SONY INZONE H9 HEADSET REVIEW
You would think Sony’s latest range of gaming headsets would be PlayStation-only but, no, the brand is coming for the PC gaming market (but of course the new headsets are also compatible with the PS5 and PS4).
The new headset range is called Sony INZONE and I’ve recently had a hands-on with all of the new INZONE cans, of which there are three different models.
There’s the baseline model – the wired INZONE H3 Headset with no noise cancellation, the middle-tier model, the INZONE H7 Headset, which also misses out on noise cancellation, and the INZONE H9 Headset which, you guessed it, includes active noise cancellation (and an ambient mode).
The H9 is the headset I’ll be focusing on in this review.
DESIGN AND COMFORT
All of the headsets look fairly similar and come in only one colourway, which is predominantly white with black accents. But the H9 also sports some blue and white lights that turn on when certain features are enabled.
Immediately, I noticed that the comfort of the INZONE H9 was absolutely fantastic.
Sony has definitely taken inspiration from the beloved WH-1000X headphone range, specifically the new mark 4 model.
They have the same sliding headband size adjustment mechanism as the WH-1000XM4’s and very much the same, soft, squishy earcups.
To be honest, the headset itself looks fairly bulbous, and with the inclusion of the bendy microphone, I had to ask myself: “Do I look like a pilot?”
But it’s rare to find a gaming headset that doesn’t look this way, especially on my petite head. And because these are so darned lightweight and comfortable, I don’t really care if they look a little on the large side.
SOUND QUALITY AND MICROPHONE
The audio experience definitely feels like what you get on premium cans, especially with the inclusion of 360 Spatial Audio sound capabilities, which creates the illusion of sound coming from all angles all around you.
Sadly, though, this feature is only available for PC, not on console.
This makes gaming more immersive and ideally will help you identify enemies or incoming onslaughts possibly before you can even see them coming.
There are also ducts along the sides of the cans to enhance the bass and a high-fidelity diaphragm for awesome sound quality.
Now, even though this is a gaming headset, you can also use them as regular headphones with devices such as your mobile phone over Bluetooth.
The sound quality was excellent when gaming but I also tested these with some of my favourite songs, across different genres, which really confirmed the awesome sound quality to me.
It’s a pretty cool bonus to be able to use these as everyday headphones as well as a gaming headset – just note the microphone is not detachable which could draw some eyes in public. Whether you want to hit the street in these or not, another awesome bonus is that you’re able to simultaneously pair them to your PC or console and phone. This means you’re able to take incoming phone calls on the H9s while you’re gaming. Amazing!
NOISE CANCELLATION AND BATTERY LIFE
The noise cancellation on these cans are pretty good. It didn’t totally block out my surroundings when I had the volume down low, but in a noisy room it certainly kept me in the moment.
The volume controls are also really convenient as there’s a physical dial on the left hand side of the cans, which is within your natural reach.
Alternatively you can turn on ambient mode so you can game but still hear what’s going on around you.
The microphone is super flexible so it’s easy to find the best placement and has fairly clear audio and you can fold it up to mute your mic.
Battery life is pretty incredible and the H9s offer up to 32 hours of use (with noise cancellation off) but also a quick charge mode that offers 60 minutes of play with just a 10-minute charge.
Even better, if required, you can also play while you’re charging the cans with an included super-long 1.5m USB-C cable.
INZONE PC SOFTWARE
And finally, for those wanting to use this headset on their PC, Sony provides a free download of the ‘INZONE Hub’ software. This software allows you to totally tweak the sound of your headset.
This not only includes spatial audio or EQ settings but also things like the game chat volume compared to your gameplay volume.
The entry-level Sony INZONE H3 Wired Headset comes in at a budget-friendly price of $149.95, while the INZONE H7 Wireless Headset is $349.95 and the feature-packed INZONE H9 Wireless Headset is $449.95.
If you compare the H9’s to the Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones which cost $549, that’s a decent price considering they’re very similar in feel and functionality, but with a gaming slant. I would highly recommend going the whole hog and purchasing the INZONE H9 if you have the money.
I was especially won over by the excellent noise cancellation and simultaneous phone connection on the H9s but all of them are, most importantly, very comfortable.
They’ll be available from August 18
Originally published as Sony’s new INZONE H9 gaming headset to focus on PCs
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