Genius is known for making budget computer peripherals and other accessories, and it's nice to see the company making a foray into the world of noise-canceling headphones. The big headline here is the price: The GHP-04NCs only cost $50, which is $300 less than Bose's QuietComfort 3 noise-canceling headphones.
On the upside, these headphones sound OK and deliver bass that has some nice thump to it. The GHP-04NCs also come with a simple faux leather carrying case and an in-flight dual-plug adapter. Like Bose's headphones, they fold flat for more compact storage. And while the noise-canceling may not be tremendously affective, it does help muffle the sound when engaged and boosts the overall volume.
As for comfort, the GHP-04NCs can't compete with higher-end models--but they aren't uncomfortable either. The padded earcups don't completely envelope your ears like the Bose QuietComfort 2 headphones do; they sit a little on the edge of your ears, which may cause a bit of discomfort for certain listeners over longer listening periods.
We had two main gripes. First, these headphones, while offering good bass, just don't offer much in the way of detail and clarity. We don't expect that much from $50 noise-canceling headphones--and these certainly sound all right for the price--but we've also heard headphones in this price range that sound better. Secondly, the GHP-04NCs look like a set of budget headphones. For example, the on-off switch for the noise-cancellation looks cheap, as does the battery-bay cover (the unit requires one AAA battery to power the noise-cancellation circuitry for about 50 hours).
What's the bottom line? If you're on a tight budget and want a set of noise-cancellation headphones, the GHP-04NCs aren't a bad choice. But they don't deliver enough bang for the buck in terms of sound and build quality for us to tell you to run out and get a pair right away. So, call our endorsement lukewarm.
Editors' note: The official list price for these headphones is $50, but certain online retailers may have it listed differently.