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Sony PSP Headset review: Sony PSP Headset

Sony PSP Headset

Jeff Bakalar
Jeff Bakalar Editor at Large
Jeff is CNET Editor at Large and a host for CNET video. He's regularly featured on CBS and CBSN. He founded the site's longest-running podcast, The 404 Show, which ran for 10 years. He's currently featured on Giant Bomb's Giant Beastcast podcast and has an unhealthy obsession with ice hockey and pinball.
3 min read

Editors' Note: Since this review was published, Sony has released an updated version of the PSP Headset that includes the extension cable in the package. Owners of the PSP 2000 looking to utilize that unit's Skype capability should get that headset (Sony model SCPH-98557) instead.


Sony PSP Headset

The Good

PSP stereo headset with microphone; allows for in-game and Skype chat sessions on your PSP; earclip design makes for comfortable, stable fit.

The Bad

Requires a separately sold remote control accessory for microphone functionality to work; open design doesn't shut out external noise.

The Bottom Line

The PSP Headset is a perfectly good set of bargain headphones, but why Sony didn't include the accessory needed to enable the microphone is beyond us.

As part of its January 2008 firmware update (version 3.90), the slim Sony PSP (PSP-2000) includes built-in support for Skype, the popular VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) service that allows cheap-to-free calls worldwide. (Because of its less capacious memory, the Skype feature isn't available on the original version of the PSP.) The only problem with the addition of this new feature is finding a PSP-compatible headphone and microphone combination. Sony offers its own branded version--dubbed simply "the PSP Headset"-- which can be found for $20 or less at most retailers.

Unfortunately, this is not all you need to get chatting using Skype. Believe it or not, microphone support only works if you have your headset plugged into the PSP Remote Control. The Remote Control accessory was bundled with the original version of the PSP when it was first released in March 2005, but not with the subsequent "PSP Core" package or any of the slim PSP versions currently on the market. To make things even more absurd, the Remote isn't sold separately--it's packaged with the Sony PSP Headphones with Remote Control (model PSP98551). So unless you own the Remote Control that was bundled with the launch PSP, you're going to have to shell out an additional $20 for the other headphone bundle to get the PSP Remote Control in order for the microphone to function. To add insult to injury, the Remote Control and its cable are white, while the PSP Headset is black. Not only did we find this quite confusing, but it's also downright unfair. We'll never understand why the PSP Headset was not designed to work on its own--it appears that all it needs is the additional prong found on the PSP Remote Control headphone jack. After prying into the situation a little further, it relieved us a bit to find that Sony indeed plans to release a combination of the two necessary accessories soon. This combo deal will also feature matching black wires. That being said, you may just want to wait for the release of this combo as it will just be the Headset and Remote Control bundled together.

The PSP Headset works fine, but you need to invest in the Remote Control cable (sold separately) for the microphone to work.

Frustration and confusion aside, when you have the Remote Control connected, the PSP Headset performs very well. We successfully held numerous Skype sessions and were told our voice quality was excellent. To be extra sure, we used the built-in Skype Test Call to hear for ourselves--and voice quality was very clear. Headphone sound quality was good, performing noticeably better than the bundled PSP-branded earbuds that come with the Remote Control accessory. This was the case for Skype calls in addition to video and game playback.

In terms of design, we first noticed that the headset did not have a headband. Instead, a single wire connects the two earpieces. While this is more of a preference issue, we felt the wire approach was actually quite comfortable--almost to the point where we didn't even notice we were wearing the headset. Additionally, the earpieces are covered in a soft foam accompanied by a retractable ear clamp, which added to overall comfort. The left earpiece is somewhat cluttered, with the headphone jack, connecting right earpiece wire, and microphone all protruding from it. The microphone extends about 3.5 inches from the earpiece and is completely adjustable. We found that having the microphone about a half inch off your face resulted in the best overall voice quality. That said, anyone used to in-ear earphones may find that the open design of the PSP headset lets in too much background noise from the outside world.

Confusing setup and caveats aside, the PSP Headset works well. We just hope that Sony reissues the product and throws in the necessary Remote Control cable needed to use the microphone sooner than later. In the meantime, be aware that this headset is just a pair of glorified headphones without the required Remote Control accessory.


Sony PSP Headset

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 5Performance 6
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