Update April 22nd, 10:03AM ET: EPOS has released a firmware update for the GTW 270 —accessible by way of its Gaming Suite program on Computer — that permits simultaneous Bluetooth and wi-fi link to its USB-C dongle, which was not feasible before. The organization claims it’s obtainable now.
The $199 GTW 270 Hybrid earbuds from audio business EPOS are, to my knowledge, the to start with really wi-fi earbuds built for gaming — but the buds on their own aren’t the major offering position. The USB-C Bluetooth receiver that comes with the earbuds gets that difference.
It is a great deal extra compact than the regular flash travel-sized USB dongles bundled with a lot of headsets. It is far more capable, too, working with the aptX small latency (aptX LL) codec that provides fantastic-sounding audio with no perceivable lag. Working with the receiver, the GTW 270 Hybrid can be specifically fantastic for rapid-paced games the place sound cues count for achievement but truly, it’s nice to have for any title.
On the other hand, there is just one trouble: the microphones really do not work when you are listening to audio through the USB-C receiver. (The earbuds’ crafted-in microphones do work, nonetheless, when they are paired to a unit by using Bluetooth.)
This falls more on the technological restrictions of aptX than EPOS’s selection-producing. In an work to prioritize bandwidth for seem quality and responsiveness, only the playback channel is active when you are listening making use of the USB-C dongle. Which is a likely deal-breaker for some players who could want to be in a position to bounce into a voice chat with friends on their consoles. But to EPOS’s credit, the latency between the dongle and the earphones actually does look nonexistent.
These gunmetal-coloured buds have a easy, understated structure so that they don’t poke out as well substantially from your ear. They aren’t too hefty, and the in shape is snug, thanks to swappable silicone ear strategies that assist to get a very good seal in your ear. As for controls, they have just a solitary multifunction button that handles pausing and resuming audio, transforming tracks, as very well as buying up phone calls. In other words, without the USB-C dongle, these aren’t that particular. (EPOS does make a $169 variation sans dongle.) For standard use — such as cellphone phone calls or music — you can get far more by investing much less if you look at out some of the selections in my colleague Chris Welch’s.
Exterior of gaming, these earbuds can be utilised like any other wireless established to connect to your mobile phone, tablet, or notebook by means of Bluetooth. They aid Bluetooth 5.1 (with the SBC or aptX codec, relying on the machine you link to) for new music, video clips, games, and cell phone calls, and EPOS states you can pair them with up to eight gadgets. Pairing is accomplished by keeping down the button on the charging scenario.
Speaking of the charging case: it has an all-steel style that’s sad to say very quick to scratch. It expenses by way of USB-C with a comprehensive cost, EPOS claims it can supply up to 15 hrs of further battery life to the earphones. Through the evaluation period, the GTW 270 Hybrid earbuds produced it to the five-hour mark for battery existence, which matches the company’s declare. And if you are a person who goes on the occasional sweaty jog or just does not want to get caught in the rain, these are IPX5 water resistant.
I’ve put in the previous several weeks employing the earbuds to engage in online games alternately on my PS5, my Swap, and my get the job done notebook many instances just about every day. (In situation you’re curious, there is an adapter bundled that lets you plug the dongle into a system that has USB Sort-A ports.) The GTW 270 Hybrid is effective like any wi-fi gaming headset, but the definitely wi-fi kind variable has some clear rewards. I like that they enable me go all around uninhibited by wires, and employing them does not isolate me (or mess up my hair) as much as cumbersome over-ear cans. The receiver is pre-paired to the buds, and they connect nearly immediately.
I also enjoy the benefit of being ready to use just the correct earbud (the proper a person controls the Bluetooth transmission, so listening as a result of the still left earbud on your own does not get the job done), so I can continue to keep an ear accessible to listen for offers staying dropped off. This, of class, is almost nothing new for folks who presently use really wireless earbuds. It just feels new to working experience this freedom with a gaming headset.
I sampled the Demon’s Souls remake, 2018’s God of War, Ring Match Journey, and Ghost of Tsushima, alongside with a number of other game titles, during the critique time period. Even though they really don’t have the widest soundstage or the clearest frequency separation I’ve heard for listening to songs, they glow with match audio — in distinct, with surround seem consequences and bass supply. The in general seem quality isn’t explosively sturdy, and there is a restrict to how immersive the surround seem consequences can be, given the earbuds’ compact motorists. But the audio isn’t much too compromised. Except if you’re a hardcore gamer who requires to hear each element in crystal-distinct presentation, these will probable fit you.
The GTW 270 Hybrid would be really shut to perfect if the microphones labored whilst connected utilizing the USB-C dongle. Alas, they really don’t, so utilizing the dongle will be upcoming to ineffective for those who frequently participate in multiplayer game titles with buddies. (It is a a little unique story if you enjoy lots of one-participant games and do not mind not obtaining a microphone for gaming.) Considering the fact that the earbuds are not all that valuable for gaming without the need of the dongle, that suggests you are building a huge compromise, and it is one particular that none of the(most of which are less expensive than this) check with you to make. It’s your option.
Images by Cameron Faulkner / The Verge