Drop + Epos H3X Headset review: Best sub-$100 gaming headset. Period

Strong Points

  • Sound quality far exceeds its price
  • Comfortable for long gaming sessions
  • Some of the best cables we’ve used in headsets


  • Some prominent cut corners on the volume knob and mic arm
  • It would have been better if the ear cups were a little bigger
  • Slightly high initial clamping force

Online retailers Drop and Epos, founded by the former gaming division of legendary audio equipment maker Sennheiser, have teamed up again to make gaming headsets. Targeting the budget end of the market with models under $80 that try to Incredible PC38X headset We did it for the mid-range market.

Their new entry, the H3X, looks a bit like their more recent EPOS headset, with an articulated, futuristic aesthetic. More importantly, it retains a surprising amount of the DNA of the more expensive models, faithfully mirroring feel, performance and sound. Let’s take a closer look at what I believe has become the best headset you can buy for under $100.


form factor closed back, wired, over-ear
frequency response 20Hz to 20,000Hz
impedance 25 ohms
Type of microphone bidirectional electret condenser
microphone frequency response 100Hz to 10kHz
connectivity Detachable Cables: 6.6ft PC Cable, 4.9ft Console Cable
earcup material hybrid suede and leatherette
On-device control mic mute, volume
weight 9.5 oz (without cable) | 10.2 oz (with cable)

build and fit

Drop + Epos H3X headset on desk with mic folded

This model follows Epos’ recent design philosophy, including multiple pivot points per ear.

Michael Garriffo/ZDNET

Due to the amount of praise I’ve given the PC38X and the fact that it’s available for just $50 to $80 more than this model, it’s going to have a big impact on the H3X’s relative performance. The first example of this is its build quality. The H3X is pretty good for an $80 headset, but not quite as good as its ever-present ancestor.

The unit is mostly plastic, but the exposed metal headband speaks to a build quality that stands up to all but the most dramatic fury. I can easily deal with anyone (shout out to my fellow members of the Big Head Gang).

Drop + Epos H3X Headset Metal Internal Headband

Etched markings make it easy to find the right fit, even if you share a headset.

Michael Garriffo/ZDNET

All pivot points and joints are well put together and work smoothly, creating a very comfortable fit overall. (At least for my probably above average sized ears). However, thanks to the hybrid padding of leatherette and suede and the foam that comes with it, it’s very comfortable, but it fits snugly on my head in just seconds.

The cheap build quality is most apparent in the volume knob, which is looser and completely unresponsive than the PC38X, and the thin, less flexible mic arm.

MORE: 5 Best PC Gaming Headsets: Premium Audio, No Drops

Like I said, the construction is more than worth the $80 price tag, but don’t expect to beat it. This is the cable described in the next section.

Features and accessories

Drop + Epos H3X headset on desk with mic extended

The mic arm isn’t very flexible, but the pickup is sensitive and works well wherever you put it.

Michael Garriffo/ZDNET

The H3X is a closed-back headphone model, unlike the open-back PC38X. Aside from this one big difference and obvious aesthetic difference, the duo could be twins.

Like the PC38X, the H3X includes a permanent boom mic that automatically mutes when lifted. It also has a volume knob on the opposite earcup and includes a detachable port to connect one of the two included cables. Its boom mic performs nearly as well as its more expensive siblings. I was impressed with that level of fidelity with his $150 headset, so imagine how impressive it was with the $80 model.

Listen to the PC38X mic: Drop + EPOS PC38X gaming headset mic test and impressions

Cable included with Drop + Epos H3X headset

The cable is a significant improvement over Drop + Epos’ previous efforts.

Michael Garriffo/ZDNET

The device contains two detachable cables. One terminates with separate headphone and mic jacks for PC, the other has a single TRRS connector for console gaming. Both cables are surprisingly good, actually much better than the PC38X. This is due to greater flexibility, a slightly thicker feel, and the elimination of its predecessor’s tendency to pick up the nasty permanent kinks. I hope Drop and Epos will consider replacing the cables that come with the PC38X with these newer models. I am totally going to replace mine.

Read more: Headphones: A Beginner’s Guide to Terminology and Techniques

One pair of pre-installed earcups has a hybrid leatherette/suede layout, with the suede portion coming into contact with your ears and head. This design does a great job of providing excellent sound isolation and passive isolation of a leather-like material, while actually keeping it out of contact with your skin, preventing heat retention and sweating. .

sound quality

Drop + Epos H3X headset volume knob and connector port

The volume knob (left) doesn’t look very nice, but it’s still very useful.

Michael Garriffo/ZDNET

If you want the short version: The H3X sounds about 75% to 80% better than the PC38X. I called the headset the best for his sub-$1,600 game, so even that 75% of praise is incredibly impressive for a headset retailing under $80.

If you want a longer version, or are simply unfamiliar with the PC38X, the best way to describe the H3X’s sound profile is with a gaming focus. With a great soundstage for the price, it’s always easy to identify where an explosion originated or from which direction an enemy was sneaking up. It also works very well with enhanced 7.1 surround sound. GSX1000 Second Editionfurther enhances this feature.

As you can imagine, the above priority of the sound profile means that it emphasizes treble over bass. Rather, it’s the overall frequency range section we found the H3X lacking the most.

MORE: Best Cheap Gaming Headsets: Immersive Audio on a Budget

This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy all sound effects, movies, and music with the H3X. Expect a few equalizer tweaks to help the headset cancel out the tiniest imperfections in music and soundtracks, and with a little tweaking, the H3X can deliver a pleasing sound to just about anything. . Just need a little extra help.


To conclude my review of the PC38X, “buy it now” could have been my entire review. Here are my impressions.

if you can Keeping the PC38X on Budget, I wholeheartedly recommend it not only to those who can afford it, but also to those who can afford a much more expensive model. Better than any headset. In fact, if the PC38X wasn’t there, I’d recommend it as the best wired model under $150.

As it stands, it’s my number one recommendation for everyone from young gamers making their first setups to crusty veterans who want a great inexpensive headset that absolutely gives them a tactical edge.

Alternatives to consider

A headset that’s my number one recommendation for literally anyone who can afford a ridiculously low (for the sound on offer) price point. It costs four figures.

Review: This headset’s directional gaming sound is cheatingly good

If you prefer a wireless headset to prevent accidentally pulling your PC off your desk while running to answer the door, the Razer BlackShark V2 Pro Wireless Headset is my overall choice. still represents the best combination of comfort, audio quality, price and features.

Review: Razer Blackshark V2 Pro Headset: A Powerful Weapon for the Decent Gamer

If you want the closest thing to the sound this headset can produce, but still dream wireless, the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro headset is a great option. That hot-swap battery is also one of his most underutilized ideas in wireless peripheral technology.

Review: SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless Headset: A Gamer’s Delight

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