We’ve all been to a party where the host had sub-par speakers, or been immersed in our favorite game, only to be snatched away from the experience because of audio distortion. In most situations, typical PC speakers just aren't good enough to get the job done for anything that requires even a semblance of high quality audio. Conversely, to build your own custom system or buy a high end surround sound audio system can cost thousands of dollars. That’s why Genius engineered their SW-G5.1 3500 Gaming Speakers, to meet the needs of those who don’t want to put excessive amounts of money into audio, but don’t want to sacrifice their experience either. The SW-G5.1 provides surround sound, high quality audio with a beautiful finish to create a product that not only sounds great, it looks pretty darn sexy as well.
How your speaker system looks is certainly interesting, but it’s not something to consider when shopping. Price and performance are typically the key factors which is what makes Genius seem ... well, genius. The glossy black finish is sharp, particularly in the dark with your monitor casting images of your favorite title around the room. The speakers themselves are a metallic red, allowing an interesting contrast to the speaker housing. Don’t be fooled though, the speakers are not metal -- which would sound noticeably better, but also cost significantly more. Don’t get confused though, the foam and rubber combination sounds surprisingly sharp and will shake your walls with impressive clarity.
Although Genius is advertising the speakers at 80w of power, the wattage doesn’t give a clear indication of the audio that this system is capable of. It’s the decibels that are far more important and at maximum volume of both the 6.5” subwoofer and surrounding speakers, the SW-G5.1 chimed in at an impressive 68db. Unfortunately, at max setting the bass started to distort enough to be noticeable, but ratcheting it down a bit made it clear and enjoyable once again. Should you run into a situation where you’re unable to keep the speakers at max volume, whether it’s ornery neighbors or roommates, the system also allows for headphone listening via the front-facing jack. Unfortunately, the inputs are limited to line-in (iPod or MP3 player), 2.1/2ch and 5.1ch, meaning PC is really the only option for you. Had a component or HDMI input been included, the value for the speakers would increase exponentially.
Retailing around $149.99, the Genius SW-G5.1 is extremely reasonable. The audio provided is crisp and clear, the set looks beautiful and whether you’re playing games, music or watching movies, your expectations will be met. A remote is included and a color-changing LED light is provided to add some ambience, although the actual effects are negligible. Despite the limited features you’ll end up with quality speakers at an affordable price, and those are the most important features.