EPOS GTW 270 HYBRID IN-EAR GAMING HEADPHONES Review

 The name EPOS shouldn't mean something to everyone. The daughter of the hearing aid manufacturer Demant took over the Sennheiser portfolio some time ago and by then at the latest, the ears should ring. After all, Sennheiser was known for some of the best gaming headsets around. After the transition phase, EPOS is now in the process of bringing its first own products onto the market. To everyone's surprise, it is one of the new additions to in-ear headphones for mobile gaming. Two things have not changed since the takeover: the quality standards and the high price level.


The in-ear gaming headphones EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid are accordingly not one thing above all: cheap. You are currently paying a whopping 199 euros for the loud earplugs. That is not a small amount and for the price you have to expect a lot given the strong competition in the in-ear area. Although you have to admit that there aren't that many specialty products for gaming. Perhaps best known is the Razer Hammerhead.


The fact that EPOS focuses on quality quickly becomes clear, at least in terms of workmanship and scope of delivery. The in-ears are well made and show no weaknesses. There is also an aluminum charging box in which the in-ears can be charged via contacts. The package also includes a USB-C charging cable, as well as a USB-C dongle with USB-A adapter cable and a bag with three different ear pads, in addition to those that are already pre-assembled. The enclosed instructions are very schematic and could be a little more detailed.


EPOS GTW 270 HYBRID IN-EAR GAMING HEADPHONES Review

The GTW 270 Hybrid are operated completely wirelessly, for which you have two alternatives. On the one hand, you can easily connect them via BlueTooth 5.1, on the other hand, there is a USB-C dongle with low-latency aptX transmission for connection, for example, to PCs, notebooks or PlayStation consoles, but also to newer Android smartphones. aptX is especially interesting for gamers who want to enjoy the lowest possible delay in audio output - BlueTooth is much slower there. The range of the wireless transmission is specified at 15 meters, in practice even more is possible. In our office, we only had the first dropouts in BlueTooth mode from around 19 meters.


However, the aptX transmission also has a disadvantage that must be taken into account. The GTW 270 Hybrid have microphones, but they can only really be used via BlueTooth, since aptX only has playback and does not allow microphone transmission in order to reduce latency. So nothing for players who don't want to do without their voice chat. The microphone doesn't knock you out anyway, it's well suited for a quick phone call in between, but not much more because it picks up a lot of ambient noise.


Otherwise, the GTW 270 Hybrid are a poem for mobile gaming. Thanks to the connection types, you can use them on PCs and notebooks, Nintendo Switch, PS4 and PS5, but also, as I said, on smartphones with a Type-C connection. BlueTooth then covers the rest of the range, only Xbox owners look into the famous tube. But well, most in-ears will use them on the go anyway and rely on speakers or a classic gaming headset on the console at home.


The fit of the in-ears can almost only be described as excellent. The shape of the housing is based on the inside of the ear, not least thanks to the extensive ear databases from Mutter Demant. The different ear pads ensure that you can adjust the individual seat well so that the in-ears close the auditory canal well and the sound can fully unfold. Even if it doesn't look like it at first glance, the GTW 270 Hybrid are bombproof and are also waterproof so that sweat cannot harm them.


The aluminum box of the GTW 270 Hybrid is not only used for storage, but also as a charging station and energy source. The battery life of the in-ears is about five hours, the energy supply of the box gives you another 15 hours with a charging time from empty to full of about one and a half hours. The box itself is charged using a USB-C cable, you just have to put the in-ears in the respective bezels. You will then be charged directly via contacts. On the box there is a button for pairing and resets, as well as a 5-digit LED for recognizing pairing and other modes. Voice messages also support you in operation. There is also a button on the left in-ear for media operation and phone calls on the smartphone.


EPOS GTW 270 HYBRID IN-EAR GAMING HEADPHONES Review

Pairing with a USB-C dongle or BlueTooth is pretty quick once you know how to do it. Optionally, you can also install the EPOS Gaming Suite on your PC or notebook. The same offers you additional sound improvements, including 5.1 mode, equalizer and some presets. In our test, however, the software was a bit tricky and sometimes refused to recognize the in-ears, even if the respective PC was using them properly. The charging box was also sometimes recognized as a USB drive, which now doesn't make any sense. An upcoming firmware update should fix these problems shortly.


Der Klang der GTW 270 Hybrid hängt stark davon ab, dass ihr die richtigen Ohrpolster ausgewählt habt. Selbige müssen den Hörkanal gut abschließen, um zum einen die volle Klangqualität zu erreichen, und zum anderen Umgebungsgeräusche passiv abzudämpfen. Ist das geschehen, kommt man aus dem Staunen kaum heraus, denn die GTW 270 Hybrid pusten hervorragenden Sound direkt in eure Lauscher. Spätestens hier wird klar, das ihr viel Qualität fürs Geld bekommt.


We used the in-ears for various mobile games as well as PC titles and were pleasantly surprised by the sound quality. The in-ears sound very detailed and balanced. The bass is precise, but not overly powerful, which is normal with in-ears. The mids are not sloppy and the highs don't miss any details. In addition, there is a nice, wide stereo sound image, which also enables the directional perception of sounds in games to be fairly precise.


In games like Destiny 2, Call of Duty: Warzone, The Division 2, Cyberpunk 2077 or Assassin's Creed: Valhalla, the in-ears were able to convince us in all respects. Sufficient force in firefights, good spatial effect in open-world titles, but also excellent speech intelligibility in role-playing games are no problem for the GTW 270 Hybrid.


But on the mobile device in particular, you want even more, namely gawk at one or the other YouTube video or enjoy music. Here, too, the in-ears cut a really good figure. The filigree force of Danny Carey's drums in “Invincible” by Tool comes into its own, as does the details of acoustic instruments in classical music or unplugged sessions with perfectly understandable vocals. Even a juicy double bass attack does not disturb the in-ears. The GTW 270 Hybrid are not only suitable for gaming, they also turn out to be really fine all-rounders for all mobile devices. If it weren't for the flaw of the lack of voice chat in dongle operation.


CONCLUSION

Strong in-ears with a little catch

I was a little surprised that EPOS chose in-ears as a new product to succeed the previous Sennheiser headsets. But why not, mobile gaming is certainly a broad market in the age of smartphones, notebooks or Nintendo Switch. In any case, the result can be seen, or better heard. When it comes to fit, the GTW 270 Hybrid do not have a weakness, not least because of the exchangeable ear pads for individual adjustment and passive noise suppression.

The sound is unexpectedly full and balanced, with nice bass, crisp mids and clear highs. Details are not lost and the stereo sound image is also nice and wide and spatial. The battery life is okay, the range and workmanship are even very good. The only drawback is that the microphone cannot be used in USB mode, since aptX only uses one playback channel, in favor of the lower latency. In terms of price, however, the GTW 270 Hybrid are more in the upper range - everyone has to decide for themselves whether in-ears are worth it to them.

One more note: there are currently still sporadic pairing problems, in particular the EPOS Gaming Suite on the PC does not really get along with the GTW 270 Hybrid and sometimes does not recognize it. A firmware update that fixes these problems should follow in the next few days. We'll tell you then whether the quirks are really ticked off.

Pros

  • very good fit
  • strong reach
  • two connection options
  • wonderfully suitable for mobile gaming
  • strong, balanced sound
  • clean processing
  • Voice messages
  • also great for music and videos

Cons

  • Microphone cannot be used in aptX mode
  • expensive
  • still slight quirks using the PC gaming suite (should be fixed with a firmware update)



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