It was only a matter of time until Sony launched a gaming headset that works across both PC and PS5. The Inzone H9 is the top of the company’s range of three, packing wireless connectivity, leather-adorned cushioning and active noise cancellation.
With more PlayStation games making the jump to Windows like Marvel’s Spider-Man, God of War and Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection, this was inevitable. But with a new platform to provide dedicated support for, it raises more questions than we had to ask of the Pulse 3D headset (which did work on PC, but was always an afterthought).
Namely, at a rather expensive list price of $299/£269, are these good enough to be worth that investment? And do they sport the quality and capability to be worthwhile across both console and PC?
Sony Inzone H9 design
Visually, the Sony Inzone H9 shares a similar aesthetic to the PS5 with its white plastic shell and a matte black finish to the inward facing surfaces. Unfortunately, the PlayStation face button texture doesn’t make it onto here, which I get — given it is not just for the console, but I would’ve loved to see it.
While the all-plastic construction does raise some initial concerns, these give off a premium presence. Plus, this lends itself to a lightweight build at 11.6 ounces, which is heavier than the likes of the Pulse 3D headset (10.4 ounces).
But with balanced weight distribution across both cups, a very minimal clamping force caused by the headband and a large amount of soft-fit cushioning across the band and ears, these are insanely comfortable (more on this later).
Controls are placed logically for ease of access when gaming with a volume wheel and noise cancellation/ambient mode switch on the left cup, and a game/chat audio switch, Bluetooth, and a power button on the right.
The USB-C port is on the right, next to the rotating microphone arm. That choice may not be as convenient as the retractable mic you see on the likes of the EKSA E910, but with the rotation activating a switch that mutes or unmutes the microphone, Sony has been considerate of those who would rather not always be talking.
Finally for this section, let’s talk about the dedicated Inzone Hub PC application, which does a great job of giving you access to the technical settings in a simplistic window that cleanly presents it all. There are sound presets alongside a fully customizable EQ, the option to tweak the amount of noise being let in on ambient mode, and a personalized spatial sound option, which (to my ears) made no discernible difference, but is cool nonetheless!
Sony Inzone H9 comfort
As I alluded to above, the 11.6-ounce weight may be heavy on paper (putting them in the same ballpark as the Xbox Gaming Headset (11oz), but there is so much cushion around the head and on the ears that they feel lighter than they actually are because of it.
The headband doesn’t clamp tightly, even around my giant noggin, and the cushioning is lovely and plush, which means you can comfortably wear these for hours. This put the Pulse 3Ds in a new context for me, as I did enjoy the wearability of thatcheaper headset, but the H9s absolutely blew them out of the water.
Sony Inzone H9 sound quality
The H9s sport 40mm dynamic drivers with a standard 5Hz-20KHz frequency and neodymium magnets for increased sound sensitivity. These are enclosed in a symmetrical acoustic structure that are tuned for Sony’s 360 Spatial Audio and packed with active noise cancellation for maximum immersion.
In practice, all of this translates into a fantastic-sounding pair of cans for games with virtually zero latency. The mix favors bass quite heavily, sometimes to the detriment of mids or high tones, but everything has a vast spaciousness to it and nothing distorts in the many levels of audio they deliver.
Of course, I’d be mad to not test these with PlayStation games, so I dived into Marvel’s Spider-Man on PC and God of War Ragnarök on PS5. Of course, I can’t say anymore about the latter than I can in my impressions — you won’t find any spoilers here!
Both of these games offer a big test for the surround sound and provide complex soundscapes of foley effects, interface sounds, and a sweeping orchestral score. Everything had its place in this sphere around me, translating into an altogether incredible spatial surround sound.
From the quieter moments of the hustle and bustle of New York’s streets and the trickle of a gentle stream in God of War to being knee deep in corpses felled by your Leviathan axe, these headphones rose to every challenge put in front of them.
I put them to the test with some music (connecting them to my iPhone 13 Pro over Bluetooth) — specifically my top test track, ‘A Day in the Life’ by The Beatles. Surprisingly, that spaciousness to the sound stage does not translate well to music. The H9s didn’t fare well in my top torture test of the cacophonic orchestral uprising section and everything feels far too bass heavy.
Of course, with a little bit of custom EQ tuning, you can bring these back into line, but for $300 headphones, this drop in quality when moving from games to music is a little unexpected. But beyond that, it’s difficult to place these in terms of sound fidelity into a chart that correlates it with price. I know that sounds weird, but let me explain..
Let’s come at this from a solely PS5 perspective. They sound amazing in all the games I’ve tested, but when put side-by-side with the far cheaper Pulse 3D headset, the differences are sort of minor.
Don’t get me wrong. The ANC of the H9s does a fantastic job of eliminating any background noise and ensuring you get a purer sound experience — and they do add some additional shine to some of the finer details. But the 3D audio and expertly balanced output is present on both, so the small upgrades are not worth over $200 extra.
Sony Inzone H9 mic quality
However, where differences are finite in some areas, there are some drastic improvements in others — from the comfort, as mentioned above, to the microphone. It starts on a solid foundation with the bidirectional microphone on the end of a durable-yet-flexible arm, and a sensitivity frequency of 100 Hz - 8 KHz.
Your voice is loud and clear with a nice warmth to it as well to ensure you’re not coming through tinny. Pair that with the additional ANC microphones isolating your voice from any background noises and this is great for communication.
Oh, and if talking is super important to whatever multiplayer game you’re in, hit the chat button on your H9s and the audio is remixed to prioritize team chat above the in-game sound. It’s subtle, but works really well.
Sony Inzone H9 battery life
Sony brags a maximum battery life of 32 hours with ANC turned off, which the H9s manage to hit. But let’s be honest, you won’t be using these without this feature. It’s basically one of the most important parts of the headset!
With it activated, I was able to hit around 25 hours, which shows just how much of a drain ANC can really be. However, this is still mightily impressive, far exceeding the 12 hours of the Pulse 3D, and slotting in just behind the 30 hours from the HyperX Cloud Flight.
Anything above 20 hours fulfills that critical need for stamina during longer gaming sessions, and the fast charging capability does squeeze an extra hour out of a mere 10-minute charge.
For all intents and purposes, the Sony Inzone H9 is a cracking gaming headset that you will love. They sound great, you sound great, they’re comfortable to wear, last a long time on one charge, and the noise cancellation is a nice bonus.
At $300, though, there is a very specific combo breaker of a situation where these are nearly perfect. Namely, if you game on both PC and PS5 with money to burn, and you want the versatility of a headset that does great across both, then these are worth looking into.
However, that is a steep asking price, and if there are certain things that you care about, you may be just as happy with some of the cheaper options out there.