The Sony INZONE series of headsets have recently landed in Australia, offering a quality headset option for both PC and PS5 gamers. I’ve had the opportunity to test the most expensive and feature-rich option in the INZONE lineup, the H9, for over a month now. With reliable wireless sound and an undeniably comfortable fit, the H9 may well be the best headset I’ve had the pleasure of using, that’s if you’re willing to pay the premium price.
Whilst I may not be the most traditionally tech-savvy individual, I can tell you I use headphones on the daily. With both my work and my hobby keeping me glued to a computer or gaming console, prolonged use of headphones can and have caused irritation if they’re not perfectly fitted or have some level of discomfort in the cushioning. Even other premium options in the past have left my ears with pressure sores that whilst not permanent, create at least some level of fleeting tenderness to the area. I can safely say that the Sony INZONE H9 does not suffer from this issue. It is the most comfortable gaming headset I’ve had the pleasure of using so far, a fact that was immediately apparent upon putting them on for the first time and remains true over a month later.
Easy to set up and use, the INZONE H9 works on both PlayStation 5 and PC hardware. A USB provided has a toggle between the two settings, and all that was required was to plug in the USB, make sure the toggle was on the appropriate setting, then turn on the headphones and use. There was no complication, extra steps, or requirement to download additional software. Particularly useful as a dual-purpose device, I found myself bouncing between the two as new games moved my focus from PlayStation to PC or vice-versa. Unfortunately not compatible with the PS4, the INZONE range may leave some gamers behind who are yet to enter the latest generation of hardware.
Whilst it’s great to have ease of use, a comfortable fit, and a good-looking design, it’s equally as important for this thing to have the specs and features that match up with its high-end price. With Bluetooth connectivity, the H9 runs completely wirelessly and works exactly how you’d expect it to. With 32 hours of use available before it runs out of battery, I found myself with more than enough time to wirelessly game for a few days before needing to charge. Do keep in mind though that certain features of the H9, such as its optional noise cancelling mode, will drain the battery faster.
The noise cancelling functionality on the H9 is a big piece of what you’re paying for over the mid-range H7 model. With the slide of a toggle, you can move between ambient sound mode and noise cancellation. Whilst not airtight, the noise cancellation does work to improve immersion into the experience. It just puts you deeper into the universe of the game as other sounds around you are reduced but never eliminated. Part of me was partly disappointed that the noise cancellation was more of a noise muffler, though, with tech like this, I guess I should not have been surprised that it’s imperfect.
With the higher price point of $449 AUD and the lower battery life, whether or not you want to buy the H9 for this feature is heavily dependent on the individual. I found myself usually defaulting to the ambient sound mode so that I could hear doorbells ring, phone calls, and whatever other general life shenanigans were happening around me. Though when a release like The Last of Us Part I dropped onto my system, it was very lovely to experience the game with the highest level of immersion possible. And it’s in those moments where you can really feel absorbed into something incredible.
360 Spatial Sound is another feature the INZONE range of headsets boasts. Allowing you more aural accuracy to pinpoint key bits of information, the headset certainly helps when listening out for footsteps in a multiplayer FPS or listening as foes sneak up behind you in a first-person action game. A desktop and mobile app allows you to adjust settings and tailor your 3D audio to specifics such as your ear shape. Whilst a little bit gimmicky, it’s never a bad thing to have more control or options. Though I suspect only the most hardcore of audiophiles will even bother with tinkering with these settings.
The 360 Spatial Sound was definitely a big talking point when I was first introduced to the headset, though from a layman’s perspective, it’s not a noticeable improvement upon the typical 3D audio you’d get out of basically every other headset on the market. Don’t go in expecting to be wowed by this feature. It’s good, it works, and it’s kind of what you’d expect.
Also available on the H9 is a microphone, obviously. Sitting in a comfortable position, this built-in mic can be placed near the mouth or up by the head. If moved up, the microphone automatically clicks off, if moved down, it automatically and audibly clicks on. I love this feature. It’s a simple solution to a common headset problem. Because of where headsets are located, the head, it means any buttons located on the device itself are often being found through non-visual searching. You never have that problem on the H9, at least not for the microphone toggle. You’ll always know if it’s on or off and the ability to swap between the two is super easy and intuitive. It’s this kind of user-friendliness that I absolutely love to see.
The quality of the mic itself is acceptable though not incredible. I guess you don’t really expect the microphones on headsets to be super impressive as they are largely only used for voice chat in games. Doing its job nicely, the INZONE mic works well enough for a Discord chat but not well enough for, say, a premium podcast recording.
All in all, The Sony INZONE H9 is truly a very very good headset. I plan to use it as my main piece of gaming audio equipment for the foreseeable future. The quality of the audio is great, but it’s honestly the comfort of the earpieces and headband that keeps me happily recommending it. The price point will be a deterrent for some, with the mid-range H7 possibly being the more financially attractive option. Though for those willing to pay the premium, it’s hard to argue that the Sony INZONE H9 is anything other than a very enjoyable audio accessory.