When you play rhythm games, even a little bit of audio latency is a killer. That’s why, as a general rule, I only ever use wired headphones: the cable is a mild hassle worth suffering to ensure a proper game. But EPOS’ promise of a low latency connection on the GTW 270 earbuds piqued my interest: could I really get the convenience of true wireless headphones with low enough lag to make rhythm games playable? Turns out, I can.
I used the 270s with a bunch of different rhythm games across all supported platforms—Taiko no Tatsujin: Rhythm Festival on Switch, Metal Hellsinger on PS5, Hatsune Miku: Colorful Stage! on mobile, and Groove Coaster on PC, to name just a few—and not once did I need to mess around with timing settings. Even when I did so out of curiosity, the results came back as needing no change from the default. I imagine there is at least some tiny amount of latency—the data still has to travel through the air, after all—but whatever there is is so imperceptible that these earbuds can handle games where pinpoint timing consistency between audio, video, and button presses is crucial.
It’s the USB-C dongle (and aptX low-latency codec it uses) that makes this possible. The GTW 270 earbuds also support Bluetooth, and that can be more convenient when you’re just listening to music or watching video, but for anything where latency can be an issue, the dongle is a must. Fortunately, it’s well supported: you can use it across Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, PC, and mobile, and the setup is pretty much plug and play: plug in the dongle, open the charging case, and it connects automatically. Bluetooth is similarly painless, and with devices that support multipoint connection, you can connect to multiple devices at once and automatically (or manually) switch between them as needed.
This kind of convenience helps make the 270s worthwhile. Gaming is their main focus, and they’re great for that, but they’re also handy for just general use: listening to music while out and about, watching movies on the train, taking calls, going to the gym. A comfortable design, IPX5 water resistance, and a firm fit that holds in place even when moving a lot certainly help, but it’s the effortlessness of switching between devices that makes these buds a winner for versatility.
When the GTW 270 earbuds first launched last year, there was one major shortcoming: the dongle didn’t support voice chat—a particular issue on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5, where Bluetooth isn’t supported for these earbuds. With a firmware update and a relaunch a couple of months ago, that’s no longer an issue; the USB-C connection now has full mic capabilities, making it a decent option for chatting while gaming. The sound quality is good enough—not the level you’d get from an over-ear set with a boom mic, but certainly clear enough for everyday use.
Likewise, the audio quality is great, within the limits of earbuds. Make sure you choose the right size eartips to form a good seal—there are four different sizes included—and you’ll get a crisp, textured sound that takes the full sonic spectrum in stride without any distortion at the high or low ends. Little details come through cleanly, and the buds do a nice job with PlayStation 5’s 3D audio. You won’t quite get the same full-bodied sound as a good set of over-ears, but that’s the trade-off for the convenience and comfort of true wirelessness, and as far as earbuds go, the GTW 270s are more than adequate.
Decent battery life helps, too. My testing matched the advertised five hours of use per charge in Bluetooth mode, with the more power-hungry dongle connection coming in around four to 4.5 hours, depending on what I was using it for. A fully-charged portable case will get you four full charges, adding up to not-too-shabby 15 to 20 hours of use before you need to plug anything in again. Charging is fairly quick, too: a 15-minute quick charge in the case will get you an hour of use, with 90 minutes in the case fully charging the buds, and charging the case takes around two hours tops.
The earbuds have a clean, low-profile design: black with dark metallic side panels that look a little classy but don’t stick out too much. The case shares a similar aesthetic with a nice, brushed metal finish; it also feels solid enough to throw in a bag without any worry of damage or the lid flicking open and letting the buds fall out. Rather than the more common touch panels, control is limited to a single button on the left earbud, with single-, double-, and triple-presses to control calls and music playback. It takes some getting used to, but works well enough when you memorise the inputs—though the lack of volume controls can be a nuisance.
The promise of functionally lag-free wireless earbuds is a bold one, but I’m pleasantly surprised at how well the GTW 270 earbuds live up to it. Between that, the great sound quality, chat support, and a comfortable build, EPOS has pulled together an impressive set for people who want the convenience of earbuds without giving up too much of what makes a good gaming headset worthwhile. Versatile connection options make them handy for everyday use, too—so whether you’re hitting some weights in the gym or hitting notes in Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA, the 270s will keep up.
Product provided to Shindig by EPOS for review purposes.