If you want to be truly immersed in virtual reality, it’s important to remember that audio plays just as important a role as visuals. A good set of headphones can make any experience more immersive and accentuate the 3D audio. To create a headset that fits with the PlayStation VR design, bionik has unveiled their first audio accessory that solves the issue of bulky headphones with a modular design that clips directly onto the VR headset. Dubbed the Mantis, these lightweight headphones are the first PlayStation VR accessory that I’ve fallen in love with.
The Mantis VR seamlessly integrates with the PlayStation VR headset, matching in both color and aesthetic. With its lightweight design, I’m in love with how perfectly these fit the PlayStation VR. Having jumped around between the stock earbuds to heavy Audio Technica cans, there wasn’t anything that felt like a perfect fit while having a headset strapped onto my face. Most solutions felt either too bulky or had wires that would get pulled around during high-intensity firefights. With the Mantis VR’s snap-on design, there’s finally a solution that melds beautifully with the $399 headset.
Setting up the Mantis VR was as simple as snapping each side onto the bare rails on the PlayStation VR headset. A little shifting to either side was necessary, although I found the headphones worked best when slid all the way back towards my ears. Once in place, the individual earcups can be adjusted vertically to accommodate for all head sizes.I would have liked the Mantis VR to have a lower point of contact initially, but by changing how I wore the PlayStation VR a little further down my forehead, it didn’t take long at all to find the perfect point of comfort. Once they’re installed and raised/lowered to your ideal height, the clips stay perfectly in place. The only adjustments that I had to make with mine were how low I wanted the earcups to rest against my ears.
Once the Mantis VR is installed, chances are you’ll never have to take them off again. If you’re suddenly feeling the mood to wear some earbuds, or perhaps want to keep one ear open to listen for pizza delivery to show up, the Mantis VR can be flipped outwards to expose your ears. It looks a little bit awkward for those watching the player but the function certainly outperforms the style. With the tension being somewhat light on the lighter side, I found it easy to drop the ear cup back into position just by quickly turning my head to one side. They’re not meant to be permanently outward facing, but I would’ve liked a little bit stiffer solution if you’re actively trying to keep one ear open.
The Mantis VR from bionik doesn’t try to be anything but a lightweight addition to the PlayStation VR that can boast surprising clarity in such a small package. When the headphones are attached, you might not even realize they’re on your ears until the volume kicks in. These aren’t headphones that cup your ears and block all manner of outside distractions as you’re playing. By making the slightest bit of contact against your ears, the Mantis VR doesn’t do much at all for noise isolation. If you’re playing Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, you want that opportunity to hear what’s going on and the Mantis VR will still make sure you can keep in contact with those around you.
When I was playing through my most recent PSVR review, Archangel, I mostly kept the left ear in place and had the right earphone flipped out so that I could keep a conversation going with my partner. The Mantis VR’s lack of noise cancellation made it possible to easily carry on a conversation while still being immersed in Virtual Reality, even with the earcup dropping back into position on more than one occasion.
I was surprised to hear such great acoustics come from such a tiny pair of headphones. With the Mantis headphones being on the smaller side of speakers than I’m accustomed to, 37mm in fact, I was a little hesitant to believe they could produce loud sound. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised. In the perfect audio environment, that is, playing horror games in the dark with no one at home, I was able to catch up on some Resident Evil 7 and hear every floorboard squeak and ambient noise in amazing clarity. The same could be said for much more active firefights in Archangel, when booming explosions and gunfire happen all around the player. There wasn’t a single situation in virtual reality where the Mantis headphones failed to excel far above and beyond Sony’s stock solution.
Bionik’s Mantis VR headset is a highly functional piece that is perfectly matched by its simple beauty. Unlike any other headphones that might be part of your collection, the Mantis serves but one purpose: to be the most comfortable accessory you can buy for the PlayStation VR.
Review unit provided by the manufacturer. You can buy it from Amazon.
The Mantis is a lightweight solution to PlayStation VR's biggest issue: comfortable audio that keeps the player immersed. With its clip-on design, the Mantis is going to be a permanent addition to my PlayStation VR.
- Matches the PSVR in both form and function
- Lightweight and comfortable for eyeglass wearers
- Great acoustics in a small package
- Clip-on design prevents the Mantis from being used standalone or with other devices
- Headphones don't always stay flipped up when needed
- Little to no noise isolation, so performance takes a hit during noisy group sessions