- Impressive audio
- Comfortable and lightweight
- Attractive, light-up design
- Clunky software
- Bass can overwhelm
The Lenovo Y Gaming Surround Sound Headset offers impressive audio within a cozy design for less than $60.
I never would have expected Lenovo to deliver a gaming headset ─ let alone a good one ─ but here we are. The company’s $59 Y Gaming Surround Sound headset is a surprisingly sleek peripheral whose impressive audio output is complemented by some neat-looking LED lights. The headset is lightweight and cozy enough to handle a long night of gaming, and it works equally well over USB or headphone jack. Despite a clunky companion app, the Y Gaming headset is an excellent choice for those seeking immersive sound on a budget.
If the Lenovo Y Gaming headset existed in the Star Wars universe, it would most certainly be worn by the Sith. This headset’s sleek, menacing black-and-red design blends in nicely with the rest of Lenovo’s gaming products, with slim Y logos on the outer ear cups that emit a bright red glow once you plug in the device.
While you can’t lay the ear cups flat, you can fold them up into the headband, making the headset incredibly easy to stow in your bag before heading to a LAN party. The headset’s generously long cable features both USB and 3.5mm connections at the end, with a clip that lets you neatly stow whichever one you’re not using at the time.
With spacious, extra-cushy pleather ear cups, The Y Gaming Headset was as easy on my ears as it was my eyes. I rarely had the urge to take the headset off during long sessions, thanks in part to its light, 11.7-ounce construction and well-padded mesh headband.
You should have an easy time adjusting the Y Gaming to your head shape, too. The headset’s retractable cans can be raised or lowered about 1.5 inches, and since each ear cup swivels freely, it shouldn’t take long for the device to adjust itself to your noggin.
The Y Gaming backs up its good looks with some impressively solid virtual 7.1 sound. I found myself sufficiently immersed in cinematic single-player games while enjoying the sound clarity necessary to get the edge on opponents in competitive titles.
WITH SPACIOUS, EXTRA-CUSHY PLEATHER EAR CUPS, THE Y GAMING HEADSET WAS AS EASY ON MY EARS AS IT WAS MY EYES.
Rainbow Six Siege is a game in which you’ll die quickly if you don’t hear enemy terrorists coming, and Lenovo’s headset made it pretty easy to stay alive. I could easily hear my foes’ footsteps and angry chatter from far away, and once it was time to fire away, the burst of my assault rifle sounded thunderously satisfying.
That same audio quality transferred nicely to the more atmospheric action of Batman: Arkham Knight. I could hear just about every single raindrop that landed on the game’s dreary take on Gotham, and the sounds of distant sirens and shouting thugs were easy to pick out. Combat once again sounded appropriately full, as I could feel the oomph every time I rammed Batman’s fist at a clumsy crook’s face.
My only gripe with the Y’s sound quality is its slightly overpowering bass, which occasionally drowned out other game sounds when playing Batman. You have some control over the bass intensity within the headset’s companion app, but I noticed a bit of muddiness no matter how I fiddled with things.
The Y’s 3.5mm jack allows it to double as a decent pair of headphones or as a console headset for your PS4 or Xbox One controller.
Lenovo’s headset handled my daily listening habits well, as bouncy rock tracks from bands such as Punchline and Yellowcard came through with rollicking drums and powerful bass. However, the headset’s low end was once again somewhat overpowering, and I would have liked to hear each track’s vocals and guitars a bit more clearly.
MY ONLY GRIPE WITH THE Y’S SOUND QUALITY IS ITS SLIGHTLY OVERPOWERING BASS, WHICH OCCASIONALLY DROWNED OUT OTHER GAME SOUNDS.
The Y Gaming Headset worked just fine with my iPhone 6, though if you want to use the inline remote to change volume, you’ll need an Android device running version 5.0 or higher.
Microphone and Controls
The Y’s removable boom mic swivels left to right and is highly flexible, making it super-easy to place just far away enough from your mouth. It’s clear, too ─ when chatting with a friend on Skype, I was never asked to repeat anything, though my friend thought my voice sometimes sounded a bit metallic.
The headset’s mic cord houses an inline remote, which works reliably for adjusting volume and muting the mic. I would have appreciated a button for toggling 7.1 surround sound (like the Hyper X Cloud II’s inline remote has), but Lenovo provides all of the essentials for making quick adjustments without leaving your game.
It’s a good thing that the Y headset sounds good out of the box, because you likely won’t want to spend much time with its downloadable companion app. While the X-ear software lets you tweak a wealth of audio settings (as well as dictate whether the LED lights pulsate or glow steadily), not all of its options seem necessary.
There’s an EQ for those who want to fine-tune every possible setting, as well as common headset options such as Dynamic Bass. However, some of the app’s modes are a bit confusing and redundant ─ Surround Headphone and Surround Max are two different settings, for example.
Those used to more comprehensive apps such as Razer Synapse and Logitech Gaming Software will be disappointed, as there’s no way to save audio profiles and sync them with specific games. Fortunately, you can ignore the Y’s somewhat awkward app and still enjoy pretty good sound.
If you don’t want to spend a fortune on a decent PC gaming headset, Lenovo’s Y Gaming cans should definitely be on your radar. The headset delivers impressive sound, is very comfortable and simply looks cool ─ a combination that you’d normally be hard-pressed to find for less than $59.
If you can spend a little more, the $99 Hyper X Cloud II is even comfier and better-sounding. Otherwise, Lenovo’s extra-wallet-friendly option offers a whole lot for a low price.