Hardware Review: EPOS H3 Closed Acoustic Gaming Headset

A well-built, well-considered option for long gaming sessions.

By Zack Fornaca. Posted 06/28/2021 23:40 Comment on this     ShareThis
The Final Grade
Editor's Choice
grade/score info
1-Up Mushroom for...
Great audio quality; comfortable for long sessions; strong all-around option for a wired gaming headset
Poison Mushroom for...
Headphone jack cable texture leads to audible brushing sounds

Audio hardware makers EPOS, creators of the GTW 270 wireless earbuds previously reviewed here, are back with a pair of over-ear gaming headphones, the H3 Closed Acoustic Gaming Headset. While the GTW 270 showed promising performance mixed with some design idiosyncrasies, the H3 is a strong performer across the board, not really reinventing the wheel but ticking all the necessary boxes. It’s not perfect, but the shortcomings are minor.

Out of the box, the H3 consists of the headphones themselves and a couple of detachable cables which allow the H3 to be plugged into either a single 3.5mm jack or a split plug, allowing for wide compatibility. The one notably missing option in the box is a cable with USB-C connectivity, but since headphone adapter options are plentiful that’s not a huge deal, and the only quibble I have with the cables is that they are covered with a textured cloth finish. That can make them seem more premium, but it also means that any friction between cable and any other object (e.g. your shirt or your facial hair) will be unfortunately audible. Turn your head or adjust your posture and you’ll get the unnecessarily immersion-breaking sound. I don’t want to overstate the problem, but headphones which fully enclose the ears are probably better paired with smooth cables for this reason. Luckily, the cables are detachable so a sufficiently bothered user could swap them out.

As for the headphones themselves, they’re an easy recommendation. What I’m looking for in a gaming headset are: (1) great audio quality delivered to my ears; (2) the ability to easily adjust the volume or mute the mic using the headphones themselves; (3) great outbound audio via the mic; and (4) comfort across several hours of usage. Fundamentally, a headset that fails at any of these fails is a compromised product and for me that could constitute a dealbreaker. The H3 is not a compromised product.

While I personally prefer the feel of in-ear headphones, I found the deep earcups and padded headband very comfortable across multi-hour play sessions. The physical design of the mute and volume adjustment functionality are commendable, too. For volume adjustment, there’s a flat, textured dial on the right earcup. It’s flat enough and made with enough resistance that it’s difficult to accidentally adjust by grazing it, but easy to adjust with a couple of fingertips. The only weakness of the volume adjustment is that it doesn’t get that loud even at max. If you really want to crank it you have to do that using whatever source the headphones are plugged into.

Muting the mic is cleverly tied to the position of the boom. Lower the boom to your mouth to unmute it, or raise it against the ear cup to mute it. It means you can tell via touch or via sight that the device is muted, making the adjustment simple and reliable even in heated and stressful moments.

As for the audio quality, while I am not a true audiophile, I will say that the H3 sounds better than anything else I currently own. It handled lower bass frequencies well, showed off environmental soundscapes in games like Ghost of Tsushima, and even allowed me to identify entire instruments I had somehow overlooked in some Final Fantasy tracks. Maybe the H3 will be my gateway drug to becoming an audiophile. Regardless, while I’m speaking as a relative neophyte I’m definitely pleased with the experience.

While a customer may perhaps be able to find a better performer at this price point ($110), or a similar performer at a lower price point, that’s a bit outside my area of expertise and I do think that taken on its own terms the H3 is a winner which should satisfy most people’s needs for a wired gaming headset. I would recommend picking up a a smoother cable to avoid the occasional brushing sound, but otherwise the H3 is great as is.

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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