Sony has already provided PS5 players with a decent pair of cans with the Pulse 3D Headset, but the INZONE line-up aims to elevate the audio experience even further. With three to choose from, the Sony INZONE H9 is the cream of the crop, offering all the bells and whistles whilst looking and feeling the part.
But what is it that makes the H9 so special? What kind of features does it come with? And does the £269 entry price take off some of the shine? We’ve been testing out the INZONE H9 for the last couple of weeks, so let’s get on with our hands-on impressions.
What Is the Sony INZONE H9?
The Sony INZONE H9 is a pair of noise-cancelling headphones that'll go nicely with your PS5. Like the Sony INZONE M9 that we reviewed as well, it comes with a slick black and white design and a host of top-of-the-line features. Those features of course include bluetooth connectivity via a USB stick, noise-cancelling and ambient noise, 360 spatial audio, and overall a premium and comfortable build quality.
As mentioned, the H9s will set you back £269 here in the UK — $299.99 in the U.S — and while, yes, that is certainly a good chunk higher than the other Sony headset, the Pulse 3D, it's pretty in-line with most other noise-cancelling headphones. While the INZONE line-up does come with the cheaper H3 and H7, they lose some of those enticing features like wireless connectivity, and the build quality diminishes.
On paper, the H9 is certainly a step up from most other gaming headsets, and with its tie-in design and 360 spatial audio, it should be the perfect addition to your PS5 set-up.
What’s In the Box?
Opening the box, the H9 has next to no set-up required. You’ll immediately spot the headset itself along with the USB that’ll light up once you’ve connected it to your PS5. In the box you’ll also find a USB-C cable for charging. That is literally it. It’s straight to the point, and you can be bumping up your audio game within a minute of opening the box.
Build Quality & Hardware Features
As soon as you put on your H9s, you’ll feel the cosy embrace of a quality pair of headphones. The leather cushioning on both the ear cups and head band are plush and comfortable, and go a long way to close off outside noise - long before any noise cancelling is even activated.
Along the sides you have access to a volume slider, a balancer between both game chat and party chat, a bluetooth connectivity button, a switch between both noise cancelling and ambient noise, and of course the power button. The buttons were never quite as easy to differentiate, and didn’t ever feel exactly in the right place in comparison to the Pulse 3D, which has far more easily accessible controls. However, the H9s make up for this with a physical rotating boom mic, which allows you to pull the mic down to speak, and then push it up to mute. This is perfect for all you gamers out there that have been caught off guard singing into a lobby full of a captive audience.
The adjustable and swivelling arms make for a supremely comfortable gaming experience, and even after hours upon hours of gaming, you’ll still feel just as at ease with the H9s on your head. This goes to show off the H9’s impressive battery life, which Sony claims comes in at 32 hours without noise cancelling. During our review period, we never felt any battery anxiety, and were able to casually charge the headset whenever we had the chance. Wearing the H9s for extended periods of time did reveal a looseness in comparison to other headsets. Even at its tightest, any sudden movements or sneezes would often result in the H9s slipping off our head. For comparison, this has never happened for us with the Pulse 3D.
An additional feature that will certainly elevate the H9s above other headsets, is its ability to wirelessly connect to PC. This is possible with the Pulse 3D but here thanks to the INZONE app you can further customise your audio experience on PC, and customisation is definitely recommended as the default settings are a little lacking in comparison to the PS5. We enjoyed bringing that comfortable H9 experience to PC, ridding ourselves of distractions with its noise cancellation, but we also experienced occasional issues. Digital interference and intermittent disconnection were relatively frequent during our time with the H9, both issues that were completely absent when on PS5.
The Audio Experience
Coming from the Pulse 3D headset, we were blown away by the immediately noticeable upgrade to sound quality. The noise cancelling for one is completely engrossing, and any loud game will ensure that barely a sound from the outside world makes its way in. If that isn’t quite your thing though, the ambient noise mode allows you to pick up outside sounds, whilst still getting that high quality sound.
The sound itself though is truly sublime. Deep bassy shooters like Modern Warfare 2 were incredibly immersive as you practically felt each and every gunshot and explosion. The 360 spatial audio meant that we were quite often saved purely because we were able to hear enemies before we could see them, which allowed the audio to actively improve our performance, not just our immersion.
However, if big explosions aren’t quite your thing, the noise cancellation meant that games like The Last Of Us: Part I benefitted from the smaller audio details. Nearby grasshoppers, creaky floorboards, clip-clopping horses felt alive and very much real thanks to the H9.
Should You Buy the Sony INZONE H9?
The Sony INZONE H9 is an impressively immersive headset that will undoubtedly improve your gaming experience, no matter the game. It works just as well on the quiet levels as it does in the bombastic, and all while providing a solid and comfortable build quality that will allow you to play for hours while barely even noticing it on your head. The ability to connect to PC is a welcome addition as well, giving the H9 bigger bang for buck. However, it does quickly prove that this is a headset tailored for the PS5.
If you are in the market for a more expensive headset, then we can barely recommend the H9 enough. Unlike the M9 monitor that struggled to warrant its higher price tag, the H9 is a case of getting what you pay for, and in this example it is worth every penny.
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What do you think of Sony's INZONE H9 headset? Do you like a quality pair of cans while you play? Tune out the rest of the world in the comments section below.