Genesis Helium 300BT ARGB Bluetooth speakers hands-on: Multiple light tricks and connectivity options, good sound, stylish design
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For many gamers, the appearance of their gaming hardware setup is just as important as the performance and features their machine and accessories provide. Unfortunately, those looking to add ARGB lighting to their speakers only had to rely on custom solutions so far. Fortunately, the recently released Genesis Helium 300BT ARGB speakers are now available to cover this niche.
While everything seems to be about lighting and looks, it might be more than meets the eye to this sub-US$100 set of speakers and this is exactly what I will try to unveil today.
Box contents, design, build quality
Although the Helium 300BT is not a premium product, its retail box looks and feels great, not to mention the inspired asymmetrical design and the level of protection it provides to the (smaller than expected, at least to me) speakers inside. In addition to the speakers, there is also a chinch to mini-jack cable, as well as a cable that can be used for external RGB control and synchronization.
All the controls (power switch, volume and bass control knobs, connectivity mode, ECO, RGB mode) and connectors are on the right speaker, which also contains the amplifier. The right unit connects to the left one with a cable that should have been at least 40 cm (~15 inch) longer. Those who place these speakers on large desks will have problems placing these speakers in the corners, especially if they use speaker stands mounted facing the diagonals (as it happens with the Genesis Holm 510 RGB gaming desk that I am using).
The build quality is good and the used materials feel solid, although the front plastic seems a bit thin to me. Obviously, a wooden front panel would have nice to have, but we should always keep the price point in view when judging this product. While the two-way design brings in a nice visual touch, the Genesis Helium 300BT ARGB also features active tweeters (not detailed in the official specs sheet, unfortunately).
Specs, features, real-life usage
The official specs list says that the frequency response range of the Helium 300BT ARGB covers the audio spectrum that starts with 100 Hz and ends with 20 kHz, which is not impressive. However, the volume that these speakers can reach is high enough for general use and, in some buildings, they might even draw the attention of the neighbors. When I asked Genesis about the power details not mentioned in the official product page, I found out that the PMPO value tested is 34 W, so after converting to RMS, the result is 24 W for the pair. Even more, I was able to find out that the tweeters are active and each one is rated at 1.4 W, leaving each low/mid-range driver with 10.6 W of power. Lastly, I should mention the impedance values: 4 Ohms for the low/mid-range drivers and 8 Ohms for the tweeters.
Sadly, I was not able to test the ARGB lighting part, so I only used the built-in RGB presets. The lighting modes available are rainbow, pulse, music rhythm, and ARGB. When the ARGB cable is not connected, this allows the user to turn off the lights of the speakers.
When connected to Bluetooth sources, the only codec available is SBC. While this is all fine for general use, I found the sound quality to be noticeably better when connecting the Helium 300BT ARGB to my computer via the Creative Sound Blaster X3 USB DAC. When I closed my eyes and pushed up the volume, I could have sworn that I was facing larger speakers. However, taking the volume too high also brings forward the limitations of these speakers. They are great for less complex music, vocal pieces, but less effective for heavy metal and intricate orchestral works. Even in these situations, when the audio quality of the source is very good, the result is at least decent, if not pretty good.
In the end, audio quality also depends on the ears of the judge, so I will close this section of the review with a piece of straightforward advice for those of you with more picky ears: Be sure to avoid onboard audio solutions and lossy music over Bluetooth.
The good, the bad, and the truth
Although ARGB lighting might be the main selling point for many customers, the Genesis Helium 300BT ARGB are speakers that get the job done better than expected given their size and price. Bluetooth connectivity is also a big plus, as is the sound delivered from cabinets that measure just 200 X 85 X 105 mm (7.87 X 3.35 X 4.13 in). The ECO mode is a great idea, but the time of silence needed for the speakers to enter standby mode of one hour should be lowered to at least 20 minutes, if not 15 or 10 (my Fluid Audio FX8s go into power saving mode after roughly 9 minutes). For me, being able to turn off the lighting is a huge plus. Placing the control panel on the back of the right speaker would help cable management a lot, and this is an essential part for many users, both gamers and non-gamers.
The cable connecting the right and left speakers is too short (about 1.3 m/51 in) and does not use a 3.5 mm jack, so extending it might be a problem. The plastic front panels look good but feel quite fragile. Adding support for the aptX codec would be great, but that would probably lead to a price increase as well.
After using it for over a week and given its features, price, and size, I can say that the Genesis Helium 300BT ARGB is a product that punches above its class. If you think otherwise, feel free to hit the comments section and share your opinion with the rest of us.
Disclaimer: The author of this review received the Genesis Helium 300BT ARGB speakers from Genesis free of charge for the purpose of testing.
Genesis (official product page)