Microsoft launched its own Xbox Wireless Headset just earlier this month for $99.99, offering a solid set of gaming-focused features for a relatively accessible price point. But if you've been yearning for a premium headset for gaming, it looks like Microsoft - together with Bang & Olufsen - has you covered too.
The companies have announced the new Beoplay Portal headset, which is part of Microsoft's Designed for Xbox program. Not only that, it's also the first one in a subset of this program, called Limited Series, which "ensures premium product quality and design".
What will likely stand out the most about the Beoplay Portal is its design, which seems to stray far from the trends in design for gaming products. The headset has a "sophisticated aesthetic" that can easily be worn on the go without drawing too much attention, and it comes in fairly classy and subdued color options - Black Anthracite, Grey Mist, and Navy Brass.
Of course, under that design, there's still quite a bit for gaming fans. The headset works with both Xbox consoles using the proprietary Xbox Wireless connection, as well as PCs and mobile devices via Bluetooth 5.1 with support for the aptX Adaptive audio codec. For the microphone, it uses a set of beamforming mics to pick up the user's voice and shut down surrounding noise, which is referred to as a "virtual boom arm", as opposed to having a microphone sticking out from the headset.
With the Bang & Olufsen smartphone app, users can customize things like choosing different EQ presets designed for different types of games and media, or they can create a custom EQ profile. The headset offers different profiles depending on whether you're using an Xbox Wireless connection or Bluetooth. For example, you get features like mic monitoring and game/chat audio balance adjustments with the Xbox connection. The touch-based controls on the earcups can also be adjusted depending on the type of connection, so instead of game/chat balance, the left earcup controls the active noise cancellation level or transparency mode in Bluetooth mode.
Of course, being that it's a Bang & Olufsen headset, there's a big focus on the sound quality, which has been tuned by acousticians for "the most immersive and precise gaming audio". It also promises great audio isolation thanks to the lambskin ear cushions, and it should also be pretty comfortable, weighing in at 282 grams.
All of that doesn't come cheap though, as the Beoplay Portal costs $499.99. The Anthracite Black color is available to buy today on the Microsoft Store while the Grey Silver and Navy Brass options are available for pre-order with shipping planned for May.