Panasonic GN01 SoundSlayer Review
A gaming speaker that looks like a travel pillow
The Panasonic GN01 SoundSlayer is a gaming speaker with an unconventional design, wrapping around your shoulders instead of your head or TV stand. Offering underwhelming audio and very few real-life use cases, we’re reluctant to recommend this over any similarly priced gaming headset.
- Won’t press into your head like a headset
- Decent audio quality
- Can’t compete with audio quality of gaming headsets
- Everyone can hear what you’re listening to
- Long hair will become caught
- UKRRP: £159.99
- USARRP: $197.98
- Industry-first designThis is the industry’s first neck-type, four-channel speaker
- Comes with USB-A and 3.5mm audio jack supportYou can use the Panasonic GN01 SoundSlayer on PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and S and Nintendo Switch
The Panasonic GN01 SoundSlayer is an interesting device. Technically, it isn’t a headset, as it’s designed to rest on your shoulders instead of your head. It’s advertised as a wearable gaming speaker system – and it’s the first of its kind, according to Panasonic.
With a name such as SoundSlayer, you’d expect this speaker system to be laden with features, but once you get past the bizarre design, you’ll find that there isn’t much to say here.
I’ve spent about three weeks listening to music, watching TV and playing games with the Panasonic GN01 SoundSlayer, so here are my thoughts.
- Designed to wear around your neck
- Won’t press into your head like a headset
- Can connect to devices
The SoundSlayer’s design is definitely interesting, as it sits around your neck (very reminiscent of those neck pillows on long flights) while pumping out music and in-game sound effects.
Yet personally, I remain somewhat confused over Panasonic’s thinking, because I can’t think of many scenarios in which such a design would prove beneficial over a gaming headset or soundbar.
However, ignoring the fact that it does move around a little as you game, the SoundSlayer is comfortable to wear for long periods of time, which is something that can be an issue with headsets. I’d say that the the SoundSlayer could be a great solution for anyone who struggles with sensory issues – feeling like they can’t wear anything on or over their head for long periods of time.
And as someone with minor hearing issues, I did enjoy being able to hear the audio clearly without it shooting directly into my ears, so could be a solid choice if you’re concerned about damaging your eardrums with all the bass that bigger headsets can emit.
But the SoundSlayer isn’t an ideal choice for anyone with long hair; my shoulder-length hair frequently became caught, impeding the audio. Now, my hair is a bit shorter and the experience is improved, so I’d either ensure you’re rocking a short cut, or keep long hair tied back in a ponytail.
There are a few buttons on each side of the SoundSlayer that are easy to use and access. On the left, you’ll find the mute mic and sound button, as well as the 3.5mm audio jack port. On the right sit volume buttons and the mute button.
In terms of connectivity, the SoundSlayer has an undetachable USB-A cable, while you can also attach it to the likes of your game controller with the an AUX cable. This means you can use the SoundSlayer with practically any game console, handheld device or PC, although there’s sadly no option for wireless connectivity.
- Three gaming sound modes onboard
- Voice mode makes it easier to hear friends
- No high-end features such as Dolby Atmos
The Panasonic GN01 SoundSlayer has three different audio gaming modes: FPS, RPG and Voice, with the latter useful for chatting with friends.
I used all three modes while reviewing the SoundSlayer, and I am remiss to say that they didn’t sound all too different. I played Call of Duty: Vanguard using the FPS mode, but I didn’t feel it really elevated the game. The audio was slightly more focused on gunfire and explosions compared to the Voice and RPG modes, but the experience was pretty much the same.
The experience in RPG mode wasn’t much different, either. I played Animal Crossing: New Horizons, as well as Deathloop on PS5, and both sounded good; but it didn’t feel like tailored audio.
Voice mode made the biggest impact out of the trio, as it better distinguished my voice from the games audio when it was on, making it easier to chat with friends.
There are a couple of other modes: Music, Cinema and Stereo. However, just as was the case with the gaming modes, it’s a struggle to determine the difference – to the point where I stopped cycling through each time I watched TV or listened to a new album, as I felt that my experience was exactly the same.
Sound and Microphone Quality
- Bass quality sounds a little flat
- 3D sound is poor compared to most headsets
- Integrated microphone performs reasonably well
The Panasonic GN01 SoundSlayer offers decent audio quality, but I can’t help but think you’ll get better quality by spending the same amount of money on a gaming headset.
The base sound is fine, albeit a little flat. Trying to locate my enemies through sound proved almost fruitless when playing Call of Duty: Vanguard and Deathloop through the SoundSlayer. This is especially frustrating when headsets such as the Razer Kraken V3 HyperSense are excellent in this regard, while still being cheaper.
Panasonic has played up the SoundSlayer’s 4-channel surround speaker in marketing, but it unfortunately does not offer the same immersive sound experience you’ll find with similarly priced headsets.
Overall, it was even, with no one speaker overpowering the rest. You will have to make sure your head is facing straight-on, though, as whenever I leant to the side or stretched my neck backwards, I’d get an earful of one speaker.
In terms of music, the SoundSlayer doesn’t offer punchy bass, not any separation of vocals, but it delivers a pretty natural and enjoyable experience. The same can be said for watching TV – it didn’t add anything special, but neither did it sound awful.
The SoundSlayer’s microphone works fairly well when you’re looking directly ahead, but if I moved my head and spoke while looking to the side, the microphone either cut out or my voice became too tinny to be recognisable. The echo-cancelling microphones should also prevent that horrible noise from occurring when two devices are placed too closely during a call.
This may sound obvious, but it’s also worth remembering that the SoundSlayer doesn’t offer a private listening experience. You could hear the audio from my games and music up to 20ft away, which is something to keep in mind if you don’t want to disturb others. Obviously, this rules out the SoundSlayer when you’re in public – which is a little annoying if you’re looking to game on the commute.
Should you buy it?
If you can’t wear a standard headset:
The SoundSlayer allows you to have audio up-close without it going directly into your ears, which might be more comfortable for some people.
You want quality audio without breaking the bank:
There are multiple headsets and speakers that offer immensely better audio and features for less than the SoundSlayer.
The Panasonic GN01 SoundSlayer wearable gaming speaker has some potential, since it could be a great solution for those who suffer comfort issues with standard headsets. However, at this price and the quality of audio on offer, I’d recommend investing in a gaming headset, or even a speaker, ahead of the SoundSlayer.
How we test
We use every device we test for at least a week. During that time, we’ll check it for ease of use and put it through its paces by using it in a variety of games, as well as playing music in order to get the full experience.
We also check each headset’s software (if applicable) to see how easy it is to customise and set up.
Used as main gaming headset for at least a week.
Use with multiple games to test audio.
Also test the audio with music playback.
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Yes, the Panasonic GN01 SoundSlayer is compatible with the Nintendo Switch.
Pansonic quotes a ‘surround sound experience’, although it isn’t the same surround sound you’d get from speakers or a headset.