Panasonic’s wearable gaming speaker sits on your shoulders – and looks kind of weird

Man playing a game using the Panasonic GN01
(Image credit: Panasonic)

Hate wearing a gaming headset? The Panasonic GN01 wearable gaming speaker should make headset hair and clammy ears a thing of the past thanks to its shoulder-mounted design.

That’s right: instead of sitting over your lug holes, the Panasonic GN01 rests snugly on your shoulders, and promises to deliver “natural, realistic surround sound” from its four channel speakers. 

The GN01 comes with three specific gaming modes that were developed jointly with the Final Fantasy 14 Online sound team at Square Enix, too. You can pick between ‘Role-Playing Game mode’, which will supposedly create “a sense of reality and intensity”, ‘First-Person Shooter mode’, tuned to help you hear sounds such as footsteps and the like, and ‘Voice mode’, if you want to hear in-game dialogue loud and clear.

The GN01 also includes a Cinema, Music and Stereo mode, if the gaming modes above don’t take your fancys, so you can watch your favorite Adam Sandler films or listen to Metallica using a more tailored EQ setting.

The Panasonic GN01, which is referred to as the ‘Soundslayer’ for maximum cringe, also lets you voice chat with your friends. Panasonic says that the GN01 is equipped with a “high-performance noise and echo cancelling dual microphone”, which is designed to prevent interference from your shoulder-mounted speaker while you chat. 

Unfortunately, the Panasonic GN01 isn’t wireless. Instead, you’ll need to snake a three meter long cable into your console or PC, and an audio cable is required if you want to use the GN01 on Xbox consoles. Be careful, then, if you forget you’re wearing a device that sits around your neck before you pop to the bathroom.

Opinion: Could shoulder-mounted headsets be the future? 

Panasonic GN01

(Image credit: Panasonic)

As someone who owns countless gaming headsets, it’s hard to see the appeal of the Panasonic GN01 right away. Having a shoulder-mounted speaker isn’t the most practical design unless you live alone, and the prospect of having a long cable connected from my console to the couch already turns me off. 

But that doesn’t mean I’m not intrigued by the GN01’s potential. If it can create a convincing surround sound experience, it could be a great option for those who don’t want to buy a soundbar or don’t have the room to house a 5.1 home theatre speaker setup

It’ll also be interesting to see how it handles voice chat. With sound playing all around you, right where the microphones are located, I’m curious to find out whether it will successfully prevent your audio from leaking into your conversations.

The Panasonic GN01 releases exclusively through Amazon for $199 / £159.99 and will be available late September 2021. It's compatible with PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.

Adam Vjestica

Adam was formerly TRG's Hardware Editor. A law graduate with an exceptional track record in content creation and online engagement, Adam has penned scintillating copy for various technology sites and also established his very own award-nominated video games website. He’s previously worked at Nintendo of Europe as a Content Marketing Editor and once played Halo 5: Guardians for over 51 hours for charity. He is now an editor at The Shortcut.