PlayStation Pulse Explore Review – Short Lived Luxury

PlayStation Pulse Explore Review - Short Lived Luxury

As audio technology in games continues to improve, it’s becoming more necessary than ever to own, and use regularly, a good set of headphones. Whether it be to get immersed in the finer details of environmental audio, to experience the fullest amount of games such as Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, or even just to show a little respect to loved ones in the household who might be trying to enjoy something else (or even some quiet time without the blaring from your latest FPS), something to affix to your noggin to contain the audio is of huge importance. Often the options for players are large headsets, with or without microphones which are awful for those who curate nice hair, but also put unnecessary pressure on ears, scalps, and more. Earbuds have long been an option for people in other realms, but in gaming they’ve always been frowned upon, and considered the lesser option. Now there’s a new breed of wireless earbuds that are surging in popularity, and PlayStation have joined the race with the PlayStation Pulse Explore wireless earbuds, but can they become a viable option for players?

The PlayStation Pulse Explore wireless earbuds will immediately catch the eye due to their unique design, influenced by the shaping and colour palette of the PS5 itself, but still with their own personality, the form factor will be divisive. Bulky in their form factor, and certainly set to look strange in your ears when compared to other mainstream options, the Pulse Explore earbuds will see players positioning them in their ears in a variety of different ways, each feeling vindicated for doing so. The buds themselves are prone to feeling a bit loose in the ear, and don’t hold up especially well with anything more intense than a brisk walk.

Where the earbuds deliver in spades is in their primary purpose. While the 5-hour battery life, extended by a further 10 through the capacity of their charging case isn’t impressive, this pair packs some enormous punch. Connection to a PS5, with the aide of the USB-A powered PlayStation Link is a breeze, making connection efficient while hooking them up to other Bluetooth devices such as phones is a fairly simply matter as well. Once connected they’re quite simple to operate with volume controls atop them and a simple power/connect button being on the underside. If you’re using them with a PS5 the majority of the control is still driven by the console itself, rather than the buds, while when connected to an external device, the device itself is responsible for volume adjustment. Unfortunately, EQ balancing cannot be completed when using another device. 

What is nice is the ability to simultaneously connect to multiple devices simultaneously. I often found myself listening to a podcast when I could only to quick pause the conversation to allow an exchange of words, or particularly potent musical number take centre stage, and it was incredibly easy to do so. The sound quality regardless of whether you’re connected to one or two simultaneously connected devices is fantastic, really immersing you in whatever you’re choosing to consume, from music, to podcasts, or gameplay.

The earbuds don’t possess an overly vast selection of features, but the simplicity for an audience such as the one targetted as potential users are looking for simple, and don’t need the unnecessary complications. There’s no noise canceling, but noise isolation exists, and simply requires you to have the right-sized bud tips to create a snug fit (four different sets are provided out of the box). Microphone features are again light on but the output quality is good.

At $329 AUD, it’s not a small investment for prospective owners to climb aboard, but for those who tip into it, you’re getting some hardware that provides both superb sound quality, dual bluetooth connections, and a host of other features that game players will undoubtedly love. The battery life is (much like other PS5 peripherals) poor, and the form factor may not appeal to all, but they perform their intended functions well, and are certainly a great option for those looking to move away from the cumbersome headset options. 

The PlayStation Pulse Explore wireless earbuds were reviewed courtesy of a unit provided by PlayStation Australia

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