Review: PlayStation Pulse Elite a great PS5 headset for a great cost

The PlayStation Pulse Elite wireless is released in New Zealand on February 21 for $270.
The PlayStation Pulse Elite wireless headset is released on February 21. Photo credit: Newshub.

Sony's latest PlayStation headset has been released promising high quality for a relatively low cost.

In New Zealand, the Pulse Elite will cost $270 when it is released on Wednesday, February 21.

That makes the successor to 2021's Pulse 3D a mid-range gaming headset - so how does it compete with others on the market?

I've been using a Pulse Elite wireless headset for the past few weeks and here are my thoughts.

The good

For what this costs, it is a great gaming headset that does most of what headsets need to do very well.

The Pulse Elite delivers wonderful high quality audio thanks to its planar magnetic drivers, which give it a clean, crisp, accurate sound that's an obvious jump up from the Pulse 3D. It is also designed to better present Sony's spatial audio, which is brilliant in every game that offers it.

If you like a warmer, bassier sound from your headphones you will want to adjust the EQ settings on this, but if you're into purity these will satisfy - keeping in mind they don't cost $700 and aren't on the extreme end of the quality spectrum, of course.

PlayStation Pulse Elite gaming headset for PS5.
The headset has an unusual, dome-shaped design. Photo credit: Newshub.

Generally I prefer larger, oblong shaped earcups to the circular design of these. I have large ears and a large head, but despite that this design didn't cause discomfort and actually felt great, even after several hours-long sessions replaying the incredible story of The Last of Us Part II Remastered.

Even in this hot Aotearoa summer, they never got too hot. Whatever faux-leather material Sony used on these plush cushions, it's great.

Active noise-cancelling is not part of this package, but the design does mean there is really good passive noise isolation. Using them blocked out most sounds around me in the house.

It's easy and quick to connect to a PS5 using Sony's own PlayStation Link technology - just pop in USB dongle into the console and hold down the Link button and it's all go. It can then be adjusted as an accessory from the console's menu more seamlessly than other headsets, a bit like how Apple accessories work better with iPhones than anything else. 

PlayStation Pulse Elite and Dualsense controller for PS5.
It goes well with the PS5 controller and console, using the same colour scheme. Photo credit: Newshub.

There's Bluetooth support to connect your mobile phone at the same time and it does support multiple simultaneous connections - so long as one of them is a PlayStation.

The mic is of the retractable boom style and Sony claims the device uses AI to enhance voice isolation when chatting. Mostly, voice chat over this unit is fine, with one exception we'll get to later.

The battery is very good - a promised 30 hours or so, which is more than anyone would ever need off one charge. If you forget to recharge and need the headset urgently, 10 minutes plugged in will give you a 2 hour gaming session.

On a cosmetic level, I like how these look and how well they go with the console itself as well as the Dualsense controller. They have an unusual, domed look to them that I find endearing and very, very PlayStation, similarly bohemian to the PS5 console's design.

But there's a big caveat with their look I'll get to shortly.

The bad

The worst thing about this headset for me has been a certain interference they get in my lounge.

The PS5 I have sitting behind the TV in central position rather than against a wall and there is a lot of other electronics around it, but other headsets don't seem to have an issue the same way the Pulse Elite does. It basically means little audio glitches for me and my voice breaking up a bit for people I'm chatting with over the mic.

Moving the console so there's a clear line of sight between the USB receiver and the headset sorts this out, but it's an inconvenience I don't have with rival products. And even with a clearer connection, my voice's audio quality was not as good as it is with other headsets, my buddies told me.

PlayStation's penchant for tiny buttons is continues with this headset. That's fine for the power/pairing button, which is singular and in a convenient place, but the volume buttons are more challenging to find and use while gaming.

The manual controls on the PlayStation Pulse Elite.
People with big fingers: beware more tiny PlayStation buttons. Look closely and you'll see the volume controls near the top of the above photo. Photo credit: Newshub.

There's no chat/game audio mixer on-device, which I would rather there was. That is less of an issue than it is with other headsets thanks to being able to triple tap the Link button to pull up its settings on the screen and quickly adjust the balance there.

Now about that look and the unusual design PlayStation is going for. In my lounge, I like how these look beside the PS5 and its controller; but there's zero chance I would ever wear them in public.

They can pair with your phone and would probably be great for making voice calls with, with the boom mic out in front of your mouth especially. But no, no and no. These should be used for gaming and watching TV shows or movies, or maybe listening to music, near your PlayStation, in your home, and that's it.

One other thing I'd say about the design is that it doesn't feel very durable. I haven't put this to the test, thankfully, but I suspect if they were accidentally stood on or thrown against the wall in a rage or something they might fare more poorly than other headsets on the market. Don't you put that to the test either, OK?

The verdict

With their emphasis on clean, pure audio quality over almost everything else, the PlayStation Pulse Elite headphones are indeed an elite product, especially considering the special Link bonuses you get with them.

The voice chat quality and connection strength I found to be a bit lacking compared to other headsets, but for well less than $300 this is still an easy product to recommend if you own a PS5.

If you're one of those diehard fans of the PlayStation brand, the Pulse Elite is a no-brainer for how well they go with Sony's other gaming products and their shortcomings definitely won't detract enough from what you'll get out of them.

Newshub was supplied a PlayStation Pulse Elite headset for this review.