Over the years I’ve had an opportunity to check out HELM Audio‘s various products. Initially these were wireless headsets, like True Wireless, or Sportband, with this later extending into audio accessories. Their sleek and unique form factor has made them a common inclusion in our gift guides, leaving us excited to see what their first real step into the world of wired headsets, F2, would be like. Given their experience in the space they have the potential to stand out, but can F2 live up to these expectations, or does it cost a lot for very little.
Unsurprisingly, HELM Audio retains the same aesthetics we’ve seen in the past. The surprisingly small box shows the product against a black background with the product’s name. Two sides mention their taglines, with the back having specifications. I appreciate them including some more nitty gritty features, even if it probably wouldn’t make a difference in a retail setting. After lifting the top you’ll find the carrying case, quick start guide, along with some foam to keep it securely in place.
Simple, yet Effective
The included carrying case is a little underwhelming. It’s a small leather pouch with a metal clasp that snaps open/closed. It works fine, in fact it’s the same exact pouch included with Bolt. I can also confirm it’s possible to get F2, Bolt, and DB12 AAAMP in the case at the same time. However, I would’ve like to see them include the larger version DB12 AAAMP has/had so this would effortlessly fit.
HELM Audio F2, Bolt, and DB12AAAMP in the Included Carrying Case
At first glance I was surprised by F2’s look. The design is reminiscent of the headphones included with products I’ve reviewed from Maono and Synido, which are likely rebrands of something like this. This makes the comfort easy to gauge if you have something similar, though keep in mind the quality is significantly higher.
Synido, HELM Audio F2, and Maono Side by Side
F2 has a fully metal frame, the back part is slightly larger, in-line controls were added, it features a TRRS connection due to this having a microphone, along with the bottom part being braided.
Build quality is pretty good for this level. The braided cable is about what you’d expect from a nicer quality brand. Several points have metal accents with a nice design that stands out a bit more than some of their other products. Not to mention I think the earbuds would hold up fairly well by just tossing them in a bag or pocket. The only real weak point is the in-line controller. In addition to being a cheaper plastic; the buttons are small and flat. This makes it a lot harder to control than some of the other headsets I’ve used in the past.
For the price, audio performance was pretty good. I largely compared F2 against 1MORE’s iconic Quad Driver headset. On average I preferred F2 over Quad Driver. While songs were similar for the most part, F2 had a slight edge when it came to vocals, and a slightly more impactful bass. This made it a lot easier to clearly hear my favorite song without getting lost in the details.
Surprisingly, this one factor ended up being massive when I used them to play Resident Evil 4 remake. Instead of the usual sounds of people moving in the background, there is a considerable amount of chanting. This was a bit more muted when using some of my other headsets, whereas F2 made it a lot clearer. It’s a small detail that can make a difference in certain situations.
Even games like Destiny 2 found some benefit with F2. Making out Nezarec’s talking points during the raid was a lot easier with those compared to my Astro A50 headset. I could see them also coming in handy for seasonal content, especially during more intense firefights when some dialogue might be lost.
Despite the look, I found F2 fairly comfortable. They fit securely in your ear, with them feeling fine even after a couple hours of use. Just be warned they might be a tighter fit than you’re use to.
HELM Audio F2 Review Verdict
HELM Audio did a pretty good job with F2. For the money it packs a punch, especially when it came to vocals. While the whole package could’ve been more well rounded, it’s nice to have a headset at a reasonable price to round out their accessories. When you combine it with Bolt, plus DB12 AAAMP, it makes for a solid set up that takes up very little space.
[Editor’s Note: HELM Audio F2 was provided to us for review purposes.]