We review the best and worst of the EPOS H3 Hybrid
Aug 23, 2022
Our review of the EPOS H3 Hybrid has it pegged as a balanced gaming headset with particularly great audio, but it does come with a hidden flaw.
With so many established companies in the gaming headset space, it’s easy to stick with the Razers and Logitechs of the world. However, less popular companies often offer a certain X factor to catch gamers’ attention. In the case of EPOS, that special sauce is the same audio engineering that powers audiophile icon Sennheiser. The H3 Hybrid is meant as an entry-level premium headset, but does it live up to the $130 price tag?
If you’re looking for a quick review of the EPOS H3 Hybrid gaming headset:
The EPOS H3 Hybrid hits above its weight class. The headset is comfortable, the battery lasts seemingly forever, and the audio is among the very best in its class. However, our testing model didn’t last long during regular use and the customer service for the headset is generally weak. Overall, the H3 Hybrid is a good choice for enthusiast gamers who want clear and precise audio above all else.
The target audience for the EPOS H3 Hybrid
Based on the H3 Hybrid’s position in the EPOS lineup and the company’s own statements, these $130 headphones are meant for serious gamers. However, other features like a second internal microphone and wireless Bluetooth connection make it suitable for mobile phone use as well.
The H3 definitely falls at the premium end of the gaming headset market, but its features are relatively sparse. Instead, it justifies its price tag by claiming to have the absolute best audio on the market. Similar alternatives to the EPOS H3 Hybrid are the Logitech Artemis Spectrum and the Audio-Technica ATH-G1.
As for platforms, the EPOS H3 Hybrid lists all of the following platforms as compatible with the headset.
- Mac OSX
- Mobile phone
- Nintendo Switch
- PlayStation 4
- PlayStation 5
- Windows PC
- Xbox One
- Xbox Series X
All EPOS H3 Hybrid headsets come with a black USB-C charging cable and a boom mic socket cover.
EPOS H3 Hybrid underpromises and overdelivers on features
The EPOS H3 Hybrid doesn’t boast a massive feature list, but the gaming headset still covers most of the bases.
In terms of visuals, the EPOS is sleek and modern. At 298 grams, the H3 Hybrid is slightly bulkier than most wired options. The ear cups have an ergonomic curve to them that make it comfortable to wear even after hours of gaming. The matte plastic is easy to handle, and users don’t see the fingerprint marks when you’re wearing it.
In terms of sound, EPOS is able to boast the same technology that powers Sennheiser luxury headphones. The H3 Hybrid is capable of 7.1 surround sound and Dolby Atmos, which allows for sounds above and below the player. The box does advertise EPOS’ proprietary BrainAdapt Technology, which allegedly angles sounds in a way that boosts players’ reaction time.
The primary EPOS H3 Hybrid microphone is a detachable boom mic, which is a rare but useful feature. It connects via a sock on the left ear cup. The headset comes with a socket cover that slots right in, making them better-suited for listening to music. The EPOS H3 Hybrid also has a second internal microphone, which came in handy during our testing.
Unlike many of its competitors, the EPOS H3 Hybrid has no customizable buttons. It does have a circular volume control on the right ear cup which is intuitive. Below it is a multiuse button utilized for connecting Bluetooth, answering calls, and switching audio profiles. The bottom of the left ear cup has a power button and a USB-C charging port.
EPOS claims that the H3 Hybrid’s battery can last 37 hours with Bluetooth, and we believe it. The H3 Hybrid almost never needs to charge. Even when the 20% voice warning kicks in, it’s more than enough to finish up a lengthy game. Leaving it plugged in overnight gives a solid week of play time on PC, though the exact duration can vary based on the connection.
Surround sound is the best part of the H3 Hybrid
EPOS didn’t overload the H3 Hybrid with features, but the features it does have are all pretty great.
The first thing EPOS H3 Hybrid purchasers will notice is the audio quality. It’s leagues ahead of similarly-priced headsets. After extensive testing in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Valorant, the surround sound of the H3 Hybrid is noticeably superior to its similarly-priced alternatives. On vertical maps like Nuke and Icebox, the audio legitimately feels like an advantage over your opponents. We wouldn’t mind using the H3 Hybrid to listen to music, which ties into its identity as a versatile gaming headset.
The physical parts of the headset are also one of the H3 Hybrid’s best features. The infinity volume knob and Smart button are tactile and intuitive, and connecting it to multiple devices is a breeze. At 298 grams, it’s also considerably lighter than many of its competitors. It feels even lighter than that thanks to the ergonomic earcups and plush foam headband.
The battery life of the EPOS H3 Hybrid is fantastic. The company claims 37 hours on Bluetooth, and that’s exactly what it feels like. With no RGB or fancy extras, EPOS managed to cram more than double the battery life of some of its competitors into this headset. There’s nothing more annoying than a low battery in the clutch, and H3 Hybrid users shouldn’t have that problem very often.
Lastly, the versatility of the H3 Hybrid is genuinely impressive. This headset connects to almost anything, and that goes beyond just gaming consoles. It’s compatible with smart TVs, phones, tablets, and anything that has Bluetooth. The second internal microphone isn’t as good as the boom mic, but it’s more than serviceable for phone calls or voice memos.
Reliability and customer service are a con for H3 Hybrid
Despite the technological advantage, the EPOS H3 Hybrid falls short in one area.
During our review, the EPOS H3 Hybrid broke after just four months of daily use. The detachable boom mic began only working in very specific positions. After a few days, it stopped working entirely. Noninvasive attempts at home repair were unsuccessful. We’re still not certain exactly what broke, though the second microphone still worked as normal. The headset was never dropped or handled roughly. Just a few months of frequent gaming was enough to break it.
Luckily, EPOS offers a full two-year warranty on H3 Hybrids. This leads to customer service, which was less than ideal.
EPOS customer support was easy to reach, but its responses were very slow. To verify that the headphones were broken, support requested photos and videos of the device as well as recordings with the broken microphone. After six weeks of work, EPOS created a prepackaged stamp to return the broken headset. After being sent, it was apparently lost in the mail. After a total of three months, EPOS finally notified us that it would send a new H3 Hybrid.
This issue isn’t likely to come up for most users, but a slow experience dealing with customer service is at least worth noting.
How the EPOS H3 Hybrid measures up to alternatives
Let’s review the EPOS H3 Hybrid against two of its rivals in the premium gaming headset market.
|EPOS H3 Hybrid||Logitech Artemis Spectrum||Audio-Technica ATH-G1|
|Bluetooth wireless||Dongle wireless||Wired|
|298 gram weight||372 gram weight||249 gram weight|
|No lighting||Logo and perimeter RBG||No lighting|
|37 hour battery life||12 hour battery life||Wired only|
|Volume and media controls||Volume and five custom buttons||Cable mute|
The EPOS H3 Hybrid wins out in price, battery life, and connection options. The current $130 price tag may be temporary, but it’s enough to make it a clear winner for budget-conscious gamers. It’s much lighter than the Artemis Spectrum with potentially three times the battery life. It also is the only option to feature Bluetooth connection, which makes it compatible with tons of devices.
The EPOS H3 Hybrid is fantastic when it’s working right
We review the EPOS H3 Hybrid as a solid premium headset that delivers big on audio. Our particular model was eventually faulty, but it still delivered some of the best surround sound on the market. This headset is particularly suited to tactical FPS fans, and its wide variety of platforms and convenience features make it suitable for any gamer.
- Top-tier surround sounds
- Outstanding battery life
- Dual microphones
- Comfortable for long use
$130 isn’t cheap for a gaming headset, but the H3 Hybrid carries a pedigree for audio quality with a battery to match. I’s a refined and mature interpretation of a simple gaming headset. With the recent price cut to $130, the EPOS H3 Hybrid is a great choice for gamers who want top-notch audio across all their gaming and entertainment platforms without having to pay an excessive price.
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