Why oh! Why! am I checking out the new EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid Closed Acoustic Gaming Wireless Earbuds? I already have some amazing headsets from EPOS which I use all the time with the Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X, PS5 and PC.
To answer why? Well, I am hoping these will offer a good audio experience with exceptional sound along with a good microphone. Not only that, I find headsets a little inconvenient when you have a little one running around wanting my attention to play and cuddle.
My son always pulls on my headset when I have it in use to gain my attention, I love this of my little boy, but sometimes when deep in a game, its a bit off-putting, you could say. My Son also pulls on the microphone a little too much, making me worried he might break it accidentally. When he is running around like a crazed lunatic, he sometimes runs into the 3.5mm audio cable that is attached to my device and rips it out accidentally. So you can understand why these earbuds might be the perfect solution, for me to game without having to worry about my son breaking them.
I am hoping these new EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid Closed Acoustic Gaming Wireless Earbuds might be perfect for gamers that want to enjoy a game, listen to music, chat to friends, watch movies, without having the issues which come with a headset and a little child (This does not mean total ignorance towards your little one). If you are not a gamer, with little kids, wireless earbuds could be right up your street as well, as a lot of us use True Wireless Earbuds with our mobile devices for exercise, chilling listening to music, watching movies and talking to friends and family, so why not add gaming to that list of things you already enjoy.
Not heard of EPOS? EPOS delivers high-end audio solutions designed for enterprise and gaming. Based on pioneering audio technology, we strive to unleash human potential by perfecting audio experiences and delivering innovative design and performance with all of our audio solutions. We have been lucky enough to have checked out a number of their products, which can be read here if interested.
There are two versions available, the EPOS GTW 270 which will only offer Bluetooth as a connection and will cost around ₤149 GBP while the EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid will come in at around ₤179 GBP and provide not only Bluetooth but also AptX low latency with a USB Type C Dongle.
Packaging and Sales
When your new GTW 270 Earbuds arrive they come in a well-presented box, with a magnetic lid to give you access to your new product. On the front, the brand name is shown at the top right, Dark Photography is used to show off EPOS‘s new earbuds, and it does a really good job. Then in the bottom left is the model, Closed Acoustic Gaming Wireless Earbuds GTW 270 Hybrid or remove ‘Hybrid’ if you ordered the cheaper model.
When you move to the back of the package EPOS use the term ‘Crafted to Last, Designed to Excite‘ and I must admit on the first inspection the term used is correct.
EPOS also have some text, I am not going to write it all here, just take sections that I feel are required and bullet point them;
- Materials built to last
- Excellent audio and comfort
- The Purity of Sound, the clarity of speech
- Engineered for gaming
I do not normally bring up a flaw this early in a review, but its a flaw, that is due to hardware limitations, when using AptX HD low latency. The Flaw is? Microphone does not work, this is a massive flaw as it removes these earbuds from a whole demographic of gamers, Competitive and MMO Gamers. AptX HD is the pinnacle of sound available with low latency and it is not the fault of EPOS, it is the codec that does not allow for microphones. Now I did wonder if EPOS could have gone down the route of Adaptive AptX and Use AptX Voice so I sent a question over to them and got a reply back.
“Just talked to one of our engineers who is in contact with Qualcomm. After they announced AptXVoice in the beginning last year nothing really happened. He states that there is no product that supports it currently and we assume they announced it and since then put in on the back burner Also note, the profile being used would still be HFP (used for phone calls). Though according to their announcement AptX Voice offers a significantly wider frequency response of 32kHz, it would still not be the 48kHz that is standard for higher fidelity.”
So like I said before do not blame EPOS for this, it is the codec itself and lack of technological advancements.
So if you are a gamer that plays MMO’s or Competitive games, that require communication and you need the quick response that comes with using AptX Low Latency, these are not for you to a degree, you can still use them for single-player games. You could also use the Bluetooth connection which offers everything, and in all honestly, unless you are a pro gamer, I doubt you will even notice the difference.
So on that note what do you get in the box, well you get some instructions, a solid metal case which is used to charge your new EPOS GTW 270 within while keeping them safe when not in use. You also get a selection of earbud sizes, the low latency dongle, dongle pouch, USB Type C cable plus a USB Cable for the dongle, and finally the earbuds themselves.
After you have played with all the little extras, read the instructions to a degree, chosen your desired earbud size, charged up your new EPOS GTW 270, which for me was overnight, away you go.
Connecting up was simple, the AptX Low Latency dongle auto connects up to the earbuds, which is awesome, and Bluetooth well that required a little extra. You need to have the earbuds in the Steel Case, press the button on the front, once it starts to flash, go search for it within your desired device, mobile, pc, console etc. Now heads-up, if for some unknown reason the earbuds are not fully charged or lacking in power, you might find that only the right earbud is working, this is a simple fix, charge up.
Now connecting up was simple, but connecting to the EPOS Gaming Suite was a whole new ball game. First off the software did not pick up the new EPOS GTW 270, so to fix this I uninstalled the gaming suite, which I used in the past for all the other EPOS devices I own and reinstalled. Now comes the fun part, connecting the EPOS GTW 270 with just the USB charger cable only gives you access to its voice commands, basically what language you want to hear on the earbuds. When you connect up the dongle using the USB Cable for the dongle, you get access to the sound suit within the software. As this is the AptX Low Latency dongle the voice option is not available so do not expect anything there.
Within the software you can play with how the earbuds sound, 2.0 or 7.1 create your own EQ and set surround sound reverberation, however, once you remove the dongle from the PC, you lose those settings, as there is no way to save your profile to the EPOS GTW 270 to use on the fly, which is a shame but to be expected as I have said over and over, EPOS find a way to add profile saves to your devices, please.
I was cheeky enough to ask EPOS if they will add EQ saves to the earbuds in the future I got told this;
Currently, there is no way to transfer the improvements on to the earbuds, because the EPOS Gaming Suite is processing the EQ and not the headset itself. Because we have not had an App to begin with, we did not scope for the earbuds themselves to be able to save & run sound EQs
So I guess this is a no, but you never know what the future will bring? maybe a mobile app, maybe an app for consoles?
The microphone quality is not the best in any way, but what do you expect this is not a Headset from EPOS with there dedicated microphone, so this is what it sounds like.
Now I have been thinking, since the low latency dongle does not allow for a microphone why not also allow a Bluetooth connection for the microphone while the dongle is in use, allowing voice, seems like a good idea, not sure though if it is possible. So I reached out to EPOS, to see what they say about the idea, here was there reply.
Unfortunately, it is not possible because GTW 270 Hybrid cannot run two Bluetooth profiles at the same time. So the aptX-LL is using the A2DP profile and the communication path would use the HFP profile. I am not sure if this would even be technically possible for any true wireless.
Using these for gaming or listening to music is great, even while exercising thanks to its IPX5 rating you do not have to worry about your sweat or as I live in Wales, Rain becoming an issue and breaking your new device.
I started first with using the default earbuds size, which was attached to the EPOS GTW 270, it was OK but not great. Now I found out that if you use the correct size earbud for your ear, the sound with these improves substantially. I did not expect this, but this is true, I settled in the end with the medium size, as the large ones, as you can probably guess where to big and the small size, did not offer a great sound stage.
The sound is ok, when connected through Bluetooth, and offers a good amount of bass (Low frequency) while not missing those highs and mids when required, but please do not expect headset quality here, be mindful these are earbuds, with a much small driver inside.
When in use with the AptX Low Latency dongle and EPOS Gaming Suite, the improvement is noticeable, thanks to the customisation available within the suite.
I used these earbuds with my Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X, PC and Mobile. Music sounded punchy as I do listen to heavy bass soundtracks, Trance, Rock, Techno and Dance from the ’00s.
When playing games like the new Medium to the much-improved Control, or the rather buggy mess of Cyberpunk to the open world of Assassins Creed Valhalla, music came through wonderfully, and NPC voices were crystal clear, but not as good as a Dolby Atmos Sound Bar system setup from the likes of LG, but this is what I expected.
When it came to battery life, I got around 4hrs out of it for my first session then around 4.5hrs on the second charge maybe this was down to the sound level I was using them at. Not the greatest length of time, when you consider some gamers play all day and streamers stream all day as a living. I was also very impressed by how fast these actually charged up, as I originally charged them up overnight as I do with everything, but for this review, I used them for as long as possible, then set them to charge. In and around 90min / 1.5hrs they were fully charged and ready to go again, now that is impressive.
Overall these earbuds have their issues, Low Latency with no Microphone, which is not the fault of EPOS, its technology not moving forward. No access to EPOS Gaming Suite when using a Bluetooth connection, no option to save a profile from the EPOS Gaming Suite to take on the fly. But the sound is GOOD, the microphone is just OK, good for phone calls, ok for gaming, but do not expect them to block out all sounds from the outside world, as these even picked up me eating crisps. EPOS at some point need to come back to these or create an updated version with improved offerings, I know they can do it, I have some faith in them.
Update: Fireware version 7.03.55 now allows multi-point, which now allows you to listen and work on one device while also not missing a beat from your mobile device.
Grab your pair here if interested.
For more info about EPOS head here.
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