Maybe it’s a New Year resolution thing, but Asus has begun flexing its muscles in the hardware peripherals business as of late. We reviewed their noise-cancellation friendly Vulcan ANC gaming headphones a few months back, and today we have something more general purpose to have a look at.
The HS-W1 is a wireless headset that has all the trimmings of a good quality ‘companion headset’. For one, it’s sturdy and well built, despite its small size and slim profile. Asus also provides a carrying case that holds the headset, receiver and the USB cable, making it easy to carry around during long hauls.
The headset is also well designed. It’s not as imposing as the Vulcan, but then again it’s not a gaming headphone and has no business looking like one. It smartly manages its gloss and plastic to create a subtle appearance of class without being too snazzy or stylish. All the controls, as minimum as they are, are placed on the left can. The volume controls are fitted inside the shiny exterior, so you can click it to increase or decrease the volume. Below it is the power button with a small LED accompanying to show the current status of the headset (green is go, red is dead, etc).
As well as it is built, I found the headset to be lacking in comfort. It’s an on-the-ear design, so the cushion lays flat on the ear. Despite the enormous 70mm padding, it started hurting after 20mins of on-time. You can adjust the cans itself, so you might find a comfortable angle. Our Arabic Editor Serge Farrah was pretty happy with it, but that could be credited to his amazing flock of hair that probably made the headset float anyway.
Performance wise, the HS-W1 are an above average headset for music. While the sound produced was loud and clear, it wasn’t wholesome and engulfing due to the lack of bass and slightly flat soundscape. The headset weren’t exceptional for gaming either, though it performed well in sound positioning, surprisingly. I could pinpoint where the action was taking place in Team Fortress 2, which says a lot for the quality of the 40mm stereo drivers.
The mic is a big part of the package as well. The headset uses a simple mechanic that enables the mic if it’s brought forward, and disables it when slotted back. The mic works well for the most part, although I found that it captured a lot of the background noises than my own.
The wireless works well, although the tiny up-time of under 8 hours (from fully charged to completely dead) is rather disappointing. Of course, you will not have an 8 hour session, but if you listen to a lot of music, you will find yourself constantly charging the headset (which is probably a good idea to do anyway, if you are stationary). Wireless range varies – Asus claims it’s about 15 meters, although we could only muster out about 8 meters.
For its price, the Asus HS-W1 wireless headset is a decent buy. It’s compact, easy-to-carry, classy, and a good performer – just don’t expect it to outdo itself.