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When it comes to gaming headsets, there are quite literally thousands to choose from. Interestingly enough though, up until now the only one made by Sony was from Sony PlayStation: the $99 Pulse 3D Headset. Sony Electronics didn’t really dip or venture into this market. That’s changing with Inzone, though — a new gaming brand that is launching with two monitors and three gaming headsets.
I’ve spent a few weeks with the flagship $299 H9 Headset. And here’s the real kicker: Sony is bringing its expertise in comfort, audio quality and noise canceling from the popular WH-1000XM5 headphones to this gaming lineup. The result is an ultra-cozy, technically impressive headset for PCs and the PlayStation 5.
A Futuristic Look
Much like the PlayStation 5 itself, the Inzone H9 headset looks like something out of the future. Yes, they resemble a gaming headset with a top band, a left and right ear cup and a microphone that sticks out of the left side. It’s a build that’s fairly heavy on plastic, mainly with the outer facing portions all being a soft white with some slight texture to them. It looks fairly futuristic.
Unlike the WH-1000XM5 which features touch controls on each ear cup, Sony opted for large buttons on each ear cup. Honestly, this is practically perfect as it's easy to find and just as effortless to remember. The left side features a button to swap between Noise Canceling and an Ambient mode, along with a large scroll wheel for adjusting volume. The right cup has the power button, a microphone mute, and the ability to toggle between game or chat for audio stream. So yes multipoint between Bluetooth and the wireless USB-A dongle is supported on the H9 as well. You’ll charge this gaming headset via a USB-C port on the left earcup.
Much like the WH-1000XM5, the earcups here are super soft and memory-cushion-like. I didn’t feel much pressure from the H9s during testing and they easily fit over my ears. This is dual purpose as it’s a comfortable position, but it also isolates you within the sound produced. You won't have much leakage or external sounds coming through. In fact, since these are over-ear and the cups themselves are thick, you’ll get passive noise cancellation as soon as these are on.
For longer playtimes, like the half a day I sunk into Microsoft Flight Simulator on PC and Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales on the PS5, I found that these offer planted breathability. The earcups themselves have a few ventilation spots as well.
Aiding in the overall comfort is a similar comfy top band that has a thick layer of foam inside. And there’s plenty of width on this piece, allowing it to balance out over your head. For fans of the WH-1000XM5, these are up to the same level of comfort.
Lastly, Sony’s given ample vertical and horizontal control over the stick-out microphone. You can adjust it closer to your mouth, push it to the side and even maneuver with the height of it. Oh, and the H9’s will glow as well, since a gaming product isn’t really complete without some RGB.
Get Ya Head in The Game
The similarities to the WH-1000XM5 don't stop with the design and comfort. Sound quality is up to snuff on the H9 and for gaming specifically, Sony mastered the ability to place sound around you and get immersed into a given game.
While I'm swinging around in Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales on the PS5, I land on the ground and encounter some enemies that are swarming. Yes, I can physically see those around me, but while I'm focused, I can hear banter or even people moving on my left or right rear. This allows you to think about your next step and then embark on it in real time. It's eerily similar to an entire surround system but goes beyond it — Sony's 360 and spatial audio chops are shining here. And it's a lot easier to recognize than with 360 Reality Audio.
As a whole, it's a rich mix that's reasonably well balanced. Of course, some of this depends on the input, but it works really well for most games. You'll also find that the H9s deliver strong bass for a pair of headphones. Games like Call of Duty or even Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga sound strong, and explosions in games will really thump.
You might be wondering how these also connect to a console or PC. And Sony, like other headsets makers, made that quite simple. You'll plug in the included USB-A dongle and set the switch to the type of device: PC or PS5. From there, power on the headset, and it will auto-connect. It's been plenty stable in my testing with either device. Just make sure you have the switch set to the proper hardware.
It's also advisable to personalize the 360 audio setups via the companion app for Android or iOS. You'll walk through the steps of scanning your ear and hearing some test sounds. After that, though, sadly, the app goes away. I would like to have seen Sony add in some more capabilities here, even allowing you to customize the EQ a bit.
When using a PlayStation 5, Sony worked magic for on-screen controls. For instance, as you mute or unmute the microphone, make volume adjustments, or need to check power levels, you'll see that on-screen. With a PC, you'll be able to use the Inzone Hub to customize it a bit.
And to further immerse into a game, the H9s are the only headset out of this trio to feature active noise cancellation. It's nearly identical to the WH-1000XM5 that can block out most external, environmental sounds. You're left with the mix from the game and any chat services you might have engaged.
It works well and doesn't hit the battery too much. You can expect around 32 hours of battery life here, and you can refill them with a fast-enough wall plug. However, it doesn't hit as high as the SteelSeries with over 300 hours.
All-in-all, these kick mighty well for a first entry into the gaming headset space. It's also clever that Sony ported over what it sees as the best features of the WH-1000XM5 into a purpose-built product for gamers.
Sony's first foray into the gaming headset space comes with the new sub-brand — Inzone — under Sony Electronics and an exceptionally good flagship product. For $299, you're getting a purpose-built gaming headset for the PC and PS5 — it won't get you much mileage outside of those use-cases. Still, it excels with clear sound that can enhance your gameplay, a super comfortable fit that you can wear for hours on end, and big buttons that make them a delight to control.
And if you're sold, you can lock in an order for Sony's Inzone H9 for $299 now.
As the entry-level and priced the same as the Pulse 3D, the H3s are a wired-only experience that still delivers spatially audio with a lot of the same bells and whistles. The cushioning around the top band and ear cups here is slightly less firm but still provides a fairly comfortable experience. I’d also hedge those are a bit more plug-and-play since you plug in the headphone jack.
What exactly is Sony Inzone?
So yes, Sony does already have an arm in the gaming space with PlayStation. They make the consoles, games, services, and accessories. Sony Electronics, however, is now entering the gaming market for the first time.
Inzone is the brand and it sports a cool sleek, futuristic brand look — most importantly though, the primary color is purple. The first products from Sony Inzone are three headsets — the H3, H7 and H9 — and two monitors. Both are 27-inches, but one sports a 4K display and the other is an HD display that shines with a higher refresh rate.
I’ll be breaking all these down soon enough, but for now I'm focusing on the Sony Inzone H9.
Prices are accurate and items in stock at time of publishing.