The EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid Earbuds demonstrate EPOS tentatively exploring new ground with audio hardware. It was probably inevitable that we’d see a gaming brand reach out and test the waters with earbuds, especially after Apple launched the dinky little wireless accessories into the mainstream in 2016. Leveraging the research and development that partner brand Sennheiser has been tinkering with over the years, the EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid wireless gaming earbuds are a surprisingly decent first attempt at luring gamers away from the now-standard over-the-head design that’s become the industry norm.
Coming in at an RRP of $199/£179, the buds land right in the middle of the gaming headset spectrum, yet they occupy a unique space thanks to the versatile connectivity EPOS has designed them with; anything with a USB port or Bluetooth connectivity will pair up with the buds. That means PS4, PS5, PC and Nintendo Switch users can have one audio solution that works for all their consoles (and their phone, to boot) thanks to either the GSA 70 USB Type-C aptX low latency dongle and a USB Type-A converter cable that comes packed in with the buds. Still, that’s not a cheap point of entry, and that’s typically a much higher price tag than Nintendo Switch users are willing to pay for their add-ons.
Given that the mic function won’t work if you’re connected via dongle (thanks to its low-latency connection), you may find these buds don’t quite tick all your boxes – especially if you’re particularly into competitive gaming. For players that prioritize versatility, build quality, and battery life, though, it’s hard not to recommend the EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid wireless gaming earbuds outright. Even once the novelty wears off, the truly wireless lil’ earbuds continue to impress.
There are absolutely no complaints from us when it comes to design. The POS GTW 270 Hybrid wireless gaming earbuds are solidly built, expensive-feeling products through-and-through. From the second you unbox the anodized aluminum charging case that houses the buds themselves, you know EPOS has treated this design with care and respect. The tactile way the buds snap into their magnetic charging hub, the satisfying click of the button that controls the 5-LED charge meter, the gratifying thunk of the lid opening and closing… it all smacks of quality design.
That premium feel doesn’t end when you actually pop the buds into your ears, either: they’re IPX5 rated (which means if you get caught in the rain, or on a particularly sweaty run, they’ll be fine) and the various sizes of seals mean they’ll fit most ears with ease. As with any buds, though, your ear shape will determine comfort and – ultimately – sound quality. For those whose biology lends itself towards bud-based comfort, the buds themselves sit snugly in-ear and look pretty smart with their aluminum finish and subtle EPOS branding. It’s all very handsome.
A small clicky button on the left bud allows for some limited control if you’re connected via Bluetooth or via dongle: one press pauses and resumes music or accepts calls, two presses skip a track, and three presses go back a track. A long press will summon Siri or Google’s voice assistant, from which you can alter volume (you can’t do that on the buds themselves).
Straight away, there are two things to note about connectivity and performance: firstly, these buds cannot be paired to the dongle and Bluetooth at the same time. If you wanted to use them for calls in-between sessions on your Switch, for example, you’re going to have to manually flit between devices. Secondly, the (surprisingly decent) in-built mic cannot be used if you’re connected via the dongle – that’s a Bluetooth-only perk.
With those caveats out of the way, these buds are incredible for gamers and music-lovers alike. We’ve been using them indiscriminately to play Switch games and listen to music, drinking in roughly five hours of use at a time (with the case providing another 15-16 hours per full charge). Granted, no-one’s really leaving the house right now, but if you were, these buds would be ideal for flights, commutes and journeys where you want to rotate between handheld consoles and music sessions. Better yet, the buds can get over an hour of juice in them from just 20 minutes in their handsome charging case – another boon for the versatility of the hardware.
The sound itself is superb (if you get the right silicone seal size sorted – they may sound quite tinny out the box if you have big ol’ ears). Playing twinkly JRPGs on Switch, you can hear how well the buds process high ends, short, sharp SFX and human voices. Listening to 90s house and shoegaze on Spotify, you realize how well they can deliver low ends and appreciate the clarity with which they handle fatter, warmer sounds. When it comes to EPOS making such a tiny product deliver such a big sound, it’s nothing short of technical wizardry: that Sennheiser pedigree stands tall with its head held high.
Buy it if…
You’re a variety gamer
PC, mobile, Switch, PS4 and PS5 compatibility make these ideal for gamers that like to play across multiple platforms.
You’re out of the house often
Pop the case in your pocket and head out with your phone and your Switch, and you’ll be set for up to 20 hours on one charge. Not bad, right?
You value good audio
That trademark EPOS sound quality – warm, wide and welcoming – somehow works in earbuds just as well as it does in traditional headsets
Don’t buy it if…
$199/£179 is a big ask for a headset that won’t deal with chat or share a connection with a console and phone at the same time
You’re a super competitive gamer
Voice chat support notwithstanding, the buds aren’t going to deliver the precise sonic detail you’ll need to get the edge in hardcore PvP games.