Sony’s premium InZONE gaming line has now launched in Australia and after a few solid weeks of use, I’m ready to talk about my experience with the inZONE H9. It’s been a great year for headsets with the likes of the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless and Razer Barracuda Pro both dropping, but if you’re a PS5 owner (and I suspect most of you reading this review will be), it’s pretty hard to go past the Sony InZONE H9 which offers many of the same features of the two aforementioned headsets but just pairs with the PS5 in ways that those other headsets can’t.
Whilst I went on the record saying that the Arctis Nova Pro was my favourite headset to ever release and I still think that’s definitely the case, at absolutely no fault of SteelSeries, it lacks the ability to control game/chat audio on the actual headset as well as show things such as battery life and volume on-screen whilst using it with a PS5.
Because the InZONE H9 is an official Sony product, it allows you to not only adjust game/chat audio on the headset (and have it show it on-screen), but it also gives visual indicators on screen that show you whether your headset is muted, or if you’ve got low battery or just how high or low your volume is. They’re not must-have features, but they’re really nice to have and would probably push me into wanting to use the H9 over the Arctis Nova Pro as my daily driver on the PS5.
When it comes to the design, it’s a bit hit and miss in my opinion. The headset is super light and extremely comfortable utilising the Sony XM5’s soft leather earcups/band and even with glasses never felt like a burden to wear. Whilst I appreciate that the design does tie into that of the PS5s, the sheer size of them means that whilst it’s a great sounding headset with bluetooth connectivity and noise cancelling, I don’t feel like you’d ever wear them out of the house, which is a shame given the price point and the fact that they very much could double as an every day headset as well as a dedicated gaming headset.
I really liked how easy to access all the controls are on the actual headset as well, with noise cancelling having its own button, an easy to reach volume wheel, game/chat balance buttons as well as a dedicated power button and Bluetooth buttons. They’re all a really good distance apart too, so that even after a few minutes with the headset, I wasn’t second guessing myself. The microphone can’t be detached, but it does mute when flipped up, which is handy.
It’s probably no surprise given the Sony XM3-5s have some of the best noise cancelling in consumer headphones and that the insides of the inZONE H9 have similar insides to that of the XM3s, but noise cancelling was really great on this particular headset and probably better than the others that I’ve mentioned in this review. Whilst the sounds of your game are likely to drown out a fair amount of noise, the active noise cancelling went the extra mile to drown my sausage dogs barking out or my husband scrolling through TikToks on the couch to me. All the same, being able to quickly switch to transparency mode to have a quick conversation was also really appreciated, and worked well.
I was even more impressed when I went over to the InZONE Hub PC software which had more customisation than any headset software I’ve ever used presented in a really consumer friendly way. Initially when using the headset with the PS5, I was annoyed that the noise cancelling button flicked between on, off or ambient (letting noise in), because for me, I only would ever want noise cancelling on, or people’s voices heightened through ambient mode when somebody in my house is trying to talk to me, and low and behold, I was able to customise it using the software it so that this button would make it flick between noise cancelling on or ambient only.
I was also able to customise things such as what would happened when the headset first turned on, which is minor, but totally allows for people to customise exactly how they want to use their headset, and I appreciate that.
I could also make it so that ambient mode only focused on letting voices in, which I assume is pulling from the excellent XM5 noise cancelling tech. I was amazed just how much of a difference making changes using the software made, especially in this instance.
The Bluetooth connectivity also worked exactly how I wanted with the InZONE H9 allowing me to connect both my PS5 (through the dedicated dongle) as well as my mobile phone to the headset with a press of the button on the headset. This meant that I could either listen to music from my phone whilst gaming or quickly take a call/watch some TikToks whilst waiting for a FIFA match to load. Like noise cancelling, it’s not something every gamer needs, but it’s the type of thing that you won’t be able to live without once you’ve experienced it.
I’m not the biggest audiophile, but the sound that came out of the InZONE H9 was really pleasing. I spent majority of my time with these playing the Modern Warfare 2 Beta and gunshots sounded crisp, the bass was immense, and the ability to crank the volume right up and have really loud game audio was absolutely there. The flip microphone isn’t the best I’ve used, but it’s serviceable unless you’re a pro player.
Battery life is said to be around 32 hours whilst using noise cancelling with 10 minutes of quick charging giving an hour of battery life and I found all of this to be true. Whilst I definitely missed the dual battery of the Arctis Nova Pro Wireless, having to charge won’t be a frequent enough occurrence with these to be much of an issue.
The headset is also compatible with a PC, with the included USB dongle (which has a switch that goes between PS5/PC) and to be honest, to get the most out of this headset, you will need a PC to fiddle with settings using the InZONE software. Everything you select does carry over to the PS5, but it is a bit of a shame to not have this app available on PlayStation or an app, and hopefully that functionality does come down the track.
All-in-all, if you want a noise cancelling headset that can connect to your PS5 and a phone at the same time, there’s not really a better option than the InZONE H9 due to the fact that it perfectly pairs with the PS5 in ways that no other non-Sony headset can.
The Sony InZONE H9 gaming headset takes the best of Sony's XM range to deliver a gaming headset that perfectly pairs with the PS5 and PC in ways that other headsets simply can't.