Every once in a while here at MajorHiFi, we get the pleasure of demoing a brand new product from a relatively small or new company. And sometimes these dark-horse earphones display real knack for blowing the competition out of the water. The new Origem HS-3 is one such earphone, offering wireless performance, 6 hours of battery life, and balanced audio. And all for a fair $99.
Origem HS-3 Review
The HS-3 comes in your standard retail packaging with a cable cinch, four pairs of eartips, and a carrying case. A micro-USB cable for charging the battery also comes included.
While other earphones with over-ear hooks tend to look chunky and utilitarian, the HS-3 opts instead for a thin, relatively-flexible wire construction on its over-ear hooks. As a result, this earphone feels both lightweight and comfortable.
But the HS-3 packs more than just good looks. With a water-resistance rating of IPX5, this earphone handles rain and sweat with ease. Under the hood, the 6-hour battery takes only 40 minutes to reach a full charge, but 10 minutes of charging alone will yield enough power for a 2-hour listening session. And while the battery life could be a little longer, I feel like the 10-minute quick charge capability kind of makes up for it.
Isolation is okay, but still allows for some situational awareness. While the HS-3 easily blocks out my coworkers’ chattering, it won’t block out the sound of traffic or sirens. Call quality also registers pretty clear, without any undue issues in hearing the other person, or having my voice heard.
Perhaps the biggest feature on the Origem HS-3 – and the feature that makes all the difference to us – is the inclusion of an HDR algorithm on the earphone’s integrated DAC, a CSR8675 chip.
The low end on the Origem HS-3 features just a smidgen of warmth – detailed, but still slightly energetic. Bass notes on Interpol’s Evil showcase this organic sense of depth. This results in a sound that easily recommends itself to genres like rock and hip-hop, while still being capable of doing justice to classical or jazz tunes.
Instrumentation sounds just fine, but vocals really shine here, being set apart from the rest of the midrange. Giving way to a three-dimensional effect, the sound works wonders on any kind of music, leaving one with the impression of a clearer, cleaner sound. While not exactly audiophile-grade, it remains more than competitive for a pair of wireless ‘phones.
In the high end, the HS-3 offers some nuance and life, while never sounding too harsh or uncomfortable. Instead, the highs are finely-tempered, resulting in just enough detail and emphasis or keep things interesting without going overboard.
Soundstage may suffer somewhat from the wireless technology and in-ear design. However, most wireless earphones suffer from these inherent drawbacks. And keeping this in mind, the HS-3 still does a great job showcasing depth and placement on some tracks. Lamp by Haruka Nakamura and Nujabes really displays this clearly, with Nakamura’s delicate flute striving against the progression of Nujabes smooth, dark beat and the cascading guitar.
If you’re in the market for a $99 wireless earphone that delivers situational awareness and solid sound quality, it’s going to be tough to outdo the Origem HS-3. Tack on the tasteful, fashionable (but sturdy) design, and you’ve got a home-run earphone right here.
Still, if you’re the type who just likes to spend money, you could get a slightly crummier sound from the Bang & Olufson Beoplay Earset3i (at $199). While this earset might appear a little more flashy, it features less isolation and a flatter, less lively sound.
What really sets this wireless earphone apart from the rest – including more expensive options from brand-name retailers and chintzy dime-a-dozen offerings on Amazon – is the HDR audio. At any volume level, the HS-3 sounds clear and balanced, with the integrated DAC delivering an impressively detailed listening experience.
At $99, the Origem HS-3 offers solid value for anyone who needs a solid workout earphone, or just a wireless listening solution that can take a fair amount of punishment. To be fair, the 6-hour battery life leaves us still wanting just a little more. However, the quick charging time, fantastic sound, and beautiful design still recommend this wireless earphone to those who can stomach the battery life.
Get the Origem HS-3 for the best price here: