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Feb252020

Avantree Leaf: This device connects your AirPods to your PS4

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I recently did a video covering ways to connect AirPods to PS4 and Avantree Audio Transmitter was the star of the show. As you would know PS4 only connects with PlayStation certified headsets that cost upwards of $90. That’s where Avantree Leaf audio transmitter comes in.

The tiny USB dongle works out of the box, so you can plug it directly into a PC, Mac or PS4 and the machines instantly recognize the hardware, eliminating the need for downloading drivers.

However, in this video, I will focus on how well it works with PS4 and if you can use it with AirPods to play games. So, let’s check it out.

In the box, you get a couple of leaflets, user guides, Avantree Leaf USB dongle, and a USB extension cable.

To connect it to PS4 and AirPods, plug the USB dongle to one of the USB ports on your PS4, press the button on the dongle for two seconds and wait for the light to flash blue and white (alternatively) to initialize the pairing mode. Put your AirPods in pairing mode by pressing the button on the back until the white light flashes. Now, bring the AirPods close to the USB dongle and it should connect automatically.

Once connected, you will be able to hear your PS4 audio via AirPods.

So, the connection is easy, but how’s the experience?

Well, the range on Avantree Leaf is, as advertised, a 60ft range indoors which is enough for a medium-sized room or a living room. However, if you do get out of range, your AirPods will disconnect. In my testing, Avantree quickly reconnects the headphones when the headphones come back in range. So, you get an almost seamless experience.

Avantree claims to support aptX and aptX LL; however, this only holds water if both your headphones and the machine are aptX compatible. 

Unfortunately, neither AirPods nor PS4 supports the aptX codec so you won’t see any difference even if you connect an aptX enabled headphone.

But here is the legit brag, AirPods don’t have a volume rocker of its own and PS4 relies on your TV’s volume buttons to adjust the volume. 

Fortunately, when you connect Avantree Leaf to PS4, it is recognized as a Headphone accessory and you get an option to adjust the volume in the Settings.

During my testing, AirPods had lower audio levels than any other Bluetooth headphones I’ve tried. To rule out any possibility of an error, I tested with AirPods gen 2, AirPods Pro, Samsung Level U, Boult ProBass, and Mi Neckband. To my surprise, every single Bluetooth headphone outperformed AirPods and AirPods Pro.

On the sunny side, Avantree Leaf supports mic but it doesn’t work out of the box. The functionality is limited to the Call Mode which you have to manually activate. When you’re paired and connected to a pair of headphones, the dongle transmits the audio signal in Stereo mode at 48KHz but if you want to use the mic, the dongle switches the mode to mono at 16KHz. This results in a worse audio quality, which I don’t think would be suitable for anything other than short calls.

I tried the Call Mode while playing games and it was exceptionally bad, so if you are going to have audio chats during game sessions, be ready for some serious roasting from your peers.

Should you buy it?

Avantree Leaf is an economical choice when you want to make your AirPods work with PS4. However, you can never get full volume when you use it with AirPods. So, if you don’t care about the bad mic quality and low audio levels, you can buy Avantree Leaf. Are you going to buy one, have a better option than Avantree Leaf? Let me know in the comments below.

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