The H3PRO Hybrid headset is the latest release from EPOS and at RRP $399, it’s certainly an investment for the multi-platform gamer. Stepping up from the H3 Hybrid reviewed by our Tech Editor Royce Wilson in October, the H3PRO Hybrid brings with it both wired and wireless options, detachable mic boom arm, and versatility to be used across multiple gaming devices. However, the H3PRO Hybrid features step up in the form of multi-device simultaneous connectivity and the addition of active noise cancelling (ANC) which eliminates ambient room noise.
The headset ships with all the cables you’ll need for all situations. It has Bluetooth 5.2 built-in so you can connect to Nintendo Switch and Android/iOS devices easily. Then there’s a low latency USB dongle that is pre-paired with the headphones, allowing you to plug this into your PlayStation 5 and PC. To charge the device, there’s a USB-C cable and USB-A extension, and finally it has a 1.5m 3.5mm cable to plug directly into audio ports for the switch, your PC, or the Xbox/PlayStation controllers. I currently have four headsets in the house – one each for my PC, Xbox Series X, PlayStation, and earbuds for the Switch. I can now get rid of all of them and just use the H3PRO Hybrid headset, but that’s not the best bit.
The H3PRO Hybrid can have simultaneous connectivity to your smartphone device. This means you can be gaming on your couch hearing the epic sounds from the PlayStation 5 whilst simultaneously connected to your phone for voice chat or to listen to your favourite gaming music tunes. iOS devices will not mix in calls with the USB dongle though which I used on my PC. Instead, the headset will route audio to your mobile device, and route it back again to game audio when the phone call ends.
Couple that with active noise cancelling and you’ll have near total immersion in the game you’re playing. The closed-ear headphones do a great job at blocking external noise in the room whilst you’re playing games or listening to music, and you can switch ANC on via the right earpiece to further reduce low frequency noises. I didn’t notice a difference with ANC on or off despite trying through various gaming and music scenarios. Also on this right earpiece is the volume wheel which you can turn easily. When using it on the PC, it didn’t always sync with Windows volume slider wirelessly and when it did, it jumped in 9-10 volume increments. It’s not as precise as I’d like but it’s still a useable feature.
The left earpiece has the 3.5mm jack, detachable magnetic mic boom arm, a USB-C charging port, power button and power indicator light. The light only shows if the headset needs charging, when it is fully charged, and blinks when pairing. One downside I found was there was no indicator of whether the headset is powered on or not when using it. I had to put the headphones on, turn it on and wait to hear “battery is above 80%” to be sure they were on. Similarly, holding the power button down when I was finished to hear it turn off. Otherwise, there’s no external indicator of whether it’s on or not.
In terms of battery life, EPOS states the H3PRO Hybrid should get up to 30 hours when paired with the wireless USB dongle. This usage drops to 19 hours with ANC enabled. If connected via Bluetooth, usage extends to up to 38 hours and 22 with ANC. Up to 29 hours with the 3.5 mm cable, 18.5 hours with ANC. Again, without a visual power indicator it was difficult to keep track, you just need to get into the habit of powering the device off while you’re still wearing it and wait for the audible indicator turning off before hanging it up for the night.
Initially the headset felt like it was clamping my head too tightly, but over time this eased (likely that I just got used to it) and it was firm on my head, even when walking around. I get a bit of perspiration from the earcups which have a leather-like border and felt material against your skin, otherwise the ear cups fit well. The headband is strong, adjustable, and comfortable with the whole unit weighing 308g. The microphone arm feels sturdy when moving the arm into talking position and folded up when not in use. I tend to use my AT2020+ microphone these days so I removed the microphone arm, and it comes with a cover plate to seal that port from dust.
Sound quality was really good out of the box despite it using 2.0 channels by default. Installing the EPOS Gaming Suite enables you to switch to virtual 7.1 surround sound on some presets but this relies on the source audio signal being 7.1 capable. You can then click the Bluetooth button on the right earpiece to cycle through the four sound presets available – flat, music, esport (treble) and movie. Flat and music presets utilise 2.0 channels while esport and movie uses 7.1. I found the movie preset to be the best one for games like Halo Infinite and The Witcher 3. When listening to music, there was a slight difference between flat and music, but for me there wasn’t much difference between all four presets, though I’m not much of a music aficionado anyway. You can also set your own levels and tweak it to your personal preferences.
Overall, the H3PRO Hybrid is an excellent headset with wired and wireless options for the gamer that wants one headset to cover all their platform options with ease. The high cost of $399 sounds steep but I no longer need four different headsets to cover my Xbox Series X, PlayStation 5, PC and Nintendo Switch. Sound quality is great and immersive with closed-ear noise cancelling and the ability to connect to your phone at the same time for calls or voice chat.
Written by: @ChrisJInglis