Last year, manufacturer EPOS Audio scored with the wireless gaming headset EPOS H3 Hybrid in our review. Now, an all-around improved successor is gearing up to bring additional connectivity options, active noise cancellation (ANC) and audio mixing. How much “pro” is actually in the new wireless gaming headset, clarifies our EPOS H3PRO Hybrid Test.
|Frequency range (headphones)||20 – 20,000 Hz|
|Sensitivity (headphones)||116 dBSPL / 1 Vrms @1 kHz|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth, Wireless (USB dongle), USB-C to USB-A, 3.5mm jack|
|Microphone type||bi-directional, with noise reduction|
|Range (Wireless)||Circa 15 meters|
|Battery life||Up to 38 hours|
|Charge time||1.5 hours|
|Compatibility||PC, Mac, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, Smartphone, Tablet|
|Special features||Active noise cancellation (ANC), audio mixing, 7.1 surround sound|
|Price||279.00 Euro (MSRP)|
EPOS H3PRO Hybrid Test: The scope of delivery
The EPOS H3PRO Hybrid has inherited the noble, primarily black outer packaging including white and petrol-green lettering from its brother. The inside of the packaging also presents itself in a very similar form. This time, too, we find the headset safely embedded in foam.
The manufacturer includes the additional scope of delivery in a small cardboard box, which is placed directly underneath the headset. As expected, this is even larger than the H3PRO. In addition to the usual manuals, as well as warranty and safety information, there are a few accessories in the box.
These include a 3.5 mm jack cable with an angled plug, a USB-A to USB-C connection cable with a length of two meters, as well as an additional USB-A extension cable that increases the range by another 1.25 meters.
In addition, there is a plastic cap that once again serves to cover the microphone connector in the EPOS H3PRO Hybrid. The final and perhaps most important innovation is the small USB-A dongle, which is used for wireless operation with particularly low latency. But more on that later.
Design and finish of the EPOS H3PRO Hybrid
When it comes to the design of the EPOS H3PRO Hybrid, not much has changed from the H3 Hybrid. Our test sample in the “Sebring Black” color scheme relies on a combination of dark blue tones and black elements, which makes for a classy, high-quality look.
Note: Starting April 26, the manufacturer will additionally offer the wireless gaming headset in “Racing Green” and “Ghost White” colorways.
The shape and design are still based on the predecessor model without the Pro suffix. Even at first glance, the headset leaves a high-quality and noble impression. The first thing that catches the eye are the large, oval ear cups, which promise a high level of comfort with their 2 cm thick padding. Synthetic leather is used on the outside, while the contact surface is made of soft velour. On the inside, we find soft mesh fabric.
The adjustable headband is also covered with synthetic leather on the inside and encased in resistant textile. Visually, the EPOS H3PRO Hybrid uses a mixture of glossy and matte colors. We really like the design.
The boom arm microphone is located on the left outer side of the ear cup, which can be quickly and easily removed via a magnetic catch if desired. In combination with the included plastic cap, the H3PRO Hybrid can be quickly converted into a wireless ANC headphone. We also find the USB-C port for the cable connection as well as the jack on the bottom left. Above that, towards the inside, is a status LED and the headset’s power button.
On the right side, we find an ANC slider, which can be used to turn the active noise cancellation function on and off, as well as the so-called smart button, which is used for Bluetooth connectivity, among other things. The volume dial is then located on the outside.
The build quality
Once again, the EPOS H3PRO Hybrid is largely made of plastic. Nevertheless, the build quality looks very sturdy and high-quality. Of course, this has the advantage that the weight can be kept quite low. The headset only weighs 308 grams (without cable).
However, the Pro model inherited the somewhat rickety headband attachments from the standard version. Otherwise, there is nothing to complain about in terms of workmanship. Especially the robust metal arm of the headband with a very well graduated 10-step adjustment and the high-quality ear cups stand out positively. However, the volume dial is still a bit too smooth and does not allow for a precise fine adjustment. However, this is not really annoying.
On the other hand, the individual buttons and controls are sensibly placed and easy to reach at all times. The haptics are also convincing. Once again, we like the removable ear pads, which can be quickly put back into position with a clever click mechanism. In addition, all cables are removable and can be easily replaced in case of loss or damage.
Wearing comfort and practical test
When it comes to wearing comfort, there are also hardly any notable differences or advantages of the EPOS H3PRO Hybrid compared to the standard variant, due to the same design. Although the newer model turns out to be minimally heavier with a weight of 308 grams – 23 grams heavier, to be exact – this has no noticeable impact.
The soft pads ensure a high level of comfort even in continuous use and offer a certain contact pressure, which, however, is not too strong, but already provides excellent passive shielding against external noise.
However, the shape of the ear cups, which is based on the human ear, takes a bit of getting used to. However, you get used to it very quickly. Inside, the shells offer 7.2 cm x 4.2 cm (height x width) of space, which might be too little for people with large ears.
Once again, we like the flip-up mute function of the microphone, which is automatically muted when folded up and signals its readiness for use with a pleasant clicking sound when folded down.
EPOS H3PRO Hybrid: The innovations in connectivity
While the H3 Hybrid communicated wirelessly exclusively via Bluetooth, the H3PRO shows additional flexibility. Of course, a Bluetooth connection to PC, notebook, smartphone or tablet is still possible. Here, the H3PRO transmits in the modern 5.2 standard and thus reaches a considerable distance of 15 meters to the source without any interruptions.
However, the new headset also comes with a USB-A dongle that enables wireless audio transmission with particularly low latency on PCs/notebooks as well as on the PS4 and PS5 PlayStation consoles.
Of course, the headset can also be used on all other consoles or audio sources via a 3.5 mm jack, while a wired connection via USB is possible on the PC, which also charges the built-in battery at the same time.
The impact on the latency, i.e. the delay of the sound transmission, when using the dongle is considerable and should be especially exciting for (competitive) gamers. In Bluetooth mode, this is between 180 milliseconds and 220 ms, while only 40-60 ms are recorded in combination with the dongle.
Furthermore, the H3PRO offers hybrid audio mixing. Albeit only under certain conditions and thus allows simultaneous audio control via USB/jack and Bluetooth. This makes it possible, for example, to use the headset for PC or console gaming and simultaneous telephony with the smartphone. This works wonderfully in practice, especially since the volume of both sources can be adjusted separately. Calls can also be easily accepted or rejected with the help of the Smart key.
Battery life of the EPOS H3PRO Hybrid
EPOS Audio does not provide details about the capacity of the built-in battery, but the battery life of the EPOS H3PRO Hybrid is quite convincing in the test, even though there are other wireless gaming headsets that last longer. Of course, the runtime also depends on the used mode, the volume and the connection.
In Bluetooth mode, a maximum of 38 hours is possible with the ANC function deactivated; with ANC, we end up with an excellent 22 hours for a volume of around 80%. Connected wirelessly via USB dongle, the battery life is around 30 hours without ANC and just under 18 hours with ANC. The headset also offers about the same values when it is connected to a console via a jack cable.
When mixing audio and connecting to two audio sources simultaneously, the maximum battery life is around 28 hours (without ANC) and 19 hours (with ANC). All in all, really good values. Charging is done exclusively with the included USB-A to USB-C cable, and it takes about one and a half hours from 0 to 100 percent.
Sound and playback quality
For acoustics, the EPOS H3PRO Hybrid relies on the same specifications as the H3 Hybrid for the most part. The frequency range covered with a focus on the mids and highs is the same, although the low bass goes down a bit further in the case of the Pro model.
However, it is still discreetly in the background, which does not sound quite as bombastic in gaming use as one is usually used to from classic gaming headsets. However, professionals or competitive gamers should be happy about this, because important sound details like footsteps and spatial localization are brought into focus better. And that already in stereo mode. In the virtual 7.1 surround sound environment, which can be added via the accompanying software “EPOS Gaming Suite”, opponents can be located almost exactly, especially in shooters.
When listening to music, the H3PRO Hybrid reveal the same strengths and weaknesses as the standard model, although the over-exaggerated highs measured at the time are no longer transmitted quite as shrilly at full volume. Bass enthusiasts will certainly not be completely happy here either due to the mix, although you can of course still get a lot out of it at least when connecting to a PC and notebook with the help of the equalizer.
However, I personally like the sound of the H3PRO quite a bit for listening to music, since I’m generally not a fan of the overly present bass in gaming headsets. That’s a matter of taste, though.
In any case, the headset cuts an equally good figure in gaming and music use and, thanks to Bluetooth connectivity and a detachable microphone, is also perfectly suited as over-ear headphones with ANC function.
Cable vs Wireless
Logically, we get the best sound when we connect the headset via USB cable. Then we also have further customization options to choose from on the software side. In combination with the jack cable and the use on devices like the Xbox Series X/S or Nintendo Switch, the acoustics no longer seem quite as voluminous and clear, but they are still on a very good level.
New in the case of the H3PRO Hybrid is the wireless connection using the USB dongle, which also works on the PlayStation consoles. There is nothing to complain about here either. No matter if playing games, listening to music or watching videos: Sound and picture are always synchronous, precise and convincing due to the low latencies. Fortunately, the virtual 7.1 surround sound is also available here, which only has to be waived when connecting via Bluetooth.
In Bluetooth mode, the sound delay is on par with conventional headphones without a dedicated gaming mode. The higher latency should only be noticed by professionals.
How good is the ANC in the EPOS H3PRO Hybrid?
One of the most important new features that the EPOS H3PRO Hybrid has compared to the H3 is active noise cancellation (ANC). The function can be easily turned on and off via the already pronounced slider. On the other hand, EPOS Audio does without a transparency mode, which most true ANC headphones offer.
In fact, the ANC does not have to hide from “real” alternatives. The passive coverage of the H3PRO Hybrid is already simply outstanding, but with activated ANC, you additionally block out a large part of noises.
As expected, the headset copes particularly well with deep, monotonous noises like fans or similar. However, typing on the keyboard, conversations in the background, music and traffic noise are also effectively reduced. At the same time, the bass seems a bit richer with active ANC, without the clear sound image suffering. Situationally, the ANC feature – especially in the office or when used outdoors as headphones – thus really delivers a noteworthy advantage, even if the battery life naturally turns out to be significantly shorter as a result.
We really like the built-in microphone of the EPOS H3PRO Hybrid and it is undoubtedly one of the best recorders in the gaming headset range. While it cannot replace a high-quality USB condenser microphone, it still convinces with clear, dynamic voice reproduction in higher quality.
Sharp S and plosive sounds hardly pose any significant problems for the microphone, and the suppression of background noise also does a good job. This comes as quite a surprise, since the covered frequency is in the range of 100 Hz to 7,500 Hz and is thus – at least on paper – not quite on par with the best gaming headsets.
However, the result is completely convincing, both in terms of dynamics and sensitivity, thanks to which no syllables or letters are swallowed. Quality differences between wired and wireless operation with a USB dongle are hardly noticeable; only in Bluetooth mode do dynamics and clarity decrease a bit.
Software integration: EPOS Gaming Suite
Once again, the EPOS Gaming Suite is used as the accompanying software in the case of the EPOS H3PRO Hybrid, which comes up with a clear, tidy design. In addition to the firmware update option, numerous setting options for the headphones and microphone are available here.
For example, the function of the Smart button can be adjusted, the sound can be optimized in a 9-band equalizer, and you can switch between stereo and 7.1 mode. While the latter was only possible in the case of the H3 Hybrid when connected via cable, the H3PRO can also simulate surround sound wirelessly via USB dongle. In addition, the software informs about the battery charge level in wireless mode.
The microphone also offers a wide range of options. In addition to the equalizer, there are options for a voice boost, microphone boost, side tone, noise gate, and noise cancellation adjustment to choose from here.
Summary on the EPOS H3PRO Hybrid
With the EPOS H3PRO Hybrid, the manufacturer has created an excellent gaming headset that scores with a chic design, high-quality workmanship and good wearing comfort. In addition, the headset presents itself as a true all-rounder and cuts a good figure with all connected audio sources.
Especially the wireless mode in combination with the USB dongle is a strong addition, especially since there are no quality differences to the wired mode. I was also impressed by the ANC function in the test, which suppresses background noise excellently in combination with the already convincing passive attenuation.
The fact that the microphone boom can be quickly and easily removed thanks to the magnetic holder and the headset can thus be converted into headphones is more than just a nice bonus. Thanks to the Bluetooth mode, I can easily turn the H3PRO Hybrid into ANC over-ear headphones, which are also convincing in terms of sound quality.
This also partly justifies the high price of around 280 Euros, which is still in the range of premium ANC over-ears. You cannot quite keep up with them in terms of audio quality, but you still get a strong and customizable gaming headset with a really good microphone. If you’re looking for a high-quality and flexible headset, you’ll definitely enjoy the EPOS H3PRO Hybrid.