EPOS specializes in gaming audio, so it’s no surprise that they would announce a new addition to their headset lineup this year: the H3 Wired gaming headset. Previously, we reviewed the EPOS x Sennheiser headset which featured incredible comfort and audio quality at a hefty price. Many reviews and sore ears later, it is still my go-to that I reach for when I sit down for long gaming sessions, so I was definitely intrigued with this new addition that looked to be a bit more lightweight. Just in time for the horrific ambiance of Resident Evil: Village, the EPOS H3 Wired gaming headset is still a little on the high end in terms of pricing, but offers a lot of creature comforts for gamers looking to upgrade their current setup. Are the basic features solid enough to justify the price point? Keep reading to find out our opinion.
- MSRP: $119
- Ear coupling: Over-ear
- Transducer principle: Dynamic, closed
- Connectivity: Wired, 2x 3.5mm
- Cable length: 2 mCompatibility: PC, Mac®, PS4, PS5, Switch and Xbox
- Headphone Frequency Response: 20-20,000 Hz
- Impedance: 20 Ω
- Sound pressure level (SPL): 91 dB SPL @ 1kHz, 150mV RMS
- Microphone Frequency Response: 100-10,000 Hz
- Pick-up pattern: Bothway
- Sensitivity: -38 dBV/Pa
- Impedance: 2,200 Ω
Lightweight and Basic
EPOS isn’t looking to produce anything revolutionary with the H3 headset. There aren’t any new features we should be looking out for that we expected to shake up the tech scene. At first glance, with a quick rundown of the features, it has a studio-quality microphone with a lift-to-mute boom arm, multi-platform compatibility, plush ear coupling, its famed volume dial right on the headset, and precision headband adjustment.
Unsurprisingly, there aren’t any RGB lights that you’ll need to color coordinate with the rest of your setup. Instead, the H3 comes in sleek black, or snow color options with a much less bulky aesthetic than some of its older cousins. Who doesn’t love just a basic, solid black option?
Coming in at only 10 oz, the H3 headset is probably one of the lightest models I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing. The weight difference was immediately noticeable when going from my EPOS x Sennheiser headset to the H3. Being so lightweight offers much more freedom when it comes to range of motion and I definitely noticed less discomfort and strain on my neck. With that being said, is that necessarily a good thing? Why is it so much lighter? You can probably look no further than the quality and comfort of its headband.
Quality and Comfort
EPOS is fantastic at what they do when it comes to audio quality. They could probably wave their magic wand and put their patented “EPOS engineering” in a potato and it would still somehow sound better than a vast majority of its competitors on the market. However, the audio still needs a comfortable vessel to deliver it to the user. While not immediately noticeable from the outside, the H3 does feel a little snugger than I’m used to, especially with glasses, and the headband quality worries me.
To start, just holding the H3 in my hands feels a little less high quality than some of the other EPOS models I’ve tried. The plastic shell isn’t necessarily flimsy, but it isn’t quite sturdy, either. If the company had to cut some corners to provide a more affordable price point for their audio, it was probably in the plastic shell.
While the H3 comes with an adjustable steel headband, it could definitely also use a little more padding. A soft, faux leather wraps the entirety of the headband, with just a little bit of memory foam plush to keep the band from digging into your skull. An indent in the headband was an improvement EPOS made for this model in response to user feedback, which definitely helped alleviate some of the headband pressure.
However, the lack of cushion concerns me for the longevity of the product, as a year of any kind of extended wear is sure to whittle away at what little protection is available. The ear couplings also have a velvety smooth covering with ergonomic ear pads that are supposed to offer a closed acoustic experience. While they did deliver on the acoustic experience, I started to dread putting them on after a few days of constant wear, which is really unfortunate.
For the first hour or two, the experience was fairly nice. I genuinely enjoyed how soft the velvety ear couplings were and didn’t feel much discomfort. As my long nights stretched on, however, I started to notice some soreness around the tips of my ears from pressing into the speakers. The band is adjustable, but any slack I introduced to the headband just caused the headset to put more pressure on the tips of my ears. To be fair, I’m a glasses wearer. So, I have to slide my glasses in between the already snug ear couplings if I want them to sit right.
I definitely missed the adjustable headband from the EPOS x Sennheiser, as if that had been present, I might have been able to alleviate some of the discomfort from the constant pressure. I was hoping that the snugness of the ear couplings was just my imagination, but my aching ears just couldn’t lie to me anymore.
Sound of Silence
Pushing past my discomfort woes, the sound experience the H3 Wired gaming headset delivers is pretty phenomenal. Like most of the headsets in their catalog, EPOS doesn’t offer mic monitoring for the H3 model. With the snug fit of the ear couplings and lack of mic monitoring, this created an incredibly immersive experience when listening to audio of any kind.
In Resident Evil: Village, you definitely have to keep an ear out for sounds coming from every direction and the H3 provided a surprisingly bass-rich environment that takes horrific ambiance to another level. While the headphones only seem to deliver a 20k Hz frequency response, whatever magic EPOS has woven into their speakers certainly amplifies it. Every crunch of the dead leaves or snow underfoot is crisp, and the whistling wind puts chills down your spine when you can hear it so clearly that it feels like you’re crawling through an ancient Romanian village alongside Ethan.
The downside to the lack of mic monitoring and inclusion of a closed acoustic environment means that my poor neighbors probably think I’m enduring some kind of medieval torture-since I can’t quite tell how loud my yelps are when I run into the occasional jump scare.
Microphone and Volume Adjustment
The EPOS H3 has another one of my favorite headset features that I’ve grown accustomed to hunting for in recent years: a lift-to-mute boom arm. There’s just something comforting about the security that comes with a lift-to-mute boom arm, in that you generally don’t have to worry about a mute button short-circuiting like with volume adjustments on a cable. The microphone is slightly flexible, allowing you to move it closer or further away from your mouth with a “bothway” polar pattern (which just means it’s bidirectional).
At first, I didn’t like the new rotary dial. My main squeeze has a raised dial that I can wrap my fingers around, and like the stubborn gamer I am, it took me some time to get used to the flat dial. However, once I got used to it, I actually really enjoyed the flat dial. There are ridges placed around the circumference of the dial that allow you to easily rotate and adjust the headset volume on the fly with just the use of two fingers. Fast, and efficient!
While the audio quality is incredible, the H3 lacks enough comfort and innovative features for me to feel confident suggesting it to gamers that use their headsets for prolonged gaming sessions-especially those that wear glasses. It’s just far too snug for my taste. If you were to limit the amount of time you wear it and stretch out your sessions, it might be better, but I still don’t see the material holding up past a year (or at least remaining comfortable for that long).
Thankfully, EPOS offers a 2 year warranty if this is the case, so make sure you hold on to that box! Warranties are fantastic because they help you get a little more bang for your buck, and in the case of accidents that target cheaper manufactured weak points, you should be able to contact their fantastic customer support to get a new headset.
All-in-all, the EPOS H3 Wired gaming headset is a stripped down version of some of EPOS’s higher-quality models that functions as a fairly reliable gateway to better audio quality. Content creators could benefit from its studio microphone as well as the closed acoustic sound, but streamers may find some discomfort after long periods of use. If you’re a fan of EPOS’s audio quality, you might find yourself falling in love with this model, though $119 still feels a bit on the higher end for the features you’re getting.