It’s reassuring to see manufacturers listening to their customers. While companies like Apple seemingly decide on a whim to remove features – I’m still sore about the iPhone’s lost headphone jack – you’ve got EPOS out here putting together headsets that are becoming progressively more all-encompassing. The EPOS H3Pro Hybrid recommends itself as an over-ear headset that features wireless connectivity, Bluetooth, and, that favourite of audio buffs and normal people alike, a 3.5mm connection. It even has a removable mic. And active noise cancellation. Looking at all this, isn’t it better to add features instead of taking them away?
The EPOS H3Pro Hybrid might just be all things to all people, and it sells itself even further by looking like a seriously high-end piece of audio tech. Our review unit came in racing green, but it’s a strikingly attractive headset even when you look past the British automotive history. The deep green is offset by gold highlights and black hardware and I have to say it’s the best-looking paint job I’ve seen in a while. The moment you open the box you’re going to be smitten with it, and each time I picked it up I paused to appreciate both the eye-catching looks and the materials that EPOS has used.
The central frame of the H3Pro Hybrid is robust stainless steel, with the adjustable metal sliders clicking solidly into place to make sure you can find the perfect fit. The headband is lined with plush leather and soft textured fabric and it feels great, both in your hand and on your head. Each of the soft ear cushions is lined externally with leather to aid passive noise cancellation while there’s exceptionally gentle fabric internally to sit against your skin. This is a headset where EPOS has considered every element and it all comes together in emphatic fashion.
As a wireless headset the EPOS H3Pro Hybrid comes with it’s own low-latency USB-A dongle, as well as an extension cable if you need it. It’s compatible with PC, PS4, and PS5, and delivers crystal-clear audio without any noticeable lag or distortion. Hopping over to the 3.5mm connection allows you to connect it to pretty much everything else, so your Xbox Series X or playing with Google Stadia is covered here, while Bluetooth hoovers up mobile devices or a Nintendo Switch. If you’ve got multiple devices this is the headset for you.
There’s plenty of battery life to support all those different formats too, with 42 hours without active noise cancelling (ANC) and 19 hours with ANC enabled. Charge time is a swift two hours, which is handy as you’re going to need to make sure that you keep it topped up; just like a hoverboard over water – thanks, tenuous Back to the Future reference – you need power even if you’re just using the wired 3.5mm connection.
Adding ANC is an interesting choice, not least because the H3Pro Hybrid has good passive noise cancellation anyway, and that’s without putting excessive pressure on your ears. The ANC has a dedicated switch, and activating it brings in the telltale hiss of the audio processing. It certainly reduces consistent background noise, but it’s not the otherworldly hush you get from top tier efforts from Sony, Apple or Bose. It’s the only element here that doesn’t feel as though it’s at the apex of headset design, but it’s a welcome inclusion that does help cut out the outside world a little more.
The ANC uses an embedded ear cup microphone, which makes sense when the boom arm is detachable. All manufacturers who want people to use their headsets outside the house should let you detach a mic arm, and the strong magnets on the H3Pro Hybrid do an admirable job of keeping it firmly in place when you do want it there. There’s a little magnetic cap that covers the socket too, though alongside the diminutive USB dongle it’s something I’m worried about losing.
The ear-cup microphone’s performance is absolutely fine for calls, and the odd moment of chat where you’re just picking up the headset for a few moments, but if you’re embarking on a major Warzone session you’ll want the boom mic. EPOS have their microphone builds nailed down at this point, and the H3Pro Hybrid mic is exceptionally clear, delivering both your dulcet, and not so dulcet, tones directly to your awaiting public’s ears. As far as gaming headset microphones go, this is amongst the best.
While you’ll sound great, everything you hear is brought to you with an excellent level of clarity and real conviction. Beyond that, the H3Pro Hybrid makes it fun just to listen to content, whether that’s games, movies or music. I’ve been comfort gaming again, heading back to Assassin’s Creed III on a route through Black Flag and Rogue. The excellent voice acting here sounds well-rounded, with both detail and depth, while the soundtrack and ambient noises envelop you in a soundscape that the H3Pro replicates admirably. Despite the closed back design, there’s a pleasingly wide soundstage here too, ably assisting the sense of scale.
The only downside to this build quality and feature set is that EPOS are charging a serious premium for it. With an RRP of £239, it’s right at the top end of what you can expect to pay for a gaming headset, and that means you’ve got to make a choice between EPOS’ offering and well-established headsets like the Astro A50 and the Audeze Penrose. The H3Pro Hybrid trumps both of them though with its ability to connect to every platform you own, and it’s certainly the best-looking of the trio.