EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid Earbuds Review – Plug and Switch
When you think audio for games, it’s either big booming speakers or chunky headsets. There aren’t many gaming earbuds out there on the market, and EPOS hopes that the GTW 270 will be the ones for you.
Unlike other earbuds out there decidedly not built for games, the GTW 270 comes with support for the Switch and other gaming consoles out of the box. The earbuds have a dual approach to connecting to your devices, you can connect to most things with the included Bluetooth connection or for gaming use the included USB-C dongle. This dongle uses the aptX codec to keep things lag-free which for games is something you’re going to need.
The GTW 270 are a premium product, the earbuds themselves are sleek and hide away in your ear, the anodised aluminium case they come in is robust and stylish. The dongle and the rest of the included cables are beautifully packaged. There’s a charging cable, USB-C to USB-A extension cable, and three different ear tip options included in the box. The extension cable is perfect for the Nintendo Switch dock, the dongle itself being USB-C can plug directly into the console.
The earbuds can remember up to 8 devices, although it did take a little time for both the dongle and Bluetooth modes to figure out there was a connection available. It would have been nice if there was somewhere to store the dongle in the earbuds’ case as well, It might have made the case larger, but it’s so small you don’t want to lose it.
The audio quality of the earbuds is just sublime. They’re punching above their weight compared to other gaming headsets, earbuds and headphones I had lying around. They’re richer than AirPods, the go toe-to-toe with the AirPods Pro, and while they don’t have the rich active noise cancelling of either the AirPods Pro or my Bose QC35II being jammed in your ear means you do not hear much outside of what you’ve plugged into anyway. You’ll need to find the right size for your ears. There are three different ones included.
Most of the time, the audio quality was perfect. But at times it would have little blips and ticks in the audio, no matter what I played it on or how I connected it. It doesn’t happen often, but it is notable. We asked EPOS about it, and they said there would be a new firmware after launch which should help fix this. Most of the time you can melt away into whatever game you’re playing or music you’re listening too.
These earbuds are designed for gaming, and I tried a range of games on the Switch, and the PlayStation 5 and game music was rich, and vocals in games stood out and weren’t muddy. There are options for adjusting the EQ on these and enabling 7.1 Surround Sound (where supported). Unfortunately, the software is only for Windows, so I wasn’t able to test it out. Quality with voice calls was terrific, and there’s a button on the left earbud for pausing and playing tracks as well.
EPOS says you’ll get about 5 hours of listening time, 20 hours off one charge the case and I’d say that’s accurate enough. It takes 1.5 hours to recharge the earbuds, and 1.75 hours to charge the case. You can get a 60-minute splash and dash recharge with just a 15-minute charge. I’ve been spoiled with AirPods and how they integrate with iOS, these Earbuds continue to play when you remove them from your ear where as others stop to save battery and your place within a song. There’s also weirdness with using just one, to use only one earbud it has to be the left one. The right earbud won’t work by itself.
If you want to use these for voice chat in games, you can’t when you use the dongle. Because the device’s bandwidth is used to get you lag-free audio, there’s no way to send voice back to the system. If you’re after a headset to talk to people, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
I’ve been using these earbuds for a few weeks now between the Switch, the PS5, and various computers. No matter what I plugged it into, there was excellent audio quality and little lag. The minimalist design and high-quality build don’t come cheap, but if you’re after a better way to hear your games no matter where you play or what on – the EPOS GTW 270 might be for you.
EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid Earbuds will set you back $349AU or $369NZ. You can also get a version without the dongle for $299AU. They’re available soon from JB Hi-Fi, Amazon and ‘select resellers’.
+ Excellent audio quality
+ Premium build and feel
+ Can be used for gaming, movies, talking on the phone out of the box
- Infrequent but annoying 'blips' in audio
- Delay in connecting to dongle or device