The EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid claim to be the ultimate in gaming earbuds, but do they stack up to the competition?
A bad workman blames his tools, and while a bad gamer is just the same, it's only recently we've started making the most of audio capabilities. Whether it's listening to the sound of footsteps as someone sneaks up for that covert kill shot in Verdansk, coordinating your whole team on where's the best place to land off the Battle Bus, or simply immersing yourself in the latest survival horror, the right headphones are a key piece of kit. Enter the EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid earbuds.
For those casual gamers, which headphones you select might seem neither here nor there. However, for others, it's like choosing which game is your go-to. Now EPOS is continuing its impressive legacy of gaming headsets while capitalising on the growing earbud market. A certain company with a fruit for its logo might think it has the competition licked, but as the GTW 270 Hybrid hopes to prove, that isn't necessarily the case,
COMPATIBILITY AND DESIGN
Fresh out of the box, it's clear the GTW 270 Hybrid is going for the high-end design spec, which explains its rather hefty RRP of £179.99. Still, sleek is the order of the day as you open up the earbuds. Starting with the positives, the gunmetal "coffin" the earbuds came in was a pleasure to hold - if a little cumbersome. The earbuds themselves pop out with ease and are beautiful steel with gold accents. Although there are a variety of attachments to fit every ear, they fitted in mine snugly without needing to fiddle.
In terms of connectivity, the handy picture instructions weren't even needed to figure out how everything works. It really was as simple as plug and play. We reviewed on the PlayStation 5, took the dongle, and plugged it into the USB-C slot. Flick to settings and change the PS5's output to headphones. Away you go. For those who don't have the next-gen console, there's a wire and attachment for the more standardised USB port. In fact, the EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid is designed with everything in mind, from your laptop to PC, Xbox to Nintendo Switch. It's a clever move from EPOS to cash in on all systems.
The GTW 270 Hybrid are also rated IPX5 for water resistance, meaning you shouldn't worry if things get a little "sweaty", but don't plan on dropping them in the bath if you fancy playing Fortnite in the bath. Battery life is also reasonable with five hours on a single charge and an extra 20 hours when your earbuds are placed in the case. Then again, it's easy to jump into a lengthy match of any game or a long stream and quickly rattle through the five-hour battery life.
It's key to remember these are gaming earbuds and not supposed to be taken out on the town. That being said, transporting them in the aforementioned case would be a faff because it isn't exactly pocket-sized. There's a handy slot to fit the dongle into, however, we imagine putting this in your pocket would snap it off. Perhaps an internal drawer to place the dongle in would've been a nice idea.
Design is all well and good, but what about sound? When it comes to the EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid, this foolish journalist thought it would be the perfect opportunity to test out the new Resident Evil Village demo - well, that was a mistake. Crawling through the dank dungeons of Castle Dimitrescu while doing everything to avoid the towering Lady Dimitrescu and her vampiric brood, the EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid made for a truly terrifying experience. Noise cancellation made every drip of blood or floorboard creak ring in your ears.
As close as you're going to get to surround sound without splashing out for a full home setup, the earbuds offered crystal clear quality as the castle crawled to life. A few minutes of pulse-pounding tension and I decided, nope, enough was enough - and switched back to TV audio. It's a massive plus that the earbuds made the Village demo almost too scary to play. Jumping into a match of Fortnite and it was much the same (albeit without the vampires). The bass of the Battle Bus thumped, and I genuinely heard some sounds I didn't know Epic Games' battle royale brawler made. Looking at the microphone, pals said the voice quality was clear, however, there's was an odd sense of a waterfall sound from my end, suggesting noise cancellation was working overtime to try and drown out a loud environment. Something to note if your housemate is in the midst of making dinner.
With the microphone, it's also here where the GTW 270 Hybrid hits its stumbling block in terms of being classed as a "true" gaming headset. The microphone doesn't work in low-latency mode. Considering low-latency is one of the big draws of the earbuds - to offer instantaneous sound relay - it's a blow that you're confined to the (slightly) slower Bluetooth to speak to others. Then again, it's a small niggle unless you're a pro gamer. On the whole, the GTW Hybrid 270 gives some of the best audio around and would even be a rival for that fruit-named company if they were just slightly more portable.
As for being gaming earbuds, the GTW 270 Hybrid is more than capable of taking you through the bowels of Castle Dimitrescu and easily makes for a heart-pounding time with survival horror games - you've been warned. Being an all-round listening and speaking package, the GTW 270 Hybrid isn't quite where it needs to be. All in all, these chunky yet funky buds will definitely my new go-to when I fancy being hacked to pieces by Xenomorphs, hillbillies, or zombies.
Images via EPOS