Sony Inzone H9 Review
The Sony Inzone H9 is a good gaming headset, albeit quite an expensive one. Its audio is pretty good, although not as sharp as the mid-range Inzone H7. The addition of ANC does a good job at blocking out most noise, even if it doesn’t do it as potently as similarly priced headphones. They do look sleek, which is a plus, and the battery life provides days’ worth of endurance.
- Sleek design
- ANC is good at blocking out noise
- Enjoyable, energetic audio
- Software is a little fiddly
- Mic sounds a tad thin
- UKRRP: £269
- USARRP: $298
- 40mm drivers:The Inzone H9 features 40mm drivers that offer a vibrant and energetic listen
- Active noise cancellation:This top end model is also able to block out noise with ANC, like more premium headphones
- 32 hour battery life:It also has a total 32 hours of go juice inside.
Sony’s brand new Inzone line of headsets is arguably one of the most exciting releases of peripherals in 2022, and the Sony Inzone H9 is the brand’s new top-of-the-line model.
Priced at £269/$299, they aren’t cheap, but feature a sleek design, excellent audio and the powers of ANC that usually adorns headphones more than a gaming headset.
Is all of it enough to power the Inzone H9 to the top of our best gaming headset list? Here are my thoughts.
Design and features
- Sleek, PlayStation-inspired design
- Ridiculously comfortable
- Excellent compatibility and connectivity
The design isn’t all too different to that of the Inzone H7 headset I’ve taken a look at previously. The H9 looks especially sleek with an aesthetic inspired by the PS5 with smooth plastic earcups that notably feature dinky cutouts for the ANC-enabling microphones. The earcups themselves don’t feel hollow and offer a durable frame.
Comparisons to Sony’s flagship WH-1000XM5 are inevitable, especially given the similarity in price between the two devices, and there is a little bit of a crossover between the pair given the clicky headband adjustment slider and headband design that they both look to feature.
There is a notable difference between this more premium Inzone headset and the middle child H7 in regards to the material used on the earcups. Instead of sticking with the uber-comfortable fabric finish, the H9 uses smooth leather instead, which felt comfortable around my head and ears, not least on the earcups.
There’s a good level of padding to offer support and a cushioned feel, but I actually found the fabric ones are that little bit more comfortable. The leather earcups also offer a good level of passive noise isolation, and it’s up there with some of the best I’ve felt on a gaming headset.
With a weight of 330g, the Inzone H9 didn’t feel too heavy on my head and, unlike Turtle Beach’s Stealth 700 Gen 2 Max, didn’t feel restrictive or offer a ridiculous level of clamping force around my cranium.
The multimedia controls offer thoughtful placement on both earcups, as opposed to loading it all on one side. On the right side, there are buttons for the game/chat mixer, Bluetooth and power, while on the left you’ll find a tactile-feeling volume dial, as well as a button to switch between ANC and Ambient mode. All of the buttons feel tactile and it’s nice to feel something so simple and effective in contrast to the array of indistinguishable knobs and dials appearing all over the competition.
The Sony Inzone H9 work with both PS5 and PC and can connect via both Bluetooth or the bundled 2.4GHz receiver. You can even connect them up to a phone if you so wish, or any other Bluetooth-enabled device. Connectivity was solid over both means, although Bluetooth does offer a smidge better audio quality for the price of higher latency. The lack of any means of wired connectivity is a bit of a shame though, especially given the high markup for these cans.
32 hours of battery life is about on par for premium gaming headsets these days, and in testing, the Inzone H9 managed between 30 and 32 hours before I needed to reach for a USB-C cable to charge it back up again. It’s not as good endurance as the H7’s 40 hours, but still more than serviceable, especially given the added drain of active noise cancellation.
Audio and mic quality
- Enjoyable audio with decent soundstage
- ANC does a decent job of blocking out noise
- Software is as fiddly as before
On the front of audio with the H9, the mix is more mid- and top-end heavy, and sometimes the lower end can feel a tad drowned out, as evidenced by a listen to Rush’s Roll The Bones. With that being said, the low end is certainly present and the H9 can actually offer lower end frequencies than most other headsets, going as low as 5KHz. While this isn’t something that humans can necessarily hear, it’s a nice to have so the H9 can show off their bottom end a little more. Nonetheless, they make for an enjoyable listen.
There’s also a good sense of placement and a pretty decent soundstage with the Sony Inzone H9, although in some tracks, there was some overlapping between instruments and vocals. Vocals themselves, such as on James Taylor’s Line ‘Em Up, were delivered clearly with good precision, which also made for a good help in a few runs of Sniper Elite V, where pinpointing enemies for a smooth takedown is vital.
ANC is a nice to have, and does a decent job of blocking noise out, although isn’t on par with similarly priced headphones with the dedicated function, such as my own personal Bose Noise Cancelling 700, which did a much better job of dulling the noise of my fan down, for instance.
For blocking out most noise, the Sony did a fine job and with music turned even up to just half volume, the sounds of keyboards and the fan, as well as people talking in the garden, were mostly blocked out. The ambient mode, which can be activated via a small button on the left earcup, sounds relatively clear and natural, albeit a little compressed at times.
Much like with the Inzone H7, the higher end H9 utilises Sony’s Inzone Hub, which proved to suffer the same problematic ill of refusing to work on my Windows 11 home PC. After much faffing, it worked in Windows 10, and I was greeted with a relatively clean UI that offers the chance to fiddle with the headset till my heart was content.
There are options for fiddling with the EQ, as well as turning the ANC on and off and changing the strength of the ambient mode, as well as enabling 360 Spatial Audio on PC, which itself did also help to improve placement and immersion during listening. There is also a handy function that allows you to set up an auto power off feature after a period of inactivity if you happen to up sticks and leave your desk while the H9 is still on.
The microphone on offer sounds similar to the H7, offering reasonable clarity, although it lacks a little bit of body compared to some other boom mics I’ve tested in headsets recently. Much like the headset itself though, the Inzone H9’s cleverly designed flip-to-mute mic does a good job of blocking out at least a proportion of the ambient noise it’s presented with.
Should you buy it?
You want the powers of ANC in a gaming headset:
ANC is usually reserved for headphones instead of gaming headsets, but if you want to have the power of noise cancellation, the Inzone H9 is a good performer.
You want the best battery life:
While 32 hours is good in terms of other gaming headsets, it’s not the best battery life I’ve seen. For that you’ll want to look elsewhere.
Having tested the Sony Inzone H7 previously, I had high hopes for the Inzone H9, and most of my expectations were met. But the real question is whether they’re worth the extra £69 compared to the H7.
This really boils down to whether or not you want ANC in a gaming headset. Personally speaking, it is of major help to block out noise than passive isolation wouldn’t normally, although it is similarly priced to high-end wireless headphones that also offer the same function, and do it better.
With that being said though, the Inzone H9 feels excellent and looks especially sleek, while audio is pretty balanced, although a little hollow in the low end at times. The 32 hours of battery, while not as much as the H7’s 40 hours, is still up there with some of the better gaming headsets money can buy today, and will give you enough juice for a week or so of gaming.
How we test
We use every headset we test for at least a week. During that time, we’ll check it for ease of use and put it through its paces by using it in a variety of games, as well as playing music in order to get the full experience.
We also check each headset’s software (if applicable) to see how easy it is to customise and set up.
Use as our primary gaming headset for at least a week.
Tested with a variety of games.
Also tested with music playback.
You might like…
Yes, although you’ll need to use the bundled USB receiver.
No, the Inzone H9 does not offer compatibility with the Xbox.