Sound solutions and earbuds are easier to come by than ever, so finding a reliable pair at a decent price can be tough. If you can find some for your gaming platform of choice, that's even better. The EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid Earbuds should fit a lot of people's needs, but there are a few issues that users should be aware of before using them.
The GTW 270 Hybrid Earbuds promise 20 hours of listening time with five on the earbuds themselves and an additional 15 with the carrying case. Before going any further, let's discuss the case. It's a bulkier piece of work than one might expect to see from other competitors. It was sometimes bothersome to flip the earbuds out of their case, as they'd occasionally get stuck. Between that and the slightly larger size, it might not be so fun to carry the whole package around.
As far as performance goes, the GTW 270 was a mostly competent solution. With four size attachments, a comfortable fit was never an issue. They were easy to pull on and off, so having them readily available for a phone call was simple, especially with a button at the top of the left earbud to activate the Bluetooth 5.1 connection. The issue comes when actually connected to a call. The other recipient could sometimes hear background and ambient noise, while the user would experience some sound muffling. There was less "noise canceling" and more "closed acoustic" sound at work. Users may need to press the volume button while these are connected to the car, because a car connection led to the person on the other end coming across almost painfully loud.
A straight Bluetooth connection didn't quite work out with a PC and Mac, but fortunately, there's a dongle in place. Try not to lose the low-latency dongle, because it'll be what keeps your earbuds working, whether you've got Spotify booted up or you're on your Steam library. The trouble here is that the dongle does tend to stick out. Worse, the button on the top of the left earbud isn't active while using a dongle connection.
EPOS is touting Switch compatibility with these earbuds and while that's true, getting the Nintendo handheld to work with this thing was a bit of a bother. I was never able to get the earbuds connected to a docked Switch, even with the system's Bluetooth setting. Instead, I ultimately settled on using the dongle along the bottom of the Switch to hook the earbuds up via aptX Low Latency. The earbuds worked beautifully from an audio quality standpoint with minimal lag. However, there was an issue in adjusting their volume while connected. Like in the car, these earbuds seem to default to "loud" and can be too much for some users.
If you're looking for a set of earbuds that you can also use on your gaming platform of choice, the EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid Earbuds are a decent solution. Just be cautious about some of the connection kinks while connected to Bluetooth, with or without the attached dongle. The other thing to note is that while these earbuds are good for making calls, they actually didn't work for voice chat while gaming, which felt like a big oversight, though this issue appears to be addressed with a recent firmware update. For the
$199.99 USD price tag (with the recent firmware update, the retail price has been dropped to $149.99 USD), you might be able to find better quality earbuds out there, but given that there aren't a lot of options for hybrid gaming earbuds, the EPOS GTW 270 feels like a winner by default.
This review is based on a review unit sent by the manufacturer. It was conducted prior to a recent firmware update that addresses several of the issues raised in this review.
EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid
- Strong audio quality when gaming or making calls
- High comfort level
- Long battery life
- No voice chat
- Ambient noise noticeable during calls
- Some connections take work
- Volume control issues while gaming