Genius is a brand that is well-known for delivering inexpensive computer accessories of reasonable quality. Sometimes, they also release higher quality audio products, mostly speakers. Now we had the chance to test one of their headsets, which is aimed at gamers with a low budget. The Genius HS-G500V might be a fine entry-level choice if you want to upgrade from another basic headset. Read our review to learn more about this headset and what it has to offer:
Packaging and design
A couple of years ago I had the chance to use quite a lot of computer peripherals made by Genius, so I had a general opinion of the brand. They always seemed to be the company that makes mostly entry-level products at a rather low price. Recently, I purchased one of their stereo speakers which, while still being an entry-level product, made some rather good impressions on me.
With these experiences in mind, I have been genuinely curious about their gaming headset we had for testing: the Genius HS-G500V.
The headset comes in a cardboard and plastic packaging and it's strikingly obvious that it's made for gamers: the dominant colors are black and red (which must be a gamer stereotype, as there are tons of 'gamer' labeled products in these colors) and the whole packaging is very flashy, with flames and steel-like characters.
You won't find any high-quality materials or special accessories in the box: all you get is the headset itself in a simple plastic wrap. The lack of accessories is quite common in this price range, although an extension cable would have been handy, and not because the headset's cable is short, but it has two separate jack connectors for the headphone and the microphone, so you won't be able to use it as a headset if you have a single jack port for the two components.
The black headset is made of average-quality plastic and both the adjustable headband and the earcups' foam are covered in a thin layer of black plastic. This is the type of material that tends to tear and deteriorate over time, so you will probably find pieces of it falling off after a while. Attached to the left earcup you can find a flexible microphone, which can be used for voice chatting with your fellow players during gaming sessions, or for making VoIP calls. On the headset's cord, there is a volume control, a mute button for the microphone and another switch, that controls vibration, an additional feature of the HS-G500V that we'll talk about later.
It is also worth noting that the cord has three connectors: two jack plugs for the headphone and the microphone and a USB plug. This latter one is required for the vibration feature, as the vibration motor requires additional power, which is supplied via USB connection. You don't need to plug in the USB to use the headset and the microphone without vibration.
Regarding its technical specifications, the Genius HS-G500V is a supra-aural headset with a closed back, meaning that it doesn't cover your whole ear, but it sits on it and it also isolates most noise around you and keeps others from hearing what you hear. It's a bit heavy for its size (12.3 ounces or 349 grams) and has a 6.56 feet (2 meters) cable with a USB and two jack plugs.
Using the Genius HS-G500V gaming headset
Once you get the headset out of its box and put it on, you might feel that it's rather tight. This is quite normal for any such headset at first, but no matter how much we adjusted the headband, it remained rather tight and uncomfortable, even after wearing it for a long time. If you have a larger than average head, be sure to consider this.
Besides being a bit too tight, the earcups are not uncomfortable, although the plastic might make your ears sweat a bit after a longer period of use. This might be taken as a friendly reminder to take a break from gaming.
The microphone is simple and flexible. It can be easily stowed away if you don't need it, and there's a mute button on the cable, so you can quickly turn it off. Recording quality is okay, but don't expect studio quality sound - it's good for chatting and calls.
The headset's sound quality is not bad at all, although, being supra-aural, there are some compromises, like you won't feel that the sound surrounds you. It's okay for music as well, but it lacks depth. There are much better choices (and more expensive), if you are an audiophile.
Since the Genius HS-G500V is an entry-level headset, it doesn't offer powerful bass sound, so the engineers at Genius decided to put a vibration motor in the headset. This can be turned on with a switch on the cable and it has two settings: low and high.
While on low, the headset delivers some minimal rumblings and doesn't make a lot of difference. The high setting is absolutely irritating. It keeps the headset shaking on your head like a fish on the shore and it tickles a lot. Besides that, you won't hear any more bass in the sound, you just get annoying movements on your head. I can imagine that some people might like this, as it provides a powerful experience during games, but we were not impressed.
You'll surely ask, what's the price tag for HS-G500V: we expected that it wouldn't cost too much, but it's still a gaming headset, so it can't be very cheap either. Well, we were quite wrong, since you can pick up this piece of tech from Genius for about 25 dollars, which is a very low price. Of course, it's entry-level, it has a series of problems, but the basic sound quality is rather good for this price.
Pros and cons
The Genius HS-G500V's positive features are the following:
- Good sound quality for its price range
- Flexible microphone that works well for chat
- Very low price
The headset has some weak points as well:
- Low-quality plastic
- Annoying vibration effect
- It is tight on your head, making it uncomfortable for long use
If you say a headset is for gamers, you might think that we are talking about someone who spends many hours each day with playing games on a computer or game console and spends most of his or her income on gaming accessories and games. But that's not always the case - there are many who just like to pick up some games occasionally and have fun while they're at it. For them, it's important to have a good experience without spending a fortune on every part of a gaming system. The Genius HS-G500V could be a good choice for these casual gamers, as it comes at a really low price and offers good sound quality - which is the most important for a headset. Of course, there are many downsides, like the low-quality materials used or that it can be cumbersome to wear for extended periods of time, but these are not necessarily big issues for casual gamers on a budget. If you want a basic headset that works, Genius HS-G500V may be a good choice.