. Regardless of which mode you use, there shouldn’t be an reason for complaint. Again, we aren’t talking surround sound, but we also aren’t talking about a cheap 10.00$ pair of ear buds. The sound is crisp and clear, and does an excellent job balancing highs and lows across video games, movies, and music.
Amazing Range and Battery Life: The AG 9 is easily set up with the included USB transmitter, offering a range of up to 40 feet. Enjoy up to 16 hours of battery life for long lasting gaming. Here is where PDP’s latest Xbox One headset lineup shines over hte competition – yes, even those ultra expensive headsets. For game and chat audio, players don’t need to worry about the annoying wire hanging from their headset and connecting into their controller. Using the included USB – which unfortunately will take up a precious slot on your Xbox One – both game and chat audio are directed straight to your headset. This is huge, and why more companies are not doing this is beyond me. With each headset that comes through the door for review, I’m less and less impressed with their wired headsets. PDP is likely to never go back, and frankly, rewarding them with your dollars might be the best idea. PDP is innovative with all their products, but this is by far the biggest innovation.
The battery life is definitely improved over the AG 7. I feel that the previous headset was pretty liberal with it’s estimated batter life, while their estimation of 16 hours on the AG 9 feels spot on. And the range is great. I can move fairly freely around the main level of my house without interruption. This is particularly good when using the headset to watch Netflix. Even if I sneak into the other room to grab a snake, I can still hear what’s going on.
Removable Noise-Cancelling Microphone: The noise-cancelling, removable and flexible microphone provides personalized placement for gamers, and ensures crystal clear communication with other players. I am personally less impressed with this change (from the AG 9 over the AG 7). Don’t get me wrong: the microphone is outstanding, and provides a better quality chat experience than even the AG 7 did. I do not doubt that the new microphone is substantially better, and is much more flexible than the previous version. Finding a good placement in front of my mouth was much easier, and no one ever complained about my chat quality. I received a few – stress here on a few – complaints when I used my AG 7’s. None now.
That being said, I miss the retractable microphone. Why PDP decided to swap out the retractable microphone for a detachable one is beyond me. This doesn’t make me dislike this headset, but should be something people should keep in mind. If you have a habit of losing your parts, leave the microphone attached.
Editor Side Note: My brother-in-law house sat for me and used this headset extensively. He said he likes the removable microphone a lot. I guess this comes down to a preference thing! To be fair, I lose things easily, so hence my dislike for the detachable microphone. To each their own!
Like I mention with all my reviews, the Afterglow products come with their own flash. The name says it all: this headset lights up (although there is an option to turn this off). The reality is the light up headset is a gimmick, more of a marketing tool. You know an Afterglow product even if you see it from across a room. I’ve always stated that I’m not a fan of headsets that light up, but with the ability to shut it off, it’s never deterred me from getting PDP headsets.
At the end of the day, the best praise I can give a headset is if I put my money where my mouth is. I received this headset for review from PDP – Shout out to Jake! – and I’ve already purchased another from Best Buy as a Christmas gift for a family member. For the price – 99.99, available at PDP.com, Amazon, GameStop, and Best Buy – you cannot go wrong. You will not find a better headset for under 100 dollars on the market, period. Even headsets that sit around the 149.99 mark might provide you a minimal amount of more comfort, but not better audio quality.
This headset was provided to us courtesy of Jake over at Performance Design Products. We used this headset to listen to many genres of music, different moves, and of course, video games. This headset was used for the entirety of our Halo 5: Guardians Multiplayer Review and will be the headset we use to review Fallout 4 and Call of Duty: Black Ops 3.