Review: Sony PS3 Wireless Headset

Product: Official PS3 Wireless Stereo Headset
Manufacturer: Sony
Original MSRP: $99.99

2 months prior to the September 6, 2011 release of the Sony PS3 Wireless Headset I caught wind that Amazon was offering an incredible pre-order sale.  As opposed to the current $99.99 price tag I had an opportunity to snag one for roughly $65.  For the cost of a day one AAA new game release I could get my hands on Sony’s new-born baby.  But was it gonna be worth even that?  Would it live up to some of the initial hype that was following in the wake of its press release?

Up to the point of this decision I had been comfortably using Sony’s PS3 Bluetooth ear piece.  Sure, there were much better options available to me – for a price.  I was just never able to bring myself to shell out $150 or more for a “quality” headset that came fully equipped to handle surround sound and a 15 foot trip wire cord.  Tack on at least another $100 for those same headsets that accommodated for wireless technology.  It all seemed so unrealistic and not worth it.

Suddenly a $65 charge for a headset that claims to have many of the same features as their bigger brothers – with the added bonus of being wireless – became an easier decision than initially considered.  I bit the bullet, supplied my credit card information and secured what I hoped would be my answer to a better online gaming experience.

Packaging & Aesthetics:
First opening the Amazon shipping box and seeing how small the actual Sony package was my initial thought was that I had made a mistake.  There was no way such a small package was gonna live up to the advertised accomplishments of this device.  When compared to some of the other headsets available, there just wasn’t anything to it.  As it turns out there wasn’t much needed for this headset to perform up to expectations.

The Wireless Headset is undoubtedly a Sony product.  Everything about it screams PS3.  The curvature of the headset looks to be made from the same material as the shell of the PlayStation Slim and it sports the same black matte finish.  First glance provides the appearance of a sturdy and solid piece of technology.  Unfortunately, upon closer inspection, the truth of the matter is that practically everything about this PlayStation Wireless Headset is noticeably flimsy – in particular, the retractable microphone.  I’m meticulously careful with most everything that I own but I’m certain that the littlest adverse pressure applied to the microphone will render this headset useless for any future online multiplayer.

Getting Started:
The Sony PS3 Wireless Headset is the very definition of plug-n-play.  Set-up was nothing more than inserting the provided dongle into an available USB port on the front of the PlayStation 3 and turning the headset on.  That’s it.  No other settings needed to be adjusted in order to jump right into some epic online gameplay.

Ease of use and aesthetics are only a small part of why one should consider the Sony PS3 Wireless Headset.  How it performs is the real key to making the decision to drop $100 of your hard earned money.  A car with a fresh coat of paint may look like a dream come true until you realize that it stalls out at every other stop light.  You get the picture.

I was fortunate enough to put this headset through its paces with the recent release of Resistance 3.  More appropriately, I started this co-op adventure – with fellow PSNation writer Rey (thanks man, it was a blast) – with my standby PS3 Bluetooth ear piece only to switch over to the wireless headset during our second outing into Chimera territory.  It was a great opportunity for a straight up comparison.  My initial nervousness was quickly overcome when the first Auger round went whizzing past my left ear and a drop ship came flying in from the right.  Add to it an immediate difference in both chat delivery and reception and I soon realized that this headset delivered in a big way!

The 7.1 virtual surround sound, although not the greatest I’ve ever experienced in a headset, certainly was more than enough to make Resistance 3 an incredibly enjoyable co-op experience.  My only “complaint” over this headset is that the Bass was lacking and fairly weak.  It wasn’t non-existent but it certainly wasn’t what I am used to experiencing when gaming though my Onkyo 7.1 HD receiver.

Potentially the nicest feature of the Sony PS3 Wireless Headset was in learning that all the controls – power, volume, sound/chat balance – were found just above the left ear pad.  In addition, as settings are managed they appear on screen for a quick glimpse of your changes – and charge status – before fading away.

But how does the headset feel when strapped on for hours on end?  The Sony PS3 Wireless Headset sit over the entire ear as opposed to on the ear.  In my opinion this makes for the biggest difference in both comfort and sound.  The headphones – like a great bowl of porridge or a comfortable bed – were neither too tight nor too warm.  They fit (and felt) just right.

A big concern of mine was how this headset would allow for the often bulky glasses necessary to enjoy games like Resistance 3 in all its 3D splendor.  Because the glasses need to be on prior to fitting the headset over your ears I was uncertain how, if at all, this would work.  Thankfully, I can report back that the incredibly soft cushions of the individual ear pads, along with their overall size, allowed for many hours of 3D online gaming with neither discomfort nor fatigue.  With such 3D titles as Batman Arkham City and Uncharted 3 still on the way this was a huge win.

Technical Specifications:
Power Source – DC 3.7 V: Built-in lithium-ion rechargeable battery
Battery Capacity – 570 mAh
Dimensions (w/h/d) – Approx. 186 x 197 x 95 mm (7.3 x 7.8 x 3.7 in)
Weight – Approx. 275 g (97 oz)
Communication System – 2.4 GHz RF
Maximum Communication Range – Approx. 10 m (33 ft)
Use Time When Fully Charged – Up to 7.5 hours

Final Impressions:
As the interest and popularity of online gaming continues to increase so will the options available for gaming headsets.  I am a gamer through-and-through but I also still consider myself a casual gamer.  With that said I don’t think I would ever be in the market for the higher-end gaming headsets.  I enjoy a rousing co-op campaign with friends but will never attain that level of competitiveness that so many other gamers these days aspire to.  That’s just not what I’m interested in.  It is because of my level of gaming interest that I feel the Sony PS3 Wireless Headset was made specifically for me.  They are comfortable, sound great and are extremely affordable – even for the current full asking price of $99.

Although I feel I have touched on all of the main sticking points I thought I’d add the actual marketing commercial for the Sony PS3 Wireless Headset for your viewing pleasure.  Not to further convince you of its value.  Mostly, I just really dig the totally hot, totally pretend girlfriend of the totally fake gamer.  Enjoy it.  And after you’re done, do yourself a favor and order yourself this wireless headset.  You won’t be disappointed.




Written by Bill Braun

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