Tom's Hardware Verdict
The Epos H3 gaming headset thumps out crystal-clear, bassy audio with excellent range. However, the microphone makes an annoying, persistent hissing noise.
+ Excellent audio reproduction and thump
+ Soft earcups
Not a lot of features for the price
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Editor's Note: This review was originally published on April 20, 2021 and was updated on May 19, 2021. We retested the microphone after learning it was originally tested with a faulty 3.5mm jack.
The Epos H3 is a solid choice for those seeking the best gaming headset for their rig. They’re also cross-platform compatible with Mac, PlayStation 5 (PS5), PS4, Xbox and Nintendo Switch, allowing you to have one pair of headphones for all your gaming needs.
Combining comfort with affectionately loud drivers boasting thunderous bass and crystal-clear audio worthy of praise, it’s money well spent at $119. The H3 also features passive noise canceling, raising the bar another level; although, you may still wish for a better microphone and roomier fit.
Epos H3 Specs
|Driver Type||40mm dynamic|
|Frequency Response||10 Hz - 30 kHz|
|Microphone Type||Bidirectional, noise-cancelling|
|Cables||5 foot 3.5mm cable, detachable; 3.5mm splitter cable|
|Weight||0.6 pounds (285g)|
Design and Comfort
A quick glance at the H3’s specs sheet, and you might suspect that these are bulky, heavy cans. At 1.4 pounds, they’re weightier than many other wired gaming headsets, such as the MSI Immerse GH61 (0.6 pounds) and Roccat Elo X (0.7 pounds). However, Epos managed to distribute the weight and minimize pressure in such a way that the H3 actually feels lightweight. This is partially due to the memory foam and soft leatherette included on the headband and ears for comfort that cradles the head and ears without being overbearingly cushy. The unit is so lightweight that my only concern was them getting hot, like many other over-the-ear units using leatherette that I have reviewed, but, thankfully, I was able to wear them for over 2 hours at a time without ever even getting warm.
The H3’s earcups connect to the steel headband via a dual-axis hinge and are also designed to mold to the shape of human ears. But because I’m a huge person with an obnoxiously large head and substantial, malformed ears, I initially had issues getting the H3 to sound as expected. Here, I learned of the sturdiness of the steel headband. Adjustments were easy, and I was able to get the H3 so I could listen to The Best of Johann Sebastion Bach in pure comfort.
The Epos H3’s are stylishly elegant in Onyx Black as tested but are also available in Ghost White. Each ear cup holds an Epos logo, and the right ear cup has a built-in volume control knob that is responsive and with smooth controls easily activated by my thumb. On the left ear cup is the 3.5mm audio connection jack. The microphone is also on the left ear cup and pulls down nicely into place with a solid click to let you know it’s in place and ready to go. Lifting it back up conveniently mutes the microphone, so there are no embarrassments.
Overall, with its lightweight, but quality, plastics, and steel headband, the H3 is sleek and sturdy with the feel of a much more expensive gaming headset. They also lack the sometimes gaudy RGB lighting of other gaming headsets, which is great for when you simply want to game and not also put on a light show. The plastic keeps the headset trim at 0.6 pounds overall which adds to the comfort level I mentioned previously.
Epos H3 uses closed drivers that deliver satisfactory audio as soon as you plug them in, which is good news since there’s no software available with the H3. The H3 gaming headset is truly plug-and-play, coming with a 3.5mm audio cable and a 3.5mm splitter cable, should your device require a separate mic input to record audio.
I fired up Borderlands 2, and as I was following the annoying robot Claptrap around, I could discern when one of the crazy characters tried to slide up on my right and start beating on me. I side-stepped and shot him dead with my weapons, and the gunshots were wonderfully reproduced and sounded realistic. When I threw a grenade at a couple of post-apocalyptic-looking gents, the explosions were rich, full, and crisp, making for a thoroughly enjoyable battle.
While playing Batman: Arkham Knight, I could easily trace the sounds of fire shots as they petered out into the distance. They sounded just as realistic as the gunshots I heard while playing Borderlands 2. The bone-crunching sound of Batman’s punches landing on the jaws of enemies I vanquished were exquisitely reproduced in my ear. When using the jet turbine in the Batmobile to launch from one roof to another, the thunderous roar was gratifying and clear with zero distortion.
Overall, gaming with the H3 ensured I could hear moving footsteps coming from different directions, or gunfire in the distance, and I didn’t find myself missing virtual surround sound or the ability to tweak audio performance with a dedicated app. These cans are lovingly loud, so it’s a good thing the H3’s volume knob is so responsive and easy to find with a blind thumb.
To test out the cans’ music prowess I turned to Busta Rhymes’ “Dangerous”. As soon as the baseline started pumping, I was thrilled, as the H3’s delivered the bombastic bassline with lust and passion few can compete with. At a typical listening volume, I heard sweetly produced highs and mid-range tones. And when I pumped the volume to the max, they delivered the same thump and clarity.
I originally published this review reporting an audible hiss with the headset’s microphone, but since then I’ve learned that this was caused by a faulty 3.5mm jack in my PC. With that issue remedied, I retested the microphone, and the hissing issue disappeared. Now, the bidirectional mic is able to catch the full range of my deep throaty voice. In recordings I could hear my voice’s natural depth and timbre beautifully and without any distracting background noise, thanks to the mic’s effective noise-cancelling.
Note that the H3 doesn’t have its own software, so microphone performance adjustments aren’t readily available. However, I didn’t miss it too much because my recordings were still very clear and of premium quality worthy of some podcasting.
Epos specs the H3’s mic as covering a frequency range of 10-18,000 Hz.
Features and Software
Although Epos does have a gaming software suite, the H3 does not work with it. But the audio quality is so good, I did not miss having software assistance.
One of my favorite features of the Epos H’3 is the responsive audio knob that is built-in to the right ear cup. It makes adjusting the volume quick and easy. Also, you will need to adjust the volume as these cans can get very loud, which I love.
At $119, the Epos H3’s audio quality is equal to its price tag; however some may find it steep when you compare it to units that come with gaming-ready features, like RGB lighting, software for tweaking and the option for virtual surround sound. If you’re someone who doesn’t need many extras, the H3 also earns its price with strong build quality and comfort, (especially for those with smaller heads, who won’t have to fuss with adjustments).
The downside comes from the microphone, which records really clear audio but also adds a hissing noise that I couldn’t eradicate no matter what adjustments I tried or software I used. Overall the mic performance is solid but not the best in its class and certainly not a replacement for the best USB gaming microphones.
But if you’re interested in a gaming headset that sounds amazing right out of the box and can put up with the ok microphone, these are for you.
Second to last paragraph still says there was a hissing noise you couldn't get rid of. Needs to be fixed still.Reply