Genius isn’t going to fool anybody into thinking it’s Bose or Beats, but over the years the Taiwanese company — best known for computer mice and keyboards — has been making strides into the consumer headphones market and putting out some very respectable products, particularly in Bluetooth audio.
Here at the TechPorn HQ is one of them – the Genius HS-930 BT headphones. Priced just around $40, (below P 2000), we think it’s one of the best choices for anyone looking for a decent pair of Bluetooth headphones that sounds amazing and quite affordable.
- Bluetooth module4.0
- Driver unit40 mm
- Impedance32 Ω
- Frequency response20 Hz – 20KHz
- Battery500 mAh
- Battery charging interfaceMicro USB
- Playing time (60% volume)up to 15 hours
- Charging timeabout 3 hours
- Bluetooth operating range10m
- Audio input3.5 mm Line-in
- ColorsBlack, White, Red
- Dimensions (W x H x D)179 x 146.7 x 71.3 mm
- Weight160 g
WHAT YOU GET FROM THE BOX:
The packaging of the HS-930 BT headphones is quite basic. Behind the headphones neatly framed inside a clear plastic window is a Micro USB charge cable, a 3.5mm cable and a drawstring carrying bag made out of synthetic leather while the instructions are printed on the back of the box.
There’s nothing to write home about the packaging, but you definitely shouldn’t judge the headphones by its cover.
DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION:
I like that Genius went on to choose a more neutral look with the HS-930 BT. I was hoping to get the black edition of the headset but we had the red one instead for the review. I am not a fan of colored headphones, though. Often times they look cheap but the colors on the red unit is punchy and have good contrast. It looks good to be honest and that’s from me who owns 10 black headphones.
The Genius branding on the headset is a bit loud for my taste but the company was clever to use the logo as a button used to answer/hang up on calls and to hold to sync the headset. Next to the logo button are your usual controls for volume and starting/skipping tracks.
Genius did something we wish all wireless headsets did – the option to use the headset via a 3.5 mm jack when the HS-930 BT’s batteries are out of juice. I can imagine the HS-930 BT to be a blessing for commuters not just because they can now enjoy music without the hassle of cables but also the ability to fold the headset neatly for storage when not in use. When folded cup over cup, the headset can be kept inside your bag without taking much space.
However, I would not recommend bringing this headphone without a case or any protection. If there is one thing I really disliked about the HS-930 BT it’s the build quality. It feels plasticky – mainly owed to the thinness of the plastic used – and the hinges were less sturdy than hoped. Still, I have owned worse headphones than this and I feel that, with the proper care, the HS-930 BT will be adequately durable.
As for fit and comfort, the HS-930 BT prefers small to medium sized ears since it has an on-ear design. The synthetic leather is adequately padded and the clamp pressure was just right – perfect for long sessions. However, the pads on our review unit tend to swivel on the cup. Not a total deal breaker but we hope it’s a problem exclusive to the headphones we have.
GENERAL AUDIO PERFORMANCE:
We tested the HS-930 BT both in Bluetooth and wired mode using mobile phones with Bluetooth 4.0 as our audio source – an iPhone 6 plus and a Samsung S7 Edge. Songs played in the test were from Spotify (Extreme Quality) and 360kps MP3 files. Rest assured, there’s no equalizing done, so everything is tested as flat as possible.
While some might argue that mobile phones generally offer lower quality audio playback, using a mobile phone for the test makes sense since it’s the audio device most of our readers will probably use with wireless headphones like this one.
LOWS: The most memorable thing about the HS-930 BT is the good amount of bass quantity it produces and I can say that it’s probably tuned to excel in this area. I felt the rumble and thump in songs like Daft Punk’s Get Lucky and The White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army and tapped my legs hard to the beat with much gusto. The bass remained relatively clear at higher volumes but firmness tends to loosen a bit. Totally forgivable considering the price.
MIDS: The midrange in the HS-930 BT is respectable, offering clean vocals that’s pleasurable to listen. However, it may leave you wanting in terms of body and tends to get overwhelmed by the bass in more complex songs. Eva Cassidy’s Fields of Gold and Adele’s Someone Like You sounded amazing, sharp and very clear and I can imagine this will be the case in most vocal-centric songs you throw at the HS-930 BT. However, rock songs might be its weakness. The Darkness’ “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” was slightly muddy when the band was firing on all cylinders. While the thump and attack of System of a Down’s “Chopsuey” bass-wise was strong and tight, the texture of the vocals got a bit drowned during more complicate passages.
HIGHS: Good news is that the HS-930 BT produces barely any sibilance in all of the tracks we’ve played. Distortion is expected at higher volumes but is tolerable and largely depends on the quality and genre of the songs you are playing.
As expected, the HS-930 BT sounded better when the 3.5mm jack cable was used. The quality improved in all areas, especially in overall volume output.
The bottom line? The HS-930 BT sounds good over Bluetooth mostly likely due to its well-tune 40mm neodymium drivers and Bluetooth 4.0 support but that’s the limit of what it can offer wirelessly. Use the headphones wired if you want to maximize its potential – may it be from the use of a better audio source, an amplifier or better music files like FLAC. However, manage your expectations since the HS-930 BT is still a budget headphone.
MIC AND BATTERY LIFE:
The mic on the HS-930 T is a welcome addition but it fails to impress. Most people I called complained that my voice either sounded tiny or horribly inaudible. However, just to be fair, I have yet to use a Bluetooth headphone with a decent mic. The bad quality probably could be inherent from the design itself since the mic is much farther away from the user’s mouth compared to your common headset, with the mic located right below your chin.
Now, I forgave the HS-930 BT’s problems with its mic due to its very good battery life. According to Genius, it lasts a solid 15 hours of playing time and I think they made good on its promise. During our tests, it lasted a week long of commutes to and from work and during lunch breaks in the office. That’s amazing for a wireless headphone in this price range. I personally own a Marshall Major II Bluetooth and that lasts 30 hours of playing time but costs at around P6,500.
WRAPPING IT UP:
I love the HS-930 BT personally because it allows the average user to appreciate good quality wireless audio. Most Bluetooth headphones that sound as good and last as long usually cost a lot more, making the HS-930 BT excellent.
Sure there’s no noise cancellation or APTX technology, but the 40mm drivers and use of Bluetooth 4.0 is enough to deliver respectable audio performance. It has loud and proud bassy sound signature, which won’t suit every musical taste, but is fun to listen to. Genius was also thoughtful for adding a 3.5mm jack, should the battery run out or you want to easily listen to something on a computer – a feature you often see at higher priced headphones.
The battery life is amazing too, with well over 15 hours between charges making them a great choice for commuters. The only downside is the build quality and that mic. There are a couple of other headphones that’s similarly priced with the HS-930 BT like the Remax 195 HB, which has astounding aluminum build quality and looks similar to the the Jabra Move. But the sound quality of the HS-930 BT is far more superior.