Friend with bow
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, lightweight USB-connected headsets remained a relatively niche product with little presence in the broader retail market. They were purchased in limited quantities by call centers and other corporate customers, but in everyday life, many preferred either more impressive (in particular, in terms of the size of the speakers, on which the sound quality directly depends) wired audiophile and gaming models, or Bluetooth gadgets that make it possible to easily switch between smartphone and laptop, for example.
In the era of COVID-19, everything has changed dramatically. The widespread transfer of tens and hundreds of millions of white-collar workers to a remote work mode has created an unprecedented demand for simple, inexpensive and comfortable headsets for long-term use. Moreover, it is desirable just with a wired connection, so as not to constantly think about charging another gadget and so that the quality of communication, which is not always ideal due to the sharply increased load on Internet communications, does not also depend on the “last meter” between the working computer and a headset on the head.
According to Research and Markets, in 2020 global sales of professional headsets almost reached $2 billion, up more than 42% compared to the pre-covid 2019. And in the foreseeable future (at least until 2027, Frost & Sullivan analysts are sure), this segment of the IT market will grow at an average annual rate of at least 12%, since even with the transition of fully remote employment to a hybrid form, the need to use voice chats, video messengers , multifunctional platforms for remote work are clearly not getting smaller.
Now, not only call center employees, but also many other office workers are accustomed to spending the whole working day with a headset on their heads – moreover, it is a professional headset that looks much more modest than huge audiophile monitors or brutal gaming headphones with backlight and angular contours. A lightweight and functional gadget, such as the Genius HS-220U , does not cause fatigue from prolonged wear, does not isolate the user from the environment – and at the same time provides a decent level of audio communications over digital multimedia channels.
Comfort and control
The Genius HS-220U weighs only about 84g, excluding the 1.8-meter cable (which is itself very light). The thin metal headband is elastic enough to securely hold the headset on the head, but at the same time create discomfort to the user for a long time of operation. And this is very important for interacting with colleagues in a distributed office – after all, sometimes you have to remove the headset worn in the morning only in the late afternoon.
Genius HS-220U ear pads, which are loosely attached to the ears, are the advantage of a professional headset, since it is not supposed to be used in isolation. At home, it will not be superfluous, at least out of the corner of your ear, to control what is happening (the behavior of children and animals, for example), and at work to communicate with roommates. For this reason, the complete cutting off of external sounds is undesirable, and in this case Genius HS-220U provide quite an adequate balance between confident speech discrimination of the interlocutor and the ability to partially perceive the external acoustic picture.
The flexible shaft allows you to place the microphone at a convenient distance and at the right angle relative to your mouth, so as not to experience discomfort from its constant presence in front of your face. The sensitivity of the microphone is easily adjusted by means of the operating system. The Genius HS-220U is claimed to be compatible with PCs running various versions of Windows and macOS, as well as tablets, smartphones or MP3 players with a USB input. However, any modern operating system based on the Linux kernel is also guaranteed to recognize this device, as well as provide a basic interface for configuring its operating parameters.
By the way, about the interface: right on the Genius HS-220U connecting cable there is a universal control with a slider for temporarily mute the microphone (mute) and a headphone volume rocker. This provides even more freedom for the user to set up the headset and work with it during use.
The nominal technical characteristics of the Genius HS-220U headphones are quite typical for this price category: frequency range – from 20 Hz to 20 kHz, sensitivity – 108 ± 5 dB, impedance – 32 Ohm ± 15%. The characteristics of the microphone are not given in the official description, but taking into account how communication through instant messengers and video chats often happens, they are certainly sufficient for the headset to successfully fulfill its purpose.
It is unlikely that this gadget will satisfy the recorded audiophile. But for employees of a distributed office – and, by the way, for a considerable proportion of gamers, including those who prefer to impress the audience of their broadcasts with their own skills in the game, rather than the pretentiousness of accessories – the Genius HS-220U can definitely become an indispensable and faithful assistant for a long time. time.
We thank ASBIS LLC (the official distributor of Genius products in the Russian Federation) for the equipment provided for the test.