The new Sony INZONE headsets have a wide price range with various feature sets. So are they competitive with other headsets in the same price range? Read on to find out!
- Sound Quality - 8/108/10
- Mic Quality - 6/106/10
- Build Quality - 7/107/10
- Comfort - 9/109/10
- Features - 8/108/10
- Value - 7/107/10
The Sony INZONE H9 has admirable sound quality and amazing comfort. The mic performance is sub par, and you lose a few features on PS5 that I wish Sony kept. With the $300 asking price, I fear this is outmatched by the SteelSeries Nova Pro Wireless for a similar price.
The H7 fairs better in terms of value. You get almost everything the H9 has to offer but lose ANC (active noise cancellation). If you don’t need ANC, save yourself the $70.
The H3 works somewhat well, but it has a limited feature set for a USB-based headset. Everything works fine and the INZONE software is light on CPU resources which is nice, but the H3 mic is even worse (somehow) than the H7 and H9.
- Amazing comfort
- Decent sound out of the box
- Game to Chat Mix Support on PS4 and PS5
- Middling mic performance at this price
- No EQ options for PS5 use
- White finish scuffs easily
After some rumors and leaks, the Sony INZONE headset lineup is here. Sony is seemingly targeting PC gamers with their INZONE lineup, although their new monitor and all headsets mentioned below work perfectly fine on PlayStation as well. The H3 headset is a wired model that lists for $99 USD. The H7 goes for $230 USD, and the H9 is at $300 USD. Regardless of the price point, there are hundreds of gaming headset models on the market for people to choose from. Luckily Sony has a lot of headphone and audio experience, incredible scaling and manufacturing, buying power, and more. So this should be an easy win for them right? Read on…
If you take a moment to ignore price, I think most people will enjoy the new INZONE gaming headsets. The sound quality isn’t class leading, but it’s unoffensive and enjoyable for most games. The ease of use is there, and I really like that the H7 and H9 has game-to-chat mix on PlayStation. This alone is enough of a selling point for people to purchase as it is. Every non-Sony branded headset does not have game-to- chat mix support on console (thanks Sony), which is a bummer for those that need to adjust volume to hear their friends easier. You can adjust this through the console user interface, but it’s a more time consuming process.
The sound tuning is actually quite nice. Overall it lacks some depth in sub-bass frequencies which is a common Sony headset trait. The bass is emphasized in the 100 Hz region which can add some boominess and warmth to both music and games. The mids are actually quite nice and flat sounding, which lends itself well to almost anything you would listen to, whether it be music of different genres or games. The upper mid range and low treble show a slight dip, which can make some songs or games sound dark and laid back. The mid to upper treble picks back up which is basically the sparkle your hear with certain instruments and game effects. Overall I think most people will hear this and think they sound great. While I wish the bass was more present in low frequencies, I enjoy the H7 and H9 a lot in gaming.
Where Sony crushed it with the new INZONE lineup is comfort. Every INZONE headset is incredibly comfortable. The clamp force is just right, as is the pad shape, size, and depth. This means it will fit most people well, and not exhibit any uncomfortable pressure points. The pad material on the H9 and H7 is a traditional leatherette (fake leather). This is needed to create a proper seal for the Active Noise Cancelling to do it’s job (on the H9 model), but your ears get slightly warm after a while of listening/playing. Thankfully, the microphones inside the H9 ear cups are shallow enough that they don’t touch your ear. This is something I never expected having to point out, but with the SteelSeries Nova Wireless headset having a bump the size of Quasimodo’s back inside the ear cup, this is now a concern among many. The H3s use a nylon ear pad with incredibly soft foam. This is in contention for the most comfortable sub $100 gaming headset on the market! Not only does it keep all the things I like about the H7 and H9 for comfort, but the nylon material breathes better so your ears won’t get as toasty.
The H7 and H9 are nearly identical in sound and mic performance, with the H9 gaining ANC to block out unwanted noise. The ANC performance is just okay. Surprisingly, with how well regarded their XM4 and XM5 headphones are in ANC, I was expecting more. Razer’s Barracuda Pro does a better job with ANC and is comfortable as well. So if travel and Bluetooth performance on-the-go is important, perhaps take a look at that model as well. The H9 also features ambient mode, which acts as a passive audio system to help bring sounds from your environment into the headset. This is helpful if you want to know what’s going on around you. Lastly, you can disable both ambient and ANC modes, allowing you to save some battery life and get the post possible audio quality.
The H3 model is a wired version and shares very little with the H7 and H9, aside from design language. The microphone performance is poor on the H3, and the included USB DAC doesn’t give you any extra features when connected to the PS5. The only benefit is improved sound quality over the analog connection. This is because the DAC has some tuning on it that helps improve the sound quality of the H3 (when connected via aux only the H3 sounds pretty bad). On a positive note, the comfort on the INZONE H3 is amazing. Aside from comfort, the H3 is a tough sell to me. The Razer Blackshark V2 sounds better, has a better microphone, and often goes on sale for $80 or less. The mic is detachable on the Blackshark as well, which is something I wish any of the Sony INZONE headsets had as a feature. I didn’t mine playing with the H3, as the sound is somewhat passible and the comfort seriously carries it a long way. The mic was so bad though, that several of my friends asked me to change headsets because they couldn’t understand anything I was saying. That’s a deal breaker for many.
Overall I think Sony did an okay job with the INZONE launch. If they allowed you to custom EQ the H7 and H9 for PlayStation use, it would move up towards to top of my recommended list for PS5 gamers. With Sony only allowing you to custom EQ for PC use, and all three models having below average mic quality, the only redeeming factor for console gaming is the comfort. There’s no cross platform support or aux input on the wireless models, so only the H3 works on Xbox, but without the DAC. It sounds pretty bad without the DAC as well, so when you factor the mic performance with it, the H3 is pointless for Xbox gamers. Instead look at something like the Recon 500 from Turtle Beach, or the Razer Blackshark V2.
For PC Gamers, the INZONE H7 and H9 are more compelling offers. They both allow game-to-chat mix on PC without needing special drivers. This is great, as it simplifies audio setup for gaming. You can also custom the EQ the all three INZONE headsets on PC, which allows you to tune the sound to your liking. At $230, the H7 is the best value for PC use, as it still includes simultaneous Bluetooth support. The H7 is above the SteelSeries Nova Pro Wired in cost, but it’s wireless and offers Bluetooth support. The Nova Pro Wired sounds better however. The H7 is significantly less than the Nova Pro Wireless, yet with better comfort. It only lacks ANC compared to the Nova Pro Wireless. The H9 is $20 less than the Nova Pro Wireless, but aside from the ANC mic bump, the Nova Pro Wireless is superior in every other way. The biggest benefit of the H9 over the Nova Pro Wireless is the game-to-chat support on PS5. Did I mention how comfortable INZONE headsets are?
There’s a lot to discuss with the new INZONE headset lineup from Sony, so be sure to use the chapters in the video below if you’re only interested in certain parts! In this review I cover specs and features, real world use, sound quality (including objective measurements), mic tests, and how they stack up to competitors. Check out the video review to learn more!
If any of these are the right headset for you, you can purchase them here: