Epos GTW 270
Connection: Bluetooth 5.1 and bluetooth aptX via the dongle
Compatibility: Playstation 4 and 5, Windows, Mac, smartphones and Nintendo Switch
RGB features: No
Battery life: 15 hours storage box, 5 hours earplug itself
For our Gamer.nl Headset Round-Up we already looked at the Epos | Sennheiser GSP 670 . This pretty pricey headset wanted to provide audiophile gamers with the ultimate sound experience. Epos would like to continue this luxurious, audiophile approach with the new GTW 270 Hybrid. The price of 199 euros is therefore in line with this approach. The luxury feeling of these Closed Acoustics Gaming Wireless Earbuds is in any case well organized. It starts with the heavy, cardboard packaging that is held closed with a small magnet. Opening feels solemn and the dark green inner liner and black foam hold the earplugs, storage case, dongle, cabling and accompanying manuals in place.
The storage box, where the earplugs can be stored and charged, is made of metal. This way, the luxurious feeling is not only limited to the packaging, but this storage box also feels heavy and expensive. On the front are five small, blue LED lights that can tell you how full the battery is. If none of the LED lights come on, you will find a USB-C connection on the back to recharge the battery. The full battery of the box is charged within an hour and a half and you can use it for fifteen hours. The earplugs, in turn, should be put in the storage case every five hours for a new charge.
The earplugs are made of hard plastic and give the impression of being able to take a beating. There are four different sizes of rubber tips, to give the earplugs the perfect fit for every user. The GTW 270s have a built-in microphone and on the left earplug you will find a multifunctional button with which you, depending on the device to which the earplugs are connected, can, for example, record phone calls or start and pause music. To connect the earplugs to various devices – including PCs, smartphones, the PlayStation 4 and 5 and the Nintendo Switch – you can use either the built-in bluetooth 5.1 receiver or the usb-c bluetooth dongle.
The usb-c dongle is made of the same hard plastic as the earplugs and smaller than you might expect. A rubber cover is also included for some extra protection. Then the question is of course why you would choose to connect to a bluetooth dongle, while the earplugs themselves have a bluetooth receiver on board. The reason is that this dongle uses the special aptX low latency protocol. The low latency in this Bluetooth connection ensures that sound can move exceptionally quickly from the dongle to the earplug. This makes this connection ideal for fast games in which audio cues are an essential part of the gameplay. If you do not have USB-C ports available, an extension and adapter cable to USB-A is available.
There are a number of things that stand out in daily use of the wireless earplugs. The Hybrid denominator refers to the fact that with the GTW 270s, Epos wants to offer a solution that is both perfectly suited for the avid gamer and for everyday use. This means that the earplugs must function excellently even without a dongle and must feel practical in their use. Fortunately, that is the case. Making Bluetooth connections without a dongle works exceptionally well. The first time you connect to a new device, the earplugs must be placed in the storage case with the lid open before they can be recognized. After the first acquaintance between the GTW 270s and the relevant bluetooth device, they will never forget each other and connecting is super fast.
Although there is only one button on the GTW 270 ‘ s, you seldom feel that you are short of control options coming. The microphone on board the earplugs is ideal for making phone calls and, despite the slight noise, makes you perfectly understandable during multiplayer games. Here we come directly to the biggest problem of the GTW 270’s: the built-in microphone does not work in combination with the aptX connection. That is more than a shame, because the low latency of this connection makes it perfectly suitable for fast multiplayer games. In doing so, Epos actually puts its own product idea a bit offside.
It must be said that connections between the earplugs and the usb-c dongle generally work great and are stable and blazing fast. Connecting the dongle to a PlayStation via the USB-a extension cable also works immediately. The use of the extension cable in combination with Windows PCs unfortunately sometimes results in hiccups and taps in the sound. Then of course the question remains whether the sound and listening experience of the GTW 270s is suitable for all these different situations.
When listening to the GTW 270 ‘ s, it is immediately noticeable that a considerable emphasis on the higher frequencies. In many cases – especially in the non-electronic genres – this provides a nice definition and a more convincing sound image than you might expect from in-ear earplugs. In electronic genres such as EDM and modern hip-hop, the GTW 270s give a bit too much in the high end, which results in a shrill sound. Earlier we wrote an article about the difference between earplugs and headphones. In that article, it was mentioned that much of the low-frequency information from in-ear earplugs is experienced through contact noise. As a result, in-ear earplugs often sound bass-heavy. With the GTW 270s, however, the bass is surprisingly well balanced with the rest of the spectrum. Although solid, you rarely feel that basses take over the entire listening experience. A great achievement.
During gaming, however, this dosed amount of layer is not exactly what you want to hear. It lacks real thunder power and therefore spectacular moments and cutscenes sometimes fall a bit into the water. In games, the strong high-end contributes to the excellent localization and the ability to respond quickly to in-game audio cues. It’s a feature that works well with the aptX connection. What is striking, however, and also inherent in the use of in-ear earplugs, is that it lacks the true immersive experience. That’s partly because the bass isn’t as overwhelming as you’d like and partly because the small speakers in these earplugs just can’t do as much as the larger speakers in headphones.
The GTW 270’s are predefined as in-ear earplugs for daily use absolutely successful. The earplugs seal off ambient noise well and are easy to use. They also make an exceptionally fast Bluetooth connection with smartphones and laptops. The battery lasts a long time and the earplugs know how to convey a real luxury feeling. You can also connect these earplugs via a special bluetooth dongle. This dongle provides a low latency Bluetooth connection via the so-called aptX protocol, which in theory should make the earplugs extremely suitable for gaming. In practice, however, this is not the case.
This is mainly because the built-in microphone of the GTW 270’s works when the earplugs are connected to the dongle. This while the games where audio cues and speed are essential, are generally the games where you also want to be able to communicate with your fellow players. Another missed opportunity is that the GTW 270s cannot be connected to the dongle and the internal receiver at the same time. That in turn negates the multi-deployability a bit. However, the sound of the earplugs is good and, especially for music, a lot better than you would expect from an in-ear earplug. But it’s the practical flaws that, especially in combination with the price, make us have our doubts about the GTW 270 Closed Acoustics Gaming Wireless Earbuds.