Apparently though, the LS20 headset from Lucid Sound is meant to be well worth the price. Let's unbox this headset from an unfamiliar company and see just what they can do.
On top of the contents you'll find a plastic wrapped set of papers.
Underneath that you'll find a small sealed plastic bag, containing 2 cables, one of which is a 3.5 mm audio cable and the other being a USB cable.
The only other item to extract is the headset itself, which can simply be gently removed by putting your hands on the ear cups and pushing against the sides of the box as well. The headset will have plastic film on the outer shells of the ear cups, which are marked by what I would guess is the company's logo.
The first important point of note is that you can't actually charge this headset via USB whilst using it, unlike most if not all headsets I've tested before. This will likely be a cause of major inconvenience for gamers who like to play for longer stretches.
Even though it is straightforward as to where everything plugs in in terms of cables, it's more difficult to actually tell if things are working, such as the detachable microphone. That is, until the mode is correctly set on the unit, which is a challenge in itself. The fact that there's not a beep or boop to be heard when using this headset is disconcerting, as all you have to go on is the hissing noise the speakers emit to even have a vague idea that it's funcitoning.
After a large amount of tweaking settings and my sighted assistant not being able to see the colours of the mode LED (due to colourblindness), we eventually managed to switch the mode over to the Xbox One setting. This would've been easily solved via the use of a switch instead of holding and releasing the mode/power button to change what console/device the headset works with.
Once I figured out the intricaces of the Xbox settings section dealing with game/party chat balance, I could hear everything in a crisp, clear soundscape with the chat being as loud as necessary, depending on the game. It was interesting to have control from the settings menu on the console rather than on the unit itself, as I'm used to being able to adjust things on the fly without coming out of games then going back in. This is a further limitation suffered by this headset being wired, it seems.
If I turned off the console and needed to reconnect everything, fortunately all I had to do was press and hold the power button on the left ear cup, whilst the unit was disconnected from the Xbox One controller. If I'm honest, I didn't think it'd be that easy - I thought it would probably default to a different mode from the one previously used, for example.
Sound quality and microphone levels were very clear, surprising given that the headset connects with the controller, but given the build quality of the unit, it actually makes quite a bit of sense. The microphone also disconnects easily via simply pulling out the device from its point of attachment.
The headset doesn't seem to drain that much juice from your controller, for those of you worried about how many packs of aa's you'll have to throw in to replenish it. If I see anything worth noting, however, this review will be updated to reflect that.
A very pressing issue with this headset is one I briefly mentioned earlier. Specifically, you seemingly can't charge and use it at the same time, unlike my commonly recommended preference of the PDP afterglow AG9 headset, which allows you to do just that. This came to a head when, in the middle of setting up for a game, I had to try and find the cable and plugged it in only to find that my controller's audio was completely muted. If I find any ways of solving this if any exist, I'll be sure to update this review with this new information.
Whilst sturdily built and well-intentioned, the LS20's can't be recommended to those without sight and other visually impaired users with any real confidence given the issues I had whilst testing them for this review. Hopefully the higher range models, though more expensive, could incorporate accessibility features into their future production runs to provide greater competition in the accessible headset market.
I'd like to thank Lucid Sound for sending me this review unit free of charge and I look forward to seeing what they come up with in the near future in terms of accessible technology. Back to the main reviews and guides page