The EKSA Air Joy Pro gaming headset seems like your run-of-the-mill product from online retailers, until I realized its value exceeds the $39.99 price tag by prioritizing how a user feels across long sessions.
This is where the headphones took me by surprise, as a pain-free headset that works as it’s supposed to at the cost of higher-end parts and performance next to higher brand ones. Here’s where the Air Joy Pros emphasize their burden-free tagline for a headset you can wear all day while receiving the essential sounds. Though short on quality, the headset’s comfort factor and competent sound make EKSA’s latest product worth looking at as an ergonomic gaming solution.
The Air Joy Pros however have focused less on having the highest specs and went back to a personal value in comfort. EKSA stuck to the essentials with creating a sound generator, through 40mm drivers which are surprisingly crisp and get the job done. Gamers are definitely getting their sounds, but an added advantage of wearing the headset all day without getting their head crushed. This becomes the greatest selling point that’s hidden in a lower price tag, compared to products such as the Razer Kraken or Astro Gaming A50 line, which flex power over wearability for absolutely long hours.
Off the cuff, msot gaming headphones have long existed with great looks but incredibly crappy, painful fits. This is due to higher-end materials including leather, metal and other RGB plastic parts creating a bulky unit which forces pressure on wearer’s heads. Added weight eventually takes a toll on human skulls, including pain underneath the headband and pressure on side temples. Eventually, this is where headsets turn on their owners and cause headache-inducing problems after more than five hours of gaming on average.
Lightweight is the keyword which keeps EKSA’s Air Joy Pros together. Its over-the-ear pads are angled, working with the wearer’s shape instead of against it. This adds a natural fit which feels even better with an incredibly soft, cotton mesh. Unlike headsets sporting a solid leather or dense fabric, the Air Joy Pros‘ cotton mesh sinks into the side of a wearer’s temples. Like a cloud, each left and right headphone stay surprisingly firm without making its presence known (they’re that light). I still remember the first second my Air Joy Pro hugged my ears, to the point where I grinned and eased up once they started warming up as I grew comfortable.
Spending three days and nine-hour sessions apart, the Air Joy Pros were burden-free for pressure. Since the top headband is only an inch thick, it weighs equally to the left and right headphones. This equal weight distribution is something EKSA has clearly put thought in, and I never felt the need to take the headset off (as much as I waited for the first sign of pressure). Weighing at just 150 grams, the Air Joy Pros are unspoken as one of the lightest gaming headsets ever made by a manufacturer to date. But the longer I spent with the headset, the more my skepticism died down.
I started to look back at my daily driver, the more expensive and larger budget Razer Electra V2. Yes, it sports a 40mm driver as well. Of course, it has a crystal clear microphone. Absolutely, Razer’s materials of faux-leather and gunmetal feel premium. But it hurts like hell after five hours. This is where the Air Joy Pros’ cheaper matte plastic materials and cotton give it an edge over Razer’s own budget headset. It holds almost the same sound specs, but takes smarter options in a smaller build to increase endurance. Somehow, EKSA’s choice of cotton material for the cushions also worked well to cancel out most sounds at half volume.
That’s not to say the Air Joy Pro headphones are the worst-sounding headphones ever made (far from it). The only pressure you would feel is when the product like this is in your online shopping cart. It’s easy to dismiss the Air Joy Pros as a low-quality product, from its standard 40mm drivers that are ubiquitous in many entry-level $40 gaming headsets. But three Ed Sheeran albums and 12 hours of gaming later, the Air Joy Pros started to reveal some weakness in bass. Its smaller drivers give listeners a flatter, soft bass like that is overpowered by instruments and other treble. I couldn’t help but notice vocals lacking depth from the lack of a proper bassline. Games including Overwatch, Marvel’s Avengers and Fall Guys sounded equally less immersive as the Air Joy Pros didn’t work with effects. Simply, it just streamed audio like any other headphone would in a clear fashion. EKSA’s mission for comfort is checked, but at an obvious cost for quality across long sessions. This became a compromise for me, trading deep sounds for headphones that can stay on my head all day.
I was even inclined enough to take the quality a step further. Downloading EKSA’s 7.1 Surround Sound driver for the Air Joy Pros unlocks the headset’s ability to reach that level for sound. The EKSA Audio Center application was barebones, only offering customization for left and right volume levels (a bonus for accessibility and hard-of-hearing). I was also able to access the Hi-Fi button, which definitely added a surround sound improvement for audio. It also deepened the base significantly, with bass and bullets getting a much-needed punch. It hilariously includes two EQ setting for films and music, turning tracks into cheesy-sounding radio jingles.
The Air Joy Pros also include a few controls on the left side, adding some extra value for the $40 price tag. A basic volume wheel can scroll vertically, to quickly control levels. But they’re small enough for users to go on a small scavenger hunt with their thumb before finding the sharp, plastic wheel. Powering the headset is a USB-C connection, with a choice of USB or 3.5mm for your computer. The best quality came from the direct USB connection, but I noticed little to no quality loss from the 3.5mm cable (divided with sound and mic plugs at the end). The options are transparent on EKSA’s part, but bringing the headset to the PS4’s DualShock 4 controller and 3.55mm-existing phones became a hassle from switching cables. But after plugging the headphones in, I was surprised to see red streaks of light from both sides of the Air Joy Pros for an extra-gamey feeling. The red lights also take away from EKSA’s strange decision to put the “No burden” and “just joy” taglines on each side.
Setting the Air Joy Pro further back is a microphone which only works as a last resort. They’re incredibly thin at 1mm to save weight and can be removed out of the equation. The quality was enough to confuse friends during online multiplayer sessions, where my voice sounded “incredibly cheap” and was covered in room static noise. The effect was enough to mask my voice like radio chatter, but definitely worked during multiplayer where basic communication was key. A stranger feature came from the left headphone’s mute button, which worked backwards. Pressing down on it would click it in place, but amplify my voice for louder and slightly clearer communication. Disabling it would bring my voice back to a radio-static chatter which flattens communication quality. While the microphone and headset are compatible with PC, PS4 and Xbox One, it’s better to use a separate device to chat (and the headphones to keep listening).
The Air Joy Pros are packaged with a mesh pouch for carrying, while the headphones themselves can be turned 90-degrees for flat storage. Its removable cables are also a nice feature in managing space in the pouch, which has no smaller compartments. Owners shouldn’t expect any additional protection from the soft pouch, which is lined with incredibly light foam on the inside. But it’s large enough to fit the headset, microphone and both cables for an all-in-one portability.