Nintendo Switch owners have been clamoring for the entire lifespan of the system for a wireless (Bluetooth or otherwise) audio option to be enabled within the console. Nintendo did give gamers the option for USB audio to be enabled on the Switch with System Software 4.0, however, for Los Angeles-based Human Things, that isn’t enough. Enter the GENKI USB-C Bluetooth Adapter.
Touted as the “first and only Bluetooth audio transmitter built to the USB Type-C standard,” GENKI promises low-latency Bluetooth audio via the aptX standard and Bluetooth 5, so you can connect with your Apple W1 chip-enabled wireless headphones (AirPods, beats solo,) along with any Bluetooth device you may have now or in the future, such as the Razer Hammerhead. The GENKI even allows for two separate Bluetooth connections for multiplayer fun or watching Hulu without disturbing everyone else around you.
Besides the appeal of using your current headphones, the GENKI also connects to wireless speakers, with a range of 60 feet, according to the developers. Personally, I would love to hear how the Switch sounds coming out of my Harmon/Kardon Onyx Studio 4. That speaker is loud, trust me. This also means that you COULD theoretically connect your Switch while docked to an Amazon Echo device, the Google Home Max or the Apple HomePod for wireless audio.
We thought wireless headphones had become the norm, so we were really surprised that the Nintendo Switch was still very much in the cable era. I love the console but having to pack a second pair of cheaper wired headphones became a pain in my daily commute. GENKI was designed to be the simple solution to everyone’s Nintendo Switch Bluetooth audio frustrations.
- Eddie Tsai, CEO/Co-Founder of Human Things
According to their Kickstarter, the GENKI “follows the Nintendo’s USB audio protocol and therefore receives power directly from your Nintendo Switch.” That power is negligible, however, only drawing about 0.02 watts of power (1% of the Switch’s battery,) which according to Human Things, is “less power than if you had used the built-in speakers.” Since it’s power is from the Switch itself, the GENKI doesn’t need to be charged, and since there’s no battery need, there’s “absolutely no risk of bricking or damaging your console like [third-party] docks.”
The reason behind the choice to go USB-C was two-fold, according to Human Things:
- Most wireless audio workarounds introduced “extra latency, static noise, lower fidelity and volume,” and
- There wasn’t support for the Apple AirPods or other newer Bluetooth Audio devices.
There is also a dock adapter available, so you can use the adapter while it’s docked (you can use it on all three USB ports,) as well as a collapsible portable stand, made with a sturdy metal frame.
The Kickstarter for GENKI was so successful, that it was completely funded ($30K) in less than two days after the June 18 campaign launch. As of 12 am on July 14, the GENKI Kickstarter has made almost 12 times its goal, sitting at $345,558 with 5 days to go. Backers who pledge $39 will receive the GENKI Bluetooth Adapter by November 2018 (there are only just over 300 left at that tier.)