Alienware AW920H headset review: Wireless, ANC, and Bluetooth on a budget? [Video]


In noisy gaming environments, ANC, or active noise cancellation, can help to knock out background noise and keep the focus on the game. I relied heavily on it during the heat of the past summer. And while we’ve seen plenty of high-end headsets with ANC come out this year, like Sony Inzone H9 and SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless, the Alienware AW920H offers a similar spec sheet at a lower price. At $200 is the Alienware AW920H a good option for a more affordable ANC gaming headset? Be sure to hit the video below to see our dive into the good and the bad of this gaming headset. 

Alienware has long been a well-regarded name for high-end gaming computers but has also expanded into peripherals with monitors, keyboards, chairs, and gaming headsets. The AW920H features a long spec sheet with ANC, Bluetooth, and a 3.5mm port. But while that spec sheet is impressive, it falls short in some of the key areas for me. Be sure to keep reading to find out why. 

Design overview

The AW920H is available in two different colorways. Lunar Light has a matte white finish. Dark Side of the Moon is finished in matte black plastic

Like Alienware laptops, the AW920H headset has a unique design that absolutely looks like a gaming peripheral. The rounded earcups come to a flat spot that looks like it could be engines on a spacecraft. 

The AW920H also has RGB Alienware logos on either earcup. The color and brightness can be adjusted from the Alienware Command Center software. 

Alienware AW920H: Comfort

The more affordable price point starts to show its face in the headset’s comfort. The ear cushions are on the shallow side, and combined with the ANC bumps on the driver covers, it can be fatiguing to wear for longer gaming sessions. I don’t find the bump as intrusive as the Arctis Nova Pro Wireless, but when adjusting the headset they are noticeable. My ears press against the driver covers and even hit the cushions up top and on the bottom. 

At 300g, the AW920H doesn’t feel heavy but has significant clamping force. Combined with the shallow ear cushions, it doesn’t score very well for comfort. I could still use the headset for multiple hours at a time, but compared to other headsets, it falls short and wouldn’t be my top pick. I’d give the most comfortable rating to the Epos lineup like the H3PRO Hybrid and H6PRO or the Sony Inzone H9

Alienware AW920H: Video

Alienware AW920H: Controls

On the bottom of the left earcup is a toggle for ANC, a mic mute button, and a mode switch to toggle between 2.4 and Bluetooth. Over on the right earcup are the power button and status light. 

Hidden in the flat parts that look like a spaceship’s engines are the USB-C charging port and a 3.5mm port. That 3.5mm plug handles both the boom mic as well as the included 3.5mm cable to run the headset analog. 

That means that the boom mic and 3.5mm cable cannot be used at the same time. The cable does have an in-line mic and mute switch, but it is an interesting design choice. 

Additionally, the toggle between Bluetooth and 2.4gHz means that they cannot be used at the same time. This is a feature that the other higher-end headsets feature. It’s a bit disappointing that the AW920H can’t do both at the same time. 

One neat feature of the AW920H is the touch-capacitive controls on the right earcup. A double-tap will play and pause media, swiping forward or back can skip tracks, up and down changes volume, and holding it for a few seconds can enable a transparency mode. 

How does it sound? 

In its default EQ, the Alienware AW920H has a dark sound overall. Lows are pushed forward and highs are pulled back from what I’m used to with most gaming headsets. Bass-heavy music can be a lot of fun to listen to with this headset, but I usually prefer something that has more details in the highs when gaming. That can be accomplished with the Dolby Access app, which we’ll talk about next. 

Stereo separation and positioning are exceptional, though. Maybe not quite on par with the Astro A30 we recently reviewed, but it is still impressive. This is always a plus when it comes to gaming.

As always, one of my favorite ways to test stereo separation is by putting on a busy metal track like “Mist” by Protest the Hero. Really any of their songs do well. The guitars are easy to separate and pick out of the sometimes chaotic mix.

Alienware AW920H: Dolby Atmos

Dolby Atmos may be this headset’s saving grace when it comes to sound. Alienware has gone ahead and provided a license for the AW920H, so there is no additional charge. Just download Dolby Access from the Microsoft Store and the headset will be detected when you launch the app. 

As I mentioned in my Corsair Virtuoso RGB Wireless XT review, Dolby Atmos is pretty much the only virtual surround audio mode that I’ve found that I enjoy when gaming. While playing Battlefield 2042’s Liquidator event, I felt like I had a great grasp on where opponents were positioned around the battlefield. 

It also enables tweaking of EQ, which I feel the AW920H desperately needs for gaming. The default sound is significantly darker than what I look for in a gaming headset and cutting some low end, while boosting the higher frequencies really helped to bring this headset where I like it. 

Alienware AW920H: ANC

The significant clamping force means that the AW920H has decent passive noise cancellation from the ear cushions. To take it to the next level, ANC works well to knock out noises like air-conditioning units and fans. 

I relied on ANC gaming headsets quite a bit this summer as my office gets warm, and I usually have at least a fan on and usually had my portable AC unit running as well. If you’re in a noisy environment, ANC does help to keep the focus on the game and reduce distracting noises that might cover up important audio information. 

Mic test

For the microphone, Alienware has emphasized AI-driven noise suppression, which is actually quite impressive. Clicking away on my loudest keyboard, the Razer Huntsman Mini with purple optical switches, not a single keystroke came through in my testing. For a comparison of what that sounds like without noise suppression, check out the video of the ModMic lineup. The keystrokes really came through in that video. 

Otherwise, the mic is very quiet and ends up sounding like there is significant noise suppression enabled. It’s a little muffled and not the clearest, but once again the way it can knock out background noise is very impressive. 

9to5Toys’ Take

The Alienware AW920H is good for stepping into a budget ANC gaming headset, but it does have some compromises. Not being able to use Bluetooth and 2.4gHz at the same time is a bummer. The default sound isn’t great in my opinion but can get much better with some tweaking through the Dolby Access app. The comfort isn’t the best for me either. 

Alienware is still pretty new to the gaming headset world. Hopefully, the lineup expands in the future with more options as there are some parts of the AW920H.

But, if you’re on a budget and ANC is high up on your list of needs, then this headset is definitely worth a look. If you have some more money to spend, though, then there are other headsets that perform much better in my opinion. 

Buy Alienware AW920H

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