If you’re looking to make those little incremental mod upgrades to your Quest 2 headset, the KIWI design Clip-on Headphones could be a neat addition.
the good bits
Impressive audio performance
Great flexibility for fit
Compatible with range of head straps
the not so good bits
Needs a rigid strap to be viable
Some mechanisms are a bit stiff
KIWI design Meta Quest 2 Clip-on Headphones
The Meta Quest 2 is a wonderfully capable piece of hardware, the all-in-one VR headset covers all bases and covers them pretty well. Though trying to do everything on your own often means things don’t quite see the love and attention they could. There’s a raft of upgrades and add-ons you can make though and KIWI design offers plenty of them, including these, Clip-on Headphones for the Quest 2.
They’re a nifty idea, going beyond the Quest 2’s room filling built-in audio solution and looking to boost your immersion by pumping sound straight into your ears. £50 represents a decent investment though, so is it worth upgrading your Quest 2 audio?
The KIWI design Clip-on Headphones are a familiar friend, for all intents and purposes they’ve been snapped off the Comfort Battery Audio Head Strap to live their own life.
That’s no bad thing, KIWI design did pretty well with the design of its headphones the first time around so there wasn’t a great need to change anything. There are a couple of new avenues opened up by going alone though and they’re all largely for the better.
The Clip-on Headphones earpads retain the same overall form factor as their attached cousins, big puffy cushions attached to rigid arms that pull in tight to your ears. It’s a snug fit, but the pads are super squidgy and even after playing for more than an hour it wasn’t uncomfortable. The earpads are covered in a soft faux leather which feels lovely but can end up being a bit of a sweat magnet, something to be mindful of if that tension in Superhot gets a little overwhelming.
Like with the Comfort Battery Audio Head Strap, everything is almost perfectly colour matched to the Quest 2 headset itself so the connection is visually seamless. With no KIWI design logos anywhere on the Clip-on Headphones you’d almost be forgiven for thinking they were an official accessory. I mean yeah, it’s off-white so it’s not hard to achieve a close match, but well done anyway.
The real win with the KIWI design Clip-on Headphones is flexibility and customisation. These are universal in every sense of the word.
Compatible with both the Meta Quest 2 and Meta Quest Pro, the clips will latch on to any side strap between 2.49 and 3.4cm. I had no issue mounting them to both the KIWI design Battery Headstrap and the official Meta Quest 2 Elite Strap. I even gave them a run on the stock elastic strap and while it worked, I wouldn’t recommend it unless you enjoy having clips dig into the side of your head. That’s not what they’re designed for though and I’d recommend upgrading your headstrap before anything else, so I won’t hold it against them.
Options for perfecting the fit is one of the key advantages of the Clip-on Headphones and there’s a few ways to dial in. The clips themselves can be mounted anywhere on the side arms of whichever headstrap you’re rocking, with the spring loaded arms pulling in to dock with your ears like some sort of VR audio spaceship. Each cushion also slides up and down with around 3cm of travel to play with, though strangely it does collide with the clip before it reaches the shortest setting – not a problem as such, just odd to foul yourself like that.
I have to admit I never found the default Meta Quest 2 audio experience particularly lacking. The built-in speakers do a remarkably good job at making you feel present and absorbed in your VR world so I wasn’t sure how much of an improvement an external option could bring.
Fair play though, the KIWI design Clip-on Headphones are a definite improvement over stock audio. They take a little bit of getting used to, at first I found having that physical feeling of headphones a bit of a distraction from the virtual world, it’s a reminder you’re wearing something that does pull you out of the moment a tad.
A bit like adjusting to wearing the headstrap itself however that sensation passes quick enough and when it does the Clip-on Headphones were more immersive than the stock speakers. These are on-ear rather than over-ear so there’s nothing to block out the outside world but you’ll feel closer to your virtual one either way.
The KIWI design Clip-on Headphones offer a richer, deeper, louder sound than the built-in option can and it’s more absorbing as a result. Lows are noticeably punchier and there’s more definition to the entire soundscape overall. These aren’t a 7.1 surround audio masterpiece so taper expectations a little bit, but they’re also not trying to be and the £50 pricepoint reflects that well. They’re a nice bump up in sound quality from the stock option and that’s all they need to be.
If you need to come back down to earth quickly then each headphone tilts out and holds in place away from your ear. This is a nice concept though the execution is a little stiff. The side arms of Elite Straps don’t have a huge amount of strength to them and I did worry about them snapping under the tension before the headphone kicked out. It meant it became a very conscious, two-hand job to move them which somewhat defeats the point.
The Meta Quest 2 is good at pretty much everything but can benefit from a few bits of outside help to take the overall experience up a level. The KIWI design Clip-on Headphones are a great example of that. They take good stock audio and make it that little bit better, like sticking a couple of extra skill points on each sound stat.
They aren’t a standalone upgrade though, while technically compatible with the stock band you’re going to realistically need an upgraded headstrap for these to be viable. If you’ve already got that sorted and are looking for that next mod to apply though, these Clip-on Headphones are a pretty good choice.