EPOS H3 Closed Acoustic Gaming Headset with Bluetooth
Gaming Headset (Bluetooth/Wired)
With the Nintendo Switch
recently adding native Bluetooth audio support there’s a little bit of serendipity surrounding the new H3 Hybrid from EPOS
. A closed acoustic follow-up to the EPOS H3 Gaming Headset
we recently reviewed, and were impressed with. Even though the addition of the ‘Hybrid’ tag might not sound like there’s all that much of a difference, there are a few notable and very welcome additions.
First up the focus on long-lasting Bluetooth sets it apart from other wireless offerings in that it helps the EPOS H3 Closed Acoustic Gaming Headset
perform wonderfully as a standalone pair of Bluetooth headphones. Great for pairing up with any capable device -- be it a smart-phone, laptop, or Nintendo Switch.
And even though it features the same large-ish boom-mic seen across the entire EPOS (and before that Sennheiser) range -- for the first time it’s detachable. Thanks to an impressive magnetic connector that you can cover up when the mic isn’t needed, it adds a new layer of versatility to a line-up that has always been at the forefront of great sounding audio.
With that in mind, even though our testing of the H3 Hybrid was predominantly carried out across the PC using the wired connection and Nintendo Switch via Bluetooth, at the end of the day we were just as happy to use H3 Hybrid to listen to music. And for any headset that featured Bluetooth, that’s a definite plus.
The focus on long-lasting Bluetooth sets it apart from other wireless offerings in that it helps the EPOS H3 Hybrid perform wonderfully as a standalone pair of Bluetooth headphones.
Where the standard EPOS H3 Gaming Headset sounded a little flat out of the box, the H3 Hybrid excels -- with wonderful balance, rich mid-range detail, and a subtle emphasis placed on bass and the higher frequencies. This calibration, which can be tweaked on PC, is great for the Bluetooth side of the experience. Pairing devices is as breezy as the lack of wires required to make that happen, and the comfortable and snug form-factor adds some natural noise cancellation thanks to the closed nature of the design.
- Drivers: 40mm
- Frequency response: 10-30,000 Hz
- Battery Life: Bluetooth: 37 hours, 3.5 mm: 24 hours, Blueooth + 3.5 mm: 19 hours
- Cable length: 2m
With the wireless here limited to Bluetooth you could say there are a few limitations in terms of wireless audio for gaming, in that latency does suffer. But the Hybrid naming of the EPOS H3 Hybrid does set the scene for a design that is a little different. And the difference here is worth delving into. The in-built DAC and audio hardware means that even when connected via the supplied 3.5mm cable, it needs to be powered on in order to function. That may sound a little strange but it means that the H3 Hybrid can receive and mix two audio signals at the same time (one wired, one Bluetooth). So, you could be connected to a PlayStation 5
or Xbox Series X
console controller via the cable and still be chatting via Discord
on your smartphone or laptop.
The other benefit of being powered, even over wired, is that the in-built audio hardware results in the same impressive sound no matter the platform.
Design and Comfort
With it’s metallic headband and robust construction the EPOS H3 Hybrid is angular yet sleek. The combination of leather-like materials and fabric and comfortable cushioning results in a headset you could wear for quite some time without any real fatigue. There are of course reasons for the shape and the look and feel that go beyond aesthetics, and EPOS are more than happy to share the countless hours of R&D and testing put into the design of its range. In the end though you can only really go by your own experience and that of how it compares with what you’re used to, and on that front the EPOS H3 Hybrid is as smooth a transition as you can hope for -- it’s comfortable and sturdy and then some.
As mentioned in the introduction the ability to detach the microphone is something of a game-changer for the EPOS line-up, and with its debut here we’re hoping it becomes standard in the future. What makes it even more impressive is that the solution doesn’t affect the look, feel, and performance of the microphone. The same tilt to mute functionality is here (as is the intuitive volume dial on the right cup) and the thick and chunky microphone design. Having it be magnetic is just about genius, and one of the best detachable/retractable setups we’ve seen.
Frequency response is a tricky one, as is capturing a stereo sound or presenting audio without sounding too harsh or muddled. When it comes to the games we play the majority of audio cues, that is stuff that trigger a physical response usually happens in the high-end. Be it footsteps, a ping, a scanner, or anything really -- there can be a tendency to shift the audio balance in that direction and simply crank up the bass. At the end of the day this isn’t the wrong way to go for something designed purely as a gaming headset, but there’s a reason why a cleaner balance resonates.
The ability to detach the microphone is something of a game-changer for the EPOS line-up, and with its debut here we’re hoping it becomes standard in the future.
From DOOM Eternal
, to Deathloop
, to FIFA 22
, to Diablo 2: Resurrected
, to Super Mario Odyssey
, these are all games that feature plenty of low-end rumbling and high-frequency sound effects. They’re also games that feature excellent and varied soundtracks, and it’s here where the EPOS H3 Hybrid excels. Great, across the board sound, which although might be a tad too crisp for some music fans -- is never anything but detailed and impressive. Outside of the lack of wifi-via-dongle it’s hard not to look at this Hybrid as a clear step in the right direction for EPOS and its gaming headset range.