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Sony Inzone H9 gaming headset review: All of the XM5 goodness for gamers

By The Count - 25 Feb 2024

Sony Inzone H9 gaming headset review: All of the XM5 goodness for gamers

Note: This review was first published on 17 July 2022.

When Sony announced that it will be launching its all-new Inzone gaming gear brand for gamers – especially PC gamers, we can’t say we were surprised. After all, Sony has already made known of their big push for PC gaming when it formed a new PlayStation PC label for all its PlayStation games on Steam (for example, Horizon Zero Dawn and God of War).

We know the company will be launching gaming headphones and monitors first, but for now Singapore will only be seeing the trio of Inzone H3, H7 and H9 gaming headphones. Sony has no plans to launch the gaming monitors here yet.

I did get my hands on the Inzone H9, courtesy of Sony Singapore. I haven’t had the chance to see the H3 and H7 in person, but what I can share is that all three feature the same flexible flip-up boom microphone and associated mute function. The H3 is pretty much the “basic headphone” and is wired, unlike the wireless H7 and H9. All three support 360-degree spatial audio and work on PC and PS5, but the biggest distinction between H7 and H9 is that the latter offers digital noise canceling.

I have spent the last couple of weeks with the S$499 H9 gaming headset, and here’s what I can tell you quickly: Sony is bringing its expertise in comfort, audio quality and noise canceling from the popular WH-1000XM5 headphones to this gaming lineup. The result is an ultra-cosy, technically impressive headset for PCs and the PlayStation 5s.

Hello space-age gaming

But that’s where the similarities end, as the Inzone H9 gaming headset adopts its own unique shape and colour that’s not too far off from the PlayStation 5's design DNA. So unlike the WH-1000XM5 that has a sophisticated lifestyle look and feel, the Inzone H9 is still unmistakably a “gamer” headphone – even if it looks unquestionably one of the more stylish one I have seen in recent years.

On each ear cup are large buttons for controls, including a button to swap between Noise Canceling and an Ambient mode, along with a large scroll wheel for adjusting volume on the left cup. On the opposite right cup are the power button, a microphone mute, and the ability to toggle between game or chat for audio stream. The Inzone H9 even supports multi-point between Bluetooth and the wireless USB-A dongle is supported on the H9 as well. Charging is done via a USB-C port on the left earcup.

Incredibly comfortable

Much like the WH-1000XM5, the earcups here are super soft and memory-cushion-like. The Inzone H9 fits easily and perfectly over my ears, and I didn’t feel any pressure from my time spent playing games on it – on average about three hours daily. I found that breathability was good too. The fit is crucial as it not only ensures comfort but also isolates you within the sound produced.

Aiding in the overall comfort is a similar comfy top band that has a thick layer of foam inside. And there’s plenty of width on this piece, allowing it to balance out over your head. For fans of the WH-1000XM5, I’d say these matches up to the same level of comfort as both feature the same soft fit leather earpads.

The adjustable boom mic is a little divisive – to me anyway. Personally, I’d preferred built-in microphones for voice pickup, as we see on headphones like the WH-1000XM5 and Apple’s AirPods Max. But a boom mic offers better voice clarity and latency, and this is crucial when you’re playing frantic PC games like World of Warcraft while communicating with your raid party over Discord.

When you’re not using the boom mic, you can flip it back up which also mutes any chat that you’re on. You can also adjust it closer to your mouth, push it to the side.

And what’s a gaming device without some RGB? Well, it’s not exactly over-the-top kind of RGB. The Inzone H9 glows a subtle blue at the top ring of each ear cups. It goes very well with the PS5. When connected to a PC, that LED glows white instead.

Sound of music and games

The best description I can use on the sound quality of the Inzone H9 is “well balanced”, and Sony’s spatial audio – 360 Spatial Sound – for gaming does make one’s audio experience more immersive with games. It certainly can’t compare with a proper 7.1 surround sound setup but the Inzone H9 carries it off impressively well enough for a S$499 headphone. Plus, you can now enjoy good surround sound with your games at night without having to worry about an alarm clock thrown at you.

I also found that Inzone H9 delivers strong bass for a pair of headphones. Games like Cyberpunk and Elden Ring sound strong, and explosions in games will really boom around your ears.

My colleague Kenny mentioned in his WH-1000XM5 review about how the Sony flagship headphone can, oddly, only be connected to the PlayStation 5 via an audio cable and not wirelessly. Well, now we know Sony was saving the wireless connectivity for these Inzone headphones. It’s really simple. Plug in the included USB-A dongle and set it to PS5 and it will automatically connect both devices. For PC gamers and their PCMR machines, connect the same dongle and setting it to PC will works the same.

And to further immerse into a game, the Inzone H9 is the only gaming headset out of the three Inzone headphones to feature active noise cancellation (ANC). It's nearly identical to the WH-1000XM5 that can block out most external, environmental sounds. It works well but does have an impact on battery life. Sony claims 32 hours of battery life on the H9 and they are quite spot on – the battery on my Inzone H9 review unit died after about 30 hours or so of gaming over a week. The H7, by comparisons, which does not feature ANC, has a claimed 40-hours battery life.

In other words

The Inzone H9 is interesting because it seems like Sony has brought over the best of the WH-1000XM5 into a headset that’s purpose-built for PC and PS5 gamers. If you’re looking for a good wireless gaming headset with ANC functionality – and looks good at the same time – then the Inzone H9 is worth a mention in your shopping list. More so, if you're intend to pair with your PlayStation 5.

Sounds like something you'll want? You can now purchase the Inzone H9 at Sony's Online Store or at any of their authorised outlets and resellers.

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8.5
  • Design 8
  • Features 9
  • Performance 9
  • Addictiveness 9
  • Value 8
The Good
Comfortable headband and earpads
Support for multipoint
Good battery life
Balanced and smooth sound
Leading class ANC
The Bad
Wireless connection does not work with Xbox Series X|S consoles (no surprise)
Boom-mic not detachable
Some owners might be rightfully concern about the white covers getting permanent dirt or turning "yellow" over time
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