Geek Review: Sony INZONE H9 Wireless Gaming Headset with Noise Canceling


Sonyknown for its PlayStation consoles and excellent headphones (and some say Spider-Man movies), with his INZONE series, with two monitors and three headsets aimed at gamers. The € 499,- INZONE H9 Noise Canceling Wireless Gaming Headset are the top-end headphones in the lineup (the other being the H3 and H7) that combine Sony’s acclaimed audio performance and active noise cancellation (ANC) with a range of useful gaming functionalities.

After using it for a week and several hours of gaming, we can say that the INZONE H9 works great and offers excellent spatial sound, great noise cancellation and great long-lasting comfort. It’s limited by a few minor issues, though, including a rather tinny-sounding microphone and heat buildup in the ear cups during extended gaming sessions.

sony inzone h9 wireless gaming headset with noise canceling

The INZONE H9 comes in white, with two soft leather ear cushions, similar to Sony’s premium WH-1000XM5. From the get-go, the headset is comfortable to wear and feels secure without being too snug. The lightweight 330g frame, coupled with the wireless function, makes it easy to forget its presence during hours of gaming.

This is aided by the headset’s 360 Spatial Sound and excellent ANC. From the moment you turn on ANC, a convenient button placed under the left earcup lets you ‘hear’ the sound around you. The noise of the fan, the noise of traffic outside or the hum of the air conditioner – they just disappear. The whole process is actually a bit relaxing, but the technology feels a bit wasted for a headset designed for indoor use. But if you really want to focus on your game without outside distractions, the H9 can do just that.

The headset also has an ambient mode to let outside noise in. Say you’ve left a kettle on the stove or are waiting for a delivery, ambient mode lets you keep playing while keeping an eye on outside noises. Just press the ANC button to switch.

The volume controls and buttons for powering on the headset, switching between noise cancellation and Bluetooth are all well placed on the underside of each earcup. They are easy to reach when worn, are well distributed and require just the right amount of pressure to activate.

The 360 ​​Spatial Sound virtualiser, through the INZONE Hub app for Windows, converts what are 2-channel audio signals into 7.1-channel surround sound. In third-person games like Monster Hunter: World and Nioh 2 the directional audio makes it easy to pick up the location of monsters and enemies, even if they are behind your character’s view. Noise from greater distances is softer than that closer to the user, adding a touch of realism. In first-person shooters like Borderland 3, where moment-to-moment reactions are important, the audio cues help you stay alive better, but we can’t say if that actually translates into measurable victories; It’s clear that the player’s skills matter.

On the PlayStation 5, you don’t get the INZONE Hub, but the H9 supports the PS5’s Tempest 3D AudioTech for a similarly enhanced performance and experience.

The sound the H9 delivers through its 40mm neodymium drivers is rich and accurate. Guns sound snappy, while sword strikes sound like there’s weight behind every swing. Ambient sounds are clear and music – in games, from your own songs or from streaming playlists – is a joy to listen to, with great range and depth behind every score or soundtrack. The INZONE Hub also allows you to adjust the equalizer to your liking. Prefer a deeper bass or stronger treble? Easy to tweak.

You can save a separate setting for different applications in the Hub, which follows the profile and matches the program running in the foreground. The Spatial Sound can be personalized to your ear profile, but that has to be done via your smartphone with the 360 ​​Spatial Sound Personalizer.

The H9 comes with a USB transceiver that easily connects it to your PC or PS5 via a low-latency 2.4GHz wireless connection. All you need to do is plug in the USB dongle, select which device it connects to and turn on your headset.

sony inzone h9 wireless noise canceling gaming headset usb transceiver

Like other headsets in this price range, the INZONE H9 also allows simultaneous wireless and Bluetooth 5.0 connection. You can connect to Bluetooth on your phone to make calls or chat on Discord while gaming via the USB wireless connection. It’s not that useful as we usually do voice chat over the PC or PS5 anyway, but know that there is an option to do this in case you need to answer a call on the phone but can’t pause your gaming session.

Speaking of calls, the microphone on the H9 is decent. The two-way boom mic gets your voice across well with minimal background noise, but there are instances where it can sound tinny and metallic. While not a deal breaker for most conversations, it can be a little distracting to the party on the other side. To use the microphone, simply pull it down to talk and then pop it back up to turn it off. You can hear a soft click on your headset to indicate when it is on or off, which is a nice touch.

sony inzone h9 wireless gaming headset with noise canceling

Another handy feature is the ability to rotate the earcups to lay flat, which makes storage easy if you don’t have a dedicated headphone holder that takes up valuable desk space. It also makes the headset slightly more portable to carry in a bag, as it doesn’t come with a carrying case.

The Sony INZONE H9 is rated for 32 hours of use (without noise reduction) for each full charge. How long it actually lasts in practice depends on whether you have ANC or Bluetooth on. We managed to use it for two days, every day with at least 10 hours of gaming with ANC active and intermittent microphone use, before it started beeping, which we presume is low on battery.

Look, the H9 doesn’t have a real battery indicator anywhere on the headset. The only way to get a rough idea of ​​the battery level is through the INZONE Hub by looking at the battery icon in the top left. Even that doesn’t tell you numbers, so it’s about a guess between full, half full, and almost empty.

Should you run out halfway through your gaming session, you can simply charge the H9 with the included USB cable and continue playing. Still, the lack of a proper battery level indicator on the H9 is an annoyance that Sony should fix, either with the Hub software update or in future INZONE models.

sony inzone h9 wireless gaming headset with noise canceling

The other issue we had with the H9 was how warm it can get after hours of use. Due to the sleek design of the earcups, they tend to get warm after a while, especially if you’re wearing the headset in hot, humid locations like Singapore with the air conditioning turned off. The rate of heat build-up depends on individuals, but for us, we had to turn on the air conditioner to stay comfortable for extended gaming sessions.

All in all, the Sony INZONE H9 is a great wireless gaming headset with noise canceling. It has excellent audio and noise cancellation and is well made, light and comfortable to wear. It has a few potential deal breakers – with the microphone, missing battery level indicator and heat with extended use – and costs quite a bit too. However, if you’re willing to shell out S$499 for a high-end gaming headset and overlook the issues, the INZONE H9 is definitely a great audio peripheral to add to your gaming repertoire.

GEEK REVIEW SCORE

Overview

The S$499 INZONE H9 Wireless Noise Canceling Gaming Headset delivers excellent spatial sound, amazing noise cancellation and long-lasting comfort, but is counteracted by a tinny-sounding microphone and heat build-up in the earcups when gaming in hot, humid, non-air-conditioned locations.

  • aesthetics – 8/10

  • Build Quality – 9.5/10

  • Performance – 9.5/10

  • Where the – 7/10

  • Geek Satisfaction – 10/10


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