REVIEW – There are various true wi-fi earbuds in the marketplace at the moment, however solely a small variety of them have hybrid, multi-platform wi-fi working functionality. The EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid Earbuds have each Bluetooth and an aptX USB-C dongle, which permits them to function in two wi-fi domains. Let’s test them out.
The EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid Earbuds are a true wireless earbud audio system that operates with a hybrid connection by way of each Bluetooth and USB-C dongle. A little bit of background on EPOS, they’re the corporate that produced the high-end Sennheiser headphones, they usually have now begun producing high-end gaming earbuds.
What’s within the field?
The GTW 270 Hybrid’s packaging is among the most refined and polished I’ve ever seen in a wi-fi earbud system.
All the elements are fastidiously protected withing foam and/or paperboard bins or sleeves. The field’s flap additionally has a magnetic closure.
Contained in the package deal had been the next gadgets:
- GTW 270 earbuds
- Moveable cost case
- USB-C low-latency aptX dongle
- USB-C charging cable
- USB-C® to USB-A extension cable
- Silicone ear suggestions in 4 sizes
- Dongle protecting silicone sleeve
- Fast Information
- Security information
- Compliance sheet
I’ve listed what I assumed had been among the most pertinent specs of the GTW 270 Hybrid Earbuds under, however you’ll find the total spec sheet here:
- Bluetooth® 5.1 (audio and microphone)
- Low-latency aptX dongle (audio solely)
- Frequency response: 20-20,000 Hz
- Sound strain stage: 100 dB
- Frequency response: 100-7,500 Hz
- Choose-up sample: Omnidirectional
- Dongle: Nintendo Swap, Android Units, PC, PS4
- Earbuds: Bluetooth gadgets
- Listening time: As much as 5 hours of listening time on the earbuds and as much as 20 hours of listening time with the charging case
- Cost time: 1.5 hours to totally cost earbuds and 1.75 hours to totally cost the charging case
- Quick cost: As much as 60 minutes of listening time on the earbuds after quarter-hour within the charging case
- Water Resistance: IPX 5
- Guarantee: 2 years, worldwide
Design and options
I used to be extra impressed by the preliminary feel and look of the GTW 270 Hybrid earbuds and their equipment than with every other earbuds I’ve reviewed to this point.
The GTW 270 earbuds themselves have a two-tone shade scheme, with a black plastic most important physique and a gray, satin-finished, anodized aluminum panel on their entrance with the EPOS stylized “E” brand printed on it. All of it combines into a really minimalist, refined look.
Though the aluminum panels look like touch-control factors, they aren’t. The capabilities of the earbud are managed with a single, oval-shaped button on the left earbud, as you’ll be able to see on the left earbud within the picture above. The button controls pretty commonplace capabilities comparable to Play/Pause (press as soon as), Subsequent Monitor (press twice), Earlier Monitor (press thrice), Incoming Name Reply (press as soon as), Name Finish (press as soon as), Ignore Name (maintain 3 seconds), Activate Siri/GoogleNow, Alexa (maintain 2 seconds). Nonetheless, there are not any onboard quantity controls, nor a mute perform. These may be managed by way of your system solely. I noticed this as a limitation that almost all different true wi-fi earbuds in the marketplace now have, and I questioned why these didn’t.
The earbuds have a really compact design and ergonomic form which I’ll talk about additional under. The earbuds even have 4 sizes of silicone suggestions that assist the consumer acquire one of the best match for his or her ear canal measurement.
Each earbuds even have a number of gold metallic circles. I consider the 5 smaller ones facilitate charging the earbuds whereas they’re within the charging case, and the bigger two facilitate the earbuds’ magnetic attachment into the charging case. Moreover, the appropriate earbud has a wear-detect sensor, which implies that if you take away the appropriate earbud out of your ear, the sound will cease from each earbuds. If you substitute the appropriate earbud in your ear, the sound begins once more. Nonetheless, it should be stored in thoughts that the sound is stopping, however the music/podcast/audiobook to which you’re listening isn’t paused, it retains taking part in. This may act as a kind of “mute” function within the occasion that that you must briefly hear one thing round you, however you will have to again up a music or podcast to search out the place you left off.
The GTW 270 Hybrid’s charging case is excellent. It has an anodized gunmetal grey exterior with a satin-finished that may be a pleasure to the touch—it has a very premium, stable really feel. As a result of the case’s exterior is totally aluminum, this case offers a stage of power and crush-resistance that plastic instances can’t match, which helps defend the earbuds inside. The entrance of the case has 5 tiny LEDs with a small, oval-shaped button beneath them.
Just like the earbuds, the case has a black EPOS “E” brand atop its lid. The case is charged with the included USB-A to USB-C cable by way of a port on the again. The earbuds themselves will give roughly 5 hours of use, and the charging case will increase this to roughly 20 whole hours of listening time. In apply I discovered this to be correct. The full time to cost the earbuds is meant to be 1.5 hours, and the time to cost the case 1.75 hours, however in my expertise, each the earbuds and the case charged occasion extra shortly than these instances.
The within of the case’s lid has a gentle, rubbery-feel materials that helps cushion the earbuds and maintain them from transferring round within the case in addition to defending the earbuds from scratches. The lid’s hinge has a little bit of a spring help that helps it snap into each the open and closed positions with a really satisfying really feel.
The charging case has two cavities into which the earbuds completely match. Within the photograph above you’ll be able to see 5 spring-loaded pins that make contact with the 5 smaller metallic circles on the earbuds, in addition to two bigger metallic circles that mate with the 2 bigger metallic circles on the earbuds. My guess is that the pins are for charging the earbuds, whereas the bigger circles are magnets that assist maintain the earbuds aligned with the charging pins whereas additionally protecting them secured within the case.
Whereas the earbuds are of their case, the tiny LEDs on the earbuds glow inexperienced to point that the earbuds are at full cost, yellow to point a partial cost, and purple to point when the earbuds are almost totally drained.
Bluetooth pairing of the GTW 270 earbuds was pretty simple. I merely opened the lid of the case, pressed the button on the entrance of the case, waited for the LEDs to flash between blue and purple, then chosen “EPOS GTW 270” when it popped up in my iPhone XR’s Bluetooth gadgets lists. In case you ever have to re-pair the earbuds together with your system (which I very hardly ever wanted to do), merely place them again of their case and undergo the steps as beforehand described. Utilizing Bluetooth, the earbuds perform equally to most true wi-fi earbuds.
Just a few issues to say about Bluetooth with the GTW 270. I used to be in a position to Bluetooth pair the earbuds with my iPhone XR they usually labored nicely. I used to be additionally in a position to Bluetooth pair the earbuds with my work-issued Lenovo X270, and use them for Zoom conferences, to each pay attention and discuss with out concern. Nonetheless, I may solely Bluetooth pair the earbuds with both my iPhone XR or my Lenovo laptop computer, not each concurrently. Subsequently, if I needed to make use of the earbuds with my laptop computer, I needed to un-pair them from my iPhone XR. I noticed this as a limitation.
Low latency aptX dongle connection
The GTW 270’s “hybrid” connection system is achieved by way of a low-latency aptX USB-C dongle. This dongle may be plugged immediately into gadgets which have a USB-C port, or with the included USB-A to USB-C cable can be utilized for gadgets with solely an old-school USB-A port. A silicone sleeve with an connected lanyard is included as nicely to assist defend the dongle.
The dongle has a single LED on one aspect and the silicone sleeve features a small window by which the LED may be seen.
The earbuds and the dongle are proven above. All are small elements, so make sure you don’t lose them!
Pairing the GTW 270 earbuds by way of the dongle is pretty simple as nicely. Open the lid of the charging case and plug the dongle into a tool, as I’ve executed with work-issued Lenovo laptop computer above, which has a USB-C port.
…then LED on the dongle glows purple when the hybrid connection to the earbuds has been accomplished. Just a few issues to notice concerning the dongle are under.
The dongle works nicely for listening to music, podcasts, gaming, and so forth, nevertheless it can’t make the most of the earbuds’ microphone. So whereas my son was in a position to join the dongle to his PC laptop computer and use it to listen to sounds whereas gaming, he couldn’t communicate to his fellow gamers. Additionally, whereas I used to be in a position to join the dongle to my PC laptop computer and use it to listen to my co-workers throughout Zoom and Groups conferences, I used to be not in a position to communicate to them. In my estimation, it is a limitation of utilizing the dongle for gaming or digital conferences.
Additionally, the dongle is appropriate with Sony Ps consoles, however not appropriate with Microsoft Xbox consoles. I realized this the arduous method once I tried to make use of the USB-A to USB-C cable to plug the dongle into my Xbox-S console and it didn’t work. Once I investigated this on the EPOS website, I found that the GTW 270’s dongle is just appropriate with Ps. I used to be upset to find this.
Moreover, the dongle is appropriate with Android gadgets that make the most of a USB-C connection however isn’t appropriate with Apple gadgets resulting from their Lightning connector. Subsequently, I used to be not in a position to consider the dongle with my iPhone XR, and we don’t personal any Android gadgets at our home. I noticed this as one other limitation.
Lastly, EPOS supplies free Gaming Suite software program which may be downloaded to a PC that may assist customise the consumer’s listening expertise. Nonetheless, as my laptop computer is work-issued and our IT division strictly limits our means to put in non-company software program, I used to be not in a position to set up and check out the Gaming Suite software program.
I actually like how the GTW 270 earbuds slot in my ears. I’ve reviewed plenty of true wi-fi earbuds and the GTW 270 earbuds could also be one of the best, most secure-fitting of any of them. They embrace 4 sizes of silicone ear suggestions, and since I’ve massive ear canals, I chosen the most important measurement, which match nicely.
The GTW 270’s compact design, ergonomic form, small measurement, and minimal weight of the earbuds allowed me to simply give them a press and slight twist into my ear canals and right into a place that felt very safe. I used the GTW 270 earbuds throughout many various kinds of actions, they usually stayed firmly in my ears throughout all of them. Additionally, the earbuds are very low-profile, not cumbersome, and barely protrude from my ears in any respect, which helped forestall them from getting knocked out. Additional, if you’re cautious in selecting the right silicone tip measurement to suit your ears, they’ll present a really respectable stage of passive ambient noise blocking. For me, this was ample for me to put on these earbuds whereas vacuuming or mowing the garden, and almost the entire ambient noise was blocked in each of these actions. Whereas carrying these within the room with another person chatting with me, I virtually couldn’t hear the opposite individual. Lastly, the earbuds are additionally rated to IPX 5 water resistance, which stored them functioning even throughout my heavy (i.e. sweaty) train periods.
The sound of the GTW 270 earbuds is superb, I feel partially proudly owning to its ambient noise-blocking mixed with its inherent sound capabilities. With a frequency response vary of 20-20,000 Hz, the bass was glorious, however the mid-range and highs had been the place the earbuds shine, I believe as a result of the headphones are considerably tuned for an in depth sound efficiency in gaming experiences. I listened to music, audiobooks, and podcasts, and all sounded glorious, and my son reported that whereas he used the earbuds and dongle throughout gaming, the sound was superb additionally.
What I like
- The whole product has a really high-quality feel and look.
- Earbuds are very low profile and match securely in my ears, even throughout vigorous train.
- The earbuds and the charging case present a really lengthy mixed cost.
What I’d change
- Make the dongle appropriate with Xbox consoles.
- Make the dongle appropriate with iPhones/iPads/iPods.
- Enable use of the earbuds’ microphone whereas utilizing the dongle.
- Present on-board quantity controls.
- Permits the power to Bluetooth pair a telephone and a laptop computer with out having to un-pair one in every of them first.
I’ve blended emotions concerning the EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid Wi-fi Earbuds. them solely from the standpoint of a set of earbuds with a charging case, they’re glorious. They’ve a very high-quality feel and look, and the earbuds match nice even throughout vigorous train and performance high quality, though they don’t have on-board quantity controls. Nonetheless, the “hybrid” half is the place the GTW 270 system falls quick for me. Whereas the low-latency dongle seems to be a helpful function, due to its compatibility limitations and the truth that the dongle can’t make the most of the earbuds’ microphone, I discovered the addition of the dongle didn’t add a lot worth for the comparatively excessive value of the product.