For their intended audience, the Adapt 231 gets a lot right, offering great call quality, a comfortable design and multi-point Bluetooth support. But for inconsistent software, frequent connection issues and fiddly controls they would be an easy recommendation for anyone looking to upgrade their WFH setup.
- Comfortable design
- Good call audio
- Multi-point Bluetooth support
- Iffy software
- Some persistent connection issues
- Fiddly controls
- Noise-cancellingNoise-cancelling tech to optimise call quality
- Microsoft TeamsCertified to work with Teams software
It is no secret that, two years on from the worst initial ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic, work from home seems to be here to stay.
This has been to the great benefit of the likes of Zoom, and has driven a huge rise in interest for any product that can improve the quality of video calls – whether that be better cameras or better headsets.
EPOS has positioned itself firmly in the latter category, producing a suite of headsets that promise better audio fidelity and better microphone performance than the competition, and a step up from the standard cheap Amazon fare.
The Adapt 231 headset is firmly among the more premium offerings it has available, sporting multi-point Bluetooth support, Teams certification and a lightweight design it has much going for it. But, as ever with relatively niche devices, does it do enough to earn a spot on your ears over the more generalist competition?
- On-ear single cup design
- Comfortable fit
- All controls on the cup
On first glance, there can be no mistaking the intended use case for the EPOS Adapt 231. An on-ear, single cup design with a ‘foot’ to secure the headband, it is firmly the kind of headset distributed by IT managers to call centre workers. This isn’t something you will be wearing on the bus or elsewhere, it is a tool for work, nothing more and nothing less.
There are, of course, reasons for its particular look, and these mostly come down to a question of weight and comfort. By jettisoning an earcup the heft is brought down, and through the use of plastic as the main building material this is only emphasised. So though the Adapt 231 may look incongruous outside of an office setting, it is rather the point.
On the head and during calls they are comfortable to wear, even for long periods of time, and in an open-plan office they won’t turn heads in the same way as a pair of neon over-ear Beats. For the intended use case they are well designed, and feel relatively sturdy to boot.
Things fall down somewhat when it comes to controls. All available buttons and ports are clustered on the single earcup and all of them are made from the same material and are mostly the same colour. This makes them especially difficult to distinguish by feel alone, while the included stick control has no click feedback which condemns it to the same fate. If you are trying to end or answer a call in a hurry it can be a bit touch and go.
The microphone is housed in an adjustable ‘stalk’ that can be twisted 180 degrees so the device can be used on either the left or right ear. This of course positions the microphone much closer to the mouth, promising theoretically better call quality than might be available with more general headsets.
Thankfully the Adapt 231 charges via USB-C, for which a cable is included in the box.
- Multi-point Bluetooth support
- Noise-cancellation during calls
- Comes with USB-C and USB-A connection dongles
As might be expected for a device laser-focussed on workplace performance, there aren’t a lot of whiz-bang marketing claims attached to the Adapt 231. There’s the somewhat vague promise of ‘Teams certification’, the offer of stereo sound and optimised call clarity, so effectively nothing to help the Adapt 231 stand out from the theoretical crowd.
Of course, there is plenty to look at beyond the marketing, first being the inclusion of multi-point Bluetooth support. This feature, usually a hallmark of more expensive devices, allows a connection to multiple points simultaneously.
If you were listening to some music on your phone while working before suddenly needing to answer a call on your laptop, the Adapt 231 could seamlessly switch without issue and the need to re-pair. For those who work at home, this is a boon.
Presumingly predicting the mess that is trying to assume what connections a home worker might have available to them, there is a generous assortment of gubbins included to assist. Aside from the standard Bluetooth there is a USB-C dongle and a separate USB-A dongle offered as standard.
This should allow compatibility with most devices, though somewhat troublingly I had issues when connecting to the dongles, whereas the standard Bluetooth connection worked mostly without issue. The issue may be isolated to the review unit, but it is unfortunate nonetheless.
Microphone performance is supposedly boosted by noise-cancelling tech, and the difficulties of objectively measuring this aside, callers reported only positive things. No matter the kind of connection, voices came through clearly on both sides. Despite being a raison d’etre for the likes of the Adapt 231 this is pleasant to see nonetheless.
An EPOS Connect app is available on iOS, MacOS, Windows and Android that promises some degree of customisation of the device, but unfortunately the program would not detect the device regardless of the platform used.
- Offers ‘stereo sound’
- Mainly focussed on call quality
- Not a replacement for more general headphones
When it comes to overall sound quality, beyond stereo sound little is promised by the Adapt 231, not that this is much of an issue. With a single ear-cup and being intended primarily as a device by which to make and receive calls, volume and clarity are its primary performance metrics.
And by those metrics, it succeeds, during multiple calls there were never any issues in understanding other callers, no matter the kind of connection used. As might be expected, if you are on calls all day the Adapt 231 will likely be of interest.
As for more general use, such as the odd Spotify playlist or Youtube video on break or in the background, though they don’t achieve anything quite like the quality coming from a more consumer-centric headset they still suffice. There’s detail and volume plus some pleasingly warm bass, meaning you won’t need to switch your headset even if you switch from work to leisure and back again.
This is with the very significant caveat that, for the price, almost any other available generalist (read widely available) headphones will be able to produce superior performance. If you solely want to listen to music and only take calls occasionally, other options will be a better fit.
Should you buy it?
If you have a call-heavy workload If you spend all day in meetings, the Adapt 231 is comfortable and offers good call quality.
If you listen to lots of music The Adapt 231 is designed first and foremost to make calls and is only passable for more general media consumption.
Finding the right set of headphones is a difficult task – there are very few options available that will be the best option for everybody.
Devices like the Adapt 231 are an answer to that problem, by hyper-focussing on a specific purpose they aim to be the very best option for someone. And if you are a person who spends all day on Teams calls, who values call quality above all else, then that someone might be you.
For most people, the Adapt 231 aren’t a sensible option, being too expensive and too specific, but for those looking to furnish their office with a high-quality work-focussed product there are few other options that offer the same connection versatility. They are held back from a recommendation by some patchy Bluetooth and dongle issues, somewhat squiffy software and fiddly controls.
If you are looking to upgrade your work from home set up, the Adapt 231 should be in your crosshairs.
How we test
We test every headphone we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
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Tested with real world use
Used for several days
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The EPOS 231 Adapt can be connected in two ways, either with a Bluetooth connection or by plugging in via USB-C.
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