Page 2 - Physical Look - Hardware
When we consider the physical design of the Corsair HS35 Stereo, I have to say it maintains a pretty typical gaming design, even if it is a bit flashier with its blue accents. Obviously, this is a gaming headset all in all, but I think it is pretty clean. Compared to the past Corsair HS headphones like the HS60 Surround and the HS70 Wireless, the HS35 Stereo has some notable physical differences. For one, the entire shell of the Corsair HS35 Stereo is surrounded in plastic. Furthermore, instead of using polyurethane leather, Corsair has wrapped the softer parts of the headset in a mesh fabric material. I personally like this more, but it also feels less fancy. There still is metal on this headset internally, as we will see later on, but the exterior difference is apparent. In terms of build quality, the Corsair HS35 Stereo feels quite light without being too flimsy. It is not necessarily the sturdiest feeling headset, and it does exhibit some creaking with moving about, but this is not too surprising.
Leading out of the left cup, we have a blue cable that terminates with a single four-pole 3.5mm gold placed audio plug. This means you can plug the Corsair HS35 Stereo directly into portable electronic devices like smartphones or tablets without using any additional adapters. This also allows the headsets to be plugged into consoles such as the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or Nintendo Switch, though you may need a separate adapter for the Microsoft console. The plug itself is wrapped in a smooth black rubber end and is easy to grip for plugging or unplugging. The blue rubber cable follows the rest of the accent color on the HS35 and measures approximately 1.35m in length. This is actually quite a bit shorter than expected, but it also is not too surprising considering this headset is targeted for the PlayStation 4 user. These users plug the headphones directly into the bottom of their controller, so it is actually preferable for them to have a shorter cable. According to other third party reviewers, the PC version of these headphones have a longer 1.8m cable. Even though all of the models are meant to work across all devices, the cable length alone makes me recommend getting the appropriate headset for your use.
Arguably, the most important parts of the Corsair HS35 are found in the vicinity of the two ear cups. Much like other headphones, Corsair uses memory foam inside their ear cups to maintain a comfortable fit. As you can tell by now, the Corsair HS35 Stereo is meant to be worn over-the-ear so the cups sit around your ear. While I found the HS60 and HS70 to utilize thinner foam than I would have preferred, I found the foam on the HS35 to be adequately thick. Each ear muff is lined with a thinner mesh to ensure your ear does not touch the plastic underneath. Speaking of which, the drivers inside each ear cup are 50mm neodymium drivers. They feature a frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz, covering the audible frequency spectrum for humans. Rated impedance of the unit is 32 ohms with a sensitivity of 113dB. These driver specifications are close to the HS60 Surround and HS70 Wireless, but we will see the differences or similarities in the audio testing later on.
The ears are fairly flexible as they offer tilting capabilities. Due to its plastic frame, they move about a bit easier but do not feel flimsy in any way. Unfortunately, we do not have any rotation on these ear cups, which means resting the Corsair HS35 Stereo on your neck may restrict your head movement. I personally did not find this to be an issue, but some others may. Otherwise, the outer side of the HS35's ear cups have a plastic frame with Corsair's sails logo in the middle.
At the top of the Corsair HS35 Stereo, we have a memory foam pad that is covered by the same blue mesh fabric. It is quite thick and it provides a good amount of padding when it rests on your head. Otherwise, the top of the headset is just a plastic frame with the Corsair name engraved on the top. Down each side, you will see the extending arms with an internal metal band to keep the headset steady. The adjustments are notched, but not marked with any visible values. It provides a sufficient amount of resistance so that the ear cups do not accidentally extend all out. As for how much it expands, the Corsair HS35 Stereo should fit most heads.
In terms of overall comfort, the Corsair HS35 Stereo feels pretty light and comfortable. Despite my larger than average sized head, the Corsair HS35 Stereo never really felt like it got in the way nor did it apply too much clamping force on my head. As a glasses wearer, I did not find a whole lot of fatigue wearing this headset; something that cannot be said for all headsets. In fact, it is one of the few headsets I have enjoyed wearing on a comfort standpoint, especially when we take into account the thicker headband and foam ear cups. At a weight of 259g for the headset and cable, this is one of the lightest gaming headsets we have reviewed. Fit and feel will still vary from user to user, so I still recommend trying the headset out before purchasing it.
As this is a gaming headset, it seems fitting there are a few extra controls on the headset for on-the-fly changes. These are located on the left ear cup and include a volume wheel and a microphone mute button. Like the other Corsair HS gaming headsets we have looked at, the HS35 Stereo suffers from a very sensitive volume wheel that often shifted while just lightly brushing the dial. I would have liked to see a bit more resistant of a dial since it is in a position where your hand may swipe. The microphone mute push button is closer to the bottom of the cup and offers quite a bit of travel to let users differentiate when their microphone is muted or not based on its tactile feel.
Finally, a detachable microphone attaches on the left side, closer to the front of the headset. This is a unidirectional microphone with a frequency response of 100Hz to 10kHz. According to Corsair, the headset is Discord Certified, which means the microphone and audio has been tested for communication uses by the team at Discord. Otherwise, we will see how this microphone performs later on in our review.
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Hardware
3. Subjective Audio Analysis