Headsets have always been one of a PC gamer's best friends, but slowly earbuds are gaining ground. Not everyone wants the enclosed feeling of a full gaming headset, and some people are looking for something easy to use on the go as well as at their battle station. Wireless earbuds are a lighter alternative to the traditional fare, keeping the head relatively free. And Genki's promised new set will let you listen to two different sources simultaneously.
Multipoint connectivity for wireless devices isn't new, but most implementations don't allow each of them to be used at once. Instead they may require manual switching, or do things like connect to your phone when it specifically gets a phone call. But the new Waveform earbuds by Genki let you do a bit more than that.
The company behind Genki, Human Things, has dubbed this new functionality DualStream. It would let you play a game on your PC, while having a phone call, and both will air through the same set of wireless buds. For anyone wanting to free up their PC from other processes while gaming, this may turn out to be seriously useful, especially for gaming on the go.
Another potential use case could be using Zoom while listening to music and ignoring your colleagues, for example. The important part here is: two devices, one set of earbuds, at the same time, wirelessly.
But there is a bit of a catch.
The charging case for the buds can be connected to audio devices via a cable, whether they're audio jack, USB C, or lightning. This acts as a dongle that allows most devices to send a signal to the Waveform earbuds, even if they don't have their own wireless capabilities. This is how Genki's new earphones are able to deliver two streams at once: one of them has to be via this adapter.
It's a bit of a let-down initially, knowing that you can't just natively Bluetooth two devices when that feels like a large chunk of this product's premise. However, the case is small and plugging it into something like a PC or laptop probably won't be that big of a deal. It does also extend the functionality to far more devices than just a regular Bluetooth mode, though it may also mean some wireless functionalities don't quite work as normal. Ultimately, it still seems like a step up from PC dongle and Bluetooth solutions.
The Waveform buds are currently seeking funding on Kickstarter, but given Human Things has a good track record on the platform, it's not as much of a red flag as it could otherwise be for us. Plus, it's where you get some of the weirdest and most interesting looking PC peripherals. I mean, just look at this palm controller. The company has also stated it already has the chips to get started manufacturing, so hopefully delays won't be a problem.
You can currently grab one of the early bird tier pledges for $199 USD, which is a pricy set of earphones, but given the unique functionality it could just be worth it. Though I'd still recommend waiting on actual reviews before dropping a couple hundred dollars on some unproved Kickstarter tech.