Hands-on review: EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid wireless earbuds
EPOS’s GTW 270 Hybrid closed acoustic gaming wireless earbuds provide gamers with an audio solution that can fit in their pocket.
The GTW 270 Hybrid kit comes with two in-ear wireless earbuds, each with a stylish metallic insert carrying the Epos logo, a wireless dongle, a charging case and some USB cables.
The earbuds have detachable rubber ear tips; there is a selection of interchangeable sizes for getting the perfect fit for your ears. I found the earbuds comfortable to wear, fitting snug, but firmly in my ears, and unlikely to fall out.
The classy metal charge case comes with a USB Type-C port for charging. The included Type-C to Type-A USB cable allows charging from USB Type-A sockets. The USB Type-C dongle should be good for most modern phones and some consoles. There is a Type-C to Type-A conversion/extension cable, but nothing for mini-USB. The dongle does not fit in the case, instead, there’s a little rubber pouch included that you can connect to your keyring.
The USB Type-C wireless dongle connection allows for what I consider to be a rather essential application for Nintendo Switch owners. Switch gamers have long lamented on the portable console’s lack of a native Bluetooth audio solution. Simply insert the GTW 270 dongle in the USB socket at the bottom of the Switch and you have wireless audio for gaming on the go.
The EPOS GTW 270 dongle also worked well with a PlayStation 5. It is also compatible with the PS4. It is not compatible with the Xbox consoles and I had no luck using it with an Xbox Series X, so bear that in mind.
PC gamers can get even more control over the earbuds via the Epos Gaming Suite. There are options in the software to adjust the equaliser settings with custom preset values. 7.1 surround can also be utilised and the reverb adjusted to customise the effect. This free app can also be used to update the dongle and earbud firmware. Whilst I was able to update the dongle firmware, updating the earbud firmware failed. Fortunately, this didn’t affect the functionality of the earbuds.
The dongle uses aptX low latency technology that, apparently provides a better lag-free audio experience than regular Bluetooth. The downside of this is that the microphone function does not work using the dongle as aptX uses all the available bandwidth for audio output.
Fortunately, devices with native Bluetooth audio capabilities can be directly paired with the earbuds. It’s not quite as convenient as plugging in the dongle, but Bluetooth does allow the use of the GTW 270’s built-in microphone. Bluetooth pairing is, however, still pretty easy - you simply place the earbuds in the charging case, with the lid open, and then pressing and holding the button on the front.
The actual audio is crisp and clear. Especially on PC with the extra equaliser options. Epos states a frequency range of 20-20,000 Hz. Be it my Spotify playlist, gaming on PC or console, and even watching movies on the PS5, the GTW 270 Hybrid delivered great sound via the discrete little earbuds.
The left earbud has a button that can be used to take, mute, and finish calls, play and pause audio, and activate digital assistants. There is, however, no volume control.
Epos boasts that the GTW 270 can provide up to 20 hours of listening time, five on the earbuds plus 15 more with the case. It takes 1.5 hours to charge the earbuds and an hour and three-quarters to fully charge the case. 15 minutes of earbud charging time provides one hour of listening time.
The Epos GTW 270 Hybrid offers a good all-around discreet wireless earbud solution for gaming and listening to music, both on the go and via PC and compatible consoles. The metal case and well-constructed earbuds offer an extra bit of style to what is already a superb package. They are not cheap, costing the best part of NZ$370/AUD$350, but I’d consider them an essential wireless audio solution for Nintendo Switch users, and perfect for gaming in general on mobile phone, PC, and PlayStation consoles.