Hardware Review: EPOS H6PRO Closed Acoustic Gaming Headset

Does it make sense to pair premium gaming headphones with the Switch?

By Zack Fornaca. Posted 12/08/2021 21:17 Comment on this     ShareThis

Gaming audio specialists EPOS, makers of H3 closed headphones reviewed here back in June, have iterated on their past design and produced the H6PRO. The H6PRO shares many similarities with the H3, but there are some key differences. In brief, for those who are already familiar with the H3:

  • The H6PRO’s boom mic is magnetically attached and can be removed for a better silhouette and easier transport.
  • In our testing, the H6PRO had superior frequency response at the high end (i.e. it handled extremely high frequencies better).
  • The H6PRO is available in closed or open versions, whereas the H3 was only available closed.
  • The closed H6PRO is a bit heavier 1-2 oz heavier than the H3 (even with the mic detached), and has a bit more padding on the top to compensate.
  • The H6PRO’s MSRP is $180 compared to $110 for the H3.

This is a $180 pair of headphones, so it might be worth addressing the elephant in the room upfront: what does this provide that a $20 pair of earbuds or the built in speakers do not, especially in the context of the Switch being a hybrid portable system? After all, the prototypical gaming headphone enthusiast is tethered to their desktop for maximum frame rate, using a mouse for maximum precision, and relying on headphones for a maximally accurate and detailed soundscape, all to the same end: competitive advantage over their adversaries in shooters from CSGO to Apex Legends. Someone playing Overwatch on the Switch is after all choosing to play on a platform that offers no mouse controls or high frame rates, specifically because they have other priorities (from wanting to play Nintendo’s sterling exclusives to valuing portability over performance). Yet this is exactly why a good pair of headphones can be so valuable on Switch. After all, you can’t boost Overwatch’s frame rate by plugging in an accessory, but you can buy a better pair of headphones.

Aside from competitive advantage, good headphones can also support greater immersion in games like BioShock or Firewatch, or just reveal the depth of the artistry present in even the most unassuming games. For example, I’ve heard so many hours of Animal Crossing: New Horizons music over the past year coming through tinny Switch and TV speakers, but via good headphones, every track sounds instantly remastered, with little flourishes or textures in the arrangements revealing themselves for the first time. Do not underestimate the transformative power of good headphones!

Because these are wired headphones, they are a bit awkward when using the Switch docked, and Switch owners who primarily play docked will want to consider an extension cable or a wireless alternative. For those who prefer to play undocked, the challenge is instead what to do with the headphones when not in use. They’re bulkier and heavier than a Switch Lite (though lighter than the full fat Switch), so by nature they complicate the desire to just throw the Switch in a bag and go. However, in situations where the player has the time and space to pull out the Switch and immerse themselves, like on an airplane or in a hotel room, good headphones are an invaluable addition.

Are these good headphones? Absolutely, as were EPOS’s previously reviewed H3s. Like the H3, the H6PRO includes a mic that can swing up and out of the way when not in use (the mic is automatically muted when the boom is tucked away), and unlike the H3’s mic, the H6PRO’s mic is attached magnetically and can be stowed away for a sleeker profile and a slightly lighter total weight. While the difference is subtle at best in practical applications, the H6PRO did manage to handle higher frequencies than the H3 in our testing. The H6PRO is heavier than the H3, but has more padding to compensate for the extra weight, and in testing the two units for hours at a time I didn’t have a strong preference in terms of comfort. The previously mentioned elephant the room should appreciate that the H6PRO accommodates larger ears, too.

Whereas the H3 was only available closed, the H6PRO is available both closed and open. For those unfamiliar, open headphones allow ambient sound to better permeate. If you want the superior audio of headphones while taking in the sound of backyard birdsong, you might prefer open headphones. If your backyard accompaniment is barking dogs or traffic, on the other hand, you might not appreciate it quite so much. It’s a matter of taste and circumstance, with closed headphones blocking out more environmental noise. This review is of the closed model specifically, allowing for a more direct comparison with the H3.

Coming back around to the price, it is true that $180 is a lot, almost as much as the Switch Lite, even compared to the previously reviewed H3 ($110). EPOS is not positioned as a budget brand and these might not be the best choice for a Switch owner with a more limited budget. While the removable microphone is a nice touch, I’m not sure the differences are enough to recommend the H6PRO over the H3 or another alternative. However, taking the performance of the H6PRO on its own without regard to the price, it’s easy to recommend the experience of using it.

Nintendojo was provided a sample of this product for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation.

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