EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid Wireless Earbuds
Gaming In-Ear Headphones (Wireless)
When picturing a headset or headphones designed for gaming the mind instantly conjures up an image of an over the ear deal -- thick cups, a comfortable headband, a microphone that swivels up and down. Gaming audio, like anything else, isn’t a one-size-fits-all sitch, especially in terms of form-factor. With the Nintendo Switch
, mobile gaming (Diablo Immortal
and the recent release of Xbox Game Pass
Streaming are but two ‘for reals’ mobile examples), in addition to the old pop-a-laptop-on-a-desk and fire up a game -- there’s no reason why there shouldn’t be in-ear buds designed and aimed at those that game on the go.
The new EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid Wireless Earbuds
presents exactly that, with this being the first EPOS audio product for 2021 in its post Sennheiser form. It may not be the first wireless in-ear offering suitable for gaming (connect any wired buds to a Switch and you should be okay), but it’s one product that does treat the form and format with an eye and attention towards detail. Case in point, as a wireless pair of in-ear buds, the Hybrid in the EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid refers to its dual Bluetooth and Wireless Dongle nature. The dongle not only allows for low-latency audio for devices like the Switch, PC, PS5, or even smartphone -- but actually changes the audio profile too.
Okay, so this is one area where the EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid Wireless Earbuds showcases its dual nature -- the different sound you get in Bluetooth mode versus all dongle-d up. Connected via Bluetooth to both a phone and laptop the audio is balanced and what one might describe as “flat”. Of course that’s not the greatest word to use when describing excellent audio quality, of which the GTW 270s features when toothin’ and listening to music. Here balance trumps all, bringing to the fore the nuance and detail found in many a decently mastered recording. From bass-heavy drum n’ bass, to chunky house, to jazz, and classical, the GTW 270s offer a crisp and rich sound-space thanks to “proprietary miniaturized EPOS audio drivers”. Full details of the drivers are a little scarce but the end result speaks, well, volumes.
From bass-heavy drum n’ bass, to chunky house, to jazz, and classical, the GTW 270s offer a crisp and rich sound-space thanks to “proprietary miniaturized EPOS audio drivers”.
Dongl-up and the sound story changes, the audio is gamified. Bass heavy? Check. Detailed and snappy high-end? Check. Mid-range that still comes through? Check. In fact to replicate the Bluetooth default profile (via the EPOS Gaming Suite on PC) you basically need to drop the lower end frequencies pretty drastically to get the same listening to music feel as Bluetooth.
Music is the OG when it comes to on-the-go audio - and something we were doing quite a bit when testing the new EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid Wireless Earbuds between games. Strangely though, as the dongle utilises aptX low latency connection for audio, gaming with GTW 270s is strictly a playback affair -- meaning no voice chat (though on that front the PS5 DualSense microphone comes in handy). This might be a deal-breaker for some, especially if competitive titles are the go-to.
Design and Comfort
There’s no doubt that the GTW 270s feature a sleek and minimal design in a fully enclosed style that isn’t all that large. It’s the ‘hearing aid’ design seen across some wireless earbuds, but here that moniker doesn’t really fit -- with EPOS keeping the overall size and weight down to a minimum. Comfort is great and using them for an extended session there was no real issue, whether that was out traveling, walking, or even playing in VR. Versatility is definitely a strong-suit for the GTW 270s, and switching between platforms and various activities make the case for its existence and then some -- especially if you’re a fan of in-ear over, well, over-ear.
Comfort is great and using them for an extended session there was no real issue, whether that was out traveling, walking, or even playing in VR.
Storage and charging is relatively easy too, as is switching between Bluetooth mode and the dongle. With up-to 20-hours of battery-life, considerably more than a single Nintendo Switch charge, these go the distance too.
As a gaming-focused product testing was carried out mostly doing just that, across PC, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation 5. Playing everything from Cyberpunk 2077, Horizon Zero Dawn, Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War, to even Astro’s Playroom. The PS5 pack-in title is not only a great little platformer but a bit of tech showcase that even includes audio-design and spatial awareness.
When connected via dongle you get the benefit of low latency audio in addition to a sound profile tuned for games. This means a chunky bass response for guns and other explosive explosions and crisp highs for most environmental interaction.
As mentioned earlier when connected via dongle you get the benefit of low latency audio in addition to a sound profile tuned for games. This means a chunky bass response for guns and other explosive explosions and crisp highs for most environmental interaction. Now, personal preference might come into play here but the default profile was something on PC we definitely had to go into the EQ settings and adjust -- regardless of 2.0 or 7.1 -- for music and even more casual games.The EPOS Gaming Suite profiles are all over the place so manual tinkering was a must.
In the end though, without a microphone and some unbalanced dongle sound there are some drawbacks to the EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid Wireless Earbuds. That said, the audio drivers are excellent and with tweaking the results are uniformly impressive across games, music, and movies. Usually you’d be lucky to get two out of three, but here in wireless earbud form EPOS has delivered its first premium audio product for 2021 -- and has done so in unexpected and welcome style.