Sony INZONE H9 review: goofy design, impressive sound
Sony's high-end gaming headset sounds great, but the price and lack of PS5 features makes it hard to recommend
The Sony INZONE H9 headset feels like a missed opportunity. On the one hand, it’s a tangible upgrade over the Pulse 3D Wireless Headset for PS5, delivering impressive 3D audio and a satisfying low-end thump that makes some of the best PS5 games come to life.
But it’s PC gamers who will get the most bang for their buck with this gaming headset. You can’t change its EQ setting on the PS5, nor can you create a custom 3D audio profile. These tweaks can only be made through the rather spotty INZONE app on PC.
And then there’s the price: $299. That’s probably at the very top of most gamers’ budgets, and due to the lack of PS5 features it makes what should have been the high-end headphone of choice for PS5 gamers hard to recommend due
Its excellent noise-canceling capabilities alone make it one of the best PS5 headsets you can buy, but unless you can find this headset on sale, I’d look elsewhere. Read my Sony INZONE H9 review below.
Score: 3.5 out of 5 🏆
How I tested the Sony INZONE H9 🧪
I used the Sony INZONE H9s as my go-to pair of gaming headphones for a number of weeks, playing a variety of PS5 and PS4 titles. A large portion of my The Last of Us Part 1 review was spent wearing the Sony INZONE H9 headset, which delivered convincing 3D audio and a surprisingly wide soundstage for a closed-back pair of headphones. I also played Call of Duty: Vanguard, which really showed off the Sony INZONE H9’s impressive low-end and sub-bass frequencies.
What I liked about the Sony INZONE H9 ❤️
🤗 Big, comfy earcups. The Sony INZONE H9 has generously deep earcups to accommodate ears of all shapes and sizes. You can wear these cans comfortably for hours without any discomfort. The swiveling earcups also let you lock in a more desirable fit.
🎧 Impressive sound quality. Sound quality is always subjective, but I enjoyed the impactful bass the Sony INZONE H9 offered. 3D audio worked particularly well, allowing me to pinpoint environmental sounds easily. However, some may find the headset’s low end to be a tad overpowering, which can muddy finer details.
🤫 Noise-canceling. Sony has built a sterling reputation when it comes to noise-canceling, and the Sony INZONE H9 doesn’t let it down. The noise-canceling is extremely impressive, cutting out the fans of my gaming PC with ease and annoying background noise.
👂 Transparency mode. Great noise-canceling is one thing, but having a transparency mode is equally important. Thankfully the Sony INZONE H9 has an excellent transparency mode that amplifies sound around you without sounding unnatural. It’s extra useful for a closed-back pair of headphones, which can often make things sound muffled, even when you’ve muted your audio.
💙 Bluetooth audio support. You can listen to Bluetooth audio while playing your favorite PS5 games, which is a feature that should be the standard on any wireless gaming headset worth its salt. Of course, this also allows you to take calls in case anyone gets in touch when you’re playing PS5.
🔋 Battery life. The battery life of the Sony INZONE H9 headset was around the promised 32 hours with noise canceling off. The headset can still be used while charging which is handy, and a full charge takes 3.5 hours. However, you can get up to 60 minutes of playback after a quick 10-minute charge.
📣 Gets nice and loud. There’s nothing worse than when a headset falls short in the volume department. The Sony INZONE H9 gaming headset provided plenty of volume with some extra headroom to spare.
What I disliked about the Sony INZONE H9 💔
🤪 Goofy look. For as comfortable as the Sony INZONE H9 are to wear, there’s no doubt you look daft when they’re on your head. The massive earcups, white plastic and permanently attached microphone make you look like an air traffic controller, limiting their use cases for outside of the home.
✋ No EQ on PS5. It’s extremely disappointing that the Sony INZONE H9 gaming headset doesn’t let you change the EQ settings on the PlayStation 5, only on PC. Sony’s cheaper PS5 Pulse 3D Wireless Headset has this feature, and it can make a dramatic difference in dialing the right sound to suit your tastes. It’s a huge missed opportunity.
😤 Inconsistent PC software. I ran into several problems using Sony’s INZONE PC software. For one, it wouldn't work with my gaming PC running Windows 11. The headset was never recognized by the app, no matter what I tried. However, I had better luck on my partner’s PC, which was running Windows 10.
🎤 Terrible microphone. Sony has since released a firmware update to address the poor-quality microphone, which I was told sounded “awful” by a friend in a PS5 party chat. The bare minimum you expect at this high-end price point is a quality microphone, and it’s a shame it can’t be detached from the headset either.
🎧 No 3.5mm headphone jack. Even though the Sony INZONE H9 connects via a dongle or Bluetooth, it’s disappointing that no headphone jack is included. Perhaps this will become less of an issue as the years roll on, but I always like having a wired option as it makes the headset compatible with more devices.
🤔 Unclear prompts. I had to refer to the headset’s manual to know exactly what mode I was using, as the Sony INZONE H9 only offers innocuous beeps that sound awfully similar. A voiceover prompt could have solved this issue but it isn’t a deal breaker.
💰 The price. The Sony INZONE H9 is an expensive pair of headphones at $299. You can often find them on sale for cheaper than the asking price, but there are better-sounding headsets with more functionality available at this bracket.
Should you buy the Sony INZONE H9? 🤔
✅ You want a noise-canceling gaming headset with great sound.
✅ You want something that matches the aesthetic of your PS5.
✅ You can find it on sale.
❌ You’re not bothered about noise-canceling.
❌ You’d like a pair of headphones that works with several devices.
❌ You want something you can wear on your commute.
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First published: January 17, 2023
Updated: February 13, 2023
Yeah, comfort and 3D immersion are excellent. Makes my audio-technicas feel almost painful.
But a clunky user experience can break the spell -- often accidentally bumping the volume dial or flicking the upright mic boom on something that your spatial awareness said was well clear.
Haven't yet tried them on PC, but we'll roll the Win11 firmware dice out of necessity to help justify the cost.