Product: H3PRO Hybrid Closed Acoustic Headset
Intended Use: Gaming
Every company in their right mind nowadays is probably trying to sell you a gaming headset. However, I feel like the demand for unique headsets is far higher as they seem to have gotten stale. EPOS’ H3PRO Hybrid is more than a gaming headset and does offer distinct elements to people who don’t just want to use their headset at their desk. Gamers want more now, and using a headset for other purposes sounds enticing, which the H3PRO Hybrid provides.
Style / Feel / Build / Hardware
The EPOS line offers standard H3 headsets, though this PRO variant provides improved comfort, quality, sound, and more. To start, the headset goes for $279.99. This price point seems steep, but trust me, give it a chance. The headband is made of a mesh fabric, which never seemed to induce pain, even with the metal adjustment band on the inside. Usually, most headsets cause pain after lengthy sessions, which was thankfully not the case for this one.
The headband has 10 fine notches for head size, leaving you with the perfect fit. Other than the metal headband, the headset is primarily made of composite plastic and composite leatherette for the side of the earcups. The inside ear cushion is a super-soft synthetic fiber that makes you want to pet it. This material does seem to lose its excitement factor after a few wears, but it’s still soft nonetheless. The fit around your ears is quite “airey,” although my ears slightly touch on the earlobe, so smaller ears will have a cleaner fit.
The passive noise canceling due to the close acoustic is ideal, as it negates hearing outside noise and even your own voice. If you have music on at half volume, good luck hearing anything outside of this headset. On the unit’s exterior, we have a multitude of connections and support, featuring a 3.5mm jack for console controllers, USB-C for charging and high fidelity, Bluetooth for phone and other mobile devices, and a high fidelity wireless dongle connection. The H3PRO makes sure all your needs are met.
If you want the highest quality, go USB-C. If you desire convenience, the wireless dongle provides high fidelity audio at 40ms response and a slightly diminished quality compared to USB-C. The 3.5mm and Bluetooth quality are about the same, leaving more compressed sound. Dongle and USB-C are much better on the H3. The boom mic is on the left side, featuring flip to mute, and it feels well-built.
Further, you can remove the boom with MagSafe magnets. You can also remove the boom and put the cap cover on for a lighter, cleaner look if you have your own mic, which I always rock. I don’t like much weight on my head for too long; otherwise, I get headaches.
The power button, smart indicator light, 3.5mm jack, and USB-C connection are on the left side of the headset. The Bluetooth smart button, active noise-canceling switch, and volume dial are featured on the right side. The volume dial controls the internal windows’ 1-100 volume, leaving no internal volume preamp controls. I tend to dislike this design, as it is less customizable. But, I guess you can’t have it all.
The active noise canceling is not a button, but a switch, which grants unique flavor. It differs from the smart Bluetooth button and can answer calls when Hybrid connected, pausing music, changing EPOS software presets on the fly, and more. This headset boasts so many features that it’s hard to remember them all, but it’s worth knowing them if you take this on the go.
Further, the headset has excellent battery life, and after a few days of using it, mine is still going strong. The H3PRO Hybrid has 30 hours of battery life on the dongle and 19 hours with active noise canceling. It also gets 38 hours on only Bluetooth and 22 hours via Bluetooth with active noise canceling. Finally, you get 29 hours via 3.5mm and 18.5 hours of active noise canceling on the console. Essentially, this battery is a beast. Now, let’s get more intricate.
Performance / Hands on Use / Features / User Experience / Analysis / Etc.
I find the EPOS Suite software quintessential to the H3PRO Hybrid’s performance. Without this software, the sound is only okay. I wouldn’t use this much on the go since going from USB dongle quality to Bluetooth is an immense degradation in sound fidelity. EPOS Suite only works when using a dongle or USB-C directly, leaving those not using those formats in the dust.
Still, when connected via USB or dongle and paired with the software enhancements, the sound quality is amplified tenfold. The sound stage is spacious for the size of the H3, confirming that the closed acoustic setting is built with care—additionally, the surround sound 7.1 toggle when on EPOS Suite is arguably better and louder than stereo. The H3PRO Hybrid has stellar performance on stereo and 7.1, so pick the option that feels right for you.
I have heard better clarity on a headset, but if you think about all of the features you get, they probably had to compensate here and there for the product to be feasible. The size of the drivers is certainly something to consider regarding my previous statement. Also, in the mic section of the software, you can customize your mic tone and more. Still, if I’m going to be honest, the boom mic quality on this is no better than an $80 headset, so we found another trade-off. It’s upsetting that the boom isn’t higher quality as I was hoping this would be on the high-end spectrum. So, that’s two trade-offs so far.
Moving on from those points, I want to emphasize that the EPOS software is occasionally buggy in specific scenarios, such as not detecting the headset and simply not opening at all. I learned my ways around the bugs, as they are divertible though still unnecessary. Let me know if you guys need help using it. I’d also like to mention that, other than bugs, the software is a pleasant experience, remaining straightforward and super helpful. However, it could also use a full-screen option. Otherwise, I think this is my favorite peripheral controller for a headset. I just wish it worked perfectly.
One more thing; good luck getting the EPOS mobile app to work because that has given me migraines, causing me to abandon the idea of connecting the H3. Next, the buttons on the headset are responsive and quick to react to your input. We all like fast reaction times, right? Well, the Hybrid connection while using the headset is a bit weird sometimes, as I find it takes a second to understand the multi-input, but once it’s on, it’s on. I also found it remarkable to use the boom mic for a phone call while Bluetooth connected.
I left the active noise canceling for last because this was the most disappointing feature. I was so hyped to have this on the H3PRO, but honestly, it barely works. It basically applies a high pass, thereby filtering out bass tones, but you can hear all the mid to high-range tones from outside. Before active noise canceling is on, all you can listen to on the outside are low bass tones, so it almost inverts what you hear. It is somewhat better with noise-canceling, though it’s arguably not worth the battery drain. I find this to be the final trade-off, and I wish noise canceling wouldn’t hinder my opinion on the H3PRO Hybrid.
The H3PRO Hybrid is an impressive headset all around, breaking down barriers that I had yet to be enlightened with. I did say this headset does it all, and it “kinda” does, though I just have a few qualms with my experience. I wish the headset’s quality was less reliant on the software, but the quality itself is not what I’m mad about. Instead, it’s that damn noise-canceling bait and the boom mic quality.
If these incorporations were worthwhile, then this headset would be a complete one-and-done package for almost anyone. It’s not only a gamer headset, and that is why it’s worth considering. The quality could also stand to be a bit better, and I feel like I would have spent $320 for this exact headset with more consideration regarding the driver’s sound depth, boom mic, and active noise canceling. Everything else is icing on the cake. Just please fix this software!
I suppose the point of the H3 is to be smaller and lesser than their other series, so it is what it is. Although the H3PRO is not for the fidelity nut out there, I find the positives of this unit outweigh the negatives, leaving a pleasant experience, tons of features, and a versatile option for people who don’t just game.
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