EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid Review Gaming Earbuds With Low Latency

Tuesday, June 01, 2021

Like peas and carrots, headsets and gaming are a match made in heaven! Gaming headsets are the go-to for most people, although they are not necessarily the most suited for everyone. A good example of this is if you live in a hot climate, have a large head or don't like messing your hair. In these cases, a pair of gaming earbuds like the EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid are a better option because they're lighter, they won't heat up your ears and, they can be worn outdoors without looking like Lobot from Star Wars!

The GTW 270 earbuds come with a bluetooth dongle (model SCBT16), which is EPOS branded and has a low profile plastic body with a right angle USB-C connector. The dongle features a status led and a button. The GTW 270 dongle comes pre-paired to the earbuds from factory so, the minute you plug the dongle into a device, you get audio straight away through the earbuds. When plugging into a phone though, the phone must support OTG connection in order for the dongle to work.

There is currently no replacement dongles available for this particular dongle, although the included dongle is basically a repackaged version of the GSA 70 dongle, which EPOS does sell on their website. This means, should you lose the dongle or should it stop working, you will be able to replace it. The GTW 270 Hybrid dongle supports aptX low latency, which makes mobile gaming more playable. The only games that aren't suited are online multiplayer games because the earbuds dual microphones don't work when using the aptX low latency connection via the dongle. If you play competitive and prefer an integrated aptX LL audio solution, you should check out the HD 450BT over ear headphones and the GSP 670 gaming headphones.

The GTW 270 Hybrid earbuds feature seven gold-plated contacts. The earbuds have a plastic shell and anodized aluminium front covers with a status led and the logo of EPOS etched on. Internally, the earbuds feature a bluetooth 5.1 chip that supports SBC and aptX codecs; hence no AAC support. The GTW 270 Hybrid earbuds charging time is 1.5 hours. There is quick charge support, which gives 1 hour runtime from a 15 minute recharge.

As far as noise cancellation, the GTW 270 Hybrid earbuds don't have active noise cancellation (ANC) but the passive noise isolation is very good - just as good as the CX 450BT earphones. Despite the bulky size, the GTW 270 Hybrid earbuds have 6mm drivers, which are relatively small. The drivers are tuned for gaming so, there is more emphasis on the midrange and treble. The volume is not the loudest but because of the superb passive isolation the volume output gets amplified and very little outside noise gets leaked in, which in turn, makes the sound more immersive. The dual microphones have noise cancellation, which do a good job at suppressing constant noises that are bassy/rumbling. Higher frequencies noises are suppressed a bit, although not as much. The GTW 270 Hybrid microphones deliver clear calls with good amplification. 

The GTW 270 dongle comes with a protective silicone rubber sleeve designed to protect the plastic body of the dongle. The rubber sleeve has a short lanyard cord attached to it, as well as a cut out for the led and a tiny bump for the button. The GTW 270 Hybrid earbuds have a stubby and narrow nozzle neck with a right angle construction. The fit is snug and comfortable, specially when you get the right size eartip.

The GTW 270 charging case has a treasure chest design with a tall, square frame made of aluminium with a smooth anodized finish. On the front, you find five battery status leds and a button. On the back, you find the USB-C charging port. The bottom of the charging case is flat and has several markings printed on it, including UKCA Marking and CE Certification. The internal battery inside the charging case takes 1 hour and 45 minutes to recharge.

The GTW 270 Hybrid charging case lid has a metal friction hinge, which allows the lid to be open at 45 degrees and 90 degrees upright. The lid has EPOS logo etched on it and, it's rubberized underneath it which keeps the earbuds pressed down snugly inside the charging pods. The earbuds protrude out of the charging case so, you can pinch the earbuds out of the charging with the fingers. If you have chunky fingers, you may need to tilt the earbuds at an angle to get them out.

The GTW 270 charging dock area is made of plastic and features five gold-plated charging prongs, as well as two small circular magnets to keep the earbuds securely in place. The extra number of charging contacts and exposed magnets makes the GTW 270 charging case look rather peculiar compared to other true wireless cases.

The GTW 270 Hybrid earbuds are also peculiar in the sense that there is only a standalone physical control button on the left earbud. There is no buttons on the right earbud. The button controls play/pause, skip to previous/next and call handling (answer/end/reject). There is no volume support. Being a physical button, it requires having to pinch the earbud while pressing down the button, which is not as convenient but, it also means you can operate controls with gloves on - something you cannot do with touch controls.

Paring the GTW 270 Hybrid earbuds to a phone is easy and can be done while the earbuds sit inside the charging case, which is convenient. The GTW 270 Hybrid earbuds have on-ear detection, which is basically automatic play/pause when removing the earbuds from the ears. That said, the on-ear detection system built-in to the GTW 270 Hybrid earbuds works slightly different. It has a master/slave connection, which means the left earbud cannot work independently of the right earbud. This means, when the right earbud is removed from the ear, the audio on the left earbud gets muted. Also, when the right earbud is put in the charging case, audio stops on the left earbud, which means you can only use the right earbud for mono listening.

The GTW 270 Hybrid earbuds support multipoint connection; hence you can make a connection between two Bluetooth devices or a Bluetooth device and a dongle connection. This means, you can connect the earbuds to a bluetooth phone while being connected to the dongle on another device (i.e. computer). Being multipoint, to toggle between two bluetooth devices you have to pause the audio on one bluetooth device and manually start it on the other device. To toggle between phone Bluetooth connection and dongle, you have to pause the audio on the phone and manually press one time the button on the dongle. To toggle from dongle to phone bluetooth audio, you simply press the button on the dongle twice. When receiving an incoming call on your smartphone, the audio automatically stops so, you can take the call, which is convenient.

The GTW 270 Hybrid earbuds weigh 13 grams (6.5 grams each). The charging case weighs 63 grams (without earbuds). The bluetooth dongle weighs 6 grams. The charging case measures 7cm long, 3cm wide and 3.5cm high. There are two cables included, one being a male to male charging cable with USB-A to USB-C connectors (50cm long) and the other cable being a male USB-A to female USB-C cable (1.8 meters long). Both cables have rubber sleeves, as well as a rubberized plug connectors. You can buy the EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid from amazon.

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