Now that it's a little easier to get hold of a PlayStation 5 console – phew, finally – you might be looking to supplement your shiny new PS5 with some extras. Namely the Sony Pulse 3D Wireless Headset, on review here, which is an ideal bit of kit for quiet-time gaming when you don't want to disturb others. Or if you just prefer to lose yourself in a world of your own.
I've had the Pulse 3D Wireless Headset in for review for a number of months, during which time I've been living with this headset to assess whether it's truly the best PS5 gaming headset option (or indeed best for PS4, as it's also compatible). I shan't beat around the bush here: I'm mighty impressed by just how capable and comfortable the Pulse 3D Wireless is, all while delivering convincing three-dimensional audio goods.
Sony Pulse 3D Wireless Headset: Price & Availability
The Sony Pulse 3D headset launched alongside the PlayStation 5 console, the headset with an original asking price of £89.99 (or $99.99 for American and AUD$159 for Australian buyers). You'll now find it for even less, as you can see in the shopping widget embedded below.
Weighing that up against, first, the pricier Platinum Wireless headset for the PS4 and, second, the various competition selling the best gaming headsets, and I think it's a veritable bargain. Especially considering what it offers, which we'll get into below...
Sony Pulse 3D headset review: Design & Features
I wear headphones really often, so I'm used to the sensation of having a pair on my head a lot of the time. However, the Pulse 3D Gaming Headset, despite its larger size, gives even less of a presence than many of the best headphones on the market today. There's zero 'pinch' sensation, while the secondary support headband almost makes it feel as though you're not wearing a headset at all. It's floaty-light.
I assumed a big part of that was down to the Pulse 3D's weight, but at 294g it's actually heavier than many headphone equivalents. When wearing this Sony 'set, however, it's the balance of the design that really doesn't make it feel as though it is. Which is kind of like magic in my opinion.
A sub-300g weigh-in is still plenty light and the stature of this headset is where some of that mass comes from: the earcups are super deep and large, the internal drivers angled so they reach your ear in a uniform manner and can deliver the Pulse 3D's raison d'etre, its three-dimensional sound for PS5. I'll come back to that feature in more detail later.
While the generally plastic build of the headset has received its fair share of criticism, I don't think it's a particular burden for a product such as this. I've rarely touched the headset other than to put it on my head; it doesn't flex when wearing it; and I can't hear the plastic making any disruptive or creaking sounds. As such, I'll take that: a lower price for the sake of plastic build is an acceptable compromise. Besides, the earcups and headband are soft and comfortable.
There's no massive boom mic sticking out from the front of the Pulse 3D Wireless either. That's not because it lacks microphone capabilities for speech, it's just that they're hidden away. They work fine enough, although aren't best-in-class for isolating all noise.
The various button controls aren't hidden though: an array of options (Chat, Game, Monitor/Off, Volume Up/Down, Mute) can be found along the left earcup. There's nothing on the right earcup and I do think it'd have made more sense to split these controls apart for memory's sake, as it can get a bit fiddly given their close proximity. But at least there's no tapping or swiping to try and memorise.
Battery life is good for up to 12 hours at a time, rechargeable through the USB-C port, which you'll also find on the left earcup. Yes, it's a busy side of this headset!
Sony Pulse 3D review: Performance & Sound
One of my favourite things about the Pulse 3D Wireless Headset is just how effortless it is to set up. Included in the box is a little USB dongle that you pop into the front of your PlayStation console and that's it – the communications between headset and console effectively manage themselves. It'll automatically kick-in to connecting to the headphones once the little slider switch is pushed into the on position.
There's no Bluetooth connectivity here, so you can't use the Pulse 3D Wireless as a pair of headphones. But you can use it as a wireless headset option for PC (and Mac) if you want, again just using that USB dongle. There is a 3.5mm headphone jack (also, unsurprisingly, on the left earcup) if you want to plug in directly – and this is an essential for when connecting to PSVR, for example, if that's your thing.
Once you're all connected up, donning the Pulse 3D Wireless over your head, that's when the good stuff really begins. As I said up top, the comfort is one thing, but the sound quality is another level. Not even just the clarity, more the precision and space of the soundstage. You really do feel like you're immersed in a much bigger stage, as if you're in the game.
That's down to what you're playing, of course, but plenty of titles such as Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Horizon: Forbidden West support the PS5's 3D audio proposition. It's almost creepy the way that sounds can emerge from around you, to the point I've often forgotten I'm wearing a headset and assuming someone's looking over my shoulder. It's a very convincing proposition to have three-dimensional audio.
Battery life delivers for near enough to its quota, so you can get somewhere towards 12 hours of life out of a charge. I do partly wonder if that's down to volume limitations though – as I'd like the whole headset to be a smidge louder. There's probably various stipulations in European law prohibiting that or something, though, plus I'm an old dude with crap ears and like the extra weight of volume. It's not quiet, though, I just like things extra loud.
Sony Pulse 3D Wireless review: Verdict
My mind was made up after a matter of minutes, but after months of use I'm convinced that the Sony Pulse 3D Wireless Headset is perfect for PS5. It really elevates the experience, whether you want quiet-time for others or escape time for yourself.
Sure, less plastic and better sound isolation would improve it, but at this price and considering the competition those are hardly major criticisms.
The Sony Pulse 3D Wireless Headset is comfortable, lightweight, easy to connect to the console, and its sound quality and three-dimensional immersion is truly great for gaming. PlayStations fans will find no better, this is hands-down the best gaming headset for PS5.
If you're not committed to the PlayStation look and feel then a more versatile headset, such as the Turtle Beach Stealth 700 (Gen 2), could fit the bill, although it's a pricier offering. And if you're looking for the ultimate in high-end sound delivery, Audeze's Penrose is sheer exuberance and well worth it for hardcore gamers who are looking for a boom mic proper and are into their multiplayer titles.