When looking online for headsets you’re usually flooded with options and a range of incomprehensible user reviews or samey tech descriptions lazily copied from the manufacturer’s PR sheet. Well we thought it was about time to try out a few and give you an in-depth opinion.
With the free bundled headset with the PS4 offering terrible mic quality, I looked towards some third-party manufacturers to do better. So today, I’m reviewing three different PS4 headsets from Orb Accessories including the Wired Chat, the Elite Chat and the GP3.
Orb Wired Chat Headset
Average Price £9.99 – Available at time of writing for £6.38 via GameSeek (use code CELEBRATE for free delivery)
First up in my Orb review trilogy is the one simply listed as Orb Wired chat Headset (PS4). This is the entry model in the series and can be found online for between £7.50 and £10. It’s the lightest headset of the three, weighing in at around 50g.
The lightweight adjustable frame sits comfortably on your head with an adjustable mic arm rotating the boom mic to whichever angle you please. This is primarily designed to be worn with the earpiece on the left, but thanks to the bendable hardwire casing on the mic you can wear it on the other side too. The soft foam padding on the earpiece is extremely comfortable and lightweight, which is especially appealing if you feel like larger earpieces are a bit ‘sweaty’. The earpiece volume can be adjusted via a dial on a lightweight block on the cable.
The headset plugs directly into your DualShock 4 controller via the 3.5mm jack. Through the device settings (hold the PS button on the controller), you can ask for game and chat audio to be played through the earpiece, or you can just opt for chat audio.
Gameplay audio is of a decent quality and while lacking the bass boom of the other headsets in the Orb range, it doesn’t sound tinny, making it a viable option for late night gaming if you don’t want Battlefield 4 waking up the rest of the house. You can hear what’s going on around you more with this earpiece compared to other headsets that cover your whole ear, but that’s not always a bad thing if you need to be aware of the doorbell or the phone ringing.
Mic quality is excellent. I asked a few people online how I sounded and they said they could hear me clearly. Better yet, I was able to try it for myself by recording a commentary with the PS4’s share button. Check out the video below to hear how it sounds. I talk more about the game than the mic, but you can get an idea of the quality.
All said and done, this headset offers terrific value for money and is an excellent place to start if you’re looking to get into chatting online more or recording commentaries for your saved videos.
Note: You can also use this on your PS Vita.
Orb Elite Chat Headset
Average Price £15.99 – Available at time of writing for £11.93 at GameSeek (use code CELEBRATE for free delivery)
As you can see in the picture, Orb’s Elite Chat Headset comes with a bigger earpiece and a thicker extendable headband. The hardwire casing on the boom mic’s arms is a bit thicker too. These extras bring the weight up to around 150g, which still feels remarkably light, but without feeling cheap.
With the mic on the cheaper version already offering great quality, the main difference here is that larger earpiece. The thick padding is finely stitched together with the soft faux-leather finish. Thanks to the adjustable headset frame, you can get it to sit lightly on your ear to avoid it getting too warm. The other side of the headset is padded with a layer of sponge for a comfortable fit. You can opt to wear the headset on either side without bending the boom mic around as it has better rotational range than the Orb’s cheaper model reviewed above. As before, the headset plugs directly into the DualShock’s 3.5mm socket and has the same volume adjusters and mic-muting switch as the cheaper set.
When chatting, the audio volume is much less susceptible to outside sound around you as the earpiece is designed to insulate sound more than the cheaper model. The main difference though is how your game audio sounds, as there’s clearly a significant bass boost as well as a louder top volume. If you’re going to be playing games late into the night, this offers great audio from the one headset and there’s minimal sound leakage for anyone nearby.
Note: This headset also works with your PS Vita.
Orb GP3 Gaming Headset
Average Price £29.99 – Available at time of writing for £28.70 at GameSeek (use code CELEBRATE for free delivery)
There’s quite a jump in price here compared to the two previous models, but with this headset you have the added benefit of two earpieces instead of one, which brings the weight up to 260g (still, not a lot). Let’s get straight into the audio then. The addition of a second can does wonders for the in-game audio and they do a great job of keeping noise out too, allowing you to revel into every shot and explosion with a booming resonance. There’s a stylish blue light on the left earpiece too, which is really handy for not sitting on them in the dark when you return from grabbing a late night beer from the fridge.
Featuring the same mic design as the Elite model, the mic can be worn on either side and the audio quality output is excellent too. Talking for commentaries can take a bit of getting used too with this headset as you are more aware of your own voice when both ears are covered. It was off-putting at first, but by the end of recording my first commentary video (see below), I’d forgotten all about it.
Unlike the last two headsets, these are not powered by the PS4’s controller. Actually, the wired setup is a bit of a hassle in comparison to setup –admittedly, I’m easily annoyed by cables. The GP3 is powered by a long USB lead plugged into your PS4 and a 3.5mm jack splits off this to go into your controller as well. Then another splitter closer to the PS4 end of the cable has another 3.5mm jack going into the headphone socket on your TV. If you don’t have a headphone socket, there’s an adaptor to plug the wire into the red/white phono sockets round the back of your TV. Handily these phono adapter heads are open-ended, allowing you to leave any existing phono wires (for your stereo maybe) plugged in.
The extensive cabling will comfortably stretch across at least 7 foot of floor space and there’s a USB extender cable included too if you’re gaming at a freakishly large distance from your TV. As a little tip, if you can hear a bit of background noise during quieter scenes, you can tune it out by adjusting the chat/game dials on the headset controls without losing game audio volume.
The GP3 model is a conflict of pros and cons to be honest. The sound for voice chat is crisp and clear and the game audio options offer an immersive quality that beats Orb’s other headsets. But the excessive amount of wires and splitters can be exhausting. It seems odd that you still have to plug something into the controller instead of just the PS4. That said, having a headset that doesn’t siphon off your controller’s battery is a welcome change.
Note: The GP3 is compatible with the Ps Vita, but you’ll need to have the USB end plugged into a laptop or a mains plug adapter.
Never bought a headset before, and just want to try out a decent model before splashing some serious cash? Then the Orb Wired Headset is the one for you as it’s readily available for under £10 and offers excellent mic quality and a quality earpiece that doesn’t isolate you from your surroundings. Trust me; this is the way to go rather than buying some crap from Hong Kong on eBay.
If you’re after a little more oomph from your in-game audio then you’ll want to check out the Elite Chat Headset as its earpiece has a lot more kick to it and for only an extra £5 on average. The mic positioning is better than the cheaper model too. Out of the three headsets, this is the one I’d go for and is the best value for your money.
The extra earpiece makes the GP3 Gaming Headset a tempting proposition for those of you wanting to really lose yourself in a game’s audio. This headset is especially useful for those of you gaming at night when other folks in the house are asleep. As with the other orb mics, the quality is excellent. The insane amount of cabling is somewhat off-putting, but at least you don’t have to worry about the headset draining the battery of the PS4 controller.