Ditch your gaming headset for Panasonic's wearable surround sound speaker

The Panasonic SC-GN01 personal speaker brings positional sound around you, but might be more comfortable than a gaming headset

Panasonic SC-GN01 Wearable Immersive Gaming Speaker System
(Image credit: Panasonic)

What’s the worst thing about your gaming setup? For me it’s my own head. The gaming headphones I use to immerse myself in the action have the unfortunate side-effect of making my ears hotter than anything in Hades. So hurrah for Panasonic, who’ve made a surround speaker specifically for gamers that's an alternative to headphones.

The SC-GN01 Wearable Immersive Gaming Speaker System is, as the name makes clear, a wearable gaming speaker system. Developed in collaboration with Square Enix, it sits on your shoulders, has four speakers and offers three gaming-specific sound modes: RPG, FPS and voice mode. 

That last one’s intended for adventure games where dialogue contains crucial clues or essential info. And when you’re not gaming you can pop it into cinema or music mode, or just keep it switched off and bounce around the room pretending you’re an Elizabethan man with a ruff around his neck.

Big booms from little speakers

As you’ve probably guessed, this wearable speaker doesn’t come with massive speakers to rock the block: if it did, you'd slowly sink into your gaming chair. But its four 3cm cones put out a respectable 4W, which is more than enough when you’ve got them right next to your ears, and the whole thing weighs 244g. That’s less than many gaming headsets. 

It promises to still deliver precise positioning of sounds in its audio, so things will still be immersive and directional, just like headphones. You just might find it less fatiguing over time.

There’s a choice of USB or 3.5mm audio cable connection and it works with PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X and Switch. You’ll be able to get your hands on it in late September 2021.

This is Panasonic’s second Square Enix collaboration: its SC-HTB01 SoundSlayer is another gaming-specific device, this time in mini-soundbar form – ideal for the best 32-inch TVs or equally the best gaming monitors. It’s up there with the best soundbars and makes a terrific racket.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com).