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Sony Inzone H9 is an impressive premium gaming headset, but it won’t be for everyone

Sony Inzone H9 is an impressive premium gaming headset, but it won’t be for everyone
Sony are entering the gaming headset space with the Inzone H9. We tested its sound quality, design, battery life and more

With a new range of gaming headsets and gaming monitors, Sony are planting a flag in the PC gaming peripheral space that competitors have comfortably occupied for years but will that be enough to distinguish themselves in an already saturated market?

Unlike the PlayStation-branded Pulse 3D audio headset, the Inzone displays and headphones are the product of Sony’s consumer electronics division. All that essentially means, is that they have more in common with the brand’s excellent range of noise-cancelling wireless headphones such as the recently released WH-1000XM5’s.

With three headsets to choose from – the Inzone H3, H6 and H9 – there are a number of different price points for these premium-grade devices. But it’s worth noting that the H9 is the only one to boast active noise cancellation (ANC) features along with wireless functionality and 2.4GHz USB connection.

While the H9 is a remarkably powerful gaming headset for both PC and PS5 players, that may not be enough for the average player that they can’t already get from other headsets at a lower point of entry.

But for gamers who are looking to get the most out of gaming on their PS5 with a purpose-built device and functionality baked in, the Inzone H9 is a versatile choice, even if it does come with a hefty price tag. For our full review, read the rest of the article below.

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How we tested

We spent a week with the Inzone H9 headset, putting it through a variety of different tests. We used them to listen to music, take calls, chat online and of course, play games as intended on both PC and PS5.

We also used the headphones with games that make good use of the PS5’s 3D audio capabilities, such as Astro Bot’s Playroom and Gran Turismo 7, to hear if we could really feel a difference.

Sony Inzone H9 wireless noise cancelling gaming headset

Buy now £269, Sony.co.uk

  • Rating: 8/10
  • Type: Over-ear gaming headset
  • Noise cancellation: Yes
  • Weight: 330g
  • Battery life: 32 hours (NC off)
  • Connection type: Bluetooth 5, USB wireless
  • Bluetooth codecs: A2DP, AVRCP, HFP, HSP
  • Pros: Extremely comfortable, good mic quality, excellent PS5 integration, multidevice connectivity
  • Cons: Expensive, no dedicated mute button

Design

Even from a respectable distance, the Inzone H9’s have clearly been designed to sit alongside Playstation hardware and accessories with a textured white casing and blue light located on each earcup. Both of these features help to give the headphones a premium-looking finish.

It also features a well-cushioned headband which sits comfortably on the head. However, rather than adopt an adjustable strap across the headband, both joints articulate at the connection of the earcup which meant that, while the fit felt firm and balanced across the head, it couldn’t be loosened or tightened if desired.

That said, with the large oval design on each cup, the headphones sat comfortably around each ear, giving each enough breathing space without feeling overheated. We wore these headphones for (more or less) an entire eight hour work day and never felt the need to take them off due to their breathability.

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Beneath the left cup a rocker was located, which could be used to adjust volume as well as a button to toggle between the various ANC and ambient sound settings, with the right cup housing the power button, bluetooth connectivity and game/chat toggle for different audio inputs. It took some getting used to adjusting settings when the headset was on, but the two-way rocker meant volume control was simple and quick to adjust on the fly.

The headsets boom mic could also be flipped up and down, with the up position automatically muting the mic. Both states could be felt with a satisfying click at around the 45-degree angle of the boom, but a lack of dedicated mute button may put some people off, especially if they don’t want to constantly flip the mic during an intense gaming session.

Sound quality

Like most gaming headsets, the Inzone H9 heavily favours those bassier frequencies, where all the booms, bangs and wallops of modern videogames most commonly sit on the audio spectrum. But even among a frenetic soundmix, there was still plenty of clarity and distinction between elements, particularly at the higher frequencies when contrasted with those deeper tones. That’s particularly the case when listening to music tracks, as that clarity is retained without ever feeling bogged in bass.

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At this point Sony is arguably the market leader when it comes to its noise cancellation tech, with the WH-1000XM5s being crowned the best headphiones around by our own team. And no doubt Sony has hoped to capitalise on that reputation with the Inzone H9.

While its active noise-cancelling is feasible, it doesn’t outmatch its flagship counterpart – although it does do well to reduce a steady noise profile, such as the constant whir of a PC or Playstation fan, which is exactly where its ANC capabilities will be most appreciated for its intended use.

Where it does excel however is in its dedicated 3D audio capabilities on the PS5. While not every title will make the best use of this tech, Playstation’s dedicated first-party titles are a good benchmark for what that can be capable of, spreading an audio profile across a seemingly 360-degree of space. Planes flying overhead in Astro Bot’s Playroom or cars overtaking in Gran Turismo 7 really help to sell that promise. And while, arguably yes, this can already be experienced with other headsets such as Playstation’s own Pulse 3D wireless, being used in conjunction with ANC works in the H9’s favour.

Battery

The Inzone H9’s charging point is located on the bottom of the left cup and can be charged while it is being used. The battery life for the headphones has been advertised by Sony as 30 hours and in our week of using them with steady regularity after a single charge, there was no need to recharge them.

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There is a lack of display or indication of the current battery level outside of the PS5’s interface, which would have been a welcome addition if only to check how much power it uses after a typical day of use.

Connectivity

As well as bluetooth connectivity, the Inzone H9 headset can also connect to a separate USB transceiver with a 2.4GHz wireless connection, which helps reduce input delay. The H9 is also able to connect to both simultaneously, which is ideal for hooking the device up to a PC/PS5 and a mobile phone at the same time. In practice, this means that users can quickly switch between game audio and chat through apps such as Discord while playing games at the same time.

For PC, Sony has created an “Inzone hub” which will allow users to customise the settings of their headphones, with custom EQ balances and presets, which can be used to create separate sound profiles.

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On PS5, the H9 functionality is understandably built in mind, with the volume rocker and mic/mute settings visible on screen. The game/chat sound mix can also be adjusted for a better balance between chatting with friends, or hearing gameplay over the chaos of the lobby.

The verdict: Sony Inzone H9 wireless noise cancelling gaming headset

Sony’s Inzone H9 gaming headset is a strong push into a new market, but one that might be difficult for gamers to fully embrace. The Inzone brand is clearly trying to distinguish itself with a high price point, and while the headphones are of excellent quality, in terms of build and features on offer, it’s a tougher sell for dedicated PC gamers.

As for PS5 players, the H9’s are certainly the highest quality dedicated gaming headphones on offer to work in conjunction with the console, but they also boast similar features to the much cheaper alternatives already available under the Playstation brand.

What does set the H9 apart however is its bold and unique design that takes a minimal approach to its appearance while maximising on its features as well as its enviable sound quality. The added comfort that they bring also ensures that gaming sessions aren’t interrupted by the dreaded “hot ear” problem a lot of cheap gaming headsets can cause.

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Looking for more top-rated audio gear from Sony? Read our full review of the WH-100XM5 headphones