Friday, July 19, 2024

Review: The EPOS GTW 270 are the gaming earbuds you’ve been waiting for



EPOS is throwing a gaming party, and everyone except Xbox is invited.

For gamers who want immersive audio but dislike over-the-ear headphones, the EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid earbuds could be the answer. Designed specifically as wireless earbuds for gaming, these EPOS earbuds can connect to your PS5, PS4, Nintendo Switch, Android / iOS phone, or PC (no Xbox unless you stream it to a phone or PC) using Bluetooth or aptX Low Latency (aptX LL).

Looking through the best PS5 headsets or best Nintendo Switch headsets, you’ll see stacks of massive headphones that smother you in warm padding and dig your glasses’ frames into your head. And while the best wireless earbuds may work for mobile gaming, there may be noticeable lag between gameplay and audio, and they can’t easily connect to non-mobile gaming devices.

So after acknowledging that the EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid’s unique connectivity makes it stand out from the pack, you’ll want to know whether they’re worth the $200 asking price. Social gamers may want to look elsewhere, while single-player fans and Android gamers should strongly consider them if they have the cash.

EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid review:

  • What I like
  • What I don’t like
  • The competition
  • Should you buy?

EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid


Bottom line: Whatever combination of consoles, computers, and phones you use for your gaming, these hybrid gaming earbuds will effortlessly swap between them, perfectly capturing your symphonic soundtracks, explosions, and directional audio.

The Good

  • USB-C dongle has great connectivity, low latency
  • Superb audio quality
  • Comfortable fit with passive noise cancellation

The Bad

  • No mic when using USB-C dongle
  • Broken mobile app
  • Battery life is only average

$199 at Amazon
$200 at Best Buy

Low latency, wide frequency

EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid What I like


What’s in the box Earbuds, charging case, USB-A to USB-C charging cable, USB-C dongle, four sets of silicone ear tips
Bluetooth 5.1
Surround Sound 2.0 or 7.1
Frequency range 20-20,000 Hz
Noise cancellation Passive
Battery life 5 hours20 hours via case
Recharge time 1.5 hours
Mic frequency response 100-7,500 Hz
Water-resistance IPX5

Over the course of my review, I connected my review buds to my PS5, Switch, Pixel 3a, iPhone XR, NZXT Streaming PC, and 2018 Macbook Pro. Of all of them, only the Macbook had minor issues with them, which makes sense given it’s not exactly designed for gaming. Otherwise, the GTW 270 Hybrid sounded excellent across all these devices.

I tested them on Hades, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Astro’s Playroom, Erica, Untitled Goose Game, Animal Crossing, Titanfall 2, and a bunch of the best Android games across a couple of weeks. Overall, the sound quality more than lived up to my 2.1ch home soundbar, with powerful bass, crisp dialogue, and rich mids and highs projected right into my ears.

While these are useful for gaming on the go, they have equally great benefits for gaming at home, especially for people gaming in communal spaces where a roommate or loved one may be zooming or sleeping nearby. I’ve been able to enjoy some early-morning gaming marathons with the sound at full blast, instead of keeping the volume at the lowest setting.


The audio performance also improved once I connected them to my PC and downloaded the EPOS Gaming Suite desktop app. It gave me the option to switch from Surround Sound 2.0 to 7.1, increase the reverberation, and adjust the EQ settings. You can swap between Music, Esports, or Movie modes if you don’t exactly know what settings would sound good. I mostly stuck with Esports and was happy with the results.

I’ve been satisfied with the comfort level of the earbuds thus far. They ship with four different sets of padded tips; I went with extra-small, which let them slide in comfortably and feel secure even when shaking my head around. They look like they’re about to fall out even when fully inserted but rest assured that they won’t unless you didn’t put them in properly. You could probably use these while playing a fitness game with no trouble (they’re rated IPX5 for decent sweat resistance).

While many gamers will prefer active noise cancellation, I think the GTW 270 Hybrid’s passive noise cancellation is a perk rather than a detriment. They block out enough noise that I can sink fully into a beautiful soundtrack, but not enough that I can’t hear a Slack notification or a package being dropped off. That’s not something you can do with a bulky over-the-ear headset.


The USB-C dongle lets you connect when Bluetooth isn’t an option.

The EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid was easy to play across so many platforms. It uses Bluetooth 5.1 to connect to compatible devices; you just hold down the button on the front of the charging case for three seconds, and then your device should be able to detect it. For any non-compatible devices, it also ships with a USB-C dongle that directly links your earbuds to the console, plus a USB-C to USB-A adapter that helped it slot into my PS5 and PC. As soon as the device turns on, the dongle receives power and pairs the earbuds in just a few seconds.

The main perk of the EPOS’ USB-C dongle is that it uses aptX LL. We have a selection of the best aptX Low Latency Headphones, but again, these are all either over-the-ear or wired earbuds. To get a guaranteed maximum latency of 40ms or lower with wireless earbuds is both rare and impressive. Gamers that care about performance, or audiophiles that hate desynced audio, have a lot to like here.

Can you hear me now?

EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid What I don’t like


I personally have very few issues with these wireless gaming earbuds, but I’m using this section to focus more on what I think could frustrate other, more “serious” gamers. Particularly those preparing to drop $200 on them.

For starters, these earbuds have a five-hour battery life, plus 20 hours built into the charging case. Most of our favorite wireless earbuds fall somewhere in the 7-8 range, with 25+ hours of backup battery. Five hours is way more time than I usually have these days for gaming, but I know that other people will prefer something that will last for all-day gaming.

These headphones have a built-in mic over Bluetooth, but if you use the USB-C dongle it silences it, meaning you’ll need a separate mic to talk with your fellow gamers.

These earbuds have a built-in mic but can only access it when connected to a device via Bluetooth. You can make calls with it, but once it’s connected to the aptX dongle, the mic goes silent. That’s why I said this is meant for single-player only: you won’t be able to party chat with your friends or stream your gameplay. You’d have to buy a USB microphone and hope you have a second USB slot for it.

I’ll also point out that the mic itself is nothing to write home about. When I answered a phone call to test it out, the person on the other end said I sounded like I was on speaker and standing a short distance away from my phone. It’s functional, but maybe not the best for long phone calls.

Thankfully, the mic is one of the only downsides to these earbuds. The other issue I had was with the EPOS Connect app. With both the iOS and Android app, I was unable to connect my earbuds to them in order to access the EQ settings on them. In the case of the iOS app, it could not find the earbuds even though they were already connected over Bluetooth — even after I followed their troubleshooting instructions. The Android app was broken and stayed frozen on an error screen saying my Bluetooth was off (Narrator: It was on). I’m assuming and hoping these issues will be addressed quickly, however.

I mentioned that the EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid had problems on my Macbook, so for those poor souls like me who play games on Macs sometimes, here’s the issue. The Macbook technically recognizes the earbuds using the dongle in a USB-C slot but doesn’t let you adjust the volume with them. Instead, the volume is entirely dependant on the application or web page, which meant I was deafened when I first tried listening to Disney Plus. Whenever I went to a new page or opened up a Steam game, I had to preemptively take out my earbuds, find the volume controls, and turn the page down to about 20% volume before it was safe to put them back in.

EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid The competition


Assuming you want gaming earbuds, your closest equivalent would be the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro earbuds. They cost the same, support active noise cancellation as well as passive, and even have THX audio certification, making them sound excellent. On the other hand, they only have four hours of battery life, lack spatial audio, and don’t ship with a USB dongle.

You can technically connect any Bluetooth headphones to a console or PC if you buy a Bluetooth adapter like this Creative BT-W3 Bluetooth 5.0 USB-C Audio Transmitter with aptX LL compatibility. So if you want the best wireless earbuds, the new Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro definitively top the list for Android users. They support 360 Audio, Surround Sound 7.1, five hours of battery with ANC on or more with it off, and the option to automatically turn down your volume when it detects you or someone else in the room talking.

If you’re specifically looking for a PS5 headset, the GTW 270 Hybrid don’t support Sony’s 3D audio tech. For that, you’ll have to buy an over-the-ear headset for now, and the SteelSeries Arctis 7P are the best headphones of the bunch. They have the same frequency range, but with 24 hours of battery life.

EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid Should you buy them?


You should buy this if …

  • You’re into single-player experiences. Even if you play multiplayer games, you don’t bother talking with strangers on the internet. You need these to throw yourself into a world, not to interact with others in the real world.
  • You want to connect with lots of different devices. The USB-C dongle is what makes the EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid stand out from a pack of wireless earbuds. It’s great for PC and console gaming.
  • You’re a semi-serious gamer. These may not have true 3D audio, but it has enough spatial awareness from surround sound to help you catch footsteps behind you, and the low latency will help you react quickly to them.

You should not buy this if …

  • You want active noise cancellation. These are best if you want to at least be semi-aware of your surroundings while playing games.
  • You’ll be wearing these 8 hours a day. With a five-hour maximum charge, these earbuds are best worn in short bursts, not all-day gaming sessions if you’re a Twitch streamer or hardcore WoW addict.

out of 5

Most gamers seem to prefer over-the-ear headphones for comfort, but that may be because there aren’t that many wireless earbuds that fit their needs. These may not work for more social gamers, but for those who want dynamic audio without feeling constant warmth and pressure from their headsets, the EPOS GTS 270 Hybrid earbuds are among the best we’ve seen for this particular niche.

EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid


Bottom line: These earbuds connect to PCs, laptops, Chromebooks, iPhones, Android phones, PS5s, PS4s, and Nintendo Switches. Whatever games you play, these earbuds will generate powerful, immersive audio that rivals what you’d hear with bulkier headsets.

$199 at Amazon
$200 at Best Buy

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