Over the last few years, EPOS has steadily ensured that their name is one that’s remembered by gamers around the world when searching for a new headset. The H3 Hybrid, their latest gaming-centric headset, ticks a trio of boxes with 3.5mm, USB and Bluetooth connections. This could be a headset for all occasions, and if your ears are the right size, it should be.
The EPOS H3 Hybrid is the next iteration of the H3, which sat solidly in the ‘good’ category but had a few nagging issues that prevented it from achieving ‘great’ status. The H3 Hybrid brings two things to the party that ensures that this time it’s not only getting an invite, it’s a guest of honour.
First up is the revised volume wheel. The original H3’s wheel was really tricky to operate, offering too much resistance and not enough leverage – an annoying combination even at the best of times. While visually not much has changed, the volume wheel now spins freely, meaning that you can easily reach to the right earpiece and make adjustments with a single finger. It should have been this way originally, but it’s great to see them listening to feedback and making changes.
The second new feature is a magnetic mic boom arm. This is a magnet strong enough to pick the entire headset up by so you needn’t worry about knocking it off mid-game, but it means that you can legitimately use the H3 Hybrid as a pair of over-ear headphones with your mobile device or Nintendo Switch without everyone wondering why there’s a honking great big microphone next to your face. There’s a little magnetic cover in the box to close off the connection, and unless you knew you’d imagine that the H3 Hybrid is simply a smart pair of Bluetooth cans. This is the kind of thing that maximises a headset’s versatility, and if you only want to buy one headset the H3 Hybrid makes a concerted bid for your ears.
The 3.5mm wired connection means that you can use it pretty much everywhere else too. PS5, Xbox Series X, Switch, Stadia, and all sensible mobile phones work here. It’s worth noting that you need to power the H3 Hybrid on to be able to use it in wired mode, which could have been a limitation were it not for the fantastic battery life. It’s capable of up to 37 hours of Bluetooth, 24 hours of wired, or 19 hours with both engaged, which is more than enough to keep you gaming for a number of days, assuming you need sleep.
This wouldn’t mean much if they didn’t sound good, and they don’t… They sound amazing! EPOS continue to impress with the quality of their audio output, and the H3 Hybrid manages to make the most of whatever it is you’ve got them plugged into.
A day of metalcore via Bluetooth saw my ears take an absolute pounding thanks to the H3 Hybrid’s powerful audio, and even at top volume there’s a pristine quality to everything that allows you to pick out top end details like The Word Alive’s melodic vocals, while the chug of electric guitar riffs sit beneath them.
Moving through a range of different games the H3 continued to impress. Hot Wheels Unleashed’s thumping soundtrack was delivered with the utmost clarity, worryingly prompting a bit too much head nodding to pay attention to the arcade racing. Kena’s more plaintive orchestral tracks are the polar opposite, but the H3 Hybrid ensured that they sounded truly incredible, maximising their emotional quality.
There’s the option of EPOS’ own 7.1 solution if you’re playing on PC, and it’s a resolutely solid affair. There’s not too much reverb or loss of clarity, and a few rounds of PUBG with it activated emphasised the improved spacial awareness. Those worrying footsteps running past were easily identified. If only my aim was so easily enhanced.
While many gamers don’t seem to care whether their heads are adorned with the visual equivalent of a toddler’s post-Skittle binge vomit, the H3 Hybrid is reassuringly cool and restrained. It’s black. Black leatherette cushions, black matte and gloss plastics, and black hardware. The only glimpse of anything else is the stainless steel of the headband sliders. There’s not many gaming headsets this subdued and refined looking.
They’re comfortable as well. I do think the earpieces are a little bit more snug than other headsets out there, but then I’m fairly well endowed on the earlobe front. They do ensure a decent degree of passive noise isolation though, and when combined with their powerful output you won’t be able to hear anything from the outside world.
The final consideration then is how that detachable microphone sounds, and fortunately – or unfortunately – Tef was able to hear my murmurings perfectly well while we played some of the Halo Infinite multiplayer beta this past weekend. It didn’t make me play as well as he did, but then it’s not a magic headset.