EPOS GTW270 Hybrid Earbuds Review – An Ear-Opening Gaming Experience
Product: EPOS GTW270 Hybrid True Wireless Earbuds
Intended Use: Gaming
Nowadays, you would be hard-pressed to see more wired headphones on the shelf than wireless. Everyone wants hassle-free, wireless everything, and to an extent, I get it. However, I don’t have much experience with true wireless earbuds, so the EPOS GTW 270 True Wireless Hybrid Buds are my first real experience owning such a product. On that note, I am left unsure if these are worth it, but for some consumers, they might be. Let’s go deeper.
Style / Feel / Build / Hardware
The EPOS GTW 270 buds case steals the show immediately with a metallic weight and finish. I love a nice to-the-touch feeling on a product, as it’s a reminder of money well spent. These earbuds immediately give off that impression with a case that has a button on the front to indicate battery life and remaining charges left. One can also find a sexy yet discrete EPOS logo designed on the top of the case.
Opening it up, the hinges feel solid and long-lasting, revealing the EPOS GTW 270 buds. The buds shine a small LED light when opening the case to indicate battery life; for example, it glows yellow for medium life. The case’s interior also shows the full EPOS logo, with a rubber protective inner layer for a soft landing on the buds. The magnet charging on the buds and within the case features nine individual contact points, providing a powerful magnetic pull holding the buds firmly in place. If the rubber tips already on the earbuds out of the box do not fit, don’t worry, the earbuds come with three extra pairs, small, medium, and large.
Also, you get a USB-C dongle for high fidelity game console or PC connection. Not only can you connect via dongle, but these earbuds are hybrid. Therefore you can have dual-connection to your mobile device or phone. This functionality allows you to hear your phone audio and still have a full-res connection to your primary device. This seems to be the case for most new wireless devices, so start getting used to the hybrid ability.
Further, the box also provides a USB extension cable for your dongle, or more importantly, a USB adapter for game consoles. Finally, if I haven’t mentioned, the dongle connects via USB-C, which I can appreciate nowadays. EPOS also provides a rubber case for the dongle, which I thought was cute. Lastly, the box holds a USB-C to a USB charging cable for your charging case, but no wall brick, as per usual. Other than manuals, that’s about it.
Moving on to the earbuds specifically, they’re bright with a light metallic shine, the headphones most certainly feel like high-quality plastic, but they look like metal. Each earbud has a logo to ensure everyone knows which brand you are wearing. The earbuds have a unique fit-to-ear shape which is upright and top heavy. Due to the upright weight, they sometimes just slowly slip out, especially if you are active.
I used these during my morning workout routine, and they were falling out while doing push-ups. These may also fall out while chewing, as your jaw may push them out slowly. I wouldn’t be surprised if they occasionally fell out if you don’t shove them in tightly. Each earbud is indicated with an L or an R; I see why because I couldn’t differentiate them. The left earbud features a small and thin multimedia control button. We will get into the built-in features in a bit. A couple extra talking points include the wires provided feel very durable, and the earbuds are IPX 5 water resistant.
Performance / Hand on Use / Features / User Experience / Analysis / Etc.
Let’s jump right into the sound of the EPOS GTW 270 earbuds. The mids and highs of these speakers have a clean, unique, flavorful tone. Along with those tones, the earbuds have a killer bass response, but only when they are highly pressed in snug, creating pressure on your ear. This keeps the earbud in your ear, mainly when you use the right rubber fit. You would be surprised how much bass actually comes out of this earbud set and blows the sound quality of the airpods out of the water.
The headphones hurt after an hour or two due to the pressure or suction. They were so uncomfortable over time that you had to take them out periodically. The suction is strong, especially using the standard large rubber tips. Regarding overall volume and gain, these speakers just do not get nearly as loud as I would like. It needs another 30% of gain to get my whole body dancing. The GTW 270 seemingly has better quality on Bluetooth via iPhone 12 pro max over the USB-c dongle plugged into my desktop. Although I listened to a decent amount of music and feel strongly about this statement, it makes me wonder what is going on behind the scenes here.
Anyway, the mic input quality for phone calls or voice chat is not great, as you can expect (video review has mic test). During my time with the earbuds, I encountered a strange bug where the connection was linked after switching inputs back and forth, but there was no sound, and I couldn’t start my music either. To fix this, you must put the earbuds in the case and fully close the lid to reset them. Moving on to battery life and charge talk, the earbuds almost lose about 20% battery per hour, regardless of dongle usage, Bluetooth, or both. Also, there are around 20-40% indicator noises to alert soon-to-be dead speakers. I used the earbuds with my mobile device for one hour before hooking up to a hybrid connection, and then I ran the speakers hybrid for another 3 hours before they died. So for all the math nerds, that’s 4 hours of consistent use before a charge must happen.
Regarding charging, the GTW 270 took about 1.5 hours or so to charge, while 30 mins will bring you up to almost half the battery. Staying on this topic, the case takes about 2 hours to charge, giving you 4-5 full charges of the GTW 270 buds. This is indicated with the dots on the charge case, which requires you to touch the button once to display the amount of charges remaining. The amount of battery that can be stored is satisfying, but lacks due to a 4 hour battery bud life. Removing both earbuds out of the case and bringing them up to your ear takes 5 seconds to connect to your mobile Bluetooth device and a couple extra seconds for the dongle as long as your devices are on. Regardless of connection time, I just love the auto-connect, and it makes me feel like I have superpowers. It’s the little endorphin bombs during the day, you know?
Moving onto media features and using the earbuds, the media button on the left earbud is used for play, pause, next song, and previous song per 1, 2, or 3 consecutive clicks. I found that the next song and prior song were a bit buggy and did the opposite intended command or paused rather than switching the song. The button is a bit awkward to click correctly as well, based on its thin and small nature. If you take the left earbud out, the music will continue. Nothing seems to pause or stop. If you take the right earbud out, all videos or music will silence, but they will not pause. So if you get lost in conversation with someone, three songs could have been played by the time you realize it. During this silence, with the left in, and the right out, the audio still plays out of the right earbud, which I thought was quite strange, but I also am unsure as if there are limits within the phone apps themselves. When you put the right earbud back in, the left kicks back in, matching the right without fail.
On the topic of the hearing, it is generally difficult to hear how loud you are speaking when using the GTW 270. I thought I was talking at an average volume to someone next to me (in person) based on the default sidetone, but apparently, I was “whispering,” so be aware of how loud you are speaking. Another bug I experienced is the dongle not allowing any customization changes on a different desktop. In other words, I tried to use EPOS Gaming Suite with the GTW270 buds dongle, and the settings were not responding. It makes me think the buds pair to a particular machine because it works like a charm on my device. Along with this hypothesis, you also can’t connect the GTW270 to another phone until it is forgotten on the source.
Next, I experienced a bug where all I heard was a loud buzzing noise and then silence as the earbuds disconnected from the dongle. Shortly after, it reconnected, but there seemed to be some consistency with connectivity issues relating to the dongle.
Moving on to customization, just like any other EPOS audio device, you can use the EPOS gaming suite to customize the sound tone, stereo vs surround sound, side tone, mic volume and sound tone, and more with a built in equalizer. I always liked the EPOS customization allowed on their devices and the clean, easy software to navigate. They still need to add a full-screen view or enlarge the on-screen elements as everything is a bit too small. Send me a comment if you have software trouble with the EPOS gaming suite, as it has a history of being buggy for me.
While connected to Bluetooth on my mobile phone, I could walk away from the source device 30-50 feet without connection failure and even through a wall or two. Sometimes I would have a cutout or two if I went too far, or across too many walls, but overall, I was actually quite impressed with the connection strength to my phone, and was able to walk around my entire small house without losing any signal. On the other hand, the dongle surprises me again, losing connection 10-20 feet away. If you are listening to music or in a Discord chat, you might want to use your phone for the source if you want to walk around freely while staying connected with your friends.
Next, let’s speak on behalf of video game sound quality. Whether you are on a console, desktop, or any device that can receive the dongle, you want to expect a great gaming experience when buying a gaming audio brand. Also, we want to be able to have that hybrid connection life in front of our monitor, with our phone by our side. Consuming our favorite content while playing your favorite video game. The overall quality and experience with the GTW270 while gaming is magnificent, and it’s a nice change to use earbuds for gaming as opposed to over the ear headphones. You feel like your favorite characters are talking right into your ear, and all game audio sound clearer than usual compared to earbud placebo.
Besides the placebo, the speakers are crisp and provide excellent video game volume for most, but the earbuds still need more kick for music. I felt like I could hear footsteps in shooters and even minor sound effects and glimmers I didn’t previously know. Still, I do not think the GTW270 earbuds, or earbuds in general, can replace headphones for gaming as they do provide a unique experience. Another reason why earbuds won’t take over is comfort. They simply hurt too much over time for me to want to continue to use them for my PC use, or at least these earbuds hurt too much. Adding to this, if you don’t sit at the PC for long sessions, these earbuds are perfect for the get-up-and-go consumer. Hybrid connection and hands-free auto connection to the dongle and Bluetooth make owning products like this a breeze and significantly contribute to a positive user experience with the GTW270 earbuds.
The greatest drawbacks to the GTW270 earbuds are comfort and bugs, and the best quality it holds is sound quality. These speakers are much better in all ways than Airpods, with incredible customizability through the EPOS Gaming Suite. For $149.99, you can start your search here if you are in the market for earbuds and are a gamer. However, I advise caution before purchasing because, although they sound great, quirky bugs may arise.
There were enough annoyances with the product that the bugs have taken center stage in my head over the benefits. The style of the earbuds themselves does nothing for me, but I do like the material of the charging case and the overall metallic look of the product as a whole. If they stay friendly with you, you will really like these earbuds, and I plan on using them as a daily use speaker.
Noisy Pixel is giving the EPOS GTW270 True Wireless Earbuds a C+. The sound quality being the main selling point should have owned this review and brought the score sky high, but being there is no noise canceling at this price, along with the bugs, and the discomfort, I have to be fair. Nice speakers, EPOS.
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