I recently did an article 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 comes in, the tiny USB dongle plugs into the PS4 and makes any Bluetooth Headphones compatible. Let’s find out if this $30 Bluetooth Audio transmitter is any good.
AvanTree Leaf Review
It is a sleek USB dongle that is roughly the size of a flash drive, packs a Bluetooth Transmitter running Bluetooth 4.1, and a range of 60 feet/ 20 m. It supports multiple audio codecs such as aptX, aptX LL, FastStream, and SBC. And the best, it 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 article, I will focus primarily on how well it works with PS4 and if you can use it with AirPods to play games.
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 White light flashes. Now, bring the AirPods close to the USB dongle and it should connect automatically.
Must Read: 30+ Best PS4 Games for Beginners
Once connected, you will be able to hear your PS4 audio via Airpods.
The range on AvanTree Leaf is as advertised, you get a 60ft range indoors with minimal hindrance which is enough for a medium-sized room or living space. However, if you do get out of range, your AirPods disconnect. In my testing, AvanTree quickly reconnects the headphones when the headphones come back in range. Essentially giving you 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.
I tried both aptX compatible (Samsung Level U) and non-aptX (Apple AirPods and AirPods Pro) AirPods with AvanTree Leaf to the PS4 and there was no difference in latency or audio quality, except for volume.
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.
AirPods had lower audio levels than any other Bluetooth Headphones
During my testing, AirPods had lower audio levels than any other Bluetooth Headphones I tried. To rule out any possibility of any 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 it. 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.
Is it like a Bluetooth Dongle?
Well yes, but no. Unlike other Bluetooth dongles that you can get off Amazon for less than $10, AvanTree Leaf doesn’t function like a normal Bluetooth Dongle. It can’t connect peripherals like Keyboard, mouse using its Bluetooth, nor it can transmit data. AvanTree is specifically designed to transmit audio and it would only connect to Bluetooth headphones.
Even though those Bluetooth Dongles would connect to both peripherals and audio devices, AvanTree Leaf has some clear advantages such as the support for multiple audio codecs and a greater range. If you have an aptX enabled headphones.
Should you Buy it?
- Plug and Play
- Support for Multiple Audio Codecs
- Seamless connectivity
- Low Audio Levels with AirPods
- Can’t take advantage of aptX with PS4
- Call Mode worsens the Audio quality
AvanTree Leaf is an economical choice when looking for a Bluetooth headphone that works with PS4. Even though you can’t take advantage of the aptX codec on the PS4, there is no apparent difference in the audio quality. 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.
Buy AvanTree Leaf on Amazon ($30)
There are two other ways to connect PS4 and AirPods that require some elbow grease, you can check it out here. If you want other Plug and Play options, check out USB Audio transmitters on Amazon.