JBL’s recent focus on gaming is long-overdue and so very, very welcome. The brand has been at, or at least near, the very top when it comes to professional-quality headphones, with an obvious love to big, meatier sounds that still retain plenty of detail. That’s replicated over on the Quantum series, which tackles just about every price point from the entry-level 100’s – less than $100 – to the high-end $500 Quantum One’s, which I reviewed here.
The JBL Quantum 800 gaming headphones sit right behind the One’s in terms of price point, chipping things down closer to mid-tier but still offering that unmistakably premium experience.
The main thing you’re sacrificing by opting for the 800’s over the more expensive One’s is motion-tracking. The JBL Quantum One Gaming Headphones offered an accurate head-tracking feature that helped with spatial sound and lifted details as the gamer would move around. Other than that, pretty much everything that’s packed in the One’s can be found in the 800’s, which makes the mid-tier set more compelling for those who don’t need the tracking feature.
There’s not much in way of design here that you wouldn’t already expect from JBL. It’s all dark and sexy with a matte gunmetal finish and a textured panel on each earcup. This is a striking, attractive look that doesn’t try to over-reach like many other gimmicky-looking gaming headphones do. And when minimalism isn’t doing it for you, just make it all light up with the brilliantly customisable lighting options that spark the light-up panels in ways that sync up well with the action on-screen. The logo on each cup glows with RGB which looks incredible at night.
On the left earcup you have the adjustable boom mic and a black rubber arm that’s supremely flexible. This is also where most of the connectivity is, like a USB-C charging port, volume rockers, chat switch, mute button, and a button to toggle the exceptional active noise cancelling. You’ve also got the AUX port here, leaving the right cup fairly bare with it’s lonely power switch and Bluetooth pairing button.
Comfort is exceptional. Each earcup is padded with a great deal of memory foam and a soft leather-like material that wraps around the ears and keep them nice and comfortable over longer gaming sessions. The cups also create a perfect seal so passive noise cancellation is always going to be impressive.
Like the Quantum One, you’re maximising this headset if you’re a PC user. That’s because JBL’s QuantumSOUND software, which sets up beautiful surround sound, is only compatible with PC’s for both gaming and music. Console users will have to contend with the absence of such an elevated experience.
Listening via the PC, music sounds incredible with QuantumSOUND and its definitely worth the price. I do think bass isn’t as strong as you’d expect from JBL unless you make use of the Bass Boost feature, which lifts the lows without toppling the balance.
I tested this on two games, Doom: Eternal (PC) and the PS5 remake of Demon’s Souls. The former, all crunchy and muscular with a heavy metal soundtrack, benefits greatly from the 800’s Bass Boost, from the devilish chainsaw ripping its enemies, to the shotgun blasting through the heftier beasts.
Demon’s Souls is a bit more nuanced and requires a lot of corner-watching potential enemies, meaning details are important. The 800 never let me down here, with those softer mids and highs coming across very well with accurate positioning. I really don’t think I missed the head-tracking of the more expensive set.
On a single charge, you’re looking at around 14 hours without the programmable lighting going all crazy. That’s more than enough for me, especially since – at age 34 – my gaming sessions wouldn’t exceed 2 hours at any given time.
Verdict & Value
You can pick up a pair of these from a JB Hi-Fi store for $349, which is still on the pricier side. Does $150 more for head-tracking really matter? I think not. If you’re looking to get into JBL’s awesome gaming headset line-up than the 800 is definitely the way to go. You get pretty much everything you would with the One, but at a lower price.
FOUR AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Highlights: Beautiful details picked up well; huge range of programable lighting; Bass Boost makes a huge difference; great deal of spatial sound even without head-tracking.
Lowlights: You need a PC to get the most out of it.