Review – Tritton Kunai PS3 / PS Vita
+ Rich sound for on-ear headphones
+ Multiple configurations suit PS3 and PS Vita well
+ Solid build and sharp design
- Sound deteriorated at high volume on voice calls
- No remote volume control outside PS3 mode
- No bag or case
The Tritton Kunai headphones are a surprisingly well built, comfortable, adaptable offering into the $60 price range.
Tritton always takes pride and care in their packaging, and the Kunai is no different. Where some of their more extravagant offerings have come in packages that could hold a football helmet, the Kunai packaging is thin and to the point. The content box slides out of a matte sleeve with glossy accents, and one end reveals the design of the earcups. There is a rather impressive plastic locking mechanism that holds the headset in place and an insert for the quick installation guide. Once you pull the content box from the sleeve, the headset design is showcased well and easily accessible with the detachable microphone held securely in its molded place.
There is nothing about the Kunai that I could say represents anything but a high quality headset. The earcups are a tad on the smaller side and rectangular, creating a somewhat awkward sweet spot for where they feel best on your head. As someone who prefers circumaural headphones, I always struggle with any other design; but once the Kunai find their place, they sound and feel great.
There is a soft padded area at the top of the curve of the head support that helps the light headset fit snugly and comfortably for long periods of time. I wore it for four hours with one break (and a minute here and there to switch audio sources) testing it with PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 3, an iPhone, and a Macbook Pro. At no point did I feel any strain on my neck, but I did have to adjust the earcup placement a bit more than I would have liked. It’s not as bad as it sounds, but rather the nature of supra-aural headphones. The sides feature traditional sliding adjustment arms and the ear pieces fold 90 degrees inward, for what I can only assume is flat storage. There is no pouch or protector for these, which would have been a nice touch having been marketed for a portable gaming device.
The microphone is adjustable and detachable when not in use. It has a flexible metal arm and directional plastic receiver. When not in use, the port for the microphone is left open, which perhaps should have a rubber plug to keep out dust and maintain the streamlined design.
The Kunai comes with a 3′ attached cable with a 3.5mm plug. This configuration works for audio output with any device featured a 3.5mm port. The microphone works for PlayStation Vita and smart phones out of the box. For use with PlayStation 3, an additional cable is needed. A 3.5mm end affixes to the headset cable, an RCA audio passthrough connects to the TV, and a USB connects to the PS3 console. This configuration features a 14′ cord with ample length to reach most gaming thrones, couches, bean bags, or whatever else you may perch on while playing games. While connected to the PS3, you have a remote volume control for both output and input volumes. This would have been a game-changing feature if it were included in the 3.5mm configuration, giving you ultimate control over your user experience when playing Vita games on the go, or engaging in conversation on your phone. Instead there is no remote volume or mute option and that seems like a missed opportunity since the technology is already in the box.
The Tritton Kunai sound great. These could easily pass for $100 headphones based simply on the clear highs and rich lows. There is a bit of rumble in the ear pieces when the bass gets thick, but it is not nearly bad enough to irritate most people. When connected to the PS Vita, the Kunai gave me some of the richest sound I have heard on the device. I tested sound with Netflix video; the Music Unlimited service with songs by Muse, Mos Def, and Miles Davis; and the audio-centric game Sound Shapes. Each sounded rich and full and impressive for the $50-$60 price family in which the Kunai lives. The only sound issue I had at all came at high volume when used as a phone headset. At moderate volume, the quality was fine, but at 70%+ the sound became garbled and caused the 40mm speakers to sound like they were blowing out. This issue only arose in this configuration, and testing with higher volume on PS Vita, PlayStation 3, and even on my laptop, the speakers held up through tolerable volume levels.
The microphone tested well on PlayStation Vita, PS3, and on the Macbook and iPhone as well. There was no noise-canceling that I could detect, but the sound was fine and even tolerable amidst substantial background noise. There was little to no echo when used for gaming, and the sound was as clear and discernable as with any other comparable headset.
The Kunai we reviewed were white with a black stripe from ear to ear over the head support. The Kunai name as well as the Tritton graphic and textual logos are in silver, and really pop against the glossy white frame. In this specific model, there is little to no color to be found, but the Kunai has two other color options in red with black and black with silver. Despite their smaller size, these headphones share the same strong, boxy Tritton design that features aggressive angles and a slightly masculine look.
Considering the Kunai works with both PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita, as well as serving as a fully functional headset for other standard devices, you definitely get your money’s worth at the $50-$60 level. The rich sound, solid build, and stylish design all display a quality and reliability that you would be hard pressed to match for much less.