Afterglow Kral PS4 Wireless Headset - Hardware Review

To put it bluntly, this headset is great overall. I have a hate/hate relationship with headphone and headset cables, so being able to cut the wire so to speak is awesome from my standpoint. My personal headphones are a medium range Hesh that get the job done, but far too often I have found myself damaging the cables (even when replacing them with the proprietary ones). I have had issues with cables on wired console headsets as well (though they do tend to last longer because I am sitting for the most part and not walking about the house or outside like I am with my Hesh headphones).
That is not to say you cannot have a cable with the Kral headset. There is an axillary input which is great if you have a device like an iPad, iPhone or MP3 player you want to listen to. They can also work with a 3DS or a Vita, so the versatility is there with the Kral.Just above the Line in as a small dial for increasing or decreasing the audio volume on the headset itself.

The get the most out of what this headset has to offer however, you will want to ditch the cable for the dongle. Unlike a more complicated wireless setup using a stand or base of some sort, the Kral uses a plug and play dongle on the PlayStation 4 or a PC. Not having any sort of a charge station means you need to plug the headset into a USB input (PC, game console, phone charger, whatever) in order to charge it between sessions. The charge seems to hold for about a dozen hours, so marathon sessions with these on is absolutely an option. I tried it out on a Windows 7 and Windows 8 machine and it installed flawlessly. The same could be said of the PlayStation 4, which then allowed me to listen and talk wirelessly.
The only disappointment I had with the USB is it does not play nice with Macbook. Because my sister's Macbook Air did not immediately pick up the USB and make it the default device, we had to do a bit of digging through the system settings and change over which device was the audio default. Not terribly hard, but it was a bit more tedious than setting up on my Windows machines. Perfect for her when she is using her laptop as a music station and doing chores - allowing her to work wire-free.

The range on the wireless was also very impressive. PDP suggests that this headset can work up to a hundred feet, and my tests confirm that to be the case as I was able to go into other room, the other end of the house or even upstairs with distortion only occurring at the further corners of the house. Not something you would do if you were playing a video game, but as I mentioned before with my sister's laptop - handy if you are trying to use an iPad or some other machine as a music server and you just want to move around the house freely.
There are a pair of settings that can toggle between their standard audio mode and enhanced bass. Here is where the headphone performance varied wildly. The basic audio sounded quite good. The lowers had some appropriate rumble while the highs generally held up pretty well - though it feels like the lower range is better represented. This point is emphasized by the dubious mode button that lets you switch between the default 'Pure Audio' and 'Bass Boost' setting. The problem with the base boost is that it can distort the audio very badly. I realize it was meant to help emphasize explosions, rocket thrusters and gun fire, but the cost to the rest of the audio experience is too high. Thankfully the bass boost is an option, and one that I personally will not be using since the Pure Audio sounds so good anyway.

The headset itself is of fairly large design. I would not go so far as to call them bulky, but they are heavier than a few of my other headsets. The adjustable padded band and incredibly soft padding around the ears cup comfortably to the head. I was surprised that I did not experience any 'fatigue' after hours of use, so despite their heft, the Kral proved to be a comfortable headset. In part this is probably due to the incredibly soft and comfortable ear padding. These things are perhaps not quite as thick and fluffy as the almost ridiculously cushioned Siberia Elites by SteelSeries, but they are comfortable all the same.

The biggest differentiator between a headset and headphones however, is the microphone. Similar to other Afterglow products, the microphone retracts into the left can with an option to pull out and angle the neck. It is noise cancelling, which comes in handy. None of my friends during multiplayer sessions indicated they had any trouble hearing me. The light on the microphone is handy for telling if it is muted or not, though I get less mileage out of the brightly lit cans themselves. Thankfully the lights are not so bright as to be distracting, but really it is hard to appreciate how cool they look when they are on your head. I am using them to play a game, not standing in front of a mirror, so the effect is lost on the wearer.

Wireless headsets and headphones can sometimes be a tricky lot, because quite often the sound quality is compromised when compared to being wired up. Comparing the audio with both the 3.5mm wire and relying on the wireless yielded very similar and good results. Unfortunately the bass boost button cannot be recommended due to distortion, but since it is optional it is hardly a deal breaker. The convenience of sound via a plug and play dongle trump a few of the other smaller inconveniences such as the weight to provide a solid offering the Afterglow Kral PS4 Wireless Headset provides for PS4 and computer owners looking to free themselves from wires.

Review by Chris

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