My first foray into virtual reality was with the Playstation VR for the PlayStation 4. Although technically it lags behind that of the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive, it’s ease of use and compatibility with the PlayStation 4 (something I already owned) made it the right VR headset for me.
When I reviewed the Playstation VR back in 2016 I mentioned that I really didn’t care for the included earbuds. For one thing, they’re uncomfortable and secondly the quality is terrible. Now a year into the Playstation VR's we have a new option for audio and our Playstation VR and it comes from video game accessory maker Bionik. They’ve just released an on-ear headphone that’s specifically built for the PlayStation VR headset and I had the chance to put the headphones through its paces.
If you’ve never played a game in VR you might not realize how important audio is. Right after having a solid framerate that won’t make you lose your lunch, a good audio system is paramount for having a great VR experience. The Bionik Mantis is a solution that is built to work with your Playstation VR headset and it’s apparent right from the start. If I didn’t know any better I would have thought the design was made by Sony and not a third party. This is a headset that when you show to friends they’ll immediately think this comes with all Playstation VR headsets.
The headphones are an on the ear design that clips right onto the side of the PlayStation VR headset. It took me longer to the get headphones out of the box (not sarcasm, the headphones are hard to get out of the box) then it did for me to clip the headset onto the side of the headset and plug it in. It’s a really intuitive design that allows the headphones to slide up and down and also expand out if necessary. I want to reiterate both how easy it is to setup but even more importantly how much the headset feels like it was designed by Sony to be a part of the PlayStation VR headset.
With the headphones attached and the cord plugged in, it was time to give the Bionik Mantis Headphones a whirl. My initial impressions were extremely positive. There’s no doubt that the Mantis is a giant step forward from the included PlayStation VR earbuds. The sound has a nice deep crisp sound to it with pretty good bass for the price. I tested the headset with a wide range of available PlayStation VR games and found that it performed really well.
There were only two real problems I had with the Mantis headphones. First is that they chose to make it an on-ear headset versus doing an over-the-ear. This is more of a personal preference, but I just find over-the-ear more comfortable then on-the-ear. Although that may have caused more problems with perspiration I already have to clean my Playstation VR pretty regularly, having to clean an attached headset wouldn’t be that big of a deal. The second gripe is that the headset doesn’t perform all that well at higher volumes, there can be a lot of distortion. That’s not a huge deal given I like to be able to hear a little of what’s going on around me while playing Playstation VR games but for those that like to play at high volumes it may be a problem.
I’ve been on the lookout to improve the audio of my Playstation VR experience and could not be more impressed with the Bionik Mantis headphones. Although the quality is not going to compete with a top-tier gaming headphones (it also isn't priced too), its ease of use and beautiful design make up for that in a big way. I attached this headset a couple of weeks ago to my Playstation VR and don’t plan on taking them off anytime soon.
I'm the Owner & Editor in Chief of Darkstation.com. After spending seven years as the reviews editor I took over the site in 2010. The rest is history. Now I work with our amazing staff to bring you the best possible video game coverage. Oh and I really like sports games.