Published on November 23rd, 2015 | by Don Parsons3
PDP Afterglow AG-9 Review
Summary: A great, truly wireless headset for the value.
With the new consoles in full-swing, there are a number of headsets available now. Coming in a variety of styles, all with their own set of features, and ranging in price from cheap to nearly absurd. One of these, PDP’s Afterglow AG-9 stereo headset, has a great feature set with just a few flaws, and comes in at a reasonable $99.99 USD.
The best feature, by far, is the wireless capability. The AG-9 comes with a USB dongle that you plug into the back or side of the Xbox One, and that’s it. From that point, hold the mute button to power it on, and you’re ready to go, complete with a green glowing effect from the sides. While you will personally get little satisfaction from the glowing effect the AG-9 emmits, I found it useful to check the battery level from time to time during long play sessions by holding my head to the side and seeing if it was still glowing.
Range for wireless is billed at up to 40 feet, but I’m sure walls and appliances hamper that because while I can roam most of my rather large apartment, I get that warning beep that I’m losing range when in unusual locations. My kitchen is on the other side of a wall with a fireplace a mere 10 feet away from my console, and if I don’t hurry back from the fridge, the headset starts beeping. In comparison, range feels about the same as my standard wireless controller.
My second favorite feature is the rechargeable battery. I’ve used this headset a LOT over the last few weeks, between playing Destiny and Halo with friends, or just enjoying some stereo sounds from Need for Speed or WWE 2K. I’ve had to charge the headset twice while I was at work, and once was a pre-emptive charge because Extra-Life was around the corner. During that event, I used the headset for a solid 12 or so hours without fail, and a few sessions since then without needing to charge. And because it uses a micro-USB charger, which I have a dozen plugged in throughout the house, I didn’t need the cable that came with the system, though you could easily plug that into the other USB slot to keep the AG-9 nice and charged. But if you’re gaming habits are like mine, with a few hours after work and several hours on the weekends, you will find yourself charging about once a week or so.
With the two amazing perks talked about, let’s step back a little and talk about some of the other things. The sound quality coming through the stereo headset is actually great. The lows are deep and bassy, and the highs are crisp. It gets incredibly easy to get lost in the moment and tune the world out when things get intense. Having stereo sound, I felt like my games had a new layer of depth to them. Everything is clear, making me feel like I was right there for those wrestling matches, or running on the field with my shotgun in Black Ops 3.
And once I finally memorized which wheel did what, adjusting volume on the fly was easy. Sometimes I accidently turned the game way up and the chat off, but with the two separate wheels for volume and game/chat, I could get that perfect mix of game and chat that I desired, and when I left the party, could manipulate it back to louder game volume.
That being said, I had several friends tell me it sounded like I was talking on speakerphone. They mentioned it didn’t sound bad, just different and most of them adjusted and never brought it up again. On occasion volume felt like an issue so I ended up talking louder, which in turn had my wife shushing me at night while the kids were trying to sleep. I’m not sure if the volume issue was on their end or mine though, as not everyone complained about it. The mic is removable, which is neat if you don’t play frequently with other people, but I am constantly in a party, so I just leave it in. The mic is also flexible, however I was nervous I was going to break it because it doesn’t actually feel flexible. It does bend, though.
Comfort is also a mixed bag. Now, I have bigger than average ears (not obscene, mind you -.-), and I wear glasses. I’ve only found a few headsets over the years (one being on my PS3) that really fit and don’t overlap my ears. At first, after a little while of gaming, I felt pressure on my ears where my glasses wrap around them. But, while I noticed it after an hour or so, it didn’t get overly painful and another hour or so in, I didn’t even notice they were on until I took them off. The cushion at the top is incredibly comfortable though, making up for the extra weight when compared to the LVL-series from PDP.
The Afterglow AG-9 has a few minor setbacks, but even if the mic isn’t the best on the market, the stereo sound quality is fantastic and and there are no batteries to keep changing which was a smart move. Best of all though it is wireless and at the $100 price point. If you want a truly wireless headset for your Xbox One (or PS4), for the money you cannot go wrong with the AG-9.
Note: This review was written with review material provided by PDP. For more information on our review procedures, please read here.