Sony's duo of new wireless headphones could offer audiophile quality for PS5 gamers

PlayStation Explore earbuds
(Image credit: Sony PlayStation)

Earlier this year, Sony gave us a very brief look at a pair of wireless earbuds designed to be used with the PS5. After heavy speculation and rapidly accelerating rumours that Sony was indeed working on these buds, the company confirmed their existence in a PlayStation State of Play livestream in May.

However, last night at Gamescom 2023 in Cologne, Germany, Sony finally lifted the lid on what we now know to be the PlayStation Explore wireless earbuds. These buds offer a wide range of gaming features that work perfectly with the PS5 console and many of its games. Not only that, Sony has also unveiled an upgraded version of the Pulse 3D Wireless Headset, called the Pulse Elite.

Sony is promising audiophile-grade immersive audio, as both are outfitted with planar magnetic drivers. Most commonly found on audio engineer headphones, these flat drivers deliver a "wider range of nuanced sounds" and will work alongside Sony's Tempest 3D Audio system to create a "crisp, immersive experience".

Both of these new wireless headsets will also have a smorgasbord of gaming features, foremost being Sony's new PlayStation Link wireless connectivity standard. This new feature unifies products within Sony's PlayStation ecosystem, meaning you'll be able to connect the buds or headphones to your PS5 easily, and seamlessly switch to the new PlayStation Portal handheld streaming accessory. It should also allow for low-latency, lossless audio, which is ideal for competitive gamers who value sound quality as well as accuracy. Sony is also bundling the USB receiver in with both devices if you'd rather connect that way.

PlayStation Explore earbuds with charging case

(Image credit: Sony PlayStation)

Sony isn't limiting connectivity to just the PS5, as you'll be able to connect both of these new devices to your phone or tablet via Bluetooth. There also seems to be some versatility with wireless connectivity, as a demonstration involving the Explore buds being connected to the console via USB and a phone via Bluetooth showed someone receiving a phone call on the buds while using them to play God Of War Ragnarok at the same time. 

Finishing things off with storage and charging of the devices, both offer unique solutions. The Explore earbuds include a sliding magnetic cover to reveal the buds, which also click in magnetically to charge. The case itself has a USB-C connection on the rear for wired charging. The Pulse Elite, on the other hand, comes with a nifty storage hook that can not only be used to hang the headphones on when not in use but also wirelessly charge them. We have to give props to Sony here for this simple yet ingenious solution for never again having to deal with half-charged headphones for a long gaming session.

PlayStation Pulse Elite with charging hook

(Image credit: Sony PlayStation)

Now, the one thing that we aren't so excited about with these new earbuds and headphones is the price. Starting with the buds, they'll cost £199.99 / $199.99 (around AU$390), which is quite steep, although cheaper than Sony's flagship WF-1000XM5 noise cancelling buds. The Pulse Elite, on the other hand, will cost £149.99 / $149.99 (around AU$295), which is roughly £60 / $60 more than the standard Pulse 3D Wireless Headset. Availability hasn't been confirmed quite yet, but Sony usually launches PlayStation hardware around the holiday season, so look out for a potential November release.


Read our full PS5 review

As well as our Pulse 3D Wireless Headset review

Still can't decide? Let us help: PS5 vs Xbox Series X

Lewis Empson
Staff Writer

Lewis Empson is a Staff Writer on What Hi-Fi?. He was previously Gaming and Digital editor for Cardiff University's 'Quench Magazine', Lewis graduated in 2021 and has since worked on a selection of lifestyle magazines and regional newspapers. Outside of work, he enjoys gaming, gigs and regular cinema trips.