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PlayStation Pulse Explore vs Sony Inzone Buds: Which earbuds win?

In 2023, Sony released two pairs of competiting earbuds, within just two months of each other. It’s a rather odd situation brought about by the PC-focused Inzone peripheral range and PlayStation’s own Pulse set of headsets. We’ve fully reviewed the Pulse Explore and the Inzone Buds. Here’s how they compare.

When it was announced that Sony was going to be making a suite of new accessories, it was rather surprising that it wasn’t being done under the PlayStation banner. However, it became clear the new Inzone range had the aim of capturing some of the PC peripheral market too, with its headsets and monitors.

But, it immediately became clear that Inzone products also work quite well with the PS5, even if they lack the odd PS-friendly feature. As such, they oddly provide competition to Sony PlayStation’s own Pulse range of headsets. The Sony PlayStation Pulse Explore and Sony Inzone Buds are the newest gaming earbuds from both ranges and, after extensive testing in our reviews, we’ve picked out all the key differences.

Price and Availability

Both the Sony PlayStation Pulse Explore and the Sony Inzone Buds are available now, with the latter launching December 6th 2023 and the former hitting the shelves early on October 15th 2023.

Comparing the prices of these two products is complicated by differing cost depending on the region. The Inzone Buds are the cheaper set of earbuds in the UK, coming in at £179.99/$199.99. But, the price is the same in the US, with the PlayStation Pulse Explore earbuds will cost you £199.99/$199.99.

Design and Features

Despite, ultimately, coming from the same brand, these Sony earbuds look radically different. The Pulse Explore have a more unique look that fits in more with the PS5 design aesthetic while the Inzone Buds have more in common with the Sony WF range of audiophile earbuds.

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In our reviews, there was a clear winner in terms of a comfortable fit, with our reviewer Chris Smith referring to the Pulse Explore to them as “awkward” but also clarifying they do feel secure. By comparison, reviewer Reece Bithrey stated the Inzone Buds and its more traditional fit are “comfortable”.

Both sets of earbuds offer connectivity through Bluetooth or an included dongle. The difference here is that the Sony Inzone Buds feature a standard 2.4GHz USB-A dongle and Bluetooth connectivity. The Pulse Explore come with Sony’s new PlayStation Link dongle and Bluetooth. As such, both work well with the PS5 and PCs. Unfortunately, we found Bluetooth on both earbuds to come with some occassional connectivity choppiness but thankfully they offer the dongle for improved connections.

PlayStation Pulse Explore with PlayStation Link dongle
PlayStation Link with PlayStation Pulse Explore – Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Now, it actually isn’t the dongle that’s important here, but that it demonstrates the Pulse Explore feature the PlayStation Link technology, meaning it can work seamlessly (without a dongle) with the PlayStation Portal if you’ve got one. The Inzone Buds will not.

One big feature that comes with the Inzone Buds but the Pulse Explore misses out on, and its rather shocking given they have such similar price tags, and that’s active noise cancellation. The Inzone Buds feature excellent ANC, helping you to block out the rest of your environment while gaming or the world around you should you choose to use these away from your video game sessions too. The PlayStation buds offer no noise cancelling whatsoever.

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Then, there’s the battery life. It’s another wins for the Inzone Buds, offering up to 12 hours from a single charger on the earbuds. The Pulse Explore fall well short at around 7 hours.

Audio and Microphone

There may be quite a disaparity between these two sets of earbuds when it comes to design and features but that doesn’t transfer over quite as much to the sound and mic. Both of these earbuds providing satisfying 3D Audio/Spatial Audio capabilities for offering immersive sound in game and provide impressive audio quality overall. These are both great gaming earbuds for games.

PlayStation Pulse Explore in ear
PlayStation Pulse Explore – Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

However, both fail to offer the booming bass you can get from larger sets of headphones, likely down to their small form factor, meaning they aren’t as satisying for music use.

Both of our reviewers found the microphones to perform well. Sony touts AI-powered “noise rejection” for the Pulse Explore and the Inzone Buds, with our testers reporting crisp and clear pick up.


We gave both the PlayStation Pulse Explore and Sony Inzone Buds 4-star reviews but, when getting granular, it seems clear that the latter is the better option for the price. The Inzone Buds particularly shine in the UK where they are available for a lower cost.

It’s quite surprisingly that the Pulse Explore lack a modern feature like ANC despite the high price, especially when the Inzone Buds benefit from it so much. However, the Inzone Buds may be a better all-rounder, but the Pulse Explore may still be for you if you’re a PlayStation Portal owner.

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