Earbuds with buds in the ears.
For some reason I’ll never truly understand, the folks at EPOS sent me another pair of headphones to review. This time around it’s the EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid earbuds. Now I’ve been rather open in my past reviews that I am a cheap person when it comes to just about everything, just ask my $150 4K TV and the clearance rack pork cuts that are in my freezer right now, and the horrible state of my back after years of buying $20 clearance office chairs before I got that chair to review. But I have noted that if EPOS had asked for their products back after my review that I’d probably go out and buy them anyway. Please don’t do that.
The GTW 270 earbuds are earbuds by EPOS, go figure. They retail for $150 USD and are said to be resistant to light sweat and rain. Which is great because I accidentally doused mine in coffee knocking over my mug literally the first day I had them and they were fine. It’s called product safety testing, I’m really doing a service when I screw up like that.
I had to do the unthinkable with these ear buds and actually read the manual, because they might have the weirdest sync method I’ve ever seen. Normally you click a button on the primary bud and wait until the light flashes to sync. With these you actually have to put the pods in the case, open the lid all the way until it clicks, and then hold the button down on the case until it lights up. I would have never figured that out on my own. I’m a simple farmer working the MMO fields.
The Bluetooth on these earbuds is ridiculously fast, and often the thing is synced with my phone well before I have pulled them out of the case and put them on my head. I’m not impatient about Bluetooth sync time since it doesn’t take long on normal headsets, but this is crazy fast. The range is good for buds, maybe not quite as powerful as the headset which I noted I could go all the way to my mailbox before dealing with sound cutting, here I can still get to the other side of my house to use the bathroom without taking my phone with me. EPOS do be protecting my phone from germs and all that.
The audio quality is fantastic. My normal problem with earbuds is that they tend to compensate in one direction or another. Either the company is so worried about people deafening themselves that they hamper the volume or they’re so directional that no matter how careful you are they still hurt after a while. I turned the volume up on these quite a bit and while the sound was loud it never felt like it was pumping right into my eardrums. It doesn’t feel like earbud sound, like the speaker is next to your head blowing your brains out. It feels like a speaker is in the room with you, flowing out those sweet tunes.
So you can listen to music with heavy bass or loud vocals and it’s not painful. What’s a better way to put it? It’s the difference between walking outside in a heavy rain and having someone point a hose nozzle directly at the side of your head. Yeah, that’s a good analogy.
The earbuds themselves fit well with a little adjusting to get them snug in my ear holes. Otherwise they start to hurt after a half hour or so if I don’t get them seated in right. The website claims that the earbuds last five hours on battery and an additional 15 on the case. I didn’t time it, but that sounds about right after my extensive use over the course of a couple weeks including time spent in an office.
Now let’s talk about the things I don’t like. The dongle on the EPOS devices have previously been relatively reliable when it comes to performance, even if the range on them leaves something to be desired. The quality of the USB dongle that came with the ear buds however is lacking to say the least. To call it short is an understatement. In fact I had trouble maintaining a good connection with the USB dongle plugged into my laptop with me seated at the laptop.
I can’t really get much closer than that without eating my laptop, and that voids the warranty I’m told. Yes you can hook the dongle into a pack-in extension cable but should I need that when I’m already less than two feet from the device? I also tried it on my phone and had similar problems with connection. Probably because everything is so small. It’s definitely low latency, but also seemingly low range.
Also I’m not a fan of the inter-bud broadcasting. The ear buds need to be within head-size distance and facing one another otherwise the left one simply won’t work. I think the right earbud is broadcasting a very highly directed, very short signal and that’s how they connect. I do like the fact that my EPOS headphones are able to pull in two sources so I can listen to my podcasts while playing Destiny 2 on my PC and have both feeds going at the same time, but I understand why that might not be possible shoving that tech into earbuds. I get it, I’m fine with that.
If you want to take my cheap advice, I’d say go with the GTW 270 normals. They cost $30 less and I’m pretty sure it’s the same earbuds but just without the dongle. The audio on the pinhole mic I’ve been told in calls is better than my normal phone microphone and after testing it out with Audacity it sounds better than I’d expect. Granted, I’m stuck in the mid-2000s when it comes to expectations of quality out of pinhole earbud mics. It certainly wouldn’t replace my $200 studio mic when recording podcasts.
Ultimate the GTW 270 Hybrid is a quality set of earbuds that will make you better at Fortnite.