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PlayStation Pulse Explore Review

PlayStation Pulse Explore Wireless Earbuds Review – Seamless Connectivity And Clear Audio

A great match for the PS5

I’ve been hugely excited for the PlayStation Pulse Explore wireless earbuds since they were announced a few months ago. As a full-time glasses wearer, I’m a big fan of in-ear headphones and with PS5 consoles not allowing Bluetooth connectivity for game audio, I’ve been waiting a long time for an official set of PlayStation earbuds to arrive.

Just before I get into this review, it’d be amiss to not mention the Sony INZONE Buds which released also released this week as well, but have some key differences. There will be some comparisons made to the Sony INZONE Buds made in this review, but you can read the full review for those HERE as well as comparison between both sets of earbuds HERE.

PlayStation Pulse Explore Review

From a design point of view the Pulse Explore buds are quite different both in their case design and also the buds design. Rather than flip open like every other set of wireless earbuds that I can recall using, PlayStation have incorporated a sliding design which is actually super nice. Whilst it’s a little bit chunkier than most other earbuds cases, it means that they don’t fly out if you drop the case and is super satisfying when you slide them open or snap them shut. They compliment the PS5 design down to the glowing LED that lets you know how much charge both the case and the buds have.

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The buds themselves are also super unique in design. They are quite a lot larger than any other bud that I can remember using in recent years, due to the buds using planar magnetic drivers (we’ll talk about these more later) which require a larger surface area to deliver their sound. They sit in the ear quite nicely although I can see them maybe being a bit uncomfortable (at least at first) for some people.

PlayStation Pulse Explore Buds

They’re also quite top heavy with that iconic PlayStation logo sticking out, but I quite like the bold look and they’re inoffensive with the black and white design. There’s six extra tips included in the box so hopefully most should be able to find a comfortable fit.

PlayStation Pulse Explore Review

On the actual earbuds you’ve got volume buttons on the top, which both perform the same action on either side, controlling either the audio coming from your PS5/PC. There’s also a PlayStation Link button on the bottom of the earbuds. Without doubt, PlayStation Link is one of the best parts of these earbuds. It’s a USB-A dongle (a little bit of a shame) that plugs into either your PS5 or PC/Mac and instantly connects every time you put the earbuds in. The idea is that you can buy multiple (see here) to quickly go between devices and your PlayStation Portal will also have PlayStation Link built in for connectivity. I’m a little bit surprised the PS5 Slim also doesn’t have this functionality built-in especially given it dropped the USB-A port off the front.

PlayStation Link

The Pulse Explore earbuds also have dual connectivity with Bluetooth so that you can connect your phone whilst you game, and I was super impressed with the instant connectivity every time I put the earbuds in even when my PS5 was on. Without fail every single time my iPhone would connect straight to the buds just as quick if not quicker than even my AirPods do.

PlayStation Pulse Explore Review

I did have a few random disconnections where one of my earbuds would disconnect and re-connect to my PS5 for a brief moment but they were few and far between and rectified itself quickly. You also can’t control your phone with the volume buttons, answer a call or play/pause a song. and it’s a little bit disappointing that whilst both earbuds feature volume up/down buttons, you can’t assign them to anything such as adjusting your game/chat volume.

Across the board coming from the Sony INZONE Buds, there is a lack of customisation. Where the INZONE Buds allow you to change what each button does and really take control of the earbuds as well as play with EQ settings, there is none of that here, and I kind of understand why. The INZONE Buds are aimed at hardcore gamers, whilst the Pulse Explore buds just work with the PS5 as intended.

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PlayStation Pulse Explore Review

The audio quality in the Pulse Explore buds is among the best that I’ve heard. They utilise planar magnetic drivers which normally are only found on high-end headsets, and they provide extremely crisp audio with huge clarity that is hard to describe, but going back and forth between the INZONE buds and the Pulse Explore buds really painted the picture of how good these sound. I was hearing things in games such as Horizon Forbidden West and Marvel’s Spider-Man that I hadn’t heard before even with my Dolby Atmos Sonos setup.  I did find that it was maybe on the quieter side when connected to my PS5, but I’m not sure if that’s due to the planar magnetic drivers or not, and do hope it’s rectified somehow.

For music, they’re going to have mixed results for people. They don’t have a lot of bass (which is generally hard to get in headsets with planar magnetic drivers). It seems more than fine for gaming, but going between my AirPods Pro and Pulse Explore, there was a noticeable difference with music. It’s not even close to being bad, so if you wanted to use them for everyday use, you absolutely will be able to. It’s also worth mentioning that there is no active noise cancelling, which isn’t the end of the world given in-ears do a fairly decent job, but I could definitely still hear my sausage dogs barking whilst gaming.

@shannongrixti

The PlayStation Pulse Explore wireless earbuds connect to your PS5 using new PlayStation Link technology and your mobile using Bluetooth #PS5 #PlayStationPulseExplore #PulseExplore #sonyplaystationpulseexplorebuds #PlayStation5 #PlayStation #ps5earbuds

♬ original sound – Shannon Grixti | Gaming & Tech

The microphone on other hand is really damn good for earbuds, which usually have notoriously bad microphones. PlayStation says that the mic utilises AI noise cancelling and I have to believe it as there was a real clarity to my voice. Comparing to a voice note I’d sent a friend using the INZONE Buds, it was literally night and day. Again, it’s not as good as high-end over-ear headphones with a good quality boom arm, but most people would struggle to tell the difference unless asked.

PlayStation Pulse Explore VS Sony INZONE Buds

The battery life in the Pulse Explore earbuds are decent. The actual buds themselves last 5 hours, then you get another 10 hours using the case which can fast-charge them. It’s a little bit behind the INZONE Buds which have 12/24 hours of battery life, but in reality, it’s more than enough.

The big question that most people will be coming to this review for, is whether you should purchase the Pulse Explore or Sony INZONE Buds. If you’re buying a PlayStation Portal, then that question has been answered for you as only the Pulse Explore buds will work with them. If you’re somebody that wants a really great pair of wireless in-ear buds that pair perfectly with your PS5 both in design and function with minimal fuss as well as super crisp high-quality audio then these are absolutely for you. If you’re wanting more advanced features like EQ and control customisation and active noise cancelling, then maybe look into the INZONE Buds whilst they’re at $250.

PlayStation Pulse Explore Review
CONCLUSION
The PlayStation Pulse Explore wireless earbuds are a perfect match for PS5 owners who want great sounding audio, a design that compliments their consoles and seamless connectivity.
Loved
Design Perfectly Compliments The PS5
Great Sounding Audio
Solid Microphone
PlayStation Link Provides Quick Connection
Dual Bluetooth Connectivity Is A Winner
Didn't Love
Fit Won't Be For Everyone
No Active Noise Cancelling Is A Bummer
The Cheapest Price