Do you game late into the night, to the chagrin of your family members? Do you want to watch action movies at their intended volume without having police show up at your door? Then, my friend, you need a headset. I was looking for one to hook into my PS3 and ideally my computer too. Extra points if I could use standard comp cables to hook into my audio receiver, if the headset was wireless, and if the headset was easy to setup and use day to day. While this headset didn’t match all those requirements, it hit the ones that mattered at a price point that was reasonable. I compared features and reviews with the Turtle Beach PX3, P21, and a few Tritton’s. Overall, the Sony unit was the lowest cost wireless option with virtual surround. Usability was easily the best on the Sony unit.
The form on the Sony PS3 Wireless headset is a take it or leave it kind of design. The main headset band is fine, but the side panels jut out and make the headset look chunky. Personally, I wouldn’t wear these things in public. But in private in my house late at night, who cares? Those big chunky side panels have nice volume and chat vs game sound sliders that traditional headsets can’t hide. No dial or external controls, just easy to use bits right on the headset. As other reviews have noted, the extendible mic boom is all plastic and isn’t super robust. I’m not quite so sure that it matters, as the un-replaceable battery would probably wear out before the mic boom would. The headband part can extend for different sized heads, and fit both my 3 year old and mine with room on both sides. So unless you have some sort of mutant shaped head, it’ll fit. The ear cup material is faux leather and will probably make your ears sweaty in the summer. Charging is via a mini USB port. While the headset doesn’t come with a mini USB cable, these things are everywhere and used by everything including your PS3 controllers, digital camera’s, and some older cell phones.
This headset is a textbook example of great usability. Take it out of the box, plug the USB dongle into your PS3 or PC if that’s what you’re using, hold the side button for 3 seconds, and you’re off to the races. Click that same button instead of holding it down for microphone mute/unmute. That side button is easily found while gaming, which makes it easy to mute in-game so that you don’t broadcast your personal off-line conversations to all the people you’re gaming with. If you’re using the headset with your PS3, an on-screen notification can show headset statuses like battery level, microphone mute/unmute, and whether or not you have the virtual surround sound effect on. Turning the headset off swaps you back to your speakers.
I found the sound to not be as powerful as other headsets I tried, but by the time I hit max volume it was loud enough anyways. This headset uses 40mm drivers, were 50mm are more standard on other sets. That all said, I found that it delivered plenty of bass, and tanks in Battlefield3 sounded fantastic! With my 5.1 speaker setup, I normally had to have the subwoofer set to minimum to avoid waking the dead. With the headset, it’s like a totally different experience. The virtual surround lacked the same kind of directionality that I had with the 5.1 surround setup. With the headset, I had to move my head in game to get a good lock on where shooting was coming from, whereas I could instantly resolve direction with the 5.1 surround to about 5 degrees of accuracy to where the shooting was coming from. That slowed me down about a half second in some situations. Where the set made it up was hearing quieter sounds from enemies closer to me. A guy shouting that he was throwing a frag is now a marked man, where I barely would have made it out at the volume I played before on the 5.1 setup. It’s also a lot easier to make out different guns and vehicles with the much better range on the headset.
I really wish they had just made this thing Bluetooth. I’m sure there’s a great reason why they didn’t use the built-in Bluetooth that PS3’s come with, but it would have saved me having a vulnerable USB dongle sticking out the front of my PS3, just waiting for a 3 year old to snap off. I put in 5 hours of gaming and movie watching last night and didn’t phase the batteries one bit. A lot of the reviews out there are claiming 8-10 hours of real world use, which is phenomenal given the fact that the headset doesn’t weight a ton from heavy batteries. Using better li-ion batteries instead of cheaper ni-mh or ni-cd batteries like most cordless phones out there probably helps with weight. I did use it with a PC running Windows 7 to watch a movie and it was slick. I had to tell the PC to use the new audio device, but it detected and installed it without any issues.
Reviewed by Adriel Michaud on Jan 19, 2012
You can’t really get a cheaper and easier to use wireless headset for gaming on the PS3.
The Sony PS3 Wireless Headset is super easy to setup, sounds good, and integrates voice/game beautifully. You can’t get the features in this headset elsewhere for under $150.