Let’s look at and review the Edifier Hecate GT4 S bluetooth gaming earbuds – unlike most earbuds that offer a low-latency gaming mode, this true wireless earphone from Edifier’s Hecate line provides a USB dongle for a dedicated 2.4 GHz connection that offers a latency that can go as low as 15ms.
I don’t want to be that guy who hangs out in Starbucks who blasts game audio for everyone to hear. Sure, I can just get my trusty wired in-ear monitors so I can provide sanity for everyone around me, but it’s not always the most convenient option. I have been spoiled by true wireless earbuds for a while now. But here’s the thing: wireless options on the Nintendo Switch suck. For the longest time, I have struggled with wireless audio for the Nintendo Switch. There was a time when very few wireless headsets worked with the Switch, and it was a huge hassle finding a headset that worked back in the day.
But things have changed since then. Newer wireless headsets are now compatible with the Switch, manufacturers produced bluetooth dongles that offer low latency for the bluetooth headsets that you already own, plus Nintendo updated the Switch’s firmware to allow bluetooth audio pairing, which is cool.
Which brings us to the Edifier Hecate GT4 S. I normally wouldn’t have looked at Edifier’s TWS offerings, but this one has one feature that I couldn’t resist – a USB dongle enables gaming with latency that can go as low as 15ms. Plus, it works with PCs, phones, the Steam Deck, the Playstation 4 & 5, and the Nintendo Switch. Does it work? Is it any good? Is it something that you can add to your Switch everyday carry?
Disclosure: Edifier did not sponsor this review, nor did I receive a review sample of the Edifier Hecate GT4 S. I purchased the Edifier Hecate GT4 S with my own money.
Edifier Hecate GT4 S Specs
- Bluetooth version: 5.3
- Codec: SBC
- Playback Time:
- 6.5 hours + 19.5 hours (Bluetooth)
- 5 hours + 15 hours (2.4 GHz wireless)
- IP55 water and dust-proof rating
- 10mm bio-diaphragm unit
- PixArt PAU19 chip for low latency
- 45ms in bluetooth gaming mode
- 15ms in dongle mode
What’s in the Box?
The Edifier Hecate GT4 S comes in a small box that contains:
- The Hecate GT4 S earbuds
- Charging case
- 2 pairs of extra silicone earbud tips
- USB Type-A to C charging cable
- USB Type-C 2.4 GHz dongle
- USB Type-C to Type-A dongle adapter
- Manual & Warranty pamphlets
How Does it Work?
Edifier Hecate GT4 S Bluetooth Pairing
The first time you take the Edifier Hecate GT4 S’s out of its charging case, the earbuds will automatically go into pairing mode for bluetooth.
Just go into your phone’s bluetooth settings and look for the Hecate GT4 S. You should be able to pair it like any other normal piece of Bluetooth equipment. And with the Bluetooth 5.3 connection, I’ve never experienced any drop outs that I often encounter with my other TWS with older bluetooth versions.
Edifier Hecate GT4 S Dongle Mode
To go into dongle mode, just plug the USB dongle into the device you want to use, and then triple tap the left earbud and it’ll switch to dongle mode. It’ll then pair with the dongle, and you will get an audio notification if the pairing was successful. You can then switch between dongle and bluetooth modes by triple-tapping the left earbud.
I would have liked to see simultaneous connection on the GT4 S, where I can have both the Switch and my phone connected at the same time so I can take calls on my phone while gaming on the Switch/PC, but I’ve only seen a few full-sized gaming headsets offer that feature and for a premium, so I guess the technology isn’t quite there yet.
I knew about the lack of active noise canceling when I got the GT4 S, but when I used them in a noisy coffee shop, it was a bummer as I felt that the silicone tips did not provide enough passive noise cancelation. I’d pay a little more to get ANC on these buds.
Edifier Hecate GT4 S Touch Controls
Here’s how to control the Edifier Hecate GT4 S using the touch controls:
- Play/Pause Music: Double-tap the L or R earbud.
- Previous Track: Long-press the L earbud
- Next Track: Long-press the R earbud
- Answer Calls: Double-tap either L or R earbud
- End Calls: Double-tap either L or R earbud
- Reject Calls: Long-press either L or R earbud
- Switch Between Bluetooth and Dongle Mode: Triple-tap left earbud
- Switch Between Music and Game Mode: Triple-tap right earbud
- Turn on/off RGB lighting: Tap on either L or R earbud 4x
Fit & Comfort
I think we’ve reached a point where any single earphone manufacturer would provide a terrible fit and comfort experience. We’ve had enough knowledge of ergonomics that I think even a massively mediocre earbud would be uncomfortable for the average ear.
And the GT4 S is just that – pretty ok with ergonomics. They might take a bit of work before they fit in your ears just right, but once you get that correct fit, it’s alright. However, they tend to become incredibly uncomfortable the longer you wear them, as I unfortunately learned during a marathon Zoom call.
I also stopped using the stock silicone tips and I had fit issues with them as even the largest tips don’t provide enough grip to keep them in my ears. I’ve replaced them with foam tips from Misodiko and it fixed both my comfort and passive noise canceling issues.
Take note that I’ve switched back to the default silicone tips and I’ve ensured a proper fit, just to give their sound tuning a fair shake. I’ve also tried to look for any EQ curves from Edifier’s website as I do not have the equipment to measure them myself, but no luck.
I made sure that this is set to Music Mode, which is on by default, and I tried listening on both bluetooth and dongle.
I’ve been spoiled by my use of various in-ear monitors. Over the years, I’ve leaned towards IEMs with a more balanced mix, and I have totally forgotten what bass-heavy earphones sounded like until I tried this on.
Oof, that bass is incredibly out of control.
It’s overpowering everything else and it makes the 2022 remix of The Beatles’ “Taxman” sound bloated. All of the instruments outside of the bass takes a backstage and it’s hard to discern anything else. This adds up to an incredibly fatiguing experience if you’re going to use this for music listening. I know I won’t, but you may be a basshead and this might be right up your alley.
This might not be great for music, but it was actually perfect for watching movies and playing games as the bass provides an extra level of oomph to explosions. Audiophile TWS earphones they are not, but I did find some enjoyment out of them for very specific uses.
Next, I switched over to Game Mode, which is supposedly tuned by their Edifier Acoustics Laboratory to make what they’ve called the H+ Game Sound Effect to enhance low frequency of footsteps and high-pitched auxiliary gunfire for better spatial positioning.
I would not advise you to use this as it merely compresses the sound, providing no depth to the soundstage, and makes everything sound muddy and incomprehensible. I did not enjoy using Game Mode at all.
A lot of my complaints can be fixed if the Edifier Hecate GT4 S was compatible with Edifier’s TWS app, but it’s not supported. I managed to get the GT4 S to a somewhat listenable state with the Wavelet app, but that’s just going to be on my phone and will be useless on the Switch and on my PC.
I know we’re dealing with a gaming TWS that costs less than 3,000 Philippine Pesos, but I was disappointed to see that the Edifier Hecate GT4 S supports only SBC. No AAC or LDAC support here.
Here’s a recording of the Edifier Hecate GT4 S mic, connected via the 2.4 GHz dongle to Audacity, to give you the best possible audio quality possible. I did not process the sound in any way to let you hear what the mic sounds like.
So the day I got the Edifier Hecate GT4 S I immediately plugged them into my Nintendo Switch and played a couple of hours of Metroid Prime Remastered and the default sound signature actually lends itself well to gaming. Metroid Prime’s fantastic soundtrack and great audio engineering weren’t butchered at all while listening via the GT4 S.
Plus, there is no discernible lag when on Dongle Mode, so I can actually keep track of enemies and their location and time my attacks right easily. I don’t have any way to measure if the GT4 S is living up to its promised 15ms of latency, but I can say that it’s not something I can detect even if I tried.
- Solid and stable Bluetooth 5.3 connection
- No discernable latency on either bluetooth or dongle mode
- USB dongle with 2.4GHz connection that you can use on almost any device
- Great battery life
- Wide support with PC, Switch, and other devices
- Comfort is mediocre, can get uncomfortable with long periods of wear
- Both music and gaming sound signatures are not to my liking
- No support for audio codecs outside of SBC
- No app support
- No ANC
- No simultaneous bluetooth and 2.4GHz connection
- Mediocre mic
While I can think up of two TWS earbuds that offer a USB dongle for lag-free mobile gaming, the Soundcore VR P10 and the JBL Quantum TWS, the Edifier Hecate GT4 S is being sold locally for a quarter of the price, albeit lacking some features.
You know what? I can live with some of those missing features. Normally the overwhelming bass and the inability to edit the EQ would be a deal-breaker for me, but the addition of the 2.4GHz dongle is a game changer. This makes the Hecate GT4 S something I’d usually avoid into something good enough for gaming and casual use. The fact that I don’t need to unpair and re-pair it to my phone if I use it on a PC or the Switch makes this one of the most convenient wireless audio devices that I own.
I enjoy using it for gaming, and it’s good enough for meetings when I don’t want to be tethered to my computer. I have a ton of IEMs if I want to go for critical listening, but for gaming sessions and other quick tasks, the Hecate GT4 S is convenient enough for me to use it daily.
Get the Edifier Hecate GT4 S Gaming Earbuds here:
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