EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid Review
The Nintendo Switch has often lacked a solid Bluetooth / wireless audio accessory. There have been Bluetooth adapters on the marketplace – some of which we have really liked – but not one where the company legitimately marketed the product as a true Nintendo Switch accessory. Enter the EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid, a high priced headphones product that is looking to not only change how we play on our Nintendo Switch units, but also how we use other USB enabled devices. Let’s dive in!
At $250 CAD, the GTW 270 Hybrid is not a cheap device. Here is a quick blurb from the companies website,
Leave the world behind with no compromise audio delivered by GTW 270 Hybrid wireless earbuds. Its unique shape ensures a secure and comfortable fit for hours of high-end audio playback. As an EPOS Hybrid product, the GTW 270 Hybrid delivers multiple connection options; Bluetooth® or aptX™ Low Latency connection with the USB-C dongle. Escape to new worlds while on the go.
What sets this set of buds apart from others is that it is specifically designed for gaming – that being said, the device can also be used for other purposes, as I often use these buds to watch Netflix on my Google Pixel 5G. With this specific audio direction, there are many pros and cons that will ultimately factor into whether or not you decide this is a worthwhile purchase. Let’s examine those now.
Lag Free Experience, Maximum Comfort
When using wireless or Bluetooth dongles on the Nintendo Switch and paring them with a set of headphones, the connection has almost never been as solid as I would have liked. Perhaps it’s because the two devices come from different manufacturers, or perhaps I just haven’t found the ideal compatibility combination. When using these buds with it’s own receiver, I can truly say I’ve had a lag free, crystal clear connection from when I first power them on until the battery begins to drain. When playing specific games, having a solid connection is really important, as audio queues are often so key to a successful match of a battle royale game, or when sneaking around in something like Hitman 3.
Compared to other wireless / Bluetooth buds I have used, I find thsese ones from EPOS incredibly comfortable. The package includes a number of rubbery tips, and finding the one that fits best is key to a comfortable fit. Don’t just use what comes standard. It is worth acknowledging that comfort is a subjective thing. Just because I enjoy the way these fit, doesn’t mean you will, so in this regard, I would argue that your mileage will vary.
I also give major props to EPOS for not only designing a comfortable ear bud, but one that is attractive as well. So many others are attempting to show a brand first while EPOS has instead chosen to create a subtle, flat design that leaves a minimal footprint in and around your ears. It might not do much for creating brand identity, but it does wonders for customer satisfaction. These are also fairly universal. While we have obviously highlighted the ability to use this with a undocked Nintendo Switch, the included USB to USB-C cable in the box will allow you to hook the adapter up to your PlayStation 5, and Nintendo Switch while docked, and last generation hardware as well. This means one purchase can satisfy the audio needs of multiple platforms. I’m currently using specific headsets with specific platforms, and having something really universal is a plus. At the time of writing, however, I’m not sure there is an option to purchase additional adapters so you don’t have to continually swap between consoles.
A Couple Issues
There are a few issues, some of which might matter to you, and some that won’t. First and foremost, let’s talk about chat features. When using the dongle for a true wireless experience, you will get a fantastic low-latency connection, and almost no audio lag at all. The downside is that the built in microphone won’t work with the dongle, at all. So while that microphone might be beneficial for phone calls and video chats on your mobile device via Bluetooth, it wont be a useable feature on your consoles or PC.
Another issue worth noting is that while billed as gaming earbuds, the 6MM drivers are not going to produce the same booms that an over-the-ear, 50MM driver based headset will. The sounds coming from the EPOS are crystal clear, and you can easily pick up on some of those lighter audio touches like someone walking near by, wind blowing etc. But when you launch that grenade for fire that automatic weapon, the sound you get back in your ears might not be as satisfying as you might like.
My last major gripe is with the case. EPOS promises 5 hours of audio time on the device, and an additional 15 hours of charge time in the case. However, pairing the earbuds via Bluetooth, or swapping to the wireless connection with the dongle, isn’t as seamless as you would want. You will be flipping open and closing the case, hitting the pair button, double checking to make sure you aren’t connected to something else, and sometimes more just to get a solid connection. It’s not a major issue, but it pairing it could leave you scratching your head from time-to-time.
The other issue with the case is the lack of a space for the small USB-C adapter. Here is the actual situation I encountered. I was using the wireless connector on my Nintendo Switch while playing the game on the road. When I returned home, I connected my earbuds to my phone via Bluetooth and went to dock my Switch so it would charge. This mean removing the small wireless adapter, and then quickly realizing I had nowhere to put it. I’ve defaulted to just plugging it into the charging port for the case, but that isn’t an ideal solution. I hope that if a second generation of this earbud is released, that a storage option is given priority!
You can get cheaper, albeit bulkier headsets to play games on your various consoles. And yes, there are cheaper headsets available that produce a better audio experience. That being said, if you do lots of handheld gaming on your Nintendo Switch and really want a true wireless connection, this is a fantastic choice. Since the Nintendo Switch doesn’t support direct chat in most games, the lack of a microphone while playing on Nintendo Switch is a non-issue. The small, portability of this unit fits nicely next to the Nintendo Switch, and makes for a fantastic partnership. There is a place for these buds, you just need to weight the pros and cons.