The EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid gaming earphones have a very particular set of skills. Skills EPOS has acquired over a very long career. Skills that make the 270 Hybrids a nightmare for rivals like Sennheiser. They will find you, and they will kill you.
Scratch that. They won’t kill you. And while they are magnificent at deploying their particular set of skills, those skills are arguably a little bit too particular, too narrow in scope, to make the 270 Hybrids a true nightmare competitor.
EPOS has created the GTW 270 Hybrid gaming earphones to cater to a specific – but sizeable – cohort of gamers: those of us who want to use Bluetooth audio devices with our Nintendo Switches and PS5s without resorting to fiddly workarounds.
They fill that niche perfectly. Getting your 270 Hybrids up and running really is as simple as plugging in an exquisitely loseable little USB-C dongle, and it works with any USB-C port, meaning you can also listen to music on your laptop, conduct video calls, and so on.
And while you’re probably well-accustomed to pairing your handset with Bluetooth earphones, you’ll still benefit from reduced latency if you listen via the dongle, which has its advantages in gaming and calls.
Before we get into the uses and limitations of the EPOS GTW 270 Hybrids, though, let’s take a moment to admire the form factor and build quality.
The EPOS GTW 270 Hybrids cost about £180 new. That’s a lot of money for a pair of earphones. The good news is that they look the part.
The earphones themselves are hefty-looking but light enough to be comfortable and secure in your ear. Unlike Apple’s Earpods and the countless earphones that mimic their basic design, the 270 Hybrids sit in the bowl of your ear (the concha, anatomically speaking), with no downwards-pointing stalk.
Every ear is different, but we found the 270 Hybrids to be perfectly comfortable and secure. They’re virtually invisible from the front, too.
The charging case that you store them in is impossibly stylish. It’s finished in matte charcoal and reassuringly hefty, like a gadget from a James Bond movie. The same goes for the earphones themselves, though the outside surface is a dull steel, embossed with the company’s elegantly simple logo.
Form factor-wise, the 270 Hybrids are pure class.
In terms of sound, the EPOS GTW 270 Hybrids are very respectable, with good separation and soundstage. They’re balanced rather than bassy, which isn’t necessarily the popular choice for music, but ideal for gaming.
What matters when you’re playing Fortnite is clarity, and the 270 Hybrids have that in abundance thanks not only to the precision of the sound profile but to the low latency dongle. The dual mics provide clear audio from your side, too – though not in a gaming context, which we’ll explain in the next section.
While the 270 Hybrids don’t come with ANC, they’re pretty good at passive noise cancellation due to the fact that you bung them right into your earholes, making it difficult for any other noises to get in. That said, if you’re specifically in the market for earphones that will neutralize ambient sounds, you may want to look elsewhere.
Battery-wise, EPOS claims that the 270 Hybrids can carry a five-hour charge, with a further 15 hours from the case. We found this to be accurate. In fact, we haven’t needed to charge the case since taking receipt of the earphones a week ago, so battery performance appears to be robust.
To check on the case’s battery level, you just need to press a small button on the front to light up a number of blue LEDs corresponding with the remaining charge.
We won’t bore you with details of the Bluetooth pairing procedure, other than to say there are two: one for pairing the earphones with your phone or other Bluetooth device, and another for pairing them with the dongle. The dongle comes pre-paired, though, so you may never have to consult the instructions.
One detail we particularly appreciate in the 270 Hybrids is the presence of a physical button for on-device controls. In our experience, gesture controls are fiddly and infuriating, so it’s great that EPOS has opted to eschew them.
The autoplay functionality works well, too, with some eccentricities. When you have both earphones in, the music plays. When you take out the left one, the music continues in the right. When you take out the right one, the music stops in the left one until you put it back in – but the track keeps playing through the right earphone, i.e. the one you’re holding in your right hand, miles away from your ear, so if you don’t want to miss any of your podcast or song you need to manually pause it.
As we’ve already indicated, the EPOS GTX 270 Hybrids are very good at what they do. The dongle works seamlessly, right out of the box, and if all you want as a gamer is to be able to play your Switch or PS5 with earphones in, they’re a straight slam dunk.
But if you want to be able to hear AND speak through the 270 Hybrids while playing games, you’re out of luck. While the dual microphones allow you to conduct full conversations in Bluetooth mode, the sound is strictly one-way in dongle mode.
That means the 270 Hybrids are not a replacement for a proper gaming headset. They’re for those specific situations where you’re playing on your Switch or your PS5, and you don’t want to disturb others, and you don’t want the inconvenience of wires.
At £180-odd, they’re an expensive proposition for such a narrow set of uses. And while they’re good for music, offering a balanced and accurate sound, there are better and more sonically exciting options at a lower price.
That said, we’re not aware of any other earphones with the EPOS GTX 270 Hybrid’s particular set of skills.
If you’re looking for a high quality, stylish, seamlessly operational gadget for turning your Switch or PS5 into a device that supports Bluetooth audio, and you don’t mind paying a premium for the privilege, you can pull the trigger on these without fear of disappointment.