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In my ongoing quest for great private audio that allows me to game and listen to music without violating other people’s need for some peace and quiet, I’ve taken custody of the new HS-W1 wireless headphones from ASUS.

The first thing that struck me about these was the very compact 2.4GHz USB dongle that connects the headphones with your PC. No more cumbersome antennas as we move deeper into the 21st century! This dongle is tiny, basically the size of a USB stick. And ASUS designers even put a nice swirly finish on it so it doesn’t look like something that came out of Commodity Limited, but instead has the proper appeal of the quality product it is.

The same concentric circles make an appearance on the headphones themselves, with the earpieces sporting a nice etched metallic design. The 70mm cans sit snug on the head, while premium materials prevent sweating, pressure, and general discomfort. Like many other headphones these days, the HS-W1′s use a foldable design, and you get a cushioned case to carry them and the dongle together.

That’s because portability is crucial for this model. My friends at ASUS tell me while the new headphones are great for lounging in front of my, I mean your, PC watching movies or playing games, they are in fact intended for travellers and business people. The folding build and case reduce the physical footprint, while the noise-cancelling microphone helps keep conversations clear. Much to the amusement of people around me, I was quite fascinated by the fact that the microphone has a cool click to use design. Push it up against the side of the headphones and it turns off, pull it down, and it’s on – go ahead and talk. Nice one!

Also, the battery lasts up to eight hours, quite handy for prolonged excursions if you can’t stop and recharge. The kit includes a power cable, obviously.

These are really nice headphones that double as an excellent headset if voice is a priority for you. They’re part of an intensifying effort by ASUS to add ever better audio devices to their range, so we can probably expect a few more during the course of 2012.

Happy new year to all audio buffs and everyone in general!

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