On the lookout for a new gaming headset? What you need is something with excellent sound quality that’s sensitive enough to give you the edge against your competitors, you also need a great mic for clear communication with your team. And, of course, it has to be comfortable to wear through those long campaigns.
In my in-depth Sony Inzone H3 review, I’ll take you through all of the ins and outs of this wired gaming headset to help you decide if it should be your next purchase. Because it’s made by Sony, the headset is geared towards Playstation gaming, but it’s still compatible with Xbox and computer gaming as well. So, let’s see if this affordable Sony gaming headset is right for your gaming needs.
Sony Inzone H3 Overview
The Sony Inzone H3 headset is a wired, mic’d headset that’s part of the Inzone range. This range also includes the H7 and H9 models, which sell for about $200 and $300, respectively. The H7 is a regular Bluetooth headset, while the H9 features Bluetooth connection and active noise cancellation.
And, while neither of these features is available on the H3, that doesn’t mean that this roughly $100 headset is inferior to its siblings. It’s just different!
Because it’s wired, you do have to sacrifice mobility with this headset. On the other hand, you never have to worry about battery life and keeping it charged as you do with a wireless headset. So, if you’re gaming from a single setup and don’t need to move around at all, there’s no real reason to bother with wireless, unless you have a phobia of messy cables.
Speaking of cables…
The hard-wired cable here is 4 feet long (120cm), which is decent. This is a 3.5 analog audio cable. However, the headset also comes with an analog-to-USB-C connector that’s equally as long. This adapter gives you a whole lot more flexibility in where you sit, and it also allows you to connect directly to PS4/5 or your computer. With Xbox, you can only connect with the analog cable.
This over-ear headset is made of a metal frame with a plastic covering and foam padding on the headband. The ear cups are foam with an ultra-soft cloth covering, which keeps overheating your ears to a minimum.
You have simple controls on board…
There’s a single volume wheel to adjust your levels. The boom mic flips up to mute and down to turn on. That’s it! However, you can use the Sony Inzone Hub app (for PC or Mac) or work directly through your PS4/5 menus to adjust mic levels and your sound EQ. And, of course, as a Sony product, this headset also supports Sony 360 Spatial Sound.
This is a simulated stereo sound that helps to recreate the 360-degree soundscape of your games inside the headphones. It gives you the ability to hear sounds coming from all virtual directions, allowing you a more immersive gaming experience. As a result, it’s one of the best 360-degree sound gaming headsets you can buy.
More nifty stuff…
The sound from this headset is produced by a dynamic transducer in each ear cup. You can also find ducts on the outside of the housing behind the ear cup padding. These ducts help to create more bass frequencies that you can both hear and feel, making deeper sounds sound more realistic.
However, this headset isn’t built for travel or mobility. It’s pretty big and bulky, but at least the mic flips up, and the ear cups can be turned so the headset can pack or lay flat. Ultimately, though, the Sony Inzone H3 is designed to be used at your gaming station as an essential part of your set-up.
Top Features of the Sony Inzone H3 Gaming Headset
Now that we’ve had a general overview of the product, let’s zoom in to get a closer look at the Sony Inzone H3’s top features.
The price tag for the H3 is about $100. While this isn’t anywhere close to what you can pay for a top-of-the-line professional headset, it’s still enough that you should expect great sound. Otherwise, why not just go for something cheaper?
The H3 has a somewhat unnatural response curve, meaning that it plays back a sound curve that is quite modified and not very natural. This is the default for the headset, which is aimed at creating the best curve for gaming, though it can be adjusted using the app.
First, a peak in the high-bass frequencies adds power to some low-frequency sounds, but it can cause some muddiness as well. If you’re listening to music with this setting, the bass can overpower some of the mid-range.
At the same time, the overall bass is strong, and you can actually feel it in and on your head. That’s partly because the headset has a frequency response of 10 Hz-20,000Hz. So, you can only hear down to 20 Hz, and anything lower than that, you will feel as bass rumble.
The mid-range here sounds quite clear and accurate. Music sounds good as long as it doesn’t have too much bass, and voices come through clearly. In the high range, there is a big dip in the low treble which can de-emphasize higher-pithed voices. There is a big boost in the mid-treble that can make high-pitched sounds like hi-hats, and ‘s’ sounds a bit harsh.
Remember, though, that you can adjust all of this…
The ear cups are nicely padded and do a halfway decent job of insulating for sound. They can block out a decent amount of noise. Although, if you’re using these headphones in a busy office, for example (because you’re a professional game tester?!), voices will still come through and be distracting.
They don’t leak a whole lot of sound, though, so you can listen to pretty high volume levels and still not disturb people around you. Overall, the factory settings give you a boomy bass sound and a slightly harsh top end. This won’t make your music sound great, but it does work fairly well for a lot of different games.
Finally, we have to talk about surround sound…
This headset supports Sony 360 Spatial Sound, which gives you a virtual surround sound experience. It does this by splitting incoming sound data into different directional channels that simulate actual speakers around a room.
Furthermore, you can get a highly personalized sound profile by using the 360 Spatial Sound Personalizer. This uses a photograph of your ears to help build a unique map for your personalized sound experience. You can also use the built-in 3D Audio function on PS5 directly; however, 360 Spatial works much better.
One concern, though, is that fit really counts. You have to be careful to get a good fit and seal with these headphones, or you’ll find that the 360 Spatial Sound doesn’t work well. But, if you get the fit right, this a high-quality surround sound gaming headset.
The mic on this headset is surprisingly good. As I mentioned, it’s a simple boom mic that swings down to turn on and up out of the way to mute. This is a uni-directional mic that points straight at your mouth to focus on your voice alone. With a 10-8000 Hz effective frequency range, it does a great job of keeping it to your voice and not picking up other sounds in the room, even in a fairly noisy environment.
This mic is Discord certified, meaning that they have judged it good enough for clear communications on their service. This quality assurance allows you to have faith that you’ll be able to have clear conversations with your teammates while campaigning, even when there’s a fair bit of background noise behind you.
The app that you can use to control the H3 headset is Sony’s Inzone Hub app. This app is not currently available for mobile devices. However, you can get it for your PC and now, after a long wait, for Mac computers as well.
This app allows you to adjust the levels of your mic, including volume level, gain, and sidetone. You can also adjust the dynamic range control, which is pretty much mic mixing. This helps you to keep your mic level from overpowering the sound of your game content.
You can also turn on and off 360 Spatial Sound, select EQ presets, or create and save your own EQ settings. You have a 10-band graphic equalizer to work with, which makes it incredibly easy to set the perfect sound profile for each game you play. In other words, it’s one of the best gaming headsets with customizable sound you will find in this price range.
Construction and Design
This wired headset comes with a 4-foot-long cable built-in. But, you also get the 4-foot-long USB adapter that you can use for computer or PS4/5 play, and that makes it very convenient. Of course, there’s no wireless capability here, so you do have to deal with potentially messy cables.
The headset is a bit big but not overly heavy, weighing in at 10 ½ ounces (299g). The ear cups are big enough for most ears, although they’re a bit shallow, and some ears will touch the insides of them. The headset is fairly comfortable to wear, with good foam on the headband and in the ear cups.
However, it has a pretty low clamping force (0.7 pounds). This means that it can come off your head easily if you move around or snag the cable. Then you have to readjust it to get the perfect fit.
Sony INZONE H3 Review – Pros and Cons
- Moderately priced.
- Good bass power.
- Long cable adapter included.
- Excellent microphone.
- Support 360 Spatial Sound.
- Good app support.
- Need adjusting to get the perfect fit for the best sound.
- Bass can get muddy.
- A bit bulky.
- Can slip off easily with little movement.
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Sony Inzone H3 Review – Conclusion
When the dust settles, you have to decide if this headset is the right fit for you. It’s geared towards Playstation users, so naturally, if you have a PS4 or PS5, you might gravitate to a Sony product. The H3 performs well with PS gaming, and the 360 Spatial Sound here will give you an edge.
At the same time, there are some issues like muddy bass and tricky fit here to overcome. In the end, though, I don’t feel like these are massive issues. For a simple wired headset, the price is perhaps a bit high, but at least you get access to solid app support to help you personalize your experience. So choose wisely, and enjoy your gaming.
Until next time, happy listening.