Sony Inzone H9 Review: Okay For PC, Better For PS5
It’s been awhile since we’ve really taken a look at a gaming headset on this channel and what better than to take a look at the Sony Inzone H9. Right off the bat, you can instantly tell that this is really meant to complement the PS5 but it’s usable on PC as well. Though we would say that after testing this for about 2 months now, it’s really meant more for the PS5 than the PC.
If you’ve yet to really hear what Inzone is all about, it’s basically Sony’s newest arm of products that’s targeted towards gamers in mind. For a start, there are just monitors and headsets to choose from and this, the Inzone H9 is the current flagship audio offering.
Let’s start with the design.
Unironically, the design theme that’s going around for the entire Inzone series is meant to complement the PS5.
So you get the striking off white colour alongside a main black frame, which is pretty tastefully done in our opinion. It does however still take up quite a bit of visual space as with most gaming headsets, so don’t expect to use it out in public without getting the stares of many. In addition, while the boom mic does rotate up and away while not in use, it isn’t removable, which is a little bit of a shame.
As for the overall build quality, this headset does mainly make use of hard plastics which in our opinion does make quite a bit of sense for its intended purpose. While it definitely doesn’t feel as premium as most other headsets which make use of metal, this still does feel plenty great and for long and intense gaming sessions, the reduction in weight would be of high priority.
The Inzone H9 weighs just 330g which does make it far lighter than most comparable headsets and still a little lighter compared to the Steelseries Nova Pro Wireless.
In terms of comfort, you do get a really plush headband and ear cups, both of which are made of synthetic leather. They are actually quite stretchy which adds on the comfort and there’s minimal pressure on your ears while still maintaining good contact and isolation. One thing that anyone can probably appreciate are the struts which do have clicks for audible and tactile feedback. So no matter your head size, we’re pretty sure this will fit really well.
One point for those of us here in Singapore. The ear cups will accumulate heat and you will find it warm to use after an hour or two, so while it may be comfortable, how long you will leave it on your head is up to your individual tolerance.
For physical controls, there’s a volume dial, a noise cancelling and ambient sound mode toggle button and a Type-C port on the left earcup and as for the right ear cup, there’s a game chat balance button, bluetooth as the power button. Pretty intuitive we’ve to say and easily reachable and unmistakable when you have the headset on your head after using it for a while.
Connectivity & Sound
Now let’s talk about connectivity and this is one of the strong points about this headset. This supports both 2.4GHz via a dongle and Bluetooth 5.0 and you will be able to connect them simultaneously to different devices. So for example, you can connect them to your phone and listen to music while also connected to your PS5 to be able to hear the in-game audio. And if you do get a call, well, you can take it right there and then without taking off your headset. Unfortunately, it does only support two codecs, SBC and AAC. A bit of a shame that there isn’t LDAC support here.
But perhaps the other stronger point about this headset is the sound quality and to that extent, the ANC performance.
This is a closed-back dynamic headset which uses a 40mm driver in each ear cup and they are tuned extremely well. Sony has indeed borrowed their knowledge and experience from their music oriented headphones such as the WH-1000XM5 and it shows. This is one of the better sounder gaming headsets out there, making it excellent for not just gaming but listening to music as well.
While the overall soundstage isn’t too impressive, stereo imaging is excellent and there’s a good amount of texture and resolution across different genres of music at any range. It is definitely still tuned more towards the low end, producing a little bit more kick which lends itself well for gunshots, footsteps, explosions and the such but it isn’t overdone to the point that it’s overwhelming.
To add on, when using a PC, there are many things that can be tuned using the Inzone Hub PC software. You can edit and save a few sound profiles, you can tweak the equalizer, turn on or off spatial sound, control ANC or Ambient and much more. So there’s plenty you can do to get it to sound how you would like it to be. Though we do suggest staying away from Spatial Audio, especially when using a PC. The implementation still isn’t that great at the moment and it does more harm than good during the most intense of gameplay.
Just stick to standard stereo and you’ll be stellar. On the PS5 however, it’ll support the Tempest 3D AudioTech so you’re free to use that as you wish as long as the game supports it. Definitely a much better dedicated implementation as compared to what’s on Windows.
Now, is it on the same level as the WH-1000XM5? Of course not. But for a gaming headset? It’s good. Really good.
To which we also have to touch upon ANC and this might be a hit or a miss depending on the situation. If you’re just gaming by yourself in a relatively quiet room in a relatively quiet neighbourhood, the ANC performance is fantastic. It’s not overly powerful to the point that you feel that pressure, but it’s not weak either till the point that it’s of no use. It sits in a happy medium that plays well in most scenarios.
However in my personal experience, I do live near an active military air base and they do tend to sortie quite often, sometimes even a few times in just an afternoon. Don’t expect this to drown out the sound of F15 jets on full afterburner, you will still hear them. But even if that’s the not the case, if you’re near any major busy roads wherever you live, the occasional sound of heavy diesel engines and tire noise on asphalt will still pop in from time to time once it passes a certain threshold.
But again, for the environment that this is intended to be used in, the ANC is great.
Ambient mode on the other hand, there isn't much to say about it. It’s okay for the most part.
Now let’s talk about the microphone and in all regards, it’s an all right microphone but if you do take price into consideration, it does fall short. Make no mistake, your friends are still going to hear you fine and it’ll still pick up your voice clearly even if you speak softly. But it definitely could still use more depth and body for a much more full sounding voice.
The same goes for the battery life. While 32 hours isn’t bad at all, it’s not as impressive as compared to the competition that can do 40 hours or more. Even the 10 minutes of charging for 1 hour of usage isn’t as impressive as the competition. Probably one point that Sony should focus on remedying in the next iteration. It does however support charging while using so in a pinch, you could still do that.
But lastly we come to price and this is probably the dealbreaker. As of this review, the Sony Inzone H9 retails for S$499 or US$299. That is quite the premium price and it does face quite fierce competition especially from the likes of Corsair, Steelseries and Razer.
So we would say to only consider getting this if you’re planning to use it with your PS5 more so than your PC. But if sound quality is of utmost importance to you and you like the aesthetic of the Inzone H9, by all means, go for it. Despite a few quirks and flaws, you probably won’t be disappointed. Though we definitely do suggest waiting for a sale for the best bang for your buck.
For a first generation product however, Sony has done a pretty great job and we just hope that it can get perfected by the second generation.