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Logitech ClearChat PC Wireless headset

Logitech ClearChat PC Wireless headset

Frequent PC voice chatters who'd like to stretch their legs from time to time might want to check out Logitech's ClearChat PC Wireless headset. With it, you can wander across the room or even downstairs while talking or listening.

Lightweight and sleek without being fragile (I've had slender mics snap off of other units), this US$100 headset connects wirelessly to a USB dongle receiver that plugs into your PC (great for use with a laptop). It also works with an included wired station that plugs into the PC (potentially useful for getting away from obstacles, including the PC itself, that might degrade reception).

One of the headset's principal virtues is its ease of setup. After charging its internal battery with the included AC adapter (this operation took a couple of hours), I simply flipped the on/off switch on the right earpiece, plugged in the receiver, and watched as the drivers installed. Within a minute, I was hearing excellent-quality voice and music. I chatted with several people on Skype and Second Life, and they said that I sounded clear; Logitech says that the mic uses noise-cancellation technology to reduce background noise.

There are also controls on the right earpiece. You can adjust volume by pressing the top or bottom of a circular metal rim around a central disc. Pressing the disc itself mutes the mic and causes a red light to glow on the tip of the mic, letting you confirm the mute status without having to remove the headset.

My worries about the headset's use of the crowded 2.4-GHz frequency band proved groundless. Even though I used it within range of a few dozen Wi-Fi networks (including my own), the device's direct wireless connection seemed impervious to interference. Logitech says that the headset works at distances up to 33 feet from the receiver; with only a couple of very brief breaks, I could hear music streamed from the laptop in my bedroom when I was in a room downstairs and underneath it.

Though battery life was better than I've experienced with other wireless headsets, in my informal tests it fell somewhat short of the 6 hours Logitech advertises. I wouldn't count on using the headset nonstop for an entire workday.

Another drawback is the USB dongle: It seemed brittle, and mine actually broke when I put the laptop down at the wrong angle. The dongle is composed primarily of plastic, and it's about 2 inches long and 0.75 inch wide--that's big for a wireless dongle these days. Logitech said that its two-year limited warranty would cover a replacement piece, but you'd have to get on the phone with tech support to configure it to work with your specific headset (I didn't test this).

Overall, the combination of untethered comfort and excellent audio quality made the ClearChat PC Wireless well worth the price. I would recommend it to anyone who regularly uses a headset for VoIP calls, games or any voice-enabled PC application.


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