sony inzone h9 1

Sony consistently pumps out some of the best headphones you can buy, so it was only a matter of time before that same audio magic made its way to the world of gaming headsets. That dream has finally become a reality with the company’s new Inzone gaming line, led by the Inzone H9, a premium $299 headset that blends Sony’s renowned audio quality and immersive active noise cancellation (ANC) with a host of useful gaming-specific features.

The Inzone H9 offers superb sound, reliable ANC and lots of neat customization options, all packed into one of the most comfortable headset designs I’ve ever worn. After more than a week of intensive testing (i.e., playing many, many hours of video games), here’s why I think the H9 is worth the splurge for PS5 and PC gamers.

A stellar high-end gaming headset for PS5 and PC

The Sony Inzone H9's excellent audio quality, strong noise cancellation, useful dual-pairing capabilities and supreme comfort make it one of the best high-end gaming headsets for those gaming on PS5, PC and Nintendo Switch.

What we liked about it

Serious all-day comfort and stylish looks

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I’ve reviewed dozens of gaming headsets over the past few years, so it’s very rare for one to stand out the moment I put it on my head. But that was exactly the case with the Inzone H9, which is one of the most comfortable sets of gaming cans I’ve ever worn. This is largely due to the fact that the H9 features the same soft leather ear cups as Sony’s excellent WH-1000XM5 headphones, which felt secure and snug while still giving my ears plenty of room to breathe. Couple that with the headset’s lightweight frame, and I never got the urge to take the H9 off throughout long hours of gaming.

The Inzone H9 might not be a PlayStation-branded product, but the headset’s slick white-and-black design makes it a perfect complement to the PS5. I found the H9’s various controls for things like volume, power and ANC all easy to reach while playing, and the circular LED lights at the top of the ear cups are a nice touch. I also appreciate the fact that the ear cups can fold completely flat, perfect for when I tossed the headphones in my bag before heading to the office.

Great sound, noise cancellation and battery life

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Whether I was getting lost in a cinematic horror adventure or competing in my favorite fighting games online, the Inzone H9 consistently delivered rich, accurate sound. Sony’s headset made it easy to hear where each terrifying undead growl was coming from in Resident Evil Village, something that was seriously helpful when it came to staying alive. The Inzone H9 allowed me to get completely immersed in the interactive thriller Until Dawn, adding a serious layer of tension to every creak, scream and inevitable jump scare. The bone-crunching action of Mortal Kombat 11 sounded satisfyingly punchy on the H9, making the game’s infamous fatalities all the more brutal.

Sony makes some of the best noise-canceling headphones out there, so I was pleased to see that same tech brought over to the H9 gaming headset. The H9’s ANC effectively silenced the sound of my noisy air conditioner and managed to reduce the volume of my dog’s loud bark, making it that much easier to get fully immersed in whatever I was playing. And just like on Sony’s flagship headphones, the H9 headset also has an ambient sound mode for letting outside noises in — something that was useful for when I was waiting for a delivery to arrive but didn’t want to stop gaming. Best of all, switching between the two modes is as simple as hitting a button at the bottom of the left ear cup.

The Inzone H9 is rated for 32 hours of battery life, a claim that closely lines up with my own testing. The headset lasted through multiple days — each filled with hours-long gaming sessions with ANC on — before I had to juice it up again. You’ll get a longer estimated battery life out of the cheaper H7 headset (which ditches ANC) at up to 40 hours, but the H9’s endurance is more than sufficient enough for a few days of play.

The H9’s bendable microphone is likewise reliable for in-game communication. I never got any complaints about my voice during calls, and the audio recordings I captured on it sounded relatively clear, with almost no background noise. Sony’s headset microphone was largely on par with that of the pricier SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless, and while my voice sounded less fuzzy on the Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2 Max, the latter headset picked up far more background noise.

Lots of customization options

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I found the H9 to sound great out of the box on both PS5 and PC, though gamers using the latter can tweak the headset to their liking using the Inzone Hub app for Windows. There are a ton of useful features here, including various sound profiles that add extra bass or optimize the headset for music and videos. You can also fine-tune the equalizer yourself and make your own custom presets. If you don’t feel like fiddling with the H9’s on-ear controls, you can switch sound modes, adjust the balance of game and chat audio, tweak the sidetone (how loudly you hear your own voice) and even toggle how much ambient noise gets in right from the app.

Just like on Sony’s over-ear headphones, the H9 even lets you create a personalized spatial sound profile for accurate 360-degree audio by taking a picture of your ears using the 360 Spatial Sound mobile app. Once you complete the process on your phone (which took me only a few minutes; capturing my right ear took a few extra tries), you can upload your ear profile to the cloud and access it from the Inzone app. The H9 doesn’t offer the same level of customization on PS5, but it does play nice with the console’s built-in 3D audio support, something that stood out as I got swarmed by werewolves during an intense Resident Evil session.

Incredibly useful Bluetooth pairing

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The H9’s customization features are great and all, but perhaps the H9’s best feature is its ability to pair to two devices at once. You can pair the H9 to pretty much any Bluetooth device while its Wi-Fi receiver is hooked up to your console or gaming PC, which is useful for, say, chatting with friends over Discord on your phone while still getting game audio from your PS5.

I found this feature incredibly useful, as I could catch up on my favorite podcasts while kicking back with some classic PlayStation Plus games. And when I got a phone call in the middle of a gaming session, I could answer it right from my headset instead of having to frantically take it off. This feature isn’t unique to the H9 — you’ll also find it on other premium gaming headsets like the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro and the Turtle Beach Stealth 700 — but it’s a brilliant touch that just makes my gaming life easier, and I’m glad to see it become the norm.

What we didn’t like about it

It’s pricey — and bulky

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If you want access to the H9’s excellent sound, all-day comfort and useful features, you’ll have to cough up a fairly high $299. That’s about the norm for a wireless gaming headset with ANC (the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless are even more at $349), but it’s also way pricier than the $199 Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2 Max, which also has great sound and dual-pairing capabilities for those who can live without ANC. Wired headsets with ANC, such as the $197 Victrix Pro AF, are also much cheaper. I think the Inzone H9 cans ultimately deliver for the price, but they might not be in every gamer’s budget.

I never really feel cool wearing a gaming headset, but the H9 headset looks especially comical on my head — something my girlfriend was quick to point out on multiple occasions. Despite its attractive aesthetics, the H9’s ear cups are quite large and kind of make me feel like Lobot from “Star Wars” when I look in the mirror. Whereas competing headsets like the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro look sleek enough to be worn out and about as a regular pair of headphones, the Inzone H9 will be staying put by my PlayStation and PC.

There’s no Xbox support or wired headphone jack

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If you primarily game on Xbox, you can skip this headset — and not because it’s made by Sony. Like most USB-based gaming headsets, the H9 will play nice with PC, PS5 and Nintendo Switch, but because of some Xbox-specific certifications and compatibility requirements, it’s a no go on Microsoft consoles. This is more of an Xbox issue than something specific to the H9, but it’s still worth keeping in mind before you take the plunge.

The cheaper Stealth 700 Gen 2 Max gets around this with a unique USB dongle that can be set to either Xbox or PlayStation mode, and there’s an Xbox version of the Arctis Nova Pro Wireless that works with all consoles. And unlike the Inzone H9, the Arctis Nova Pro also has a wired headphone jack, which allows it to work with a wider range of devices and serves as a backup for when you run out of battery. The lack of a headphone jack on the H9 isn’t a huge deal breaker, but it’s especially disappointing considering that you’ll find one on its non-gaming counterpart, the Sony WH-1000XM5.

Bottom line

The $299 Sony Inzone H9 is one of the best gaming headsets and best PS5 accessories I’ve tested. It sounds great, delivers strong ANC and comes loaded with special features, including the ability to pair to your phone and your gaming machine of choice at the same time. Perhaps most importantly, it’s more comfortable than just about any headset I’ve used recently. If you have the cash to spend and primarily game on PlayStation, PC or Nintendo Switch, it’s well worth it.

But what if you don’t fall into one of those two camps? If price is an issue, Sony has two cheaper Inzone headsets: the $229 Inzone H7 (which drops the active noise cancellation) and the $99 Inzone H3 (which is a basic wired headset that’ll work with pretty much any console). All three models offer the same core fit and sound personalization options, just with more basic feature sets.

If you’re a multi-platform gamer, you should consider the $349 SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless, which matches many of the H9’s features but has a unique USB hub that lets you easily switch between two different gaming systems with the touch of a button. And if you can live without ANC, the $199 Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2 Max offers the same great Bluetooth support while also playing nice with every major console, including Xbox. But the H9 is the most comfortable of the bunch, and when you pair that with its superb audio quality and excellent feature set, you’ve got a high-end headset worth every bit of its premium price.

How it compares to other gaming headsets we tested

Compatibility

PlayStation, PC, Nintendo Switch, mobile

PlayStation, Xbox, PC, Nintendo Switch, mobile

PlayStation, Xbox, PC, Nintendo Switch, mobile

Weight

0.72 pounds

0.75 pounds

1 pound

Active noise cancellation

Yes

Yes

No

Bluetooth/dual pairing support

Yes

Yes

Yes

Wired connectivity

No

Yes

No

Battery life (rated)

32 hours

18 to 22 hours per swappable battery

40 hours

Price $299 $349 $199