Sony INZONE H9 Review – Outta time

A couple of months ago, I went down to Melbourne for the launch of the Sony INZONE line of gaming products where we got to go hands on for an hour or so. To be honest, I wasn’t overly impressed at my hands-on experience and I was concerned about who exactly Sony expects to buy this $399 headset. Several months later, I’ve got my hands on the flagship INZONE H9 wireless gaming headset — that’s the one with Active Noise Cancellation.

Now, after three weeks using it for a combined 10 hours every day for work calls, music listening and of course playing lots of games, I’ve got much more hands on time with it. And yes, it sounds great, it’s very comfortable and the battery life is great. But as a total package, it’s still not any clearer who these new not-PlayStation-but-actually yes INZONE headsets are for. Let’s get into it.

Sony INZONE H9 Review

Sony would very much like you to believe that this isn’t a PlayStation 5 headset but the overall design language betrays them. No gaming headset outside of the PlayStation Pulse 3D looks like it was made for the PS5 like these do. The smooth white frame with contrasting black leather cushioning just screams PS5. It’s also massive, like the PS5, unecessarily so. Headsets in this price point like the Master & Dynamic MG20 and the Razer Barracuda Pro look so much more premium and understated.

Sony, however, decided to go with the old-school, aviator-style look with two massive ear cups and a non-removable boom microphone that just sticks outwards when in the muted position. There’re are LED ring lights on top of each cup and large chunky buttons for controls. The headband gives you the usual sliding height adjustment and almost perfect clamping force right out of the box.

Overall, I think it looks somewhat cartoonish and cheap as a result. I do wish Sony had gone for less bulbous ear cups and maed the microphone detachable or even use beam-forming mics like on the 1000XM’s. But I also can’t deny just how comfortable the H9 is to wear all day long. The memory foam cushions on the headband and cups combined with a relatively lightweight of 330gms make for excellent comfort. Unfortunately, that’s not enough to reduce the bulky feel when wearing it. It actually looks more than a little ridiculous. So even though you could go out and about with the H9 using Bluetooth, no one would be caught dead wearing this outdoors, let alone pulling down the boom mic to make calls.

All your controls live on the ear cups. The right has the game / chat balance button, as well as power and Bluetooth buttons. On the left are the volume dial, Noise Cancelling / Ambient Sound Mode button and mic mute. You also have the boom microphone and USB port with charging LED. I really, really wished the H9 had voice prompts for whenever you change noise-cancelling or connect to a device.

The H9’s USB dongle is a traditional stick-style Type-A and not the annoying T-shaped, Type-C that is increasingly common for PS5 headsets. I’m okay with this as its easy to keep track of and it doesn’t block other ports. The dongle also has a status LED ring that lets you know when you’re connected. The dongle has a toggle switch to go between dedicated PlayStation 5 mode and PC mode. I’m still unclear why this was needed as every other cross platform PlayStation headset dongle doesn’t need this. It’s usually only Xbox headsets like the Steelseries Arctis Nova 7X which have a dedicated Xbox wireless chip inside.

Connectivity and battery

The INZONE H9 boasts simultaneous 2.4Ghz and Bluetooth wireless connections. It comes with a traditional USB dongle for 2.4Ghz wireless which has an odd switch to toggle between PlayStation 5 and everything else. I have no idea why this is necessary but it’s there. It uses Bluetooth 5.0 which isn’t the latest and greatest but it does support SBC and AAC formats though no low-latency mode for mobile gaming enthusiasts.

The connection was pretty solid till about 10m where it starts pinging and popping as it struggles to reconnect. But its the simultaneous connection that most gamers will appreciate. Use the 2.4Ghz connection for your console/ PC for low latency gaming and Bluetooth to your phone for calls and Discord chat. The H9 adeptly handles both devices so you can make calls on your phone while still enjoying your game.

The Bluetooth multifunction button requires different combinations of tapping to manage calls and media. One thing to note is that when using Bluetooth or PlayStation mode, you lose access to any EQ settings which only function when connected to a Windows PC running the INZONE Hub software.

Even with multiple devices connected, the H9 will manage up to 32 hours of listening on a single charge. If you are using the ANC all the time though, that number drops by a couple of hours. In my case, the H9 would beg for a recharge every three days or so. That’s pretty good considering I’ve been using them all day for work and gaming at night.

Thankfully, when it does run out of juice, it can charge and play simultaneously. Additionally, you can get a full hour of use from just 10 minutes of charging which can be great.

Performance and spatial audio

The INZONE H9 uses similar 40mm drivers as the WH-1000XM3 and so it generally sounds quite good. The audio is rich and expansive with a bias towards the mids and highs. There is plenty of bass but it’s very restrained. I had to play around with the INZONE Hub EQ to get it thump more to my liking. Nonetheless, it sounds great in games. Gunplay sounds meaty and punchy, footsteps are clear and easy to pinpoint and open worlds sound vast and detailed. The open world of ancient Greece in Assassins Creed Odyssey sound rich with detail and distance that really helps with the immersion.

The H9 also supports Sony’s 360 spatial audio. You’ll need follow the INZONE Hub’s instructions to scan your ears and create a spatial audio profile unique to you. Owners of any of the 1000XM headsets who have a saved profile can have that imported with ease. I tried this with a few games and on PC, I never really felt it did anything for improving the soundscape. The audio generally sounds more distant and thus not as punchy as the regular stereo mode. Your mileage might vary though so don’t discount the feature. While I don’t have a PlayStation 5, the H9 is designed to work flawlessly with Tempest 3D Audio which I’ve heard is very impressive.

As a Sony tuned headset, listening to music has been an enjoyable experience. While I would have loved a little more oomph to the bass, the H9 does a great job capturing the essence of the music. I tend to listen to film scores and game soundtracks with a preference for the orchestral versions. The H9 captures all the instruments with clarity and precision and keeps the bass tight with no distortion or piercing highs.

Active noise cancellation

The INZONE H9 borrows some of the ANC tech from the 1000XM3 but falls short of its ancestors noise-cancelling prowess. It’s good but not total silence good nor does it have the same AI smarts as those XM headphones do that can adapt the noise-cancelling to your environment. However, the H9 does a good job at suppressing lower frequencies but higher frequencies still come through loud and clear.

For instance, I couldn’t hear the dishwasher or the fans from the gaming laptop I was using but I could still hear the clack of my mechanical keyboard and the squeals of my daughters. You’ll never really be in total silence though most things will just sound like some turned the environmental audio from 10 to 5.

The H9 also has a transparency mode which does the opposite of ANC by playing ambient sound through the headset instead of cancelling them. It works very well, allowing you to hear voices and door knocks without compromising your gaming experience. You can flick through noise-cancelling and transparency modes with a quick press of a button on the left ear cup.


The microphone on the INZONE H9 is one of its biggest shortcomings, falling short of what you’d expect from such a premium headset. While the mic is clear enough, it exhibits a tremendous amount of compression and often fades in and out that makes it sound like a much cheaper headset. I expected better from such a solid boom mic.

Sony INZONE H9 Microphone sample

It’s certainly enough for game and video chat but if you intend to do some streaming or content creation, then this mic isn’t worth using. However, when playing some Destiny 2, my fireteam never complained that they couldn’t hear me clearly even though I often had to speak louder than usual.


There’s no doubt that the Sony INZONE H9 is a good gaming headset. It’s comfortable for all day wear, it’s got great audio performance and the battery life won’t let you down. The dual mode connectivity is wonderful and the ANC is a nice to have. But the design is just over the top, the microphone is subpar and the price is really just too high. I actually think the $299 H7 is the better bang for buck even though you lose out on the noise-cancelling.

I think the problem is bigger than specs and build. There are just so many exceptional gaming headsets in 2022 that look, feel and sound better than Sony’s new offerings. And unless you are really invested in the PlayStation 5 aesthetic, I don’t see why anyone would pick these up. Like everybody’s favorite time travelling DeLorian, the INZONE’s are outta time and out of place.

Sony Australia kindly provided the Inzone H9 to PowerUp Gaming for the purpose of this review.

All day comfort
Dual wireless connectivity
Great sounding in games and media
Good battery
Active noise cancellation
Cartoony, PlayStation inspired design
Poor mic, non-detachable
Why does the dongle have a PS5 switch?
Very expensive, cheaper options do better
Good but outta time
Kizito Katawonga
Kizito Katawonga
Kizzy is our Tech Editor. He's a total nerd with design sensibilities who's always on the hunt for the latest, greatest and sexiest tech that enhances our work and play. When he's not testing the latest gadgets or trying to listen to his three whirlwind daughters, Kizzy likes to sink deep into a good story-driven single player game.

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