Few headsets are as accomplished as the EPOS IMPACT 1000 but comfort, customisation and call quality don’t come cheap
- Great microphone clarity
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Useful customisation options
- ANC could be better
- No EQ settings
Bluetooth headsets like those in the EPOS IMPACT 1000 series have experienced a renaissance in recent years. Demand surged when a significant proportion of the population was forced to work from home in 2020 and it remains high now millions of people are splitting their time between the office and working remotely.
Danish manufacturer EPOS refers to this hybrid approach as the “New Open Office” and its IMPACT 1000 headsets are designed to facilitate effective business communications, regardless of whether you’re in a bustling corporate HQ or sat on your tod in a one-bed flat.
I’ve used the IMPACT 1061 ANC – the most advanced entry in the IMPACT 1000 series – for numerous calls and meetings and have been very impressed. It scores highly in the crucial areas of comfort and microphone quality, has active noise cancellation to aid focus, and can be customised in various meaningful ways via the EPOS Connect app.
However, the high price means that unless you spend the majority of your week on calls, you’ll probably find it hard to justify splashing out.
EPOS IMPACT 1000 review: What do you get for the money?
The IMPACT 1000 range includes a number of different configurations, so what you get depends on how much you’re willing to spend. All of the options are available with either Unified Communications or Microsoft Teams certification and the prices are the same across both platforms. The headsets that support Teams have a “T” at the end of their model number. The cheapest option is the IMPACT 1030, which costs £220. It’s monaural and makes do without noise cancellation or a charging stand.
The remaining configurations are all binaural affairs. The IMPACT 1060 doesn’t come with a stand but can be bought with or without noise cancellation and the price difference is significant: adding ANC bumps up your outlay from £230 to £329. Finally, there’s the IMPACT 1061, which comes with a charging stand. If you’re willing to forgo ANC, it’ll set you back £279, while the top-of-the-range model with active noise cancellation that I was sent for this review costs an eye-watering £365.
In addition to the headset and stand, the IMPACT 1061 ANC includes a soft fabric carrying pouch, a 1.2m USB-C to USB-C cable and a USB-A Bluetooth dongle. The headset operates wirelessly over Bluetooth 5.3 and can be paired with up to three sources simultaneously, which is very useful if you work across multiple devices and need to quickly switch between them.
Talk time for the headset is quoted at up to 20 hours with ANC off and 19 hours with it on, while standby time clocks in at up to 300 hours if you don’t have ANC engaged. Activating noise cancellation sees that figure plummet to just 50 hours, although that’s still ample for most working weeks. Charging the headset from empty will take around 90 minutes using the included USB-C cable, while wireless charging to full via the stand (which itself needs to be connected to a power source via USB-C) takes two and a half hours.
EPOS IMPACT 1000 review: What do we like about it?
If you’re wearing a headset for prolonged periods of time, it’s essential that it’s comfortable, and the IMPACT 1061 is certainly that. At just 181g it’s lightweight and the cushions that sit on your ears are generously padded with soft foam.
Two sections of rubberised padding grace the underside of the headband and prevent slippage, while also successfully distributing weight across your head. The headband is easily adjustable and the headset itself can be worn either way around, depending on whether you want the microphone on your left or right-hand side.
That microphone does a sterling job, too. It comprises four digital MEMS (micro-electromechanical systems), which replace traditional microphone capsules and are attached to a boom arm. Flipping the arm down engages the mic while flipping it back up mutes it. Beamforming technology is used to scan your environment 32,000 times a second and identify external sounds that are distinct from your voice. A noise-cancelling algorithm is then implemented to dampen those distractions and enable your voice to be reproduced clearly.
This all worked extremely well during testing, with the headset fighting off distractions to great effect and articulating my voice tremendously well. Feedback following calls and meetings was unequivocally positive, and at no stage was I asked to repeat myself, even when there was a lot going on around me.
Headset controls are kept to a minimum but cover all the key bases, with a power/Bluetooth pairing switch and volume rocker on one ear pad and a button for engaging ANC on the other. There’s also a small button on the arm of the microphone you can use to accept or end calls.
That’s not the only way to answer calls, however. The EPOS Connect app offers a range of settings that allow you to personalise your IMPACT 1000, and the ability to answer calls simply by putting on the headset is one of these. You can also choose to have the mic mute automatically as soon as you take off the headset, limit the maximum decibel level of audio, adjust how loudly you hear your own voice on calls, and activate Smart Pause, which pauses audio if you remove the headset.
One of the most useful in-app options allows you to control how the headset switches between connected devices. Selecting Dynamic mode results in the headset switching to another device as soon as audio begins playing on it, while Focused mode ignores audio from all sources but the one you’re currently using. This is a real quality-of-life inclusion and the switching between sources worked seamlessly.
Further options let you turn off tones and prompts during calls, have an LED on the mic flash if you try to talk when the headset is muted, and select how long it takes to power down when not in use. All of these little adjustments go a long way to creating an experience that’s tailored to your own specific needs and that’s an excellent thing.
EPOS IMPACT 1000 review: What could be improved?
There’s also a reasonable level of customisation available when it comes to active noise cancellation. You can select from Low, Medium or High ANC settings in the app or choose to engage Adaptive ANC, which adjusts attenuation automatically based on how loud your environment is.
On-ear headsets aren’t as effective at attenuating sound as their over-ear counterparts as they don’t create a complete seal around your ears. As a result, I was still aware of sounds around me in the office, even with the ANC at its highest setting.
That’s not to say the ANC here is useless; it dampens distractions to a reasonable degree and makes it slightly easier to focus on the conversation you’re having. However, it wasn’t quite as impactful as I’d hoped and does add considerably to the price. The TalkThrough (transparency) mode works very well, though, and is particularly handy in the office.
Being able to fold the headset up for easier transportation would have been nice and I’d have welcomed a few EQ options, too. The headset’s tuning is spot on for calls but not as well suited to music, movies or TV media. Given this is a headset designed for business, though, it’s hard to be too critical on that front.
EPOS IMPACT 1000 review: Should you buy it?
The EPOS IMPACT 1000 is a great option for those willing to spend a serious amount of money on a headset for home and office use. If your working week primarily consists of virtual meetings and phone calls and you want to sound and look the part, it’s a fantastic choice.
If you only jump on the odd Zoom call or occasional Teams chat, however, you’ll want to consider something rather cheaper from our lists of the best Bluetooth headsets and best headsets for conference calls. Unless you’re able to claim an EPOS IMPACT 1000 as a business expense, that is.