Online casino games have come a long way since the early days of the internet. The first online slots and table games were extremely primitive by today’s standards. Gameplay has improved by leaps and bounds, and so have graphics and sounds. This means you need the right equipment to make the most of your online casino gaming experience.
But you don’t have to rush out and spend a bunch of cash. Most online casino games are optimized for mobile play, so you’ll always get the best graphics that your smartphone or tablet can produce. Sound is a different story. Even if you have a high-end mobile device, using the wrong gaming headset with it can ruin your gameplay. But headsets can be really expensive, so how to decide? We’ve put together a checklist to help. Read our ultimate online casino gaming headset guide for more details.
1. Gaming platform
The most common gaming platforms that today’s gamers use to play online slots and casino games are Android, Windows and iOS. Headsets with a 3.5mm connection should work on most mobile devices and PCs running on these platforms (with the exception of the newer iPhones, because they don’t have a headphone jack.)
2. Wired or wireless?
Gaming headsets can have wired or wireless connections. Wired headsets use cables to connect with your device via 3.5mm jacks or USB ports. Wireless gaming headsets connect via Bluetooth or a wireless USB dongle. Both headset types have their pros and cons, so it’s important to pick the one that’s right for you.
Wired headsets tend to be less expensive than their wireless counterparts, so if you’re looking for the best budget headset, chances are it’ll have a wired connection. There is a good choice of wired headsets to choose from, and they’re convenient to use because you don’t have to charge them. On the downside, the cables get tangled up, and it’s inconvenient to walk between the kitchen and the couch (or wherever) while you’re tailing a wire.
If you’re less focused on best-buy gaming headsets and more interested in a premium gaming experience, consider wireless headsets. There’s no substitute for the freedom of movement they give you. Granted, wireless headsets are more expensive on average, and you have to charge their batteries, but battery life has improved tremendously in recent years.
There’s also a future-proofing aspect to this decision. Apple removed the 3.5mm headphone jack in 2016 and other manufacturers could follow suit, so your wired headset and your device might become incompatible at some point.
3. Build quality
You want your headset to be as comfortable and durable as possible. All-metal headbands are more durable than plastic headbands. On the comfort side, take a look at what the headband cushion is made of. A thicker cushion can reduce some of the pressure that builds up during long gaming sessions. This can make a material difference to your performance at skills-based games that require concentration. After all, you don’t want to be distracted by sore ears when you’re at a crucial stage of a game at a live casino online.
Earcups can also make a big difference to your comfort. Memory foam velour is the best, least sweaty option compared to pure foam, “pleather” or leather.
Clamp force and weight are also important. You want your headset to clamp evenly on your head around the headband and ear cups. As for weight, lighter headsets are better for long sessions, so if you’re thinking of a durable metal headset, make sure there’s enough padding. Not all head shapes are the same, though, so it’s advisable to try on different models, if possible.
4. Noise isolation vs noise cancellation
Unwanted noises can be annoying when you play casino games, so it’s good to know you can filter them out with a decent gaming headset. Most headsets on the market will offer some form of noise isolation, typically either “passive noise isolation” (mostly referred to as just “noise isolation”) or “active noise-canceling” (ANC.)
Noise-isolation headsets are designed to physically block sound from outside sources. Tight-fitting ear cups and headbands are key here.
ANC headsets use a specific technology that improves audio quality by actively filtering out background noise. They typically cost more.
Which headset type you use depends on how much background noise affects your game. Online slots, for instance, tend to have vibrant soundtracks capable of overpowering most background noise. Unless you live near a construction site, noise isolation should be enough. But if you’re at a table with a live dealer or croupier in a live casino online, you’ll want to hear what they’re saying when you interact. An ANC headset could be the way to go here.
5. Stereo, virtual surround or 3D sound?
Gaming headsets come in stereo, virtual surround, and 3D sound flavors. Stereo is when two strands of audio come out of the left and right speakers. The cheaper headsets tend to be stereo.
Virtual surround sound mixes the audio into separate channels to make it seem like you’re listening to sound coming from multiple directions. It’s closer to how sound works in real life than stereo.
Finally, you have 3D sound, which is also known as “spatial audio.” The technology maps the audio to virtual 3D locations so that the sounds are more precise and realistic. As you’d imagine, 3D headsets are the most expensive of all.
Which type you choose depends, again, on your gaming needs. Stereo is perfectly good for most online casino games. But surround sound can improve your gaming experience. Some online slots such as Guns N’ Roses, Motörhead and Jimi Hendrix have such great soundtracks that you’re bound to enjoy them more with surround sound.
Then there’s the relatively new casino sports betting phenomenon of virtual sports such as football, basketball, horse racing and more. These events all feature hyper-realistic track-and-field sounds, as well as authentic commentary and crowd response. Surround and 3D sound can only take the experience of virtual sports to higher levels.
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Attention to details such as graphics and sound is important to us here at BetMGM. Our broad range of online casino games provides a feast for the eyes and ears. Immerse yourself in online slots with story-telling themes that take you places, enjoy a few hands of video poker, or level up and play casino games with a real dealer in our live casino online. Sign up with us to explore!