You might not yet be familiar with the EPOS brand in headset circles, but when I tell you that the company was built on the foundations of a long-running collaboration between audio giants Sennheiser and Demant, you might get a sense of the level of quality you should be expecting. The GTW 270 is a true wireless pair of earbuds, but rather than simply being Bluetooth-enabled like so many others, the GTW 270 also includes a USB-C wireless dongle that means you can use them across PC, Mac, PS5 and Nintendo Switch, while the USB-A adaptor opens up even more opportunities. This might just be the answer to your multi-platform prayers.
With a RRP of £179 the GTW 270 immediately hops into the premium audio bracket so that’s an undoubted barrier to entry. However, the added functionality you’re getting here, combined with a price that sits between your average true wireless earbuds and ANC-enabled offerings like the AirPod Pro or Galaxy Bud Pro, feels fair when taken alongside the rest of the market.
EPOS certainly know how to make their products feel premium, being masters of the magnetised box, with a plush piece of fabric letting you into this particular box of delights. You’re met by the two earbuds, the metal case and the USB-C dongle, while all of the other gubbins are hidden away for you to tinker with later on.
The GTW 270 comes with a serious carry and charge case, constructed out of dark grey metal that’s cool to the touch when you pick it up and with a real heft to it in the hand. There’s a battery indicator button and four LEDs on the front to let you know how much juice the case is still packing, while a USB-C port for charging is the only other thing of note. Internally it’s kept similarly simple with two magnetic sockets for the earbuds. It’s not quite the smallest case out there, but it’s definitely compact and easy enough to pocket, while its curved metal lines reassuringly follow through on that premium price.
The earbuds look exceedingly smart and modern; someone at EPOS clearly wanted the GTW 270 to stand out amongst a sea of black or white plastic units, so they sport a brushed metal panel with an embossed EPOS logo. Beyond that, there’s exposed metal contacts on the inner side which line up with the magnetised charging points in the case, and the rest of the earpieces are constructed from sturdy black plastic. They don’t protrude from your ear – or at least, they don’t from my fairly substantial ears – and their look will suit those looking for something a little more serious and stylish than the candy-stick and imperial mint combo seen elsewhere.
There’s only one button, found on the rear of the left earbud, and that means you’re somewhat limited by your interactions with the headset itself. You can pause, play, move back and forth through tracks you’re listening to, or fire up your chosen digital experience. If you need to do anything else, primarily change the volume, you’re going to have fiddle with your device. In practice I didn’t find this affected me at all – once my volume is set for a walk or a run I’m not messing with it – but you’ll know if you’re the kind of person that hops from track to track and fiddles with the volume as you go.
One of the key features I loved is how removing the right earbud from my ear pauses the music, perfect for an unexpected chat while you’re out, while removing the left will keep things playing. Again, that might irk some people, but I really appreciated the flexibility, and it fit with my usage perfectly well.
Given the price of the GTW 270, you’d expect them to sound very good, and fortunately all of EPOS’ audio heritage comes to bear here with the kind of highly detailed audio that gamers and music fans crave. My running playlist sounded fantastic out and about – Gunship seem to have the perfect tempo for my running cadence – and that’s even considering they were just being pumped out by a Garmin smartwatch without any additional processing or EQ options.
Hooking them up to a PC was excellent, and with the correct ear-tip size and a good seal you’ll find that you’re able to hear every element of a song, or every misjudged footstep in PUBG, with a perfectly weighted bass response balancing with all that top end detail. I say with the correct ear-tip size, as it’s always the most difficult part of engaging with a new pair of earbuds. Make sure you take the time to find the right fit for your ear.
As with most in-ear headphones, the GTW 270 isn’t going to be ultra-heavy on the bass. These are naturally a fairly neutral pair of earbuds, and they really give you the sense that you’re listening to audio in the way it was intended. The EQ settings on your phone, or via the PC app, can certainly alter the way audio is presented to you, but it’s still not going to overwhelm you with bottom end. If that’s what you crave then you’re going to be better off elsewhere, but as far as enjoyable listening experiences go the GTW 270 makes a compelling argument.
There are a handful of disappointments with the GTXW 270, and the main one is with its microphones. While you can answer a phone call and get decently crisp audio over Bluetooth, the USB-C dongle’s reliance on AptX Low Latency means that it’s only good for audio output. If you’re hoping to chat with people in a multiplayer session, you won’t do that with these earbuds.
If I was being picky I’d also have hoped for Hi-Res Audio certification and the use of the AptX HD codec over Bluetooth. The battery life is also fairly mediocre with a single charge lasting you 5 hours. Compared to what some other manufacturers are managing, such as Creative with their wireless earbuds, it’s a little disappointing, though it is in line with Apple’s AirPods. While the charging case does give you a total of 20 hours usage, serious gamers may find hitting the edge of that 5 hours a little too much to bear.