Logitech?s products and I have a weird history.
And now I?m wondering how much of that is the fault of my own quirks.
I tend to either love their stuff, or loathe it for little details that irk my strangely specific sensibilities.
The G533 gaming headset falls firmly into the ?Love? column!
The G533 is available in black and black.
Earlier this year, I bought the Logitech G403 wireless mouse?but I somehow got shipped a used/defective version, something that has affected others as well. (Also, how crazy is it that they?ve already updated this with the release of the 703?)
Then, I bought the G Pro mouse and it was/is my favorite mouse of all time.
I?ve tried the other main models in Logitech?s current headset lineup?and returned them, dissatisfied. The G933 Artemis Spectrum was a cool wireless headset, on paper. But it had some build choices I didn?t love and the software was kind of an incomplete mess at launch two years ago (Though it?s much better now).
The G433 was actually a great product?that didn?t fit on my head quite right. And one of my extra pads was a little wonky. That was a huge bummer.
I have NO IDEA specifically why, but I like the fit of these much more than the G433. The pad design is so similar, but I?m getting a better fit and bass response, and it has me thinking I might need to revisit the G433 down the road.
It has to be the different headband. Which along with the big cups makes these hilariously huge.
Can you get past some huge bigness? Then you?re in for a treat.
The G533 is largely wonderful.
With a standard retail price of $149, the G533 is Logitech?s midrange headset. It frequently goes on sale for less than this, often hovering around the $129 range. At Best Buy as of this writing, it?s just $99, which is the price I paid.
For its price, the G533 carries an impressive feature set. It?s a fully wireless headset with a proprietary USB receiver. It has a rated range of 15 meters with 15 hours of battery life per charge.
It?s designed as a PC gaming headset, first and foremost.
On PC, with Logitech?s G Gaming Software, you can use DTS Headphone: X virtual surround sound, configure different EQ profiles, check the battery performance, and adjust microphone sidetone. It?ll also work with Mac and PS4, and probably any other USB sound compatible device like a Chromebook, as a standard stereo headset. You won?t get any of the surround or tweaking features, but it will still use the EQ profile from your PC if you stored it on the headset.
So if you?re not a PC gamer, you should probably skip this one.
If you are a PC gamer, the only other headset that offers this type of feature set at this price point is the Steelseries Arctis 7?and sometimes Logitech?s own G933, when it goes on sale. Razer also has the Man O? War, which is a little more expensive.
I think the G533 edges out all these other picks, for me. Here?s why.
Here?s a size comparison with a tall-size Starbucks beverage. Like other Logitech G headsets, the cups are very very big. But that didn?t bother me as much this time, for some reason!
When Logitech first launched the G633 and G933 in 2015, they touted their new proprietary ?Pro G? drivers, made from a new hybrid mesh material of some sort that would allow for a faster, more accurate response.
These same drivers are featured across all of Logitech?s headset lineup now, and the G533 uses them to excellent effect.
Sound is nice and balanced, with gentle emphasis in the bass frequencies, and clean, detailed mids and highs. The highs are not at all fatiguing, but still clear enough that you?ll hear details you might not expect from a headset in this price range.
My sound tests included a long session of Skyrim Special Edition, and several hours of music listening. In Skyrim, the virtual surround sound was immersive and exciting. I got really into the game in a way that only the Astro A40?s have rivaled. Music was nice and crisp, and familiar tracks brought a smile to my face, sounding just like I expected them to.
I?ve heard a lot of different headphones, and these have a price/performance ratio that rivals some of the best deals out there. The G533 can stand proudly next to other great-sounding gaming products like the HyperX Cloud, the Steelseries Arctis, and the Astro A40’s.
Only the most ardent, nitpicky audiophile listener would find things to dislike here?and they?d also have to have unrealistic expectations for a product of this price point. The G533 punches well above its price weight, and the Pro G drivers are the real deal.
The Logitech G533 features an exceptional implementation of DTS Headphone: X? for Windows users.
DTS Headphone: X is one of my favorite virtual surround systems?but its implementation is somewhat up to the headset manufacturer. DTS will work with the other company to tune the algorithm to their specific product.
Steelseries took advantage of this for the Arctis headsets?but I think Logitech has done a better job.
In the Logitech gaming software, you get a choice of three different virtual surround rooms:
- DTS 7.1, which is the standard reference room for the DTS Headphone technology.
- First Person Shooter, which is tuned for today?s competitive games.
- Logitech Signature Studio, which was specifically created by DTS and Logitech to show off this headset.
They all sound really good, and it?s fun to switch between them. It?s easy to understand what each room is for, and the differences between them are clear and immediate.
By comparison, the Arctis headsets offer ?Game,? ?Music,? and ?Movie? room modes, and although they sound different?I found that those rooms didn?t always suit those specific types of material. I wish Steelseries had come up with different names, and told me which one was the ?reference? room. I have the feeling that gamers might never try the other two rooms, which I found offered better sound at times.
Back to the G533?
If you?ve never used DTS Headphone: X before, you?re in for a treat! Positioning is hyper-accurate and sound feels like it?s coming from a sphere of speakers hanging in your room. It has a bit less reverb than Dolby Headphone, and a better ?fake speaker? feel than Razer Surround, which is more clinical and plainly presented.
You can also choose from two different options for upmixing stereo sources like music into 7.1. ?Front? positions the sound in virtual speakers in front of you and trickles some sound to the side channels. ?Wide? puts the stereo channels in the left and right side-surround ?speakers,? and then pushes some sound into the front and rear. They?re both fun to mess around with.
The G533 shows up in Windows as a true 7.1 device, so you don?t have to worry about whether games will detect surround sound or not.
The G533 has similarly large, square ear pads to the other G models. But I didn?t have the same overt bass issues I had with the G433. I think its due to the different headband? I also like being able to save an EQ profile right to the headset.
Soundstage and Isolation
Even when used as a standard stereo headset, the G533 provides a nice sense of width. Imaging is accurate, and the sound field floats just outside your head, probably thanks to the massive ear cups and ear pads.
The cloth ear cups help with this sense of airiness, though isolation is reduced as a result. I?d say they perform squarely in the middle of the pack for isolation, as far as gaming headsets go. You?ll want something with leatherette pads if you want as much isolation as possible.
I had no trouble using the G533 in a moderately loud coffee shop.
This headset is big. Have I mentioned that yet?
It takes the same basic design from the G933, and trims the fat a bit to get the price down. There?s no RGB lighting. There?s only one G shortcut key instead of three. The microphone doesn?t retract quite as much but has a built-in pop filter. The overall headband, ear cup, and ear pad design is quite similar.
Nothing about the look here is subtle except for the black color. The headband has an extreme curve to it, and the ear cups stick out pretty darn far from your head. If you?re worried about looking a bit silly?the G433 is the only model Logitech has that?s suited to you.
In spite of the bigness, I still really like this design. They clearly prioritized function over form, something that?s rare in the gaming headset space.
Build is great for the price. The headset is predominately plastic, but it?s a nice, thick, non-cheap feeling plastic. It feels more solid than the cheaper G433, as it should. I also actually like the more subtle finish compared to the G933. Half the surfaces are matte?and the others are glossy fingerprint magnets. But even these shiny surfaces avoid that cheap plastic look and feel of some other glossy stuff. It doesn?t have the rubber headband of the G633/G933, but the plastic headband still feels good in the hands.
The headband adjustments have metal reinforcement, and just like on the G933 they?re a little loose for my tastes, particularly at the extent of their extension range.
They don?t collapse at all, but the ear cups do fold flat for easy placement around the neck. They swing pretty wide too, so they?re more comfy to wear around your neck than most headsets and headphones that do this.
Ear pads are made out of a mesh ?Sports Fabric,? and they?re removable and washable. They feel comparable to the G433?s default pads, and if you?re used to leatherette, the mesh might take some adjustment. But I didn?t have any issue with their feel.
Comfort is exceptional, and perfect for long gaming sessions.
The headband is amply padded. Clamping force is just enough to keep them in place on your head.
The holes in the ear cups are massive squares. In the G433 this same hole shape, along with the headband design, meant that I loss some bass response thanks to my head?s size and my glasses. I still lose a little bass here, but they work much better for me. I don?t really know why and I?m mystified by it. I think the extreme curve of the headband helps out.
The cups are quite deep and the drivers are angled, which means your ears won?t bump into anything unless you have super large ears.
I have plenty of extra room in the adjustment sliders, which is impressive considering I have a larger head. Usually I?m at or near the limit of size adjustments, and here I have about five extra clicks.
Weight is very evenly distributed between my head and my ears, and although they?re heavy enough to not totally ?disappear,? they come impressively close considering their girth.
The padding in the cups is a soft non-memory foam, and it didn?t exert any uncomfortable pressure on my glasses.
I?d put these even with the Arctis and the Hyper X Clouds, which means they?re right up at the top of the heap. It?s going to be a personal preference as to which you think is the most comfy.
The packaging is nice for being made entirely of cardboard. It has fun little tabs to help you pull it apart, and everything is securely packaged. Logitech went a little nuts with the protective plastic film, so if you?re someone that likes peeling that stuff off, you?re going to love the unboxing experience.
In the box, you get the headset, the USB receiver, and a nice long USB cable so you can charge and listen at the same time.
Wireless performance is great! It?s rated at 15 meters, and that seems spot-on in my testing. I was able to walk to the other end of my apartment, about 40 feet away, into a space crowded with Wi-Fi signals, and I still had a connection. Latency is basically non-existent thanks to the dedicated receiver.
The USB receiver has a little circle of grippy material on the back of it to help you pull it out of ports, a nice touch!
On the back of the left ear cup there?s a power switch, a G-key, and a volume wheel. In Windows, you can remap the G-key to anything you want. It defaults to being a mic mute, but you can also mute the mic by flipping it to the vertical position.
The microphone is pretty good for the price range, and for being on a wireless headset. It?s a touch nasally but it?s otherwise clean. There?s a tiny pop filter on the mic, so you don?t have to worry about placement as much as you do with other mics.
This headset is completely wireless and digital, so you can?t use it with wired analog connections at all. You need a PC or another device that supports a USB connection for the receiver. The Razer Man O? War is the same way. The Steelseries Arctis 7 does include a 3.5mm cable, but it uses Steelseries? proprietary USB based cable system. Logitech includes 3.5mm analog support in the G933, so if you like the look of this and absolutely need that feature, check out that model instead. The analog connection alone is not worth the price premium of that headset, in my opinion.
It?s a dongle plugged into a dongle. I listened to these in a coffee shop while writing this review. They served just fine expect for the silly girth.
Here are some mini-comparisons to other headsets I?ve owned.
Steelseries Arctis 7: The Arctis is the most direct competitor for the G533. It?s the same retail price, it?s wireless, and it has DTS Headphone: X. Unlike the G533, it supports analog wired connections. It also has a cool new suspension headband system that?s very comfy. It also looks a fair bit less doofy than the G533.
However, its software isn?t as good. Its implementation of DTS isn?t as easy to configure. Its range and battery life aren?t as good. The Arctis is still a great product, and I?ve heaped a lot of praise on the lineup in the past?but looking dollar-for-dollar at the strictly wireless experience, I think the G533 is a bit better especially as the Logitech model so often goes on sale. It?s just as comfy and the sound is so close that it?s really hard to pick a winner.
I?ve been working on trying to do just that for an upcoming article!
If you need a versatile headset, absolutely consider the Arctis. If you just need a wireless PC headset, the G533 should make the shortlist.
HyperX Cloud II: The G533 is only $50 more than this venerable classic, and it offers equal comfort, equally-good sound, wireless connection, and vastly superior surround sound. It also has a better mic.
Of course, the Cloud is wired and so it can connect to just about anything that isn?t an iPhone 7. And its leatherette pads block out more sound and offer slightly punchier bass. The Cloud?s various packages also come with more extras like pads, bags, and cases.
If you want the best virtual surround sound and need wireless, the G533 is the only choice.
Astro A40: I know that it?s silly to compare a $149 wireless headset to a $249 headset with its own DAC/amp. But let?s do it anyway.
On surround sound, the two models are comparable. I like that the G533 offers different virtual room selections.
They?re also similarly comfy. The G533 has a slightly better headband pad.
The A40?s look way less silly in public.
Price is the big difference here of course. For less money, on PC, the G533 gets you most of the way to the A40 sound-wise. And Astro?s wireless model is $300. I love the Astros. But for most folks, if you can stomach the big size of the headset, the G533 will do nearly as good of a job at getting PC game audio into your ears.
If you?re primarily a PC gamer, then the G533 offers an exceptional value. The Pro G drivers are nicely tuned and sound great for games, music, and movies, and they?re comfy enough to be worn for hours. The wireless tech is really good, and the virtual surround sound works exceptionally well.
Users on other platforms are a bit out of luck. Standard stereo performance is still good, and works just fine on my Mac and PS4?but at that point you?re paying for features you can?t actually use. And no wired connection limits the devices you can use these with.
It?s nice to finally like a Logitech headset. And I like it enough that I?m thinking I need to revisit the ones I didn?t love in the past.
At $149 the G533 is a decent buy, and it?s even better when it?s on sale. I prefer the look and the build to the more expensive G933, and I think that they cut the right features to get the price down.
PC Gamers Yes! All other gamers NO!