When it comes to headphones and earphones we think of the space as an embarrassment of riches. Everywhere you look you find new players entering the game, hoping to compete with older, more established brands. It’s not hard to find something that fits your budget and feature set.
One company hoping to make an impression, Origem, thinks it has a solution worth your time and money. Its latest model, the HS-3, is billed as the world’s first HDR (high dynamic range) of earbuds. They cost $100 and are offered in three color options. We’ve had a pair of these in our office for a few weeks and are happy to share our impressions.
The Origem HS-3 feature Bluetooth 5.0 and offer IPX5 waterproof protection. These two features are welcome details in 2019 and mean peace of mind. With quicker pairing, better connectivity, and more efficient battery, the Bluetooth tech leads to a pretty smart experience.
The waterproof coating is nice as it protects against splashes, rain, and even sweat. You won’t be able to fully submerge these in water, but you aren’t wearing them in the pool anyhow. But, rest easy knowing that pool splashes and and heavy workouts won’t mess things up.
Audio sounds great on the Origem HS-3, thanks largely to the HDR settings. In essence, the earphones can intuitively adapt to various environments and sound pressure to deliver a clear aural experience.
We tested the earphones in number of scenarios, including quiet offices, ambient neighborhood noises, and moderate traffic. Our findings were that sound is detailed across the entire range with strong bass and clear highs. These aren’t the most powerful earphones we’ve seen but they largely performed within expectation.
The Origem HS-3 come with a number of eartips so feel free to play around with them and find the perfect fit. The adjustable earhooks are light and flexible and didn’t lead to any fatigue or soreness. We didn’t see any signs of wear or weakness in the few weeks we tested them, but were surprised at how thin the wire is.
We would like to see USB Type C charging but it’s not really a deal-breaker. There are still plenty of accessories around the house that employ the old standard, but the sooner we can make that cutoff, the better. In a related note, the charging is very fast with only a half hour needed to get about 5-6 hours of music.
The voice features are really one of the standout details in the Origem HS-3 earphones. Wearers can use voice to control things such as playback, taking calls, and triggering your digital assistant. It’s not quite the same as saying “Okay Google” but the “Hello VoiceQ” is all that’s required to kick it on.
Generally speaking this was a pretty flawless experience but it might take a little bit of time to learn the ropes. For instance, you’ll have to pause music if you want to trigger the assistant.
Speaking of controls, there are but a few to worry about. The buttons, which are located fairly close to the right ear, each perform multiple functions. A single press does one thing while holding down does something else. These might also take some time for familiarization.
For $99 the Origem HS-3 are a solid package worthy of a look. Our quibbles were minor and fairly easy to overlook. The carrying case, for instance, was a little too snug for our liking. Learning buttons and voice commands also took a few wears before we felt comfortable, too.
The earphones are comfortable, sound great, and have decent battery life. We can’t say whether it’s placebo effect or not, but we did like the HDR feature, too. Bonus points are awarded for the Bluetooth 5.0 and voice features.
While they don’t have noise cancellation they do a solid job of keeping outside sounds from interfering with the audio. We suggest playing with different eartips to find the perfect fit.
You might consider it a gamble to purchase products from brands you’ve never heard of, and we can appreciate that perspective. For what it’s worth, Origem already has a couple of other models in its portfolio so it has been under our radar, too. With that said, we like what we see here and look forward to checking out other models in the future.
You can learn more about the Origem HS-3 headphones at the company’s website where you can also purchase them in three color options. Choose from Gunmetal, Red, or Silver. They’re also available at Amazon where, as of today, they are sold in Gunmetal and Red. Retail price is $99 at both locations.