PSVR was my first introduction to the world of Virtual Reality. At the time, I was aware of Oculus and Vive, but I was much more interested in Sony’s exclusive console offerings, despite the shoddy PS Move controls, and the somewhat lower resolution. The one upside to the PSVR was that I was able to use my own premium headsets, which I was excited for since they often provided the best sound. The problem I found was that they were usually a little too bulky, often not playing nice with the contours of the PSVR, meaning I’d get some audio leakage. At that point, I’d revert to using the ear buds that came with the unit, which was a total bummer.
Months later, thanks to the Oculus promotion, which I’ve written about here and gave some game recommendations, I was introduced to Rift’s built in headphone solution, where the two headphones are fixed to the sides of the unit and are able to be moved around to comfortably rest on my ears. Gamechanger. Hefty introduction and anecdote side, the Bionik Mantis headphones provide exactly the kind of headphone solution I wanted, because they emulate what works so well on the Oculus Rift.
The headphones themselves are two pieces that snap on each side of the PSVR unit. You have some wiggle room to slide them around to get them into place. Just like the Oculus Rift headphones, they also snap out, allowing you to put the VR unit on, and then clamp down the headphones over your ears comfortably. This completely eliminates the extra step in the setup process where I have to plug in headphones into the little volume adapter, and then ensure I can actually fit the headphones over my ears comfortably. The Mantis just lets me slide on the headset and I’m ready to play.
It might sound like a trivial complaint, but when you’re ready to jump into a game (literally) and you have to worry about making sure your headphones are plugged in and then place comfortably over your head, all while actually wearing the VR unit on your head already, it’s not only annoying, but it’s also quite uncomfortable.
It’s remarkable just how well the headphones integrate with the PSVR aesthetically. One look at them while they’re attached and you’d think they were a part of the unit, sporting the same white design with soft edges, that complement the PSVR’s white contours as well as the small indent, that matches the one found on the clasp on the back of the unit.
As for the sound, the Mantis headphones sound absolutely fantastic, giving you the same great range you’d get out of other, premium, similarly priced headsets. The only complaint is that since they don’t wrap around your entire ear, or aren’t ear buds, there is potential for outside noise to leak in a little bit while playing. It might not be an issue if you’re in a quiet household, but personally, living with a rambunctious two and five-year-old, the Mantis couldn’t quite keep outside noise out completely. With that said though, it still delivered 3D audio perfectly, giving me perfect spatial awareness.
You can pick up the Bionik Mantis headphones for $49.99, which is a great price that accounts for fantastic sound, comfort level and ease of use.