Should this headset be a must buy for Christmas?
When I bought a pair of the Wireless Stereo Headset from SONY, I was more than ready to put it through its paces. SONY is well known for their design and these headsets announce “I’m SONY gear” right from the start; brushed metal over the arch with a thick width to the unit makes it seem almost over-sized when you first look at and hold them. This along with the over-sized, padded ear cups and head padding made me think that the unit was going to be heavy and unwieldy. Yet, the unit is surprisingly light, which was very much appreciated after a 5 hour gaming session.
SONY claims about 7 hours of use from a 3 hour charge, and from my usage, that’s pretty accurate. Unless you have very large ears, wearing the headset for extended periods of time will be quite comfortable. Setting up the Wireless Stereo Headset to work with the PlayStation 3 is as simple as plugging the included USB transmitter into the powered on PS3, turning on the headset and–oh wait, that was it. Done. The Wireless Stereo Headset is synced to the PS3 and dishing out sweet sound in seconds. It really is that simple and I wish that other Bluetooth headset synchronizations were this seamless.
The headset has some basic gaming features such as separate game audio and chat audio controls. I was able to control the main audio level of the game while also able to vary the volume of the player chat independently. This is very useful for when you want to focus on your team speaking (turn up the chat volume to give their voices precedence) or when you want to ignore the inevitable annoying online so-and-sos (turn the chat audio all the way down).
An interesting feature is their Virtual 7.1 Surround Sound. While reviews have been mixed on this feature, I enjoyed using it. Going from a pure stereo signal to having a 360 sound field is pretty cool. That being said, it isn’t true 7.1 Surround, so you won’t be able to perfectly pinpoint sounds in “real” space when gaming, but it will give a pretty good approximation.All in all, whether in stereo or simulated surround, the sound quality is quite good and worth the investment. Cleverly tucked away by the bottom left cup is the telescoping microphone with an LED light at the end. The LED acts as the power, connectivity and mute indicator. It protrudes a bit when put away, but it’s not a hindrance. While gaming, my friends consistently stated that my voice was loud and clear, which completely erased my anxiety of the mic quality.
Unfortunately, there were some minor issues that keep me from giving this great gaming gadget full marks. SONY is notorious for making their accessories only work with SONY gear, and their Wireless Stereo Headset, sadly, keeps this archaic tradition alive. While the USB transmitter can be placed in a PC which will allow the headset to be used with the PC, it cannot be used with Microsoft’s Xbox 360. While some might say “Well, duh! PS3 vs Xbox360!” Personally, I feel that for $100, and an external USB transmitter that can be plugged into the Xbox360, this headset would have been an even better value. Even more annoying to me, is the fact that the headset is not Bluetooth based, so it cannot sync to any of my Bluetooth powered smartphones or tablets for use as a regular music headset.
There is no included USB cable in the packaging. So while it had enough of a charge when I first used it, you’ll need to have your own USB cable to recharge the headset. What happened SONY? You couldn’t be bothered with packing a cheap little USB cable? Really? The PS3 already has Bluetooth technology built in. So why use a Radio Frequency system and not Bluetooth for this headset? I appreciate the size of the USB transmitter and the ease of setup and use it brings, but if you lose it, your $100 headset is unusable with your PS3, so treat that USB transmitter like gold.
If you are an audiophile who sneers at headphones less than $300 that can’t produce studio monitor headset fidelity, these are not for you, either. While the sound is more than adequate for gaming and casual movie and music listening, these will not replace true studio monitor class headgear, if that is your thing.
My take: Despite the minor letdowns, I really do enjoy this headset and honestly wonder why it took SONY this long to make it for the PS3. I would (and have!) easily recommend these to anyone looking for a good quality headset for the PS3. Especially if they want to isolate the sound from surrounding friends/family/spouses/children, etc. while still having quality PS3 audio. While these may not have the high fidelity or the multi-platform functionality of other gaming headsets on the market, these also have a lot less wiring, which really does balance out.
Here is the Set up Comparison between my Trittons and the PS3 Wireless Headset
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