Hands-On Preview With The First Ever Wii U Headset (Works With Wii AND Is Wireless!)

We had the opportunity to visit the PDP booth at E3 2012 in Los Angeles and got to have our first ever hands-on with a new wireless headset that supports voice chat on Wii and Wii U. Taking a look at the video below we chat with PDP Team Leader/Sr. Director of Product Management Ozhan Karacal about the details and features of the new headset:

As you can see, the AfterGlow 2.0 headsets are beasts. PDP has taken great care in making sure that their first foray into the music/gaming headset market will leave an impression. To overview, here is a list of the main features:

-Powered by the latest Avnera® wireless solution, the leader in Hi-Definition Wireless Audio Connectivity, providing a constant and clear connection to your game audio.

- Boasts wireless connectivity with all gaming platforms. Includes wire connection for PCs, music players, and smart phones.

-Comes pre-paired with transmitter.

-40ft. wireless range.

-Miniaturized transmitter to eliminate clutter.

-Lithium Polymer Battery provides 10 hours of active gaming on a single charge. Play and Charge cable included.

-50mm Neodymium® Drivers

-Professionally-tuned mechanical and electronic components designed for depth, richness and clarity of sound by leading Hollywood sound studio.

-Three digital audio modes: Raw Audio, Bass Boost, and 3D Cinema Surround.

-Retractable noise canceling microphone with active-listening LED indicator and microphone monitoring to ensure effective communication.

-Dual-suspension headband design eliminates lateral pressure on ears, allowing hours of comfortable gaming.

-Feather-light headband lined with soft Alcattara® cloth.

-Anatomically contoured protein-enriched ear pads.

-Smart connect technology allows Afterglow® to work with any platform without adjusting buttons or switches.

-All gaming controls conveniently located on the left ear cup for easy access.

MSRP: $89.95

              Available: September 2012

We also had the privilege to speak with Gerry Block who is a National Accounts Manager and who also used to be a product manager at PDP as well. Gerry explained to us that these headsets are 100% compatible with the Wii U and will  have the same built-in drivers that PDP themselves had programmed for the original Wii Headbanger headsets that debuted a couple of years ago. Gerry also mentioned that their voice chat solution programming  is also the exact same code that is featured in Nintendo Wii and Wii U SDK’s for game developers for optimal performance. So after explaining what these cans can do, do they really deliver as described?

My first impression of the headset was a standard looking gaming headphones with LED’s everywhere. The aesthetics of the headset are very complimenting of their current AfterGlow line of controllers and accessories, so fans of the AfterGlow product line will feel at home with this new headset. After putting the headset on I was surprised at how comfortable they felt thanks to the Feather-light headband lined with soft Alcattara cloth for support. The first game I played was Uncharted 3 for the PS3 using the headset’s 3D proprietary audio algorithm or “green” mode which creates a larger virtual space to help with direction of characters/enemies in games. And I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised with the accuracy and effectiveness of the 3D space. While navigating the camera around Nathan Drake I had a very real sense of audio direction emitting from Nathan’s companions. This feature I feel is very important for competitive gamers, as any avid FPS veterans can attest to the vital importance of full 3D surround space in games to scope out enemies and to get audio clues as to where their next victim is.   The next game I played was the Metroid Prime Trilogy and it was pretty neat blasting away space pirates with wireless freedom.

Gerry and Ozhan both demonstrated the durability of the headset by twisting and pulling the unit in an unsettling fashion, but once released the unit was intact as if nothing had happened. Gerry mentioned that the headset is pretty much indestructible, so those worried about durability can be put at ease (my biggest gripe with the Beats Studios).

I unfortunately wasn’t able to test the headset with a music player as these are designed with gaming and music in mind, but Ozhan was kind enough to show me an audio rating chart when compared to Beats Studio headsets and a pair by Sennheiser. While looking at the chart he explained that the Beats for example have great bass but muddled highs and pitchy mids and that they designed the AfterGlows to be at least on par musically with headphones priced FAR higher.

As an owner of Razer Electras, Beats Studios and Corsiar HS1′s, I can honestly say that I was downright impressed with the build/audio quality of the headsets and the care that PDP took in manufacturing them. I have no reason for purchasing another headset, but PDP nailed so many things right with the AfterGlow 2.0 headset that these are the ultimate choice for any Wii or potential Wii U owner period. My only real gripe about the headset was the physical styling. While clear plastic and bright LED’s aren’t my thing any owner of multiple consoles would do themselves a service by owning a pair of PDP AfterGlow 2.0 headsets as these things are compatible with virtually any device that plays audio. I even go on record saying that these headphones were one of the best things I saw at E3 this year.

you can look for the PDP AfterGlow 2.0 Headsets this September and you can bet I’ll have an official review when I buy myself a pair. Check below for some official screenshots: