When I first heard that the Playstation 4 Platinum Wireless Headset would support not only 7.1 surround sound, but true 3D audio, I knew I had to check it out. The potential for 3D audio in video games, especially for the blind, is staggering, and I wanted to see if playstation could make it a reality. Turns out they’ve got a very good start, and I’ll go so far as to say there’s tremendous potential there for the blind. For now, let’s focus on the headset itself.
First, it’s comfortable. It’s not too heavy, not too light. It feels solid, and the well-padded, large ear cups are easy on the ears, and help to broaden the sound.
The controls turned out to be surprisingly easy to locate, and to use. Though each control is the same shape, they are all well-separated from one another, and each is tactiley different. The mute button for the microphone, for instance, is a little more inset than the rest of the buttons. The power switch, which doubles as your switch for presets, has a couple of obvious bumps on it. And all of the controls, except for the switch that activates or deactivates virtual surround, are on the left side, making it even less confusing.
Here’s a brief description of the headset for the curious. Nearest the bottom is a 3.5 MM jack, used with the supplied patch cable to plug the headset into any standard headphone jack. Next to that, the USB Mini port, used to charge it. Then, in order, heading to the top, we have the master volume buttons, the mute button, the power/presets switch, and the game audio/chat audio balance buttons. Down tilts the balance toward chat audio, up tilts it toward game audio. And as mentioned, the only thing you’ve got on the right is the switch for virtual surround. Up is on, down is off, though you’ll hardly need me to tell you that once you hear it.
And speaking of the sound, it’s fantastic. The first game I played was Mortal Kombat X, and that game doesn’t represent the height of surround sound, but still, it sounded great. Every hit sounded more impactful because of the bass that the headset pumps out, and the surround sound did lend itself a little to the 2D fighting environment. When I tossed my opponent across the screen, I felt like I had done so. That game has great audio, and the Platinum headset made it sound even better. Best of all, it’s practically lag-free. By this, I mean that when you press a button in whichever game you’re playing, there is practically no delay at all between your button press and the sound of the action you took. For Bluetooth headsets, this is actually fairly uncommon, as many, many Bluetooth devices have a delay of about a 3rd of a second. I don’t know how they pulled this off, but lag is undetectable here.
And still on the topic of sound, I should mention for the visually impaired that the headset does possess some identifiable beeps and boops when you interact with it. Mute the mic and you get one beep, unmute it and you get a lower tone beep. More beeps when you press the volume and balance buttons, and some helpful power and connected tones when you flip the switch. The whole thing is very easy to use, just gotta make sure that the dongle’s plugged in, and you’re off.
In terms of battery life this headset does not disappoint. It boasts a super solid 13 hours of use before needing a charge, and that, at least for me, is like 2 or 3 lengthy gaming sessions. Even better, you can use the headset even while you’re charging it. Not only are you getting awesome battery life, allowing you to game in 7.1 surround and/or 3D audio for quite a long time, but you truly never have to stop using the headset as long as your USB cable is long enough.
The headset also boasts an internal microphone for chat purposes. No, it’s not a giant mic that sticks out and hits you in the face constantly, it’s built right into the headset. You won’t know it’s there until you’re picked up on it while you chat. Its quality is pretty good, too. Not the best, mind you. There are many microphones that sound better than this, but I personally think it’s a very good solution for an internal, out of the way mic, and I’ve never had any particular problems with it.
Now, I cannot talk about this headset without also talking about the headset companion app. Keep in mind that this particular segment is very individual to me, as I am a totally blind person. This app, most unfortunately indeed, is completely inaccessible to the blind. Though the PS4 now possesses text to speech capability, and though that ability extends to some additional apps as of this writing, it does not work in the Headset Companion. Why does this matter? It matters because developers have programmed presets for their games, which can only be downloaded with this app, and those presets change the way those games sound to exactly what the developers wanted them to sound like. To a blind person who cares very, very much about game audio, this is a huge deal, and a huge disappointment that we cannot use it.
All in all, though, the headset’s great. It’s a fantastic wireless surround sound headset solution. It’s comfortable, it’s nearly lag-free, the controls are easy to identify, it sounds great, it’s got great battery life, and a decent chat mic. If you want some excellent sound while you game on PS4, then I currently cannot recommend anything better than the Platinum Wireless Headset.