While a good gaming headset improves virtually any game, aesthetically they tend to offer gamers the unwanted opportunity to look like a futuristic tank commander, with most being something that you wouldn’t want to be seen dead with outside the sanctity of your home. If you’re wearing Thrustmaster’s brand new T.Flight headset, you almost certainly still wants to be indoors, but thanks to being officially licensed by the US Air Force you can instead look like an actual, real life pilot. The bonus besides some light cosplay applications? The sound that comes out of them is actually pretty great.
The T.Flight does look like the real deal, and while sitting wearing them in your gaming chair may not make you quite as charismatic as Goose or Maverick, they might make you feel a bit cooler when you catch sight of yourself in a nearby reflective surface – just don’t expect miracles when you start singing “You’ve lost that loving feeling”, OK?
They feel the part too, with metallic earcups and an industrial-looking construction based around light metal banding. Even the fitting mechanism is modelled on the real deal, with screw-in catches ensuring that once you’ve got them set to the correct size they’re not going to move unless you want them to. The only question mark is over the slim metal fixings that attach the earcup housing to the headband, with some wobble to the joint when in your hands. This isn’t remotely noticeable once they’re on your head mind you, and after a couple of weeks of being chucked about the headset seems pretty damn robust. Handy in (virtual) combat.
Despite the rugged build materials they’re super comfortable as well, with thick soft cushioning for both ears and a thinner piece across the headband that’s more than up to the task. They’re possibly a little warmer than some other headsets I’ve reviewed recently, such as the LucidSound LS25, but I’ve had no problems wearing them for a number of hours at a time.
As a 3.5mm-boasting headset you can use these for all the good things you have in your life – audio jack=less smartphones are not on that list – and there’s an included splitter cable for hooking up to your PC. The left earcup features a pronounced volume dial that’s intended to ape real life Air Force headsets, and it’s definitely easy to find. The only downside to its positioning is that it’s harder to get at if you raise the microphone arm when it’s not being used – you can remove the arm entirely if you want, though it does leave a slightly ugly-looking port on display. Beyond that there’s an in-line controller that houses your chat volume and a mute switch for the mic, both of which are simple but get the job done.
The mic arm is so robust that I can well imagine flying a fighter jet at mach 3 and it not going anywhere, with even Tom Cruise’s best chat up lines likely to leave it unmoved. The microphone itself does a good job of delivering whatever conversation you need to your teammates/friends/significant other, so feel free to drop in as many Top Gun references as you can. I personally recommend “I feel the need, the need for speed” but there’s plenty more out there. Just be sure who you’re talking to before you trot out “Take me to bed, or lose me forever.”
The audio skews towards the warmer end of the spectrum, and isn’t quite as detailed as some sets out there. That said, these are a competent, great sounding pair of headphones that are more than capable of immersing you in whatever game you’re playing. If you pair them up with a PC or Xbox One you can also enjoy the surround sound offered by either Windows Sonic or Dolby Atmos, and they manage to do so with aplomb. I played many hours of Just Cause 4 with the T.Flight, and was able to reliably find nearby attackers thanks to the spatial audio cues, while also enjoying the atmospheric soundtrack.
There’s no eardrum-assaulting bass, which might be a disappointment to some people, but I enjoyed how unpretentious the 50mm driver’s sound output was. It’s just does what it needs to. The headset does a decent job of excluding any ambient noise too, helping to keep you fully immersed in your game, while stopping too much of it from escaping into other people’s ears too.
While Thrustmaster are well known for their excellent driving and flight sim peripherals, their headsets haven’t previously been a strong part of their portfolio. That changes with the T.Flight. While they’re the perfect complement to flight sim aficionados set-ups, they’re also a great sounding, good looking headset that can hold their own in the sub-£100 bracket, and you know what? They can be my wingman anytime.
The Thrustmaster T.Flight US Air Force has an MSRP of $99.99/€99.99/£89.99.