The Audeze Penrose wireless planar magnetic headset can hook up to your PlayStation, Xbox, Windows, macOS, Android or iOS device, providing sound output and input for your gaming across multiple platforms (look for the X model specifically for use with an Xbox).
It's versatile then, but is the sound any good? Is this worth a place on our list of best gaming headsets? Our Audeze Penrose headset review will tell you everything you need to know about this piece of hardware, from the battery life to the connection quality.
It's an expensive piece of kit, but it has the specs and the features to match – on paper at least. One of the key selling points here are the planar magnetic audio drivers, which use a different type of tech to standard headphones to achieve a more balanced, precise sound.
Audeze Penrose review: design and setup
The Audeze Penrose headset is a nice-looking bit of gadgetry, without quite having the class and polish you might expect from something at the very top end of the price bracket. The components feel well made and well put together, with very little in the way of creaking or flimsiness as you hold and adjust the headset. In terms of materials, plastic dominates, with memory foam on the earpads and just underneath the headband.
There's a prominent blue or green stripe around the earcups, depending on whether you go for the PlayStation or Xbox version of the headset, and these cups rotate too – handy for storing the headset and for resting it around your neck when you're not busy gaming or listening to your music collection. Audeze has plenty of experience when it comes to making hardware like this, and it shows in the quality of the Penrose.
The looks of the device are in fact very similar to the slightly more expensive Mobius headset, which uses a similar approach to the aesthetics here, while offering a few more features in the way of audio processing and quality. These are certainly among the better headphones we've seen as far as overall appearance and design goes, and the removable mic is a bonus if you don't think you'll be using it much (or indeed at all).
Setup is as easy as connecting the included 3.5 mm audio cable, pairing via Bluetooth, or plugging the 2.4Ghz USB-A dongle into your computer or console of choice (the dongle is a little on the large size, but we can live with it) – we tested the wireless link on several devices and it made the connection almost instantly each time. All the physical controls and connections are on the left earpad, including microphone and headphone volume control, the USB-C charging port, the 3.5 mm cable socket, the main power button and a mic mute switch.
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Audeze Penrose review: features and performance
We're pleased to say that the Audeze Penrose headset sounds great and feels great in use. The audio you can get out of these headphones – across gaming, movies, music and more – is definitely at the premium end of the market when it comes to gaming headsets (as you would expect at this price). Small, subtle noises in games stand up as well as booming choruses in songs, and the sound coming from the headset consistently impressed us.
In terms of comfort, the headset gets a very good if not a great score – the headphones are comfortable enough to wear, and nice and tight on the head thanks to the adjustable headband, but after a few hours of use we felt we had to let our ears take a break and feel some fresh air. To some extent this depends on how loud you like your audio, and we can't really fault the Audeze Penrose in this department either. Likewise, the microphone performance is perfectly fine.
You don't get any kind of virtual surround sound with this headset, which might be a feature that gamers are interested in, and there's no active noise cancellation either – though the memory foam earpads and tight fit combine to do a pretty decent job of shutting out the sounds of the outside world. The absence of these features aren't really dealbreakers for us, though they might be for you: the quality of the audio more than makes up for them.
Audeze claims you can get around 15 hours of wireless listening pleasure between battery charges from the Penrose, and while we weren't able to stretch the headset that far between charges, we got pretty close – you can probably do better than we did if you're listening at a quieter volume. The headphones can certainly last as long as you should really be having them on for before taking a break, and of course there's always the wired option to fall back on, should you need it.
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Audeze Penrose review: price and verdict
The Audeze Penrose headset is perfect if you want some premium components – specifically those planar magnetic audio drivers – at a lower price than some other headsets come in at (including more expensive models made by Audeze itself). It's certainly hard to fault the sound that comes through these cans, whether you're using them for gaming or just as a more general purpose output device.
The sheer number of devices these headphones support is another plus point, and there are apps for Windows, macOS and Android to make use of as well. These programs don't give you much to play around with besides a basic equaliser, but it's more than you get with a lot of headsets so we're including it as a positive. You can get by perfectly well without the software, as the Penrose is configured so well by default (and installation and setup is a breeze too).
In terms of design and the number of extra features you get here, the headset is good rather than great, but we've got no major complaints about the Audeze Penrose – there are no glaring flaws that would put us off a purchase. Admittedly the price is on the more expensive side, but the versatility of the headset and the audio performance that you get back in return makes the investment worth it.
The quality of the sound is arguably the one and only factor that matters in a headset like this and the Audeze Penrose passes with flying colours – the audio that gets piped through the earpads is rich and full and crisp in all the right places. Other headsets have more features (including more expensive Audeze models) but for a price of around £300 / $300 the Penrose definitely appeals. Check the widgets on this page for the latest online offers.
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