This week, we reviewed the EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid True Wireless closed IEMs. These in-ear monitors feature a single dynamic driver per earbud and are designed to provide excellent musicality without any cumbersome cables. The EPOS GTW 270s are suitable for exercise and gaming thanks to the accompanying low-latency Bluetooth enabled USB dongle. The True Wireless in-ear EPOS series consists of the GTW 270 and GTW 270 Hybrid IEMs, which feature a USB gaming dongle for the Hybrid model. Marketed at €199, the True Wireless EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid in-ear monitors are designed to be used with a smartphone, a tablet, a Bluetooth compatible digital audio player, a computer or a game console and have a battery life of up to 20 hours. These earbuds are IPX5 certified, which means they are resistant to rain and sweat, making them perfect for indoor and outdoor exercise. Will these Bluetooth in-ear monitors perform well for all uses?
EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid: the brand
EPOS is a young brand based in the Danish town Ballerup. It was created in 2020 following the end of the joint venture between Sennheiser and Demant A/S, a Danish company specializing in the manufacture of hearing aids and owner of Audika. EPOS takes its name from Latin and ancient Greek. The idea of the epic tale synthesizes the brand’s philosophy: to create solutions that strengthen the ways of using communication in order to unleash human potential.
Initially started in 2003, the joint venture between Sennheiser KG and Demant A/S aimed to design and manufacture headsets with microphones for professionals as well as video conference equipment, and released the EPOS Sennheiser PC-150 soon after. In 2014, Sennheiser / Demant’s gaming service was officially launched and the EPOS Game One and EPOS Game Zero headsets were quickly released thereafter. These large circum-aural headphones, featuring a closed-back design for the Zero and an open-back design for the One, are equipped with powerful transducers that offer a nice extension at both extremities of the sound spectrum and are fitted with a microphone for communicating with other players during online games.
With the EPOS Sennheiser GSX 1000 headphone amplifier released in 2016, the company designed a powerful amplifier with virtual surround sound specially developed for gamers. Its direct heir, the EPOS-Sennheiser GSX 1200 Pro, features a 24-bit/96kHz DAC and offers 7.1 binaural sound for an exceptionally immersive sound experience with movies, music and video games.
In 2018, Sennheiser and Demant decided to terminate their joint venture. What was then part of Sennheiser’s gaming division officially became the EPOS brand the following year and entered the market in 2020. With a portfolio of headsets with microphones and professional speakerphones, including air traffic control headsets, gaming headsets and now True Wireless in-ear monitors, EPOS quickly built up a catalog with a wide range of solutions for total immersion in music, movies and games.
EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid: packaging and accessories
The EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid IEMs come in an understated box with a satin finish adorned with a picture of the earbuds on the front and a description of the main contents of the box on the back (headphones, dongle, case). Once the adhesive seal is broken, simply pull on the tab on the side of the box to open it, which is held closed by a magnetic system.
Inside the box are the earbuds, the dongle and the charging case comfortably housed in a foam holder and accompanied by an accessory pouch and the documentation. The EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid’s box includes:
- a pair of EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid True Wireless in-ear monitors
- a Bluetooth aptX low latency compatible USB-C donglea charging case
- a selection of three pairs of silicone tips (S, M, L)
- a USB-C to USB-A cable to recharge the case
- a USB-C female to USB-A male extension cable to connect the dongle to a device without a
- USB-C port, for example a Playstation 4.
EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid: presentation
The EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid Bluetooth IEMs have a sleek and stylish design. The earbuds are entirely black with a satin finish, except for the back plate which features the EPOS logo over a silver finish. The charging case has a similar design. Compact and discreet, it can be easily slipped into a jacket pocket to accompany you on your travels. The EPOS GTW 270 Hybrids have a battery life of 5 hours for 1h30 of charge and 60 minutes for 15 minutes of charge. The case recharges in 1h45 and can charge the earbuds three times. This means that with the earbuds and the case charged, you have a total battery life of 20 hours.
The GTW270 Hybrids are light and small. The left earbud weighs 6.3 grams and the right one weighs 6.4 grams. Once you find the ear tip that fits you, the GTW 270 EPOS easily slips into the ear and stays securely in place. During extended listening sessions, we were able to listen to several albums back to back without feeling any discomfort. These True Wireless monitors really know how to disappear to leave only the music and we were pleasantly surprised by their sound signature. We’ll come back to this point in our listening impressions.
The EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid IEMs adopt a relatively simple and straightforward design. The 6mm dynamic driver integrated in each earpiece has a frequency response ranging from 20Hz to 20kHz and EPOS announces a sound pressure level of 100dB. The earbuds also incorporate a dual omnidirectional microphone system with a frequency response ranging from 100Hz to 7500Hz. There is no active noise reduction function, but with the appropriate ear tips, passive isolation proves to be more than enough. When used outside, you can listen to music without being completely cut off from the sound of your environment. The EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid in-ear monitors are certified works with Alexa and works with Siri. They can therefore be controlled via one of these voice assistants or by using the multifunction button located on top of the left earbud.
EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid: key specs
- Type : closed-back
- Coupling: in-ear monitors
- 6mm dynamic driver
- Hands-free function
- Compatible with Siri and Amazon Alexa vocal assistants
- Frequency response: 20Hz to 20kHz
- SPL: < 100dB %
- Bluetooth 5.1
- Codecs: SBC, aptX and aptX low latency
- Frequency range: 2.4GHz
- Effective range: approx. 10m
- Battery life: up to 20h (5h + 16h with the case)
- Earbuds charging time: 1hr 30min.
- Charging case charging time: 1hr 45min.
- Battery charging method: USB-C cable
- Charging case
- USB C charging cable
- µ3 silicone tips (S, M and L)
- Left earbud weight: 6.3g
- Right earbud weight: 6.4g
- Case weight: 58g
EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid: testing conditions
We started our test by pairing the EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid IEMs with an Android smartphone to listen to 16-bit/44 kHz and 24-bit/96 kHz FLAC and MP3 320 kbps tracks and a selection of songs from Qobuz using our Sublime + subscription. We tested this configuration in several situations (while taking a walk outside, at our work desk, while working out indoors) before connecting them to a Playstation 4 via the USB-C dongle.
The pairing was done very quickly. We just had to place the earbuds in the charging case and search for EPOS GTW 270 in the list of available Bluetooth devices. In just a few seconds we were ready to roll. The experience was no different when we paired the earbuds with the Playstation 4. Once the adapter cable is connected to one of the USB ports and the dongle is turned on, the console instantly recognizes the headphones and the TV sound is automatically muted. The only odd detail is the adapter cable which is 1.5m long. This is quite a long cable if your console is simply placed underneath your TV, as was the case in our test situation. So we had to roll it up and place it next to the console for a more discreet installation. This can be handy if your electronics are placed inside a TV cabinet and you want to pass the Bluetooth transmitter through a cable management system.
EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid: listening impressions
The great musicality of the EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid True Wireless in-ear monitors is undeniable from the get go! Without even needing a break-in period, the dynamic transducers deliver a warm and rich sound and provide a pleasant listening experience. Without reaching a level of detail comparable to wired, audiophile grade IEMs, the EPOS monitors offer a balanced and fun sound. The GTW 270 Hybrids are not analytical and will definitely be a hit with those who are looking for a warm sound signature.
Dolly Parton – Jolene (Qobuz – 24/96)
We were under the spell from the very first notes thanks to the IEMs’ clarity and the well-defined stereo effect. The bass and drums held the rhythm while the guitar arpeggios and violins filled the sound stage.The EPOS GTW 270 were never aggressive and remained very musical throughout the track. Dolly’s voice was reproduced with great subtlety. Everything was right where it belonged, the sound was balanced and pleasant. We did notice that beyond three-quarters of the volume, the percussion started to sound a bit distorted. However, there is no need to increase the volume to such a level because the silicone eartips fulfill their role perfectly by ensuring a quality passive isolation.
Weezer – My Name Is Jonas (Qobuz – 16/44)
The EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid IEMs remained balanced, and the listening experience was fun and entertaining, in keeping with their previous performance. They even displayed a wide dynamic range, which is particularly important on this track. The acoustic guitar arpeggios were clear and crisp and were followed by rich distorted guitars and kick drum hits. The lows were very satisfying, without overdoing it and remaining very clean.
Bernard Herrmann – Farewell And The Tower (Qobuz – 16/44)
The sound was nice and soft and the EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid IEMs delivered the first few minutes of this track from the Vertigo original soundtrack in a satisfying way. Once the orchestration led by Bernard Herrmann ventured into more complex territory, with the arrival of the brass instruments and the crescendo of strings, we heard once again a slight distortion and we had to turn down the volume to try to balance it out.
Wu-Tang Clan – Protect Ya Neck (Qobuz – 16/44)
This track from the famous New-York based collective is rich with punchy and precise bass. The vocals were clear and perfectly defined while the instrumental track kept a steady rhythm from beginning to end. The GTW 270 Hybrid EPOS headphones were perfectly at ease with the production of the iconic album Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), which is typical of 90s hip-hop.
Designed to provide a highly immersive gaming experience, the EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid in-ear monitors were a big hit with Nintendo Switch users when they first hit the Japanese market. For the part of this review dedicated to video games, we tested different types of games. We began with the game Ghost of Tsushima and instantly felt as if we were transported to medieval Japan. The traditional Japanese music is reproduced in a very natural and realistic way. We could hear the drums vibrate and the strings instruments were detailed. The sound effects are accurately transcribed and the spatialization is remarkable. The growls of the guard dogs, the voices of the enemies, the sound of the leather armor, the flags flying in the wind and the tiles under your feet during the excursions on the rooftops, the collision of the katanas during the battles or the whistling of the arrows flying by our character all add up to provide a rich gaming experience. The light weight of the EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid IEMs is a significant advantage over circumaural gaming headphones, which tend to warm the ears.
We continued testing video games with the remastered version of the racing game Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled. This game is largely inspired by Mario Kart and features characters populating the universe of the spinning bandicoot created by Naughty Dog studios. The game’s frantic pace requires an immediate response time and a delay between sound and image would quickly become obvious and quite annoying. Thanks to the aptX Low Latency codec used by the EPOS GTW 270 Hybrids with its accompanying USB dongle, we did not notice any lag. Warnings, explosions and noises from opponents were reproduced in real time, and the passive isolation of the headphones placed us right in the middle of the race. These IEMs performed flawlessly during this test.
Given their IPX5 certification, we decided to test the EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid Bluetooth IMEs during workout sessions using a Concept2 air rowing machine. Although the machine in question is one of the quietest models, it can generate quite a bit of noise and make it difficult to listen to music using loudspeakers. Podcasts and movies also require a high enough volume to clearly distinguish dialogue. In the first session, we encountered some difficulties because one of the earbuds would repeatedly slip out after about 30 minutes of effort. A real drawback for this type of exercise, as one does not have time to push the earpiece back in place constantly since both hands are used. For the following sessions, we therefore switched to the wider ear tips and the experience was magnified. The earbuds quickly disappear to leave only the music and remain perfectly in place, even after a 45 minute workout. You can enjoy music or podcasts without having to turn the sound way up or try to hear through the sound of the air wheel, which is completely inaudible thanks to the very effective passive isolation of the in-ear monitors. On Mastodon’s album Crack the Skye, the bass rumbles, the guitars are crisp and precise, the kick drum has nice impact and the 3 different vocals of the musicians are quite distinct and complementary thanks to the balanced sound signature. While the EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid IEMs’ prime function is to be used for gaming, we were truly surprised by their performance during workout sessions. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the opportunity to try them out during more outdoor activities, such as running, but we were very pleased with their performance during indoor sessions.
We tested the dual microphone system of the EPOS True Wireless GTW 270 Hybrid in-ear monitors during phone calls. Once again, these small Bluetooth IEMs surprised us with their clarity and detail. It should be noted, however, that the low-latency aptX dongle does not allow audio return, which means that during online games on Playstation, the controller’s microphone is used.
EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid: compared to…
Devialet Gemini: The IEMs manufactured by the French brand stand out by their ability to deliver deep and powerful bass. When it comes to comfort and versatility, the EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid in-ear monitors take the lead, especially when for video games thanks to the low-latency aptX-compatible dongle. While the active noise reduction of the Devialet monitors provide total immersion, the passive isolation of the EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid IEMs is more than sufficient in all situations.
Klipsch T5 True Wireless: When it comes to musicality and versatility, the EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid in-ear monitors clearly have the edge. However, the Klipsch T5 True Wireless IEMs have a longer battery life, which can be important if you travel a lot. For sports and gaming, the EPOS IEMs are the clear winner in this comparison.
Jabra Elite 75t: the comparison between the successors of the iconic Jabra Elite 65t and the EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid IEMs is a close call. While the Jabras have a slightly longer battery life, more features and a very detailed sound signature, it’s in the gaming arena that EPOS takes the lead.
EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid: conclusion
EPOS has successfully entered the True Wireless in-ear monitors market with the GTW 270 Hybrid. Comfortable and versatile, these IEMs are designed to accompany you all day long during your various activities, whether you’re at the office, playing video games or exercising. EPOS has also understood that True Wireless monitors are not intended to be audiophile models offering an ultra-neutral and precise sound signature, but that their primary objective is to offer a musical and fun listening experience without highlighting the recording flaws that can be aggressive with very analytical equipment. Despite the difficulties of managing complex orchestrations, the EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid in-ear monitors won us over with their adaptability and comfort. If you’re looking for True Wireless IEMs to enjoy your favorite tunes over long listening sessions, that can fully immerse you in video games and can accompany you during your commute and long trips, the EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid in-ear monitors meet all of these criteria.
What we liked:
- their versatility
- their comfort
- the musicality of the sound
- the aptX low latency transmission
We would have liked:
- A USB-C vers USB-A sous forme de clé USB