JBL launched their new gaming headset lineup, the Quantum series, amid tough competition from so many brands, this year. They were a bit late to the game; but boy, they came out with guns blazing. Our star for this article is the JBL Quantum 800, one of their highest-end headsets. They basically tried to fit in all possible features that gamers could possibly want. However, from out initial impressions of the JBL Quantum 800 – maybe gamers don’t really need ALL of them. More about this later.
The reference design for JBL Quantum series screams Tron, complete with the fancy lighted lines that by default glow blue. It is a very loud design scheme – and definitely stands out from other existing headsets in the market.
The JBL Quantum 800, is the second highest-end headset in the Quantum lineup, bowing down to the Quantum One with fancy head-tracking features. But that’s pretty much the main difference between the two.
PACKAGING AND INCLUSIONS
Aside from the actual product, the box itself of the JBL Quantum 800 is extremely loud – filled with pretty much all features detailed in fancy icons and logos, such as “Hi-Res Audio”, Discord Certified, DTS Headphone: X v2.0, and so much more. JBL also made sure to include the list of compatible products (ALL OF THEM) and also some key features of the Quantum 800 itself. So many details, so noisy – but it definitely stands out in the usual all-black or all-red gaming shelves!
The back of the box details even more features – such as battery life, software compatibility, and some JBL-specific technologies. Pretty detailed.
The headset comes with a nice quick start guide, as well as a few accessories:
- 3.5mm male to male jack (angled on the orange tip, should be fitted to the headset part when used)
- USB Type-C to USB Type-A cable
- USB Transmitter (2.4inches!!)
DESIGN AND BUILD QUALITY
The Quantum 800 is one of the fanciest-looking of the entire Quantum lineup – although most of them have pretty much similar design aesthetic.
Like the Quantum 400, the Quantum 800 sports some nice RGB lights on the JBL logos on the sides. Material is similar to gun metal although the entire body is presumably made of plastic to keep the headset light. While the sides of the JBL logo have a smooth plastic finish, the lower portion is shiny plastic – which is very prone to fingerprints.
The headband on the JBL Quantum 800 also shows a huge JBL logo etched on the center part. The headband itself is quite sturdy and feels premium.
However, the sliding bar (or that thing between the headband and the cups) are made of some hard transparent plastic. These have numerical levels etched on them as well, probably so that you would remember which comfortable setting you used before. Although these are solid, I was initially worried about the future possibility of them cracking after constant expansion of the headband to fit the head of the user. Personally, I prefer metal sliders as they are more flexible and less prone to breakage.
The foam on the underside of the headband on the JBL Quantum 800 is comfortable enough, and doesn’t have a cushy feel. This is actually a very important part of the headphones is one of the parts of the a headset that is most prone to damage, and JBL made sure that it is made of a nice soft leather material wrapped around a memory foam interior.
The left is has a multitude of buttons on it. There’s the noise cancelling button to turn ANC on/off or on passive, a game/chat dial, volume control, and mute button. Overall the quality of the buttons were just okay – they weren’t the most premium feeling buttons, and the game/chat dial seemed a bit too loose. since the volume and game/chat dials were also a bit close to each other, there was also some times that I accidentally slid the wrong dial. It’s a minor thing – and will probably take some getting used to after some time.
At the bottom of the earcup is the 3.5mm jack and the USB Type-C power port. It is quite unusual to note that the JBL Quantum 800 actually cannot be used using the USB Type-C port, it is only for charging the device. It is unlike the Quantum 400 which can actually be used with the Type-C port and connected to your device via USB. The JBL Quantum 800 comes with both a USB Type-C charging cable, a 3.5mm male to male jack, so no worries here when using wired mode. Charging takes only less than an hour.
Unlike most other wireless headsets which offer just either Bluetooth or 2.4Ghz wireless connectivity, the JBL Quantum 800 offers BOTH. This is probably the most fantastic feature of the headset. Switch to bluetooth when using it for listening to music, and use the wireless dongle for lag-free gaming audio. It definitely is a flexible audio device, and shows JBL’s strength in audio.
The JBL Quantum 800 comes with a non-detachable mic which can be flipped up when not in use, and will have a small red LED light at this mode. This has some pros and cons. My experience with most headsets that have detachable microphones is usually that the mic gets lost or eventually wears out quickly due to continuous plugging and unplugging. However, those can be replaced (for usually an expensive fee), and these headsets can be used outside of your house like a normal headphone. Headsets with non-detachable mics like the JBL Quantum 800 will look a bit strange when used outside with the mic flipped up, but on the bright side it is less likely to have any issues with wear and won’t definitely get lost.
Probably one of the most important things to decide on when buying a gaming headset is comfort – and coming from JBL’s expertise on audio, it’s not surprising that they tried their best to make a comfortable gaming headset. However, considering the bevy of features on the Quantum 800, they definitely had to compromise a bit on this category.
While the earcups (or earmuffs, depending on how you want to call it) are made of thick memory foam wrapped in leather, the size of the cups were a little too big for me. What’s good about it is that it wraps around most ears nicely, and isolates background sounds well, despite not having ANC turned on yet. During long gaming sessions, it is comfortable enough to not cause any discomfort. However, I think it is also because of the plastic sliders, the fit on the head is a bit tight and not adjustable. If you’re into this kind of fit, then the JBL Quantum 800 is for you.
I tried the JBL Quantum 800 on a multitude of devices: Mobile Phone, PC, and Switch. Overall – it was a fantastic experience, either on wired or wireless modes. There is a little bit of difference on using the wireless dongle vs using bluetooth, but it’s definitely not very noticeable to most people. The JBL Quantum 800 delivers very punchy bass, fantastic mids, and clear trebles when playing music. Don’t expect enthusiast-level performance compared to high-end headphones, but it’s definitely one of my top 5 when it comes to just casual listening.
Microphone performance was great although not anything notable. However, most of the people noticed that my voice sounded slightly better compared to other cheaper headsets I’ve used before, but not as good enough compared to the Logitech G Pro X, or HyperX Cloud Alpha. Still, users of the JBL Quantum 800 won’t be disappointed when using the microphone.
I used the JBL Quantum 800 for three different games: CS:Go, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, and Shadow of the Tomb Raider. Overall the experience was pleasant. All background music, special effects were crisp and clear. Most gaming headsets are noticeably lacking in bass, for a good reason, and on the JBL Quantum 800 the result was slightly different. Bass was not too overwhelming, despite it being only stronger than on my Steelseries Arctis 7. Surround sound features were noticeable in most games, but the ANC will not bring much enjoyment while playing games. Using ANC for long sessions is also not that recommendable (as with most other headsets).
The Quantum Engine Software is a new software designed by JBL that powers the JBL Quantum series – although it’s not compatible with all of their headsets. However, for their headsets with RGB or other special features, such as the Quantum 800, it’s a practically a necessity.
There are four major parts to the interface of the Quantum Engine – Equalizer, Lighting, Spatial Audio, and Microphone. On the top level there are indicators for the volume level, microphone mute, chat/game levels, spatial sound on/off, battery level and connection mode. It can show either bluetooth or 2.4ghz, or wired connection (for other headsets aside from the Quantum 800). It can also show customized user profiles which you can label. Pretty cool.
There are a few pre-set lighting options available – such as arena, dystopia, sniper, sound is survival (the default setting) or spectrum. You can also opt to customize your own lighting mode in the more advanced more. However, the more lighting is used, the battery on wireless mode also gets drained quite a lot. By our testing, the usual 6-7 hour battery life (partially active usage) became around 3-4 hours with lighting options on.
While the equalizer looks visually nice, the actual effect to the sound output isn’t too noticeable, either while gaming or listening to music. This all boils down to personal preference, so it is better to find the best one that is comfortable for you. However, it is still a nice touch for JBL to include some useful presets for those who aren’t too familiar with fiddling with settings.
With this setting, users can set the mic level, volume, and sidetone, which is how loud you can hear your own voice.
The spatial sound setting is probably the coolest menu here – you would need to measure your own head and height to optimize the surround sound that the Quantum headset would push out. This is similar to how real 7.1 setups would need to be calibrated – which means that you need to measure how far you are sitting from the position of speakers. Similarly, the Quantum Engine should be calibrating the optimal output of each individual driver to create the best 7.1 experience for your head. pretty cool.
The JBL Quantum 800 is among the first gaming-focused headsets pushed out by JBL in the market – and perhaps they were all too excited to tap into this new consumer base. Their lack of experience shows in headset design and user experience, which is radically different compared to the current competition. However, it is definitely a good step forward for the brand. Make no mistake – the JBL quality is shown nicely in the Quantum 800, with more features and software-related tweaks than any average headset. The biggest downside to the Quantum 800, similar to how Sennheiser started with their gaming headsets, is that they priced the Quantum 800 too high. The gaming market is pretty crowded already. But, put the Quantum 800 in the Php7,000-8,000 (USD 140-160) range and it would probably eat the competition.
JBL Quantum 80011,999
- Complete connectivity options
- Great for listening to music
- Fancy and modern design
- Doesn't weigh a lot for a big headset
- Quantum Engine is fantastic
- A bit pricey compared to other options
- RGB lights drains battery a lot
- Fit needs a bit of adjusting
- Headband seems flimsy
- Too many buttons on body