EPOS H3 Hybrid Closed Acoustic Gaming Headset [review]

We all want some good quality sound.  Whether we're jamming out to some Metallia while writing some blog articles late at night, or playing a really good game you're into.  Being able to hear the game or music is good, but feeling a real part of it as you're immersed is something else entirely and worth a good quality set of headphones.

Recently, I'd unboxed a set of headphones, the H3 Hybrids by EPOS.  Now, I had reviewed the 'non Hybrid' model earlier and just loved them.  The newer model they've released for $260CDN builds on the previous by not only adding in Bluetooth to it, but a few other tricks up its sleeve.

Let's check it out. 

First up, specs:

  • Speaker
    • Driver: 40mm
    • Sensitivity: 116dBSPL @ 1kHz, 0dB FS
    • Total Harmonic Distortion: <0.5% @ 1kHz, 0dB FS
    • Frequency Response:  20-20kHz
  • Microphone
    • Sensitivity: -20dB FS (boom arm); -22dB (cup
    • Frequence Response:  100-7.5kHz
  • Bluetooth v5.2
  • Battery - 37hrs on BT (1.5hr to charge)
  • USB-C for charging and for connectivity for software

So, yes, the immediate change from this model over the non-Hybrid is the ability to use it as a Bluetooth set.

Great, so no more limited by just the cable - it still has one.  It's in the box, but you can connect to BT with your laptop/phone/console and just listen away.  

I didn't notice any type of lag from using Bluetooth with my Chromebook, which often has poor connectivity.  This just was just fine.

Even better, the fact that it's got both connections actually means you can connect BOTH at the same time.

My son plays games on his Switch, but sometimes his friends are playing on PS or whatnot, and they may not be able to do voice chat in game, so they tend to chat over Discord while playing.  Doesn't make sense to me.  But whatever...

With this, he's now able to (and much to our pleasure) connect the device to his Switch with the cord, then Bluetooth to his phone for Discord.  So he can listen to his game, chat with his friends at the same time without me having to hear it.

And the battery lasts a LONG time.  Some other sets out there, like my AIAIAI model, boasted a 20hr battery (but I've found it would get me more like 12 hours)... good.  But this is 37hrs.  I've not gotten it lower than where it says it's "more than 60%" and that's after a few sessions of about 4 hours at a time.  So like 10-12 hours and it's still saying it's got about 60% left... rough math tells me it should be another 18 hours or so.

That's a lot of time where my kid can game away and we not have to hear it or his friends.

But there's more.

Like the previous model it has the swing down boom mic, which is nice that when you tilt it up it puts it in mute... except, that it does have a mic 'hole' on the ear cup for when the arm is detached.  

That's right, if you don't like looking like a call centre associate you can detach the boom arm.  It's got a strong magnet that holds it in, so you just gotta give it a bit of a pull and it'll come out.

Pretty cool stuff.

Now, it comes with a charging cable, it supposed to take just 1.5 hours to charge, but I've never been able to drain it to fully measure.

But, with the USB cable you can also use it to plug into your device for USB audio.  Pretty cool stuff.

Using USB on your device also charges it, and if you've got a Windows device to download their software, you can update the firmware of the device in case there's any glitches (not that I'd noticed), but then you can really play with the audio settings.

you can see also the setting to change the behaviour of the button

You can play around with the EQ settings, switch between 2.0 stereo and simulated 7.1 surround sound.

There's even the settings for the mic to see how it responds.

Pretty cool stuff.

But, if you don't want to play with all that, you can go back to the non Hybrid model and stick with just wired set.  The $100 extra bucks helps you get all this fancy control, which I like.

In terms of overall sound quality, I didn't notice any difference between the 2 models, which is to say that it's a good competitor to my TMA-2 set.  Really good bass with clean treble.  It doesn't get as loud as I would like, but that's fine, I don't need it BLASTING.

What was interesting was the difference in volumes when I would plug it in with the headphone jack, it would get a little louder than when using USB-C, and then when I would plug it in with USB to my phone, it was quieter... but Bluetooth was a little louder than all.  Just minutely.

Also, found that when using the volume dial on the side, it's not a consistent 'each step is x% increase' and the volume 'jump' with those increments didn't seem as consistent either.

Especially as I reached the top end, you can feel it really 'pushing sound' as it gets to like 40% and then it's nice and clean ... then as you reach 74%+ you can feel this 'jump in sound pressure' as if a bass boost kicked in or something.  Maybe it's just a 'delay' in registering the new volume.

The ear cups are super comfortable, and they make that claim about how the design is more 'ear shaped' than other sets out there.

As well, the band over your head is really lightweight, but a great amount of cushioning so you don't feel it at all.  The slider to adjust for your headsize is easy to use and there's no slippage that I've found... yet.  

Overall, it's been great.  Super comfortable, that it's almost seamless to use.  Which is probably why I'd taken so long to write up this review.  I had just used it without that "I need to write about this" feeling I normally have with accessories.  Long battery life means it's been something I've not had to even think about.  Cable's there for me to plug in for headphone jack with the Pixelbook, or I could just power it up and Bluetooth and off I go.

I did wish it had playback controls on the device, but I get that putting more buttons on detracts from the style of the unit, PLUS ... with a headset it's not often that you'll be taking it on the go with the device in your pocket.  More likely it's something you're sitting down and using and your device is right there, so controlling skip/pause etc... is right there on the device you're probably using, so it's not needed.