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EPOS H3PRO Hybrid
November 16, 2021
Original: $279 USD
1.5m (3.5mm cable)
1.8m (USB-C cable)
EPOS has been inching towards releasing a great gaming headset for a little while now, but every time something like the H3 or the GTW 270 Hybrid comes along, one or two lingering issues hold it back. Now the company is back with an upgrade to a few-month-old headset: the EPOS H3PRO Hybrid checks pretty much every box for connectivity, and includes a handful of extra features with some great hardware.
This is EPOS’ high-end gaming headset that does it all, so how does it match up to the best on the market?
Editor’s note: this EPOS H3PRO Hybrid review was updated on June 29, 2022, to address an FAQ about the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless as an alternative. We also added standardized microphone samples and updated the scoring to align with our revised subjective scoring guide.
- Gamers looking for something they can use with every platform will find endless ways to use the H3PRO Hybrid.
- Everyday listeners who want something that can double as a regular pair of headphones should seriously consider this versatile gaming headset.
- At-home workers who need something comfortable with a loud, clear microphone for their interminable Zoom calls will get a lot of mileage from EPOS’ headset.
What is it like to use the EPOS H3PRO Hybrid?
The EPOS H3PRO Hybrid sports a pretty familiar aesthetic—EPOS has hammered on its look for a little while with headsets like the H3, H3 Hybrid, and H6 range, and it’s easy to see why. This wireless gaming headset looks pretty slick, with nice rounded edges and a comfortable design.
The H3PRO Hybrid is made primarily of hard plastic, with a steel strip running through the headband. It feels sturdy, but at 309g, it doesn’t feel especially heavy. The headband and ear cushions are all covered in multiple materials—each ear pad features an outer ring of leatherette, a suede face, and a mesh inner ring, while the headband is covered in a mesh fabric, with a strip of leatherette where the headset rests on your head. The combination seems a little complicated, but it’s comfortable nonetheless.
The headband also offers just the right amount of clamping force. Everything feels secure without being too tight, and achieving a decent seal around the ear is easy. The H3 Hybrid has some of the narrowest ear pads around—multiple members of SoundGuys staff can’t comfortably wear them for any amount of time—but thankfully the H3PRO Hybrid doesn’t have this issue. Whether the ear holes are a couple of centimeters wider, or the ear pads are just more pliable, I don’t know.
Using the EPOS H3PRO Hybrid is pretty straightforward, but there’s actually quite a bit going on here. This headset supports pretty much every connection method, so there are buttons and ports all over to facilitate that. It handles basic functions pretty intuitively—there’s a big volume dial on the side of the right headphone, and the microphone mutes when you flip it up. The microphone is also detachable—held in place by magnets—and the headset comes with a little faceplate to cover the hole when you want to take this out in public. The headset sports a USB-C port for charging, and you can use the same port for PC gameplay. It also features a 2.5mm input for its included detachable 2.5mm-to-3.5mm cord, which you can use to plug into anything with a headphone jack.
How do you control the H3PRO Hybrid?
The EPOS H3PRO Hybrid also features three buttons along the edges of the headphones. The power button sits on the front edge of the left headphone, and the Bluetooth button and active noise cancelling (ANC) switch sit on the back edge of the right headphone. When you’re connected to a PC with EPOS Gaming Suite installed, tapping the Bluetooth button will also cycle through the headset’s available EQ presets.
What is the software experience like with the EPOS H3PRO Hybrid?
Like many of the company’s recent gaming headsets, the EPOS H3PRO Hybrid brings a host of additional features using the EPOS Gaming Suite companion app. In the EPOS Gaming Suite, you can switch between stereo and virtual 7.1 surround sound, and get firmware updates for both the headset and the USB dongle. On the settings page, you can set whether tapping the Bluetooth button toggles EQ presets or surround sound, and you can shut off the headset’s auto-sleep function too.
As mentioned above, there are EQ presets available in the app, and there’s an integrated nine-band equalizer module for headphone output as well. The microphone page features a live frequency monitor that lights up as you speak, as well as a few EQ presets and the option to set a custom mic EQ. There are also sliders for adjusting gain, sidetone, noise gating, and noise cancellation.
Unlike before, the EPOS Gaming Suite app is a stable and intuitive experience.
EPOS Gaming Suite has been a finicky app in the past—for as neatly laid out and simple as it seems, the app frequently just didn’t work. However, with the H3PRO Hybrid, it’s reliable and responsive. Changed settings stay changed, and the app doesn’t have any issue recognizing when the headset is connected. Clearly, the software has gotten more stable with successive updates.
How is the EPOS H3Pro Hybrid for gaming?
The EPOS H3PRO Hybrid offers a great gaming experience on most gaming platforms. Whether you’re connected over 3.5mm, wired USB, or wirelessly using the USB dongle, this is a convenient gaming headset that’s easy to set up, and comfortable enough for long gaming sessions.
Playing games like Knockout City and Deathloop on PlayStation 5, the H3PRO Hybrid handles the console’s 3D audio feature very well, and it sounds good doing it. On PC, having a built-in 7.1 feature is nice and it works well during rounds of Slayer in Halo Infinite. The headset doesn’t have any issue with the sounds of a frantic gunfight coming through clearly alongside the game’s guitar-centric score, and voices come through clearly over Discord.
How does the EPOS H3PRO Hybrid connect?
The EPOS H3PRO Hybrid has a lot of connection options. In all likelihood, you’ll primarily stick with either a USB or 3.5mm wired connection, or a wireless connection via the included USB dongle. With these three options, you can connect wirelessly to PC, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5, and Nintendo Switch (while it’s docked), and over a wired connection to all those platforms, as well as Xbox consoles and an undocked Nintendo Switch.
The USB wireless connection works well enough, though it’s a fairly short range. Even walking four or six meters away from the source, I run into connection hiccups. Walking into another room reliably makes the connection drop altogether.
The EPOS H3PRO Hybrid also supports Bluetooth connections. It only uses the default SBC codec, but it works. The headset supports simultaneous connections, too—you can connect through Bluetooth to your phone while using a wire or the USB dongle to a gaming platform. You can’t connect simultaneously using both wired connections or via a wired connection and the USB dongle, only with Bluetooth and one other connection.
How is the battery life of the EPOS H3PRO Hybrid?
EPOS claims the H3PRO Hybrid can last anywhere from 18 and a half hours (wired 3.5mm with ANC on) to 38 hours (Bluetooth with ANC off). In our testing, we found it lands on the lower end of that range, but still comfortably inside it. At a consistent music output peaking at 75dB(SPL), connected via the USB dongle with ANC turned on, the H3Pro Hybrid lasted 19 hours, 24 minutes. That’s a far cry from 38 hours, but you’ll no doubt get a little closer with ANC turned off. Of course, adding another connection over Bluetooth will bring that number down, as will listening to higher volumes.
The older EPOS H3 Hybrid has one of the best battery test results of any pair of headphones we’ve reviewed—gaming headset or otherwise—with the caveat that the headset needed to be powered on at all times, even when connected over 3.5mm. That caveat is still present with the EPOS H3PRO Hybrid, though that shouldn’t be terribly surprising, given the features it adds all typically require a power source.
The headset charges over USB-C and EPOS claims it can charge fully in about 2 hours, which squares with our experience during the review period.
How is the noise cancelling performance of the EPOS H3PRO Hybrid?
The EPOS H3PRO Hybrid doesn’t have incredible ANC performance compared to big name Bluetooth headphones like the Sony WH-1000XM4, Bose QuietComfort 45, or Apple AirPods Max. However, there are only a handful of gaming headsets with this feature, and compared to something like the JBL Quantum 800, isolation and ANC performance like this are pretty great.
Apart from the genuinely good passive isolation, the H3PRO Hybrid offers decent attenuation up to 500Hz, peaking at around 150Hz with an almost 20dB reduction. ANC of that level will render sounds in that range up to one-quarter as loud as they’d sound without the headset.
How does the EPOS H3Pro Hybrid sound?
The EPOS H3PRO Hybrid (cyan) outputs sound very close to our in-house target curve (pink). Bass and low mid-range sound is emphasized a little more than we shoot for, but not so much that it’s unpleasant. There’s also a slight lack of emphasis in the sub-bass range and the treble range, but not much.
Lows, mids, and highs
Music of most genres should sound pretty great coming through the EPOS H3PRO Hybrid. In Leave Me Alone by I DONT KNOW HOW BY THEY FOUND ME, pretty much everything from the vocals to the droning synth to the bass and guitar comes through clearly. The deepest reverberations of the bass guitar get a little bit lost, but it’s hard to notice a huge difference, and there’s no issue with masking string or cymbal sounds.
Frequency response like this should be great for pretty much any kind of game experience. The rumble of nearby explosions might be ever so slightly less intense due to the sub-bass dip, but you may actually appreciate that. The din of the battlefield is always going to be the loudest part of any shooter game because of how the engineers mixed the audio. This under-emphasis gives you an advantage, making it more likely for you to hear quieter sounds like footsteps in the game Valorant. You can always adjust the EQ settings on PC using the EPOS Gaming Suite app.
How is the microphone on the EPOS H3Pro Hybrid?
The EPOS H3PRO Hybrid features a very solid microphone for a gaming headset. Much like the EPOS H3 Hybrid, this detachable mic is loud, accurate, and easy to position. There’s some pretty significant noise gating turned on by default in the app, but you can reduce or deactivate it easily. Here’s a new standardized microphone sample based on a new test we’re working on:
EPOS H3Pro Hybrid microphone demo (Ideal):
EPOS H3Pro Hybrid microphone demo (Office):
How does the microphone sound to you?
Should you buy the EPOS H3PRO Hybrid?
If you have room in your budget, the EPOS H3PRO Hybrid is definitely worth a look. This wireless gaming headset looks good, sounds good, and feels good. It’s easy to use, and the addition of wireless audio and ANC make it really compelling. The need to use the battery even over 3.5mm connections is a little unfortunate, but it’s easy to overlook when the rest of the package is this good.
Basically, if you want something that can do it all, this could the headset for you. It’s pricey, but compared to similarly exhaustive options like the Audeze Mobius or Corsair Virtuoso RGB Wireless XT, the H3PRO Hybrid actually seems a little more reasonable.
What are some alternatives to the EPOS H3PRO Hybrid?
If dropping hundreds of dollars on a gaming headset just isn’t something you can justify, there are tons of great options for under $100 USD. The Razer BlackShark V2 is a few years old, but it’s still arguably the best wired gaming headset on the market, and it’ll only run you $99 USD. On PC, it brings a decent amount of software features, and whether you’re connected via USB or 3.5mm, it offers great isolation, audio, and microphone audio on every platform—plus it’s super comfortable.
If you need something more affordable than the H3PRO Hybrid, but you still want something wireless, check out the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless. This headset has excellent battery life and great sound, and it uses a USB-C dongle, which means it will work PC and PlayStation consoles, as well as a docked or undocked Nintendo Switch, and mobile phones with USB-C ports—it’s not quite as many platforms as EPOS offers, but it’s nothing to sneeze at.
Frequently asked questions about the EPOS H3PRO Hybrid
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless also merits our editor’s choice award for its elegant, understated design, swappable battery packs, ANC, and sound quality. It’s a bit pricier than the H3PRO Hybrid at $349 USD but you get a wireless base station that charges the spare battery pack, features an integrated 10-band EQ, and allows you to adjust game/chat balance on the fly.
Both SteelSeries and EPOS’ headsets feature Bluetooth and only support the SBC codec for streaming. Most will probably find the Arctis Nova Pro Wireless design to appear a bit more covert with its retractable microphone and cleaner appearance, but EPOS’ headset has its own charm too.
Sound quality is very good on either headset, though you get a more pronounced bass boost with the Arctis Nova Pro Wireless. Both headsets have similar ANC performance but you can see in our comparison chart above that the Arctis Nova Pro Wireless does a bit more to attenuate those sub-bass and midrange frequencies than the H3PRO Hybrid.
If you decide you don’t care for wireless functionality at all but still want a premium gaming headset with a cool base station, get the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro. This wired headset includes the GameDAC Gen 2 and, like the wireless version, is supported via SteelSeries GG software.