Stepping into another world is a part of the awesome glory of enjoying a game in VR. If you don't have a decent pair of earbuds, or headphones though, you won't really be able to truly immerse yourself in the experience. I've been using the earbuds that originally came with my PlayStation VR since I picked it up in October, but the truth is that I hate earbuds. Finding a pair of wired headphones that fit comfortably just hasn't been happening for playing in VR, so of course, I was curious about Bionik's Mantis headphones.
These bad boys clip directly onto the PlayStation VR headset, deliver excellent sound, and are a solid alternative. I spent some time with them, and I've got everything you want to know right here!
They clip onto your PlayStation VR headset
Clipping your headphones onto your PlayStation VR helmet sounds kind of crazy, if only because most headphones are connected to a band over the top of your head. That's where Mantis headphones rapidly diverge from the norm to deliver an awesome experience that is essentially unnoticeable when you're actually in VR. The two clips are only connected by a wire which leads to a 3.5mm headphone jack which plugs directly into the headset.
They're made with a combination white and black plastic which means once you've clipped them onto the side of your headset they don't look clunky or out of place. More importantly, they aren't distracting, and won't get in your way. Each side is adjustable and you can move them so that the headphones themselves sit where you want them. The design also makes this easy to do even after you've put on your PlayStation VR headset, so adjusting mid-game is simple and easy.
Great sound from a small package
Of course, the important part here is the sound that Mantis delivers, and it's fantastic. I got big, positional sound, that easily immersed me in the experience. Not having to worry about having an earbud try to fall out when I'm shooting things in Farpoint made a big difference. Having headphones instead of earbuds also meant that I could hear more of what was going on in the room around me. Since I have a dog and roommates this made it easier to know what was going on while I was in VR.
I know that for some people that drop in immersion is a bad time, but depending on where the headphones are resting against your ears you'll be able to hear more or less of what is going on around you. After an incident involving a horror game and my dog investigating my panicked yells, I just prefer being able to hear some of what is going on around me. Either way, with the volume racked up, and the headphones adjusted right, you can easily fall into your game of choice and leave the real world behind you.
One of the only issues I ran into with the Mantis headphones was after I had attached them to the helmet, and attempted to put it on. The headphones clip on in such a way that between the wire that attaches to your PlayStation VR, and the added complication of where the headphones sat made things really awkward. I chocked it up to the fact that I've never had to think when jumping into PlayStation VR.
I managed to alleviate this a little bit by adjusting where the headphones sat, and by readjusting them properly once I had put on my headset. This was honestly the only even slightly bad experience I had with these headphones and at best it was slightly aggravating.
An awesome alternative to ear buds
I've never been a big fan of earbuds for a variety of reasons, but I had basically resigned myself to it with PlayStation VR. Bionik's Mantis headphones deliver a great sound, stay out of the way once you're in VR, and are easily adjustable. At $49.99 they're a decent investment, and still cheaper than most other gaming headsets. That means that if you've been hoping for a solid alternative to the earbuds that came with PlayStation VR, or you've been unimpressed with other offerings, these might be the headphones you've been hoping for.