Panasonic SoundSlayer Speakers – A Headphone-Free Gaming Experience

By Paula Moorhead - April 1, 2024

I’m a diehard PC gamer, so I already own a pair of Steelseries Arctis Pro Wireless headphones for my bench rig, plus Alienware AW720H headphones for my gaming system. So, I’m very familiar with how a wireless gaming headset should perform, even if that headset comes as device with four speakers on it that you wear around your neck. The SoundSlayer Wireless Wearable Gaming Speaker System (yes, that’s the full name) seemed interesting and unique enough to try out.

The Problem

Maybe you’ve dealt with the same problem I have, in which your headphones are too isolating and you can’t hear what’s going on around you. This has taken on new urgency for me because my wife and I now have a newborn at home. If I can’t hear the baby cry—or can’t hear my partner when she calls out to me—that’s no good. At times it’s been so bad that my wife has called me on my phone from the other end of the house, because she knows my smartwatch will ring and vibrate on my wrist.

Yes, open-back headphones could be an option as well, but I’ve found that those are still way more isolating than I would like. (They could be a viable alternative for different use cases—and a user unwilling to compromise on sound quality.) That said, one alternative option is to wear a speaker unit such as the SoundSlayer Wireless Wearable, which enables you to game wirelessly and take your conversations with you. In theory, these are perfect for the active dad who needs to be able to hear what’s going on around the house when he’s gaming or listening to music while doing chores. And I’m sure there are plenty of other non-dad situations where over-the-ear headphones are just not a good idea.

The Setup

Setting up the SoundSlayer was exceptionally easy, and it worked the first time I plugged in the transmitter. There is an optional piece of software available, but I would say that it really isn’t necessary to enjoy the speakers. The software provides sound customizations (for example to improve bass), surround-sound volume balancing and firmware updates, although this wireless wearable speaker is so new that it hasn’t had any firmware updates yet.

The transmit distance is quite good, with at least 20 to 30 feet of effective range, and the sound quality from the four speakers is generally decent—for a set of wearable speakers. There was no noticeable latency (20ms is the stated latency for the product), and the speakers were plenty loud when I needed them to be. Naturally enough, considering the small size of the speakers, they don’t have that much bass, but I found that explosions and gunshots sounded pretty good nonetheless. For those who want more bass, there is always an optional sub-out jack on the transmitter for an external subwoofer.

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The Good And The Bad

One area where the SoundSlayer doesn’t slay is microphone audio quality. When I used it to speak to people, they said it sounded like I was on a speakerphone—tinny and distant—which isn’t great considering how close the device was to my face. That said, gaming with them was enjoyable, as was using them for music and talking on Discord. Battery life was around the stated nine hours, but I do wish the speakers charged faster than four hours on an empty battery. Charging them is a breeze with the USB-C connector, even if it takes a bit longer than I would like. The mute button works well and is in a logical place.

Panasonic also did a great job of providing a visual cue when the mic is muted with a light on the speaker that you can see in your peripheral vision without having to look down. The device generally sat on my neck pretty well, and I would say it felt comfortable across hours of use. The biggest downfall is when you bend over to pick something up off the ground. The SoundSlayer starts to hang from your neck instead of resting on your shoulders, and it feels like it might fall off if you turn the wrong way.

The SoundSlayer speakers made it easy to listen for the baby while I was gaming.
Anshel Sag

One of my biggest gripes about the SoundSlayer is that the transmitter is too light, so it gets knocked around too easily. It would be great if this thing had some kind of magnet or simply more weight so that it doesn’t move around unnecessarily—or fall right off my gaming PC, which it did regularly. (This may also be because the cable is too heavy.) Having a more stable transmitter would prevent breakage in the future; at this point, I may have to buy some adhesive magnets to solve the problem.

Wrapping Up

Panasonic sells the SoundSlayer for $300, which is about double what its wired SoundSlayer Wearable Speaker predecessor sells for on Amazon. I think the wireless upgrade is worth double the price because now you have a wearable set of speakers that you can take around the house just like any other pair of wireless headphones, except without being too isolated from the rest of the world. Also, if you look at these speakers online now, they’re sold out on Panasonic’s site and selling exceptionally well on Amazon, with high marks from users. There aren’t any other speakers like these specifically geared towards PC gaming, since any comparable products from Sony or Bose are not gaming-focused or really designed with the PC in mind.

All in all, these speakers are a great option for any parent—or anyone, really—who wants to be able to game and listen to music around their home without compromising too much on situational awareness.

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