Comparing ROCCAT’s Elo X Stereo and the Elo 7.1 Air
ROCCAT has launched its Elo line of gaming headsets with something different for each gamer’s needs. I was lucky enough to review both the $49.99 Elo X Stereo and the $99.99 Elo 7.1 Air headsets. Despite the rather sizeable difference in price, I came to the conclusion that these headsets were remarkably similar, with the Elo X Stereo being elevated to the quality of a $100 headset rather than the Elo 7.1 Air falling flat. Despite their similarities, these two headsets offer some key differences that you’ll want to consider when making your decision, so let’s dive in and see which of these two options is right for you.
There are five criteria we will be looking at when it comes down to the differences between the Elo X Stereo and the Elo 7.1 Air: Comfort, Connection Method, Sound Quality, Customization Options, and the Overall Design of the units themselves.
Both headsets feature head support that is plush and reinforced with a thin, flexible bar. Despite the fact both the Elo 7.1 Air and Elo X Stereo are of a smaller frame, they can easily expand to accommodate even those with a larger head and provide absolutely perfect coverage with no pressure. The earcups themselves are an excellent size for covering the ears without pinching or pressing. They also feature a section in the padding that is more pliable to accommodate wearing glasses. They are also both remarkable in how lightweight they are, to the point of often forgetting they are being worn. So how do they differ in comfort?
The padding on the Elo 7.1 Air feels just the slightest bit softer and plusher. It has a more luxurious sensation and feels like its made of higher quality material, however, there is a trade off. After extensive use of both headsets, the Elo 7.1 Air did have a noticeable amount of warmth over time. While this didn’t cause sweating or discomfort, the Elo X Stereo never had this problem, even after several hours of use. The earcups on the Elo X Stereo might feel of lesser quality, but they by no means make me think “cheap.” At the end of a long session, these earcups felt like they naturally found the best position on my head and were entirely unobtrusive to my experience. The Elo 7.1 Air, however, flaunted its softness through more recognizable contact.
the Elo X Stereo is your standard plug-and-play audio jack headset. ROCCAT has stated this will work for PC, Mobile, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X. The cord itself is just over 1.5m long and comes with a dual audio jack plug extension that adds a little extra length as well and provides better versatility with headphone and microphone port access.
The Elo 7.1 Air on the other hand is entirely wireless. Using a USB connection, the headset holds a full charge for roughly 24 hours and features an auto-off function when no audio is coming through the headset to save on battery life. This does include a USB charging cable, however, while plugged in to charge I was unable to use the headset at the same time. The battery life is incredibly impressive and the connection to the USB transmitter never had even the slightest of issues. It also was able to transmit at least 20 feet away through walls before any static effects took place.
I greatly appreciate the Elo 7.1 Air‘s longevity and simplicity without the need for cables, but the Elo X Stereo is also versatile in its functionality across multiple devices. Both headsets have their merits, and this is one of the key features to consider when deciding between the two.
The key really ought to be right in the names here: the Elo 7.1 Air headset features 2.0 or 7.1 surround sound. Marketed as 360 visual audio, this headset really does offer crystal clear and precise sound. I could get lost in the sound design of a game and tell exactly where and how far objects in my environment were. When it comes to listening to music outside of a game, the Elo 7.1 Air is far better when outputting 2.0 audio, and this again is where the Elo X Stereo shines.
The Elo X Stereo has no choice as to its output given its plug-and-play nature, but both headsets proved remarkable in their ability to hit the high pitches and low rumbles – even at low or high volumes – without a loss in quality. Neither headset had static, skipping, or any other negative effect. I did feel that the Elo X Stereo didn’t quite have the same punch of bass as the Elo 7.1 Air, but it was such a minor difference as to be almost negligible.
When it comes to the actual quality of the audio, both of these headsets are matched, however with the versatile options of the Elo 7.1 Air and the depth of audio you can get from switching to 7.1, the Elo 7.1 Air just narrowly beats out the Elo X Stereo for sound quality.
This one is something of an unfair category. Part of the Elo X Stereo‘s cheaper price tag is that it does exactly what it needs to right out of the box, no tweaking, no changing, it just does it’s job and does it admirably. The Elo 7.1 Air, however, makes use of the ROCCAT Aimo app to not only let you customize the color of the earcups RGB logos but also apply a variety of pulse and strobe effects. You’ll also be able to custom tweak and fine-tune your audio like a professional – it even includes voice modulation options built-in, letting your mic change your voice to male, female, monster, or cartoon with the click of a button.
Gaming headsets – especially the more expensive kind – often need the accessibility of customizing your audio to get you the absolute best experience for you, the gamer. Not everyone has the same tastes so a plug-and-play option might not cut it. The kind of adjustments you can make on the Elo 7.1 Air are the kind I usually see on headsets at least $200 and up, but at $99.99 you get plenty of opportunities to tweak it just right.
If I took both headsets out of their boxes and placed them side by side you would immediately notice that their design is nearly identical. If it weren’t for a few incredibly minor functional differences, they are practically the same device in design. The angled swivel of the earcups helps make an even better fit. The headband is supportive and comfortable beyond compare. I can’t say I love the cable running clearly from the earcup and into the headband, but it’s a personal preference not to have them exposed.
ROCCAT knew exactly what they were doing with the Elo 7.1 Air and Elo X Stereo headsets, but what they both got right in their sleek, compact designs they also both got wrong. The volume wheel on both headsets is less than ideal, but for different reasons. The Elo 7.1 Air features a wheel for volume and for mic volume, but they are very close together, with the master volume sitting awkwardly high in an unnatural position on the left earcup.
The Elo X Stereo isn’t much better, only featuring a master volume wheel, but one that is so sleekly designed as to be nearly flush with the surrounding plastic. It can be hard to tell if you’ve managed to find it and as such distracts from what you are doing: namely, playing games.
Normally in a situation like this there is a clear winner, however, the quality of comfort and audio output is basically on par between the two. If you don’t need to customize your audio and don’t mind having a cord, the Elo X Stereo is a versatile and phenomenal headset with the quality I’ve come to expect from ROCCAT for an incredibly low price that is a steal.
The Elo 7.1 Air is a pro-gamers dream headset at a much more affordable price. Wireless, fully customizable with your own RGB settings and fine-tuned audio to get it exactly as you want. Lightweight, 7.1 surround, and amazingly long battery life. If you’re just getting into streaming or competitive gaming this is an absolutely fantastic choice without breaking the bank.
Is there a winner? no. ROCCAT’s Elo line of headsets is affordable, high quality, and each headset is made with a particular kind of gamer in mind without sacrificing quality behind a price tag. If there is anything you should take away from this side by side look at both headsets it’s that ROCCAT has earned their reputation for high-quality gaming accessories. The next time you need a headset or keyboard, I highly recommend looking at ROCCAT first.
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