Review: Sony PlayStation Pulse 3D Wireless Headset is a no-brainer for many, but could be better

Daniel Rutledge reviews Sony PlayStation 5 Pulse 3D wireless headset for Newshub.
The wireless headset offers up to 12 hours of play before needing to be recharged. Photo credit: Newshub.

Sony has released its own wireless PS5 headset in New Zealand boasting the new, much-hyped power of 3D audio.

It's priced at around NZ$180 in Aotearoa, putting it at the lower end of the cost spectrum as a wireless unit - so what corners have been cut?

How much do they matter? How does it compare to other gaming headsets?

I've been using the Sony PlayStation Pulse 3D Wireless Headset for the past few weeks and here are my thoughts.

The good

As a first-party product, the best thing about this is just how easy it is to use.

You plug the USB stick into your PS5 and turn the headset on. That's it.

There's no connect button, no set-up, no other plugging in - nothing like that. It just works.

This is the third headset I've used with the PS5 and is definitely the easiest to connect. I mean, of course it is - but that saves a lot of headaches that can come with other headsets.

Like a first-party Xbox or Apple product, the way it fits with the system is really nice - things like the volume bar on the screen appearing when you change the volume on the headset.

This is also one of the only wireless PS5 headset that offers the console's 3D audio features. You can access these through some wired headsets, but how it works here suggests at least Sony's own studios have been mastering the audio in their latest games specifically for this headset.

Review: Sony PlayStation Pulse 3D Wireless Headset is a no-brainer for many, but could be better
The headset features a 3.5mm jack for use with PlayStation VR or other devices. Photo credit: Newshub.

Sound quality wise, the Pulse 3D doesn't impress as much as other more expensive headsets around, but it's certainly good enough.

Being designed for the PS5 means the colour scheme matches perfectly with the console unit itself and the controller, if you care about aesthetics in your gaming zone.

Like the Xbox first-party headset that recently came out, the Pulse 3D is also great bang for buck - well under NZ$200 for a quality wireless headset is solid value.

The bad

The worst thing about this headset is how the controls are laid out on it - basically a bunch of very little buttons on the left earcup.

You know how comically small the power and eject buttons are on the PlayStation 4? Think that - but on a headset.

Other headsets offer big, earcup-sized dials or push buttons on their sides; but with the Pulse 3D, I'm having to pull it off my head and look at it any time I want to mute or unmute. For a while I had to do that to adjust the volume or chat/game mix, too.

The buttons on the earcup of Sony PlayStation Pulse 3D Wireless Headset.
The controls are all located on the left earcup. Photo credit: Newshub.

The whole push for 3D audio seems a bit overblown to me. This headset has great surround sound, for sure - but it might not blow you away as a truly next-level experience.

If you use one in conjunction with an ultra-modern TV the first time you use a PS5, then the awesome new haptics on the DualSense controller, the high framerate - all the new tech will combine for a massive jump in the total experience, and 3D audio is a part of that.

But if you're used to the wonders of new-gen console gaming and you jump from, say, a high-end Turtle Beach or Astro headset to this one, it isn't a noticeable jump in terms of three-dimensional audio, at least to my ears.

I'm definitely reading takes from others who really enjoy 3D audio more than me so do check it out for yourself when you can.

Xbox Wireless Headset versus PlayStation 5 Pulse 3D Headset.
The Xbox Wireless Headset alongside the Pulse 3D headset. Photo credit: Newshub.

There's no way you're getting active noise cancellation (ANC) in a headset this cheap, but that is a feature to consider when you're looking to invest - especially if there's any chance of someone firing up a hairdryer in the same room you're gaming in. The worst.

The earcups are also fairly small and circular, which is a little uncomfortable. I prefer the larger, rectangular style.

The mics work fine and it's nice they're hidden up inside the headset, but my voice wasn't as clear through this as it is with other headsets, according to my squadmates.

The verdict

As a relatively low-cost PS5 headset, the Pulse 3D fulfils its duties very admirably. If you're excited by 3D audio and you don't like your headsets wired or expensive, this is an absolute no-brainer.

PS5 Pulse 3D headset review.
The colour scheme matches that of the PS5 console and standard DualSense controller. Photo credit: Newshub.

I'd also recommend it for a parent looking to get a simple, reliable headset for any of their offspring lucky enough to already own a PS5.

For serious gamers or audiophiles willing to spend a bit more on their PS5 headset, it probably isn't the best option. Soon there will likely be multiple superior wireless headsets offering 3D audio.

I just can't imagine any will work in with the PlayStation ecosystem as well as this one does, unless Sony itself brings out an upgraded, premium version with ANC and the works - now that would be the ultimate.

Newshub was supplied a Pulse 3D Headset for this review.