One of my favorite features on other video game consoles has been the ability to stream audio from the console to some headphones instead of through your television. With the Nintendo Switch in portable mode you have the option of plugging in a 3.5mm jack headphone for audio, but when when docked the options are extremely slim. In a world of cell phones and other devices that are removing that audio jack quicker then ever, carrying around multiple headphones simply isn't an option. Enter Genki the successful bluetooth audio adapter Kickstarter project from Human Things. It's goal is simple, deliver great wireless audio for you and optionally a friend directly from your Nintendo Switch.
I was an original backer of the Genki and went with an upgraded tier that included the Genki adapter, mic adapter, and dock adapter. This set me back around $50 total although a Genki by itself now that the Kickstarter is over can be picked up for around $40.
The overall design of the Genki is really cute and matches the Switch neon blue and red colors to represent audio 1 and audio 2. The main audio adapter plugs directly into the bottom of your Ninteno Switch and even allows a power passthrough if you need some extra juice. With the optional dock adapter you can enable the Genki to stream audio to your headphones instead of to your TV, which is great in shared spaced. The adapter is a bit funny as you basically piggy back the Genki into the USB adapter, but it gets the job done.
The final piece is an adorable tiny 3.5mm headphone jack adapter that is a microphone for games that support it such as Fortnite. This tiny little gem is the best idea I have ever seen when playing in portable mode as it removes all need for additional wires or adapter. Just plug it in, turn on the Genki audio adapter and boom there you go.
Using the Genki couldn't be easier, simply plug in the adapter, put your headphones (or any other bluetooth speaker) into pairing mode, put the Genki into pairing mode and boom you are done! Want to stream audio to a second set of headphones? Simply repeat the process but press the other side of the adapter. It truly is that easy to get up and running and just like that audio is streaming from your Switch to your headphones. Once paired whenever you use the Genki it will try to automatically pair to that set of headphones. The nice part here is that there is no need for batteries, cables, or anything else, just plug in the tiny little adapter and you are done!
In use the Genki just sort of works. When plugged in your Switch will detect "USB Audio" and you now have the ability to adjust the audio levels on your headphones if applicable or on the Nintendo Switch directly. I found this pretty nice because it allows for even louder audio since my bluetooth headphones allow for adjustment locally. The Genki remembered my headphones each time I unplugged and re-plugged it in.
Using the Genki in docked mode works exactly as you would expect, plug in the Genki into the dock adapter (just a USB-C to standard USB adapter) and turn on your headphones. While I bought the Genki for bluetooth audio on the go I think that this adapter may get the most use as I will no longer be blaring intense Doom music throughout the house :) The only negative that isn't Genki's fault is that you must unplug the adapter if you want to use your TV's speakers again. The Switch doesn't offer any sort of toggle from what I can find so this means you will have to get up and unplug and plug the Genki when you need to use it.
To wrap things up the best part of the Genki is that it delivers on the promise of great bluetooth audio from your Nintendo Switch directly to your ears. The entry price for some may be a bit high at $40-60 based on what bundle you get, but considering all of the perks the Genki has especially in a small apartment I have to say it is a must own accessory.
Subscribe to Nintendo Dispatch Podcast
Get the latest episodes of Nintendo Dispatch automatically using the links above, or by copying and pasting the URL below into your favorite podcast app: http://www.nintendodispatch.com/rss
This accessory was reviewed by James Montemagno who purchased it from the Human Things via Kickstarter at full price.
Read about Nintendo Dispatch's Reviewing Policy