Whenever I buy something I like to know two things: how it was designed and how long it will last me. If something won’t last very long or its design doesn’t do much for me, I’ll buy something that gets the job done at as low a price as possible, preferably second-hand.
The issue with this ethos is things can get a bit expensive. My nail clippers cost me £17, and when I told a friend, they said “Ben, they literally fall out of Christmas crackers.” This is true, but my nail clippers should also work perfectly for more than a decade. Those Christmas cracker ones would not.
So, all this is a roundabout way of saying I like nice stuff. But it has to work properly and to a high standard. And this is the sales pitch for the EPOS H3PROs. They’re $279 / £250, which is in the same range as some high-end over-ear headphones, but they have one thing those headphones don’t: they’re designed for playing videogames with.
What this means then, is that if you use a gaming headset for hours on end, day after day, this could be the perfect fit. If you already have the right headphones for music, have some extra cash, and love a little bit of luxury, this is the way to go.
The main reason for this is the sound quality. Compare the H3PROs to Xbox or Sony’s own wireless headsets, and it beats them easily, spreading different noises to different zones with the same ease, but with higher fidelity.
Better yet, the headphones are beautifully balanced. The first thing I noticed was the bass: perfectly subtle. While other headsets may bass boost to make everything sound a little showier and more violent, the EPOS H3PROs have bass balanced perfectly, letting crisp highs crop up easily and fluidly without overpowering the middle.
A good test for this is the game F1 22. An F1 engine can whine high up or gurgle down low, screech its wheels or clonk against another car, all while there’s constant noise from crowds and other cars and whatnot, and these headphones handle all that muddy nuance beautifully.
However, this isn’t the best test for fidelity – how can you tell what good sound quality is when the main noise is basically white noise? So, I jump into The Witcher 3. No, Roach does not have a V6 gurgling away, but the various nature noises within are a good test for the headphones’ clarity.
Here, birds chirp, Roach’s hooves clip and clop beneath the odd grumble, various NPCs shout loud nonsense, before a river flows by and a horrible drowner does a big screech, and it all sounds rather lovely.
So, while I’m by no means a pro, the EPOS H3PROs impressed me a whole lot as a bit of an amateur audiophile. I haven’t used a gaming headset that sounded this good before – though I’ve never used one this expensive, either.
Then there’s the mic quality which is also great. Don’t go and record your next hit number-one single on this; do let your friends hear every gurgle of Mountain Dew and crunch of Dorito chip as you sail the high seas or do assault-rifle-assisted virtual murder.
All these things are the basics, however – a $280 headset has to sound good in every way, otherwise, it’s a bit of a silly price. So, it’s good it meets that hurdle instantly and without any caveats (unless you’re a silly billy who likes over-boomy bass).
To improve the offering EPOS has not only built the headphones to an excellent standard, with nice feeling plastic casings, steel band through the mesh fabric, and a good-looking aesthetic, but it also packages in some lovely stuff to improve the experience.
The EPOS H3PROs come with a headphone jack cable, Bluetooth, and a USB dongle for wireless gaming, covering all the bases – while you can play on the Nintendo Switch undocked with Bluetooth, you need a dongle to do so docked; you can’t connect via Bluetooth to Xbox, but can plug into the headphone jack on the controller or use the dongle; and it’s the same for the PS5.
This is the way it is, thanks to console manufacturers, and EPOS is clever enough to sidestep any annoying eventualities by just packaging everything into the box. You can also use the USB-C charging port for audio on PC – no stone unturned and all that.
Meanwhile, the mic is ergonomic, switching off when raised and on when down in front of your mouth. You can also remove it altogether and attach a little cover that comes in the box to keep everything looking clean.
This may make you think that these could also double up as on-the-go headphones, but if you have any vanity – as I do – they’re way too big to not feel awkward in. They’re a little bit ear defender-y, something which may be good for the racket on the tube, but not so good for my aesthetic.
Still, ignoring aesthetics, those big cups do an excellent job of trapping your ears to stop noise, while having an easy-to-use volume wheel on the right cup and leaving a good amount of space for multi-directional audio. The cups are tight, and the holes are snug – but I have small ears, so maybe try and get to a shop to try these on if yours are on the larger side.
If the cups don’t do a good enough job of stopping outside noise then there’s also active noise cancellation to make sure you never hear anything else ever again. Unless you share a room with a noisy infant or live on a construction site, I can’t see ANC being necessary, but it’s nice it’s there for the rare time it’s helpful.
All this lovely stuff comes in a practical package too, with at least 19 hours of battery life. This might not sound like much, but it will get you through multiple days without any issues, and as it charges via USB-C you’re bound to have lots of places to give it some juice.
So, what’s the catch? Oh, there’s none, it just costs a lot of money. Do they cost too much money? Well, yes, if I were the judge. But I don’t make that much money, I don’t have that much money, and I would never spend £240 on a pair of headphones just for gaming. But I’m not you, and these are quite nice, so it’s your call, kiddo.
EPOS H3PRO Hybrid review
The EPOS H3PRO Hybrid gaming headset is an excellent companion for anyone who wants a bit of extra luxury as they spend hours playing games. Ignoring whether these are right for you or not – that’s your choice – they’re just fundamentally lovely, and not that extortionate once you actually get to using them.