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Friday, October 1, 2021

Gadget review: EPOS H3 Hybrid


Gadget review by Matt S.

Headsets like the EPOS H3 Hybrid remind me of just how much many other headsets annoy me. These aren't cheap devices, and yet these days they almost always work with a limited range of platforms. Have enough devices and you end up with enough headsets that you need a hatrack to manage them. At that point it becomes hard to shake the sense that it's all a grift. Especially when you start to use the EPOS H3 Hybrid.

This device does it all. All. Of. It. Connect it to your PC via USB to enjoy all the firmware-level features that EPOS brings to its headsets, like 7.1 surround sound for the full cinematic experience. Or don't. It's still a perfectly usable headset out of the box and even without the surround sound, the audio experience is exceptional (and we'll talk more about that shortly). Have an older device (or, say, an emulation console) that still relies on the old-fashioned 3.5mm cable? No worries! You'll be enjoying the awesome chiptunes of your favourite retro games blasted directly into your ears. Have a newer device that connects best via Bluetooth? You'll get around 30 hours of solid use before you'll need to recharge it.

I was able to use this headset to connect to my Apple TV, iPhone, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, emulation consoles and PC, and it was all seamless. I ran out of devices then, but I'm struggling to think of a single piece of audio-producing technology that I've used in the past 20 years that isn't somehow covered by the Hybrid. Consequently, every other one of the headsets I have on that hatrack (I seriously do have a hatrack) have gone unused since I unboxed this thing.



Oh, and I can use this headset outside, too. It's not the most stylish piece of audio equipment ever, but the sleek black design of my model is also perfectly normal. Importantly, the microphone is detachable. Remove that and there's no "tell" that this is a gaming headset at all, and you're certainly not going to look like a contact centre office worker when you're just trying to listen to some beats on the train or while you're out shopping. I will caution that you probably shouldn't turn the volume up too far in public - there's noise leak and it's rude to subject other people to your taste in music - but low to mid volume will be more than enough to shut the rest of the world out while you're out and about.

Finally, the headset's perfectly comfortable. There are things that EPOS could have done to lighten it further - they could have added a floating headband like the Corsair unit that I recently reviewed, but the H3 Hybrid is constructed to be lightweight and designed for long hours of use nonetheless.

In short, this headset has become my go-to, and the quality of the audio is the final feather in the cap. Looking at the other devices now is especially galling when you consider that the selling point for the more specialist devices is a more tailored experience, but all that feels pretty redundant with the Hybrid. It's pitched firmly at the mid-range, and I did notice that at the fringes the speakers struggle slightly. There's also a slight fuzziness to the audio which is more noticable in the quieter moments (such as when you're watching a movie that wasn't produced by Michael Bay or Disney), but these are minor issues. The bass packs a packs more than enough of a punch and dialogue comes across clearly enough. People tell me the microphone is perfectly adequate, whether I'm in a conference or gaming, and so I've got no complaints there either.


Unless you're an audiophile, you're not going to have an issue with the audio quality of the EPOS H3 Hybrid. And, if you use more than a few devices for your audio, then you are certainly going to appreciate that you don't need a second (or third...) headset just to enjoy all the devices. If the mark of the quality of a headset is the one that you reach for when you want to tune the world out and just enjoy the music (and I personally believe that is the mark of a good headset), then the EPOS H3 Hybrid, at the perfectly reasonable mid-range price of $Aus259, is an exceptional headset.


Matt S.
Editor-in-Chief
Find me on Twitter: @mattsainsb


Gadget review: EPOS H3 Hybrid
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