Product: EPOS H3 Hybrid Headset
Intended Use: Gaming
I suppose we are traveling through a new era of gaming tech, headsets to be specific. The world is going mobile, and it looks like EPOS and Sennheiser are hopping on the hybrid headset bandwagon. Their new H3 Hybrid headset, retailing for $179.99, joins the club offering Bluetooth connection to a mobile device while hardwired up and gaming away. Ultimately, this headset gave me mixed feelings, both good and lousy talking points, so let’s get into it.
Style / Feel / Build / Hardware
The EPOS H3 Hybrid was stylish right out of the box. Its aesthetic wasn’t overdone, but its design was severely considered in the build. The materials have a clean sheen of gloss mixed with matte color compliments on parts such as the earcup body. The padding that sits over your ears and on your head has a unique fuzzy cushion that feels soft to the touch and soft on your head. I was impressed with that feature, as the earcup hosts a two-piece design with leatherette on the outside of the soft cushion. Overall, the headset was really comfortable, even with the metal band within the headband.
The earcup width could be larger, though, as I found my ears tucked up on the sides of the interior. I have large ears, I guess. Still, I usually don’t have this issue, so maybe the headset’s size really is too small. Also, the headband itself could have had a little more padding for my taste, as I can almost feel the metal interior band. On the other hand, the H3 Hybrid never caused head pain over long periods of time, which is relieving.
Regarding one more point about the band, it has 10 grooves for any head size, so don’t worry about proper fitment on this headset. I found the Boom mic build quality to be a premium all-in-one design as well. You can remove it just by pulling it off because it attaches with magnets.
It doesn’t fall off easily, even with its removal being simple. If you were to remove it for on-the-go music, the little disk in the packaging is a cap for the boom port, which makes total sense now. Great design, in my opinion, on this one. It also has a distinct click when you flip it up or down, confirming the flip mute feature. The H3 has USB-c, 3.5mm, power, and Bluetooth buttons and inputs on the left and right bottom earcup frames.
Near the power button, we also can find an indicator light showing responses for battery life and blue representing Bluetooth connection. These lights were a nice touch, as it makes the headset seem more futuristic than others. Finally, the volume knob can be found on the right side, but it feels a bit awkward. There’s nothing to grab, and you are stuck using little bumps and your fingertips to move the volume dial. It is a minimal design that complements the device’s appeal, though. Moreover, it is not a separate volume or amp dial; it is the same volume as your master PC volume, which tells you about the headset’s capabilities.
Performance / Hands on Use / Features / User Experience / Analysis / Etc.
To begin this section, I would just like to state that after countless attempts, I could not get the EPOS Gaming Suite to open up or work on my or my buddy’s PC in this video. We ran admin, uninstalled, and reinstalled, and just had too much trouble to be concerned about it when we have other matters to attend to. I can’t even see if I can toggle 7.1 to stereo, and the placebo effect is kicking in.
So with that being said, when analyzing the performance of this headset, one can say it sounds pretty clean. With the cost of the unit, you’d imagine it sounds good, and it definitely has a unique sound in a good way. However, the headset certainly has better fidelity when using the USB-c connection, and if you care enough, you will hear some audio degradation when using Bluetooth or 3.5mm audio. Unfortunately, it was enough for me to care about it, and I hate that I can hear the difference. Typically I’m on my PC, so I don’t have to deal with the lossy compression, but for console, mobile, and Switch users, you may experience poor quality from the speaker.
It is worth noting that the headset does not come with an audio dongle, so you are stuck with a wired connection for gaming at all times, while Bluetooth is only beneficial for phones. I do think hybrids are cool, but where is the dongle? I’m tired of wires. I wish I could testify to any customization on the software, but as of this time, it’s giving myself, and others, bugs. I cant even connect the app to the headset, but Bluetooth audio works, leaving me confused. Is it connected, or not connected? Moving on, the headset can use more bass out of the box, so tweaking the mixer would be excellent. Sadly, the mic doesn’t pick up the slack in quality, as I found it to be sub-par; take a listen for yourself.
Its build quality is nice, but I have to give a big no on input clarity. Additionally, the volume output is fairly solid as the H3 Hybrid gets relatively loud. This is a big two thumbs up in my book because I just like the option to bump out whenever. The clarity and volume only improve when listening to WAV files, but that likely only matters to the audiophiles out there. The headset does have a passive gain hum when the audio transmission is silent, too, so if you pause your music, you will hear white noise. This hum is quite apparent, but this type of audio feedback tends not to bother me.
On top of this, I found gaming with this headset pleasant and engaging. It’s not the most spacious sounding stage, but for what you’re buying, the sound fills your ears up. It effortlessly puts you into the game with high fidelity audio, volume, and the detail in the sounds immerses you. No complaints on this headset being able to uplift a gamer to the next skill level. Keep an ear out for those footsteps.
When it comes down to it, the EPOS H3 Hybrid confused me. There is no wireless dongle to put that battery to use with higher fidelity, and the relatively high cost makes me wonder who the intended audience for this headset even is. If you want a high fidelity universal headset, you probably wouldn’t mind spending more, or even less, to get a headset with high fidelity wireless connection. But, in 2021, if it’s not wireless (Unless I’m specifically going for production quality), the interest just isn’t there.
This headset just doesn’t make sense for a PC gamer, but I can see this being acceptable for a console, Switch, or mobile gamer. Still, it seems out of touch with the mobile gamer demographic, and there is too much competition in the PC – console space for this headset to compete. To be clear, I don’t truly dislike this unit, but it lacks direction in finding a target market. Hopefully, this software bug gets fixed because I’m not the only one with this issue.
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