Drop + Epos H3X Headset review: Best sub-$100 gaming headset. Period

Spread the love



  • The sound quality exceeds its price
  • Comfortable even during long gaming sessions
  • Some of the best cables I’ve ever used on any headset


  • Some noticeably cut corners on the volume knob and mic arm
  • Slightly bigger earcups would have been nice
  • The initial clamping force is slightly higher

Online retailer Drop and Epos, the former gaming arm of legendary audio equipment maker Sennheiser, have once again teamed up to create a gaming headset. This time around, the co-op duo are trying to do what they can for the low-end market with a sub-$80 model aimed at the budget market. The incredible PC38X headset Made for the mid-market.

Their newest entry, the H3X, looks a lot like the latest EPOS headsets, with their leaning towards a more connected, futuristic aesthetic. Most importantly, it retains a significant amount of its more expensive cousin’s DNA in how it feels, performs and sounds. Let’s take a deeper look at what I believe are the best headsets you can buy under $100.


form factor After closed, wire, upper ear
Frequency response 20Hz – 20,000Hz
impedance 25 Ohm
Microphone type Bidirectional capacitor
Microphone frequency response 100Hz – 10kHz
connection Detachable cables: 6.6-foot PC-cable, 4.9-foot console cable
The subject matter Hybrid suede and leatherette
Restrictions on the device Mike Mute, Vol
Weight 9.5 ounces (without cable) | 10.2 ounces (with cable)


Build and fit

The Drop + Epos H3X headset sits on a desk with the mic folded down


This model follows Epos’ latest design philosophy, which includes multiple pivot points per ear.

Michael Garifo/ZDNET

Because Lots of compliments I’ve heaped on the PC38X, and the fact that you can get it for only $50 to $80 more than this model, makes the H3X’s relative performance a bigger deal. The first example of this is its build quality. The H3X is very well built for an $80 headset.

The unit is mostly plastic, but the exposed metal headband speaks to a build quality that leaves a very dramatic fury behind. It expands to truly gigantic proportions, easily accommodating anyone (shout out to my fellow members of the big head gang).

Metal internal headband of Drop + Epos H3X headset


If the headset is shared, engraved markings make it easy to rediscover your perfect fit.

Michael Garifo/ZDNET

All pivot points and joints are well assembled and work smoothly, creating a very comfortable fit overall. The earcups are small, making them feel more like an on-ear headset than an over-ear headset (at least for my above-average sized ears). They’re still very comfortable, though, thanks to the inclusion of hybrid leatherette-suede pads and foam that molded wonderfully to my head after a few seconds.

The cheap build quality shows up on the volume knobs, it feels looser and less responsive than the PC38X, and the mic arm is thinner and less flexible.

Further: 5 Best PC Gaming Headsets: Premium Audio, No Drops

Like I said, the build is well above its $80 price tag, so don’t expect it to break the bank. However, there is a weird exception to this: cables, which we’ll discuss in the next section.

Features and accessories

The Drop + Epos H3X headset sits on a desk with the mic extended


The mic arm doesn’t really have much flexibility, but the pickup is sensitive enough that it works well no matter where you put it.

Michael Garifo/ZDNET

H3X is a A closed-back headphone model, unlike an open-back PC38X. Apart from this one major difference and obvious aesthetic differences, the two could be twins.

Like the PC38X, the H3X includes a permanent boom mic that automatically mutes when raised, a volume knob on the opposite earcup, and a detachable port for connecting one of its two included cables. The performance of that boom mic is almost identical to its more expensive sibling. I was impressed with that level of reliability on a $150-ish headset, so imagine how much better it was on the $80 model.

Listen to the PC38X’s mic: Drop + EPOS PC38X Gaming Headset Mic Test and Reviews

Cables are included with the Drop + Epos H3X headset


The cables are a huge improvement over Drop + Epos’ previous efforts.

Michael Garifo/ZDNET

The device has two detachable cables. One ends in separate headphone and microphone jacks for PC use, while the other includes a single TRS connector for console gaming. Both cables are shockingly good, in fact much better than the PC38X. This is due to their superior flexibility, slightly thicker feel and elimination of their predecessors’ tendency to pick up annoying persistent kinks. I hope Drop and Epos will consider replacing the cable that comes with the PC38X with these new models. I intend to completely replace mine.

Further: Headphones: A Beginner’s Guide to Terminology and Technology

The single pair of pre-installed earcups are a hybrid leatherette/suede layout, with the suede area covering your ears and head. The design does a great job of providing excellent sound sealing and passive isolation of materials like leather, while retaining heat and preventing sweat, which can actually irritate your skin from contact.

Sound quality

Volume knob and connector port of Drop + Epos H3X headset


The volume knob (left) isn’t great, but it’s very useful.

Michael Garifo/ZDNET

If you want the short version: the H3X sounds 75% to 80% better than the PC38X. I mentioned that headset as the best for gaming under $1,600, so keep in mind that 75% of that accolade is still incredibly impressive for a headset that retails for under $80.

If you want the longer version or aren’t familiar with the PC38X, the best way to describe the H3X’s sound profile is intensely game-focused. It has an exceptional soundstage for the price, making it easy to always spot where that explosion happened, or from which direction an enemy is sneaking up on you. It works very well with simulated 7.1 surround sound, similar to Epos’ native mode. GSX 1000 2nd EditionTo further develop this capability.

As you might expect, the above priorities for its sound profile, which places more emphasis on bass. However, under the right conditions it can be pretty badass, but that bass isn’t as detailed as it is on the PC38X, and it’s the section of overall frequency coverage where I found the H3X to fall short.

Further: Best Cheap Gaming Headsets: High-Speed ​​Audio on a Budget

That’s not to say you can’t enjoy a full range of sound effects, movies and music with the H3X. For music or recordings, expect the headset to perform equalization tweaking to help it overcome its smallest imperfections. With a little tinkering, the H3X can deliver interesting sound to just about anything. It just needs a little extra help.

bottom line

I ended my PC38X review by saying that “buy it already” could have been my full review. That sentiment applies here as well.

If you can Squeeze the PC38X into your budget, I still wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who can afford it, as well as those who can afford more expensive models. But, if you’re more in the sub-$100 budget range, the H3X outperforms other headsets I’ve tried. In fact, if not the PC38X, I’d recommend it as the best wired model under $150.

As it stands, my best recommendation is to get the first system, from young gamers to seasoned players who want a great, inexpensive headset.

Alternatives to consider

The headset is my top recommendation for anyone who can afford the ridiculously low (for the sound it delivers) price point. The only headphones that can beat it for game sound cost four figures.

Review: The directional game sound on this headset is so good that you’ll feel like you’re cheating

If you want wireless headsets to prevent you from accidentally taking your computer off the desk, the Razer BlackShark V2 Pro Wireless Headset is my overall pick. It’s two years old now, but still represents the best combination of comfort, audio quality, price and features.

Review: Razer BlackShark V2 Pro Headset: A Powerful Weapon for the Perfect Gamer

If you want the closest thing to the sound this headset produces, but still dream of going wireless, the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro headset is your best choice. Its hot-swap batteries remain one of the most underutilized ideas in wireless peripheral technology.

Review: SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless Headset: A Gamer’s Delight


Source link

Leave a Comment