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Drop + EPOS H3X Gaming Headset Review

Entry-level Headset That Checks All The Boxes

Kris Brooks Posted:
Category:
Hardware Reviews 0

Drop has once again partnered with EPOS to release a new gaming headset that’s both affordably priced and offers rich sound quality. Featuring a closed-back design, tuned dynamic drivers, a polycarbonate frame, durable steel hinges, and memory foam ear cups, it comes in at $79. Given the long history EPOS has in the audio industry, the Drop+Epos H3X may even just disrupt what we know about entry-level headsets. Join me as I dive in and let you know whether you should pick up a pair of your own.

Specifications

  • Current Price: $79 (Drop
  • Form factor: Over-ear  
  • Profile: Closed-back 
  • Volume control on ear cup 
  • Rotate-to-mute boom microphone  
  • Headphones frequency response: 20-20.000 Hz 
  • Microphone frequency response: 100-10,000 Hz  
  • Driver size: 40mm 
  • Weight (without cable): 270g  

Drop + EPOS H3X - What Is It?

Drop has partnered once again with EPOS, and this time they’re targeting the sub-$100 gaming headset market. The goal is twofold: to broaden their portfolio of high-quality gaming headsets, and, in my opinion, to disrupt the current status quo of what you can expect for the money at this price. 

In most cases, the phrase “You get what you pay for” holds true. Is the H3X an exception to the rule or just another set of headphones destined for the recycle bin of history? 

In the design of the H3X, Drop noticed a trend with affordable headsets. Often, they delivered traded sub-par audio for software solutions, like virtual surround sound. Virtual surround sound can be fine, but it can also negatively impact sound quality with too much reverb and even reduce the clarity of your game audio. Without software surround sound, the soundstage closes in and, in some cases, shortcomings in the frequency response range become evident. 

The H3X aims to build on the success of the popular and impressive Drop + EPOS PC38X, both in addressing the sound quality issues found in competing gaming headsets and offering build quality that’s made to last. 

The chassis is based on the EPOS H3. The frame is built from polycarbonate which provides more durability than regular plastics and in theory, will reduce wear and tear from daily use. The yoke is sturdy with its steel construction and allows for ten levels of adjustment to find a comfortable fit. The headband design has been taken from the more expensive H2Pro Hybrid. It uses both cloth and artificial leather for breathability and comfort.

The H3X uses the same dynamic drivers as the H3, but don’t go thinking they’re a carbon copy. This time around the frequency response has been flattened slightly to be more reference-like. This allows the H3X to maintain the extended bass response of the original H3s. It’s a more neutral sound signature that’s good for both music and games.

In the box, users will receive the H3X headphones, a TRRS 3.5mm cable for connecting to combination audio jacks, a TRS splitter cable that separates out microphone and headphone jacks, a soft travel pouch,  and a quick start guide.

Drop + EPOS H3X - Quality and Comfort

Looking at the headphones as a whole, they seem to be built to stand the test of time. The chassis is strong and does not feel cheap despite the low cost of the headphones. They are relatively flexible and do not creak or have undue rattle during use. Most headphones under $100 tend to cheap out on materials and the quality is subpar, but the H3X bucks that trend and delivers a solid build. 

The ear cups fit nicely over my ears. During extended use breathe fairly well with no adverse issues. If you have larger ears, they may feel small, but I consider myself average and they fit perfectly. The cushions are hybrid designed with a fabric surface where they touch your skin and leather exteriors to promote bass presence and isolation. They’re soft, breathable, and quite nice. 

The clamping force is on the tight side but not enough to be uncomfortable, and I consider a bit of extra grip to be a good thing. They stay in place while moving and even shaking my head around. I would go as far as to say this is essentially important. There are times when you need to lean down and having your headset slide out of place is obnoxious. Likewise, a loose headset promotes poor isolation and can be distracting, but these presented a great balance of grip and comfort, staying in place without being too grippy. 

The provided 3.5 mm cables are sleeved and did not get snagged at all during my testing. However, I would have liked to have had them a bit longer as my PC is further away from my monitoring and reduced my tethered range. 

Drop + EPOS H3X - Sound and Microphone Quality

The snug fit creates an incredibly immersive experience during gameplay. In Dying Light 2, you can identify the precise direction that sounds are coming. There’s also enough bass to sound cinematic and action-packed when called for. This definitely took zombies creeping up on you to a new level. While jumping from rooftop to rooftop, I could hear every moan and groan of the zombies lurking below. Of course, this amplifies the level of creepiness and the fear of falling (thank you, immersiveness). 

While these are advertised as gaming headsets, they proved to be great at listening to music as well. I was able to hear where the instruments are placed. There’s enough detail that music sounds realistic and rich. The slight bass boost makes rock and hip-hop enjoyable without being overdone or boomy. 

I decided to do more in-depth testing and started with testing the wiring. The H3X wiring perfectly routed the left and right channels with little to no deviation. Next, I moved on to performing a harmonic distortion test. I was able to detect changes as low as .005% THD. Without specialized equipment, these tests are inherently limited, but suffice it to say, they sounded crystal clear to my ears. 

Another point of contention Drop + EPOS aimed at solving was the lackluster microphone quality that often goes hand-in-hand with an affordable price. The H3X offers a bi-directional mic that also features intuitive flip-to-mute functionality. With this feature, you simply point the microphone up and it automatically mutes, so you never need to worry about “hot mic” moments with your friends. I find often my headsets that use a button or switch are not always easy to discern during gameplay which of course draws focus away from the task at hand.  

Quality-wise, the microphone is pretty good! It's not the best I've heard, but it does a good job at blocking out background noise and sounds pretty natural. I would consider this a good fit for calls with friends and remote meetings, but I wouldn't throw out my dedicated streaming mic quite yet. It's also mounted on a semi-flexible arm which allows you to move closer or further away as needed.

Volume controls are something of a mixed bag with gaming headsets. Drop + EPOS has opted to use a flat dial for the volume controls. I wasn’t a fan at first. Since my muscle memory is used to a wheel, I found it difficult at first to adjust on the fly. After some time, I was able to gain a better feel for it and no longer have that issue. The ridges placed around the circumference of the dial make it easy for you to grab the dial with a finger tip to make adjustments.

They have also provided two separate audio cables. The first is a 3.5 splitter cable to use on computers with both audio and microphone in ports. The second is a 3.5 mm TRRS cable that can be used with devices that support the single audio/mic input port. This makes the H3X compatible with mobile devices like smartphones as well as some consoles. 

Currently, I use a different ecosystem that has its apps. I did find I could use a 3.5 mm USB soundcard to utilize my current EQ settings without the need to install additional software. EPOS does offer software but you will need to purchase a separate sound card for the software to detect them.

Final Thoughts

The Drop + EPOS H3X ticks all the boxes I come to expect with headphones in this type of price range. It has finely tuned drivers, a robust chassis with enough flex to be comfortable. I feel confident in recommending these to my fellow gamers. However, with that said, while I enjoyed the size and grip, if you have larger ears or are sensitive to a snugger gaming headset, you should keep those qualities in mind before pulling the trigger.

At only $79, if you’re in the market for an affordable gaming headset with great sound quality and a solid mic, look no further.

The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes.

8.0Great
Pros
  • High-quality audio
  • Flip-to-mute boom microphone that sounds clear
  • Adjustable headband that feels robust for being plastic
  • Sturdy construction all around
  • Impressive sound for both gaming and music at this price
Cons
  • Needs longer cables
  • Lots of plastic used in its design
  • Grip force and earcup size may be an issue for some


Dragnous

Kris Brooks

Long time tech, gadget and all around geek. I love cars, computers and movies and most importantly my family.