Last year, Sony launched Inzone, a new range of gaming peripherals that started with two monitors and three gaming headsets. The top-of-the-range headset model, the Inzone H9, impressed in our test at the time. Now the over-ear headset has been joined by a more affordable model, which – as the name suggests – sits between the H3 and H7. Our Sony Inzone H5 test clarifies whether it’s worth buying.
|The product||Sony Inzone H5|
|Driver||40 mm (dome)|
|Frequency range (headphones)||5 – 20,000 Hz|
|Connectivity||Wireless (USB dongle); Wired (3.5 mm jack)|
|Microphone type||bidirectional, with noise suppression; Circum-aural|
|Range (wireless)||Approx. 10 meters|
|Battery life||Up to 28 hours|
|Charging time||3 hours|
|Battery weight||261 g|
|Compatibility||PC, Mac, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, smartphone, tablet|
|Special functions||Surround sound; flip-to-mute microphone|
|Price||€ 149.99 *|
Sony Inzone H5 test: design and workmanship
- High proportion of plastic; nevertheless high-quality
- Attractive design
With the gaming headsets in the Inzone series, Sony has created an unmistakable design, which the manufacturer has continued with the new model in the form of the Sony Inzone H5. The H5, available in either white or black, looks very similar to the H9 at first glance.
The new headset is also based on the look of the PlayStation 5 console and comes with generous, oval ear cups. The textured and matt plastic headband is strongly reminiscent of the top ANC model WH1000-XM5 and features shiny Sony lettering at the lower ends.
The black version is quite well protected against fingerprints thanks to the matt finish. The ear cups can be folded completely inwards and angled slightly outwards.
The ear pads are covered with a soft nylon fabric, which at first glance suggests a high level of comfort. The Inzone H5 is pleasantly light and weighs just 261 grams – an excellent weight for a wireless gaming headset.
Despite the lightweight plastic construction, the headset feels relatively high-quality, but like the Inzone H9, the device is quite wobbly, which is more forgivable for the cheaper model.
Wearing comfort of the Sony Inzone H5
- Soft nylon ear pads
- Good space for the ears
- Pleasantly light
The positive initial impression regarding wearing comfort was confirmed in the Sony Inzone H5 test. Thanks to the soft fabric pads and low weight, the gaming headset is comfortable to wear for long periods of time.
The padding on the ear cups is around 29 mm thick and the headband is around 25 mm thick, which is also pleasantly large. There is 65 mm x 40 mm of space (length x width) available inside the ear cups – an identical value compared to the Inzone H9, which means there is also enough room for medium to large-sized ears.
Surprisingly, despite the fabric, the cushions provide excellent insulation against external noise and thus create a pleasantly quiet backdrop – without any active noise suppression, which the H5 lacks.
Practical test and handling
- Can be used wirelessly and wired
- Impeccable operating concept
- Microphone with flip-to-mute function
The Sony Inzone H5 is connected via a USB-A dongle, which has a dedicated switch for PC and PlayStation 5 operation. The gaming headset operates almost latency-free in the 2.4 GHz band, but can also be used with the cable connected while charging if desired.
On the other hand, if you prefer a completely analog sound, you can also use the gaming headset with almost all end devices via a 3.5 mm jack. A corresponding jack cable is included in the scope of delivery. This is particularly practical, as in this case it can also be used with Xbox consoles or the Nintendo Switch.
In all cases, the headset itself is used for operation. The H5 is switched on on the right earpiece, where the balance between gaming and chat sound can also be changed using a rocker switch.
On the left-hand side, next to the 3.5 mm jack and USB-C connection, you will find the rasterized volume dial, which has a comfortable grip and is easy to reach on the back.
The 13.7-centimeter-long microphone boom is also located on the outside and is once again non-detachable. The practical flip-to-mute function, which automatically mutes the mic when you flip it up, has also been adopted from the H9. The Inzone H5 does not have any LED lighting.
Battery life of the Sony Inzone H5
- Up to 28 hours runtime
- Quickly recharged
One of the points where you have to accept compromises in the case of the cheaper Sony Inzone H5 compared to the H9 is the battery life. In this case, it is a good 28 hours of uninterrupted use – four hours less than the top model from Sony, which is twice as expensive.
We can also confirm this value in practice. The wireless Sony headset is therefore by no means an endurance runner. The competition in this price segment sometimes lasts significantly longer: The slightly more expensive Corsair HS80 Max (our test) offers 65 hours, while the HyperX Cloud III Wireless (our test) even lasts up to 120 hours.
Bluetooth connectivity is also not included with the Inzone H5. This is a shame, as this is also quite common in this price segment. On the other hand, charging is pleasantly quick: 10 minutes via USB-C is enough to supply the headset with power for three hours of use.
Recording and playback quality
- Good, detailed sound
- Too narrow treble; only suitable for listening to music to a limited extent
- Convincing spatial audio sound
The second point where the Sony Inzone H5 cannot keep up with its big brother is the sound quality. Although the cheaper model also relies on 40 mm dynamic drivers, these do not achieve the clarity of the top model, which is twice as expensive, especially in the treble range.
Don’t get the wrong idea: The Inzone H5 sounds good, no question about it. However, the sound is noticeably constricted and cannot develop freely in terms of treble. This is particularly noticeable when listening to music – we are used to much more airiness from other headsets.
The Sony model transports the bass very well and powerfully and also scores with a high level of detail in the mids. The H5 clearly focuses on a fun mix, with the focus on powerful explosions and weapon sounds in shooters or engine noises in racing games.
The strengths of the wireless gaming headset clearly lie in the gaming sector; when listening to music, the sound simply lacks spatiality.
However, you can counteract this to a large extent by adding virtual surround sound. Spatial Audio can be activated on the PC, while the H5 on the PlayStation 5 makes use of Sony’s Tempest 3D audio engine.
This actually has a noticeably positive effect on the overall sound. The sound becomes much more precise and spatial, while the treble is more defined. Nevertheless, the Sony Inzone H5 cannot compete with other competitors such as the aforementioned Corsair HS80 Max in terms of sound.
Microphone quality of the Inzone H5
- Decent microphone quality
Unfortunately, the microphone quality of the Inzone H5 is a little weak. Basically, the sound is fine, but the recordings are noticeably lacking in detail. Weaknesses are also evident with sharp S-sounds, which are often reproduced with a hiss.
For communication in games or video conferencing, the quality offered is certainly sufficient, no question about it. However, we have already tested a few other wireless headsets that transmit the voice much more clearly and in greater detail.
However, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of Sony making improvements here with a firmware update. The Inzone H9 also failed to impress us in terms of microphone quality with the original firmware, but then improved noticeably with a later update.
Software connection: Inzone Hub
The accompanying software for the Sony Inzone H5 is the Inzone Hub, a fairly slim and tidy app whose range of functions could be a little larger.
On the start page, the hub provides information about the battery charge status, for example, while the device settings only allow you to adjust the automatic switch-on and switch-off and the voice guidance (in English, Japanese and Chinese).
Things get more interesting in the sound settings tab. Under the sound profile menu item, you can choose between three equalizer presets or create your own settings. Fine adjustments are possible in a total of 10 bands.
The dynamic range control, on the other hand, is intended to compensate for differences between the maximum and minimum range of the sound, but I couldn’t detect any major differences here. We also switch the spatial sound on or off here, whereby this can also be personalized using the “360 Spatial Sound Personalizer” smartphone app if desired.
Finally, we can add a sidetone to the microphone to hear ourselves and prevent accidental shouting.
Sony Inzone H5 test: Conclusion
With the Sony Inzone H5, the manufacturer delivers a good wireless mid-range headset that scores points above all with its high wearing comfort and versatile connectivity. In terms of sound, the device also cuts a good figure, especially in Spatial Audio and Tempest 3D surround sound, and scores with powerful and detailed bass.
However, I notice a lack of airiness in the treble range, which is why the Inzone H5 is only suitable for listening to music to a limited extent in my opinion. The microphone quality is okay, but nothing more. And when it comes to battery life, some competitors simply offer more for the money.