Over the past week or so I have had the opportunity to put Tritton’s Kunai Stereo Headset for the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS through its paces. This was an interesting review for me to write given the fact that I have had the chance to review some of Tritton’s higher end surround sound headsets, including the Warhead 7.1 Surround Sound Headset and the Tritton Pro+ 5.1 Headset. The Kunai Headset is only a stereo headset and much cheaper then those I just mentioned. Well I have to say that I was somewhat impressed with the sound quality of the Kunai headset, and although it is not top of the line these headphones managed to do a pretty good job when paired up with the Wii U and/or 3DS.
If anyone has read our Tritton reviews in the past one thing is evident, any headphones that are made by them are packaged quite nicely and include everything you need to use in the box. Given that the Kunai Headset is a wired headset, and plugs into the Wii U GamePad or 3DS, the headphones only require a 3.5mm headphone jack and there is no need for adapters or batteries given the headset simply plugs in. The Kunai Headset was neatly packaged and I have to say that for a $50 (USD) set of headphones they look pretty good in the box. Take them out of the box and they continue to look just as good. The pair we were given to review were white in colour with black and grey highlights on it. The traditional Tritton symbol is emblazoned on the speaker cups in grey and a black stripe runs up the head strap. For an affordable set of headphones I have to say they look worth more then you will pay.
One thing I have always been impressed with when using any Tritton headset is the comfort, and the Kunai Headset is no different. From the foam padding around the speaker cups to the foam padding under the head strap, these headphones are fairly comfortable to wear for extended gaming sessions. Previous headsets from Tritton that I have reviewed have been over the ear; however, the Kunai headset is an on the ear design. The foam padding is soft enough that they never became bothersome during some extended playtime and I never found my ears sweating as I got involved in some intense gaming. Overall the Kunai headset is fairly comfortable, something I thought might be an issue given the affordable price and design.
I put the Kunai headset through its paces on both the Wii U and the 3DS. Upon setting up my Wii U, including downloading the software update, I had a chance to play Mario Bros. U, Nintendo Land, Rabbids Land, and tested out some movie viewing using Netflix. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised with the sound. The stereo separation was pretty good, and I was amazed that there was depth. When playing Mario Bros. U I noticed that all the neat effects, like walking on various surfaces and being in various areas (e.g. caves) all managed to highlight the nuances of the sound in this platform game. As for Nintendo Land and Rabbids Land, these too sounded fairly good and the light hearted sounds in each game came through loud and clear. I always get a kick out of the ramblings of the Rabbids and they did not disappoint when listening through the Kunai Headset. Although the headphones are not considered to be high end, nor are there big drivers within, I found the mix of the sound stages for lows, mids, and highs were good enough to provide a nice variety of sounds. Highlighting this was the music in Mario Bros. U as I never found it underwhelming or overly irritating as there was a nice mix of everything.
Having put the headset through its paces gaming on the Wii U, I fired up Netflix in the Wii U’s menu. This was dual purpose, as I wanted to check out Netflix as a whole on Nintendo’s new system while also checking out a movie/TV series or two through the Kunai headset. I gave some brief time to a few titles on Netflix, including The Walking Dead, Iron Man (anime), Transformers, In Time, and a few indie films. Overall I was fairly impressed with the sound quality while watching Netflix. Dialog for each film was clear and I found that again the stereo separation was more than adequate. During The Walking Dead’s dialog intensive scenes I did not have any trouble understanding or hearing what was being said, and during the Transformers battle scenes I never felt like anything was being lost in the aural presentation. Sure, these are no Tritton Warheads or Astro A40’s or 50s, but then again you are not paying big dollar for the Kunai headset either.
My final Wii U test came in the form of a video chat with a friend of mine who happens to own his own website. I wanted to check out the quality of voice chat along with the quality of the Kunai’s detachable microphone. I did find that the sound of his voice in the headset was a bit “soft” when I was listening to him talk, even after adjusting the volume. It was not so soft that I could not hear him, but it did seem a bit “muddy” and not as loud or prevelant as I had imagined. He didn’t complain about my voice as the microphone did it what it was supposed to. I do have admit we hit a bit of lag during the video chat, and I don’t know whose end it originated on, but it is logical to assume that the lag issue may have affected the sound quality of the voices during video chat. Oh, the microphone is detachable as well, so this is handy for those gaming sessions when you don’t need it.
After spending some time with the Wii U I thought I would switch gears up and try the headset on my 3DS. Well, I have to say that as I played I continued to be impressed. Most of my portable gaming is done using a set of Audio Technica Noise Cancelling headphones which I love, and I was quite skeptical regarding what the audio would sound like using the Kunai headset. My main game of choice was Skylanders Giants. If there is one title that I have been impressed with lately in regards to spatial separation on the 3DS it is this game. From how the environmental effects to the music, Skylanders Giants is a fairly solid title in the acoustic area. The Kunai was able to handle the 3DS sound very well. As with the Wii U, sound separation was good and I was able to get an immersive feeling with as the sound played. I have to admit that I did miss the noise cancelling features of my Audio Technica headset, but the Kunai managed to block out a fair amount of noise when on the ear, but not all. For fun I also played Mario 3D and found that it was fairly comparable with Mario Bros. U. Sure, you could notice some slight differences in the sound (e.g. compression) due to the storage medium of the 3DS, but overall it was very akin to the bigger console version, and that is what counts.
So, what is my final verdict on this affordable headset? Well, I am sure you can find cheaper alternatives out there, but given the dual use (Wii U/3DS), the ability to use them online as they include a microphone, and the overall look and quality of the Kunai Stereo Headset, it is hard not recommend them as they are good bang for the buck. I was taken aback with the fact that I actually enjoyed how this headset sounded and I think many others out there will be just as surprised as I was.