Official PS3 Wireless Stereo Headset Review

September 6, 2011Written by Anthony Severino

Sound design has become increasingly important in this generation of video games. Music and sound effects can help you to get totally engrossed in gameplay, but this can’t happen unless you have the proper setup. TV speakers just don’t cut it, and pricey surround sound systems consist of multiple components, each costing a small fortune. Many gamers just don’t have the budget for it, or the space, which makes wireless stereo headsets like Sony’s new official PS3 wireless stereo headset all the more appealing.

Priced at only $99.99, the official PlayStation 3 wireless stereo headset is the ideal solution for gamers on a budget looking for high-quality audio. Despite the affordable price tag, the build quality and audio fidelity is top notch. Sound is crisp, clear, and detailed. Don’t expect booming sub-woofer quality bass–you wouldn’t want it that close to your eardrums anyway–but there’s ample bass to give explosions plenty of boom.

These headphones feature 7.1 “virtual” surround sound. Having full surround sound is not only the best way to enjoy the sound in your games, but it can also give you an advantage. You can clearly distinguish an enemy’s footsteps creeping behind you, even if there is plenty of action going on ahead of you. Never let anyone sneak up on you again.

Normally, if you have a pair of headphones on, you can’t use a headset mic to chat. The official PS3 wireless stereo headset does both. On top of featuring stunning audio, you can also use it for voice chat in online multiplayer games. The voice chat quality is just as good as the audio quality, and that’s saying a lot. Along with a master volume control, there’s also a separate control that lets you toggle the voice to audio ratio. Maybe you want the in-game music loud, but you want to turn down the screaming punk in your squad – there’s an easy to reach slider for that.

Both volume controls are on the front and back of the left side of the headband. Turning on and off the device, as well as muting it, is as simple as pressing in the side of the headphone housing. The design is very minimalistic, which makes for a very sharp-looking pair of headphones, while still retaining all of the functionality you could want. The mic is retractable, so it’s not hanging in your face until you need it. Even with it fully extended, it’s more at the side of your face rather than covering your mouth.

Best of all, these last about 7 hours on a single charge, keeping you in the action longer. When the power does begin to fade, they give you ample warning by showing a notification on-screen via the PS3. Simply plug in the same USB cable you use to charge your controllers (note: it doesn’t come with a USB cable) and within a couple of hours you’ll surrounded in high-quality audio.

These headphones are comfortable, too. The length adjusts to fit any size head, no matter how large your noggin is. The cushions are soft, and completely cover your ears for a solid, sturdy feel. This isn’t a flimsy piece of equipment and it screams of Sony’s signature sophistication and sleek design.

As good as this headset is, it’s not perfect. I wish these came with an AC adapter or a charger dock, but that’s only because I’d like to be able to charge them while my PS3 is off. Also, it’s not bluetooth, so you can’t just pair it with your PS3. Instead you must use a USB dongle to connect the device via 2.4GHz RF band. Newer PS3 models come equipped with only 2 USB ports, so needing one occupied to use this headphones is limiting. The headset does work with PCs and other devices, but the manual does state that it’s not guaranteed to work with all PCs. The virtual surround sound only works with the PS3, so it’s value is restricted. And although these headphones do indeed work with Blu-ray movies, the virtual surround sound does not.

Maybe you’re like me – you refuse to play games unless you can fully enjoy the sound. I have a top-quality surround sound set up; receiver, sub-woofer and all. But often at night, I can’t use it, my family is sleeping and I’d rather not play at all than play without the sound. With the PS3 wireless stereo headset, I can enjoy full-quality sound without sacrifice. But even if you don’t have the same issues I have, these are still worth a look. For $99.99, the build-quality and audio fidelity cannot be beat. If you want a headset that can be used on a number of devices for a number of applications, this may not be your best bet. But if you’re looking for a way to get the best audio experience out of your PS3 without bothering others or spending a lot of money on home audio components, I recommend these with the utmost confidence. These headphones rock.

PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score

+Sophisticated design.

+Up to seven hours on a single charge.

+Top quality audio and voice chat.

8 out of 10