Logitech Cordless Headset Review

Discussion in 'Gaming' started by Jay Mitchosky, Nov 20, 2004.

  1. Jay Mitchosky

    Jay Mitchosky Producer

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    Wireless controllers for gaming have been growing in popularity with the freedom they offer. For Xbox owners the Logitech Cordless Controller has become the favored wireless option. Unfortunately, as with all wireless controllers there are no accessory slots on the device itself, essentially rendering it useless for Xbox Live when use of the Xbox Communicator is desired. The good news is that Logitech has quietly released an excellent headset solution that relieves them of the challenge of completely retooling their already excellent controller and preserving battery life at the same time. Moreover it is compatible with standard wired controllers as well. Welcome the Logitech Cordless Headset.

    [​IMG]

    While not cheap it does provide the untethered solution we have been looking for in an attractive and functional package.

    What You Get

    Once you break through the military-grade plastic packaging you will find the headset (it looks physically identical to one of Logitech's bluetooth headsets for mobile phones), the receiver module, and a battery charger. Yes, the Logitech headset has its own internal rechargable battery. Very slick. It is specified for 6 hours of playtime and recharges in roughly 1.5 hours. Instructions are also provided for installation.

    Setup

    Very simple. If you are already using a Logitech (or presumably any other manufacturer's) wireless controller with a combination receiver/accessory/memory base station you simply plug in the headset's receiver into the accessory slot. It is slightly smaller than the module that comes with the original Xbox Communicator. Power up the Xbox, press and hold the multi-function button on the headset until it powers up (showing a green light) and you're done. If you are using a wired controller, such as the awesome Controller S, you may connect the receiver into the accessory slot as normal. I don't expect many people to use the headset in this fashion, but there is still an advantage to not having that local cable getting in the way.

    Time to go Live.

    Comfort and Performance

    The headset wraps around your ear SWAT-style with a spring loaded clip. It is quite light and comfort is on par with the standard Xbox Communicator. If I had to pick one I would lean towards the Logitech headset as it seems to rest easier over the top of the ear. The boom mic swivels to point at your mouth and the headset can be worn on either side.

    Operating controls are basically the same as with the standard communicator. There is a volume up and down control that is accompanied by a confirmation tone. There is also a multi-function button that cycles power (press and hold for on or off), mutes (single press to toggle), and re-addresses the receiver if connection is lost (press and hold with a volume button).

    Audio performance is at least on par with the original Xbox Communicator and I experienced no dropouts in the relatively short time I have used it. Again if I had to pick I would give the edge to the Logitech as there seems to be less hiss. It features noise reduction technology but I think that is focused on the microphone. I cannot comment on the quality of the mic but if anyone is interested feel free to track me down as a friend on XBL (Gamertag is Metropolis) and I can send you back a voice message.

    But What About the Price?

    Up until this point everything is groovy. We now have an excellent and very effective wireless headset solution that in my opinion is a slicker setup than being wireless to the controller but then having a wired headset connected. The freedom here is great. However, I can hear the groans already at its C$99.95/US$79.99 price tag. At first glance this indeed looks hefty, but let's put it into perspective:
    • First off, if you want wireless AND Xbox Live voice communications in a package that does not need to be cobbled together this is the only show in town as far as I know.
    • Secondly, if you are already planning on purchasing another Xbox Communicator (for whatever reason) focus on the incremental cost of the wireless option. For example in Canada the Communcator is C$30, so the actual premium on the Logitech headset is $70. Is the extra wireless functionality worth this much?
    • If you have been considering the new Plantronics Halo 2 headset this product is only C$30 more, plus it's wireless even if you're using a standard controller. A $30 premium isn't too tough a pill to swallow.
    • Here's the kicker. Planning on buying the Logitech Cordless Controller? Then you're in luck. If you buy both you save, for example, C$40 off the Controller - C$29.95 vs. C$69.95. Work backwards with that $40 savings and you're now looking at C$60 for the Cordless Headset which is actually cheaper than the Plantronics Halo 2 headset. This is actually what sold me in that I've been interested in the new style of Cordless Controller for some time (it's a little smaller then Logitech's original, which I also have, with better button placement) but I couldn't bring myself to spend another $70 on it. This way was more palatable.

    So, bottom line is that the bottom line won't be for everyone. At some point there will be competing products that should offer similar functionality. But Logitech continues to be the leading third party peripherals provider for PCs and consoles, and their Xbox Cordless Controller still seems to be the market favorite. It's a good chance they will hold that position with the headset as well.
     
  2. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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    Jay, I have two Pelican wireless controllers and am new to XBox Live. Can you expand further on how I can get a wireless headset to work with Live? Do I need the Logitech wireless controller in conjunction with this headset to get wireless access to Live? Or can I use this headset with my Pelican's? I'm really a newbie at this and was figuring that whenever I went into LIVE I would need the standard controller in conjunction with the standard communicator (which I still have to buy, which is why your answer will interest me greatly).

    Thanks.
     
  3. Jay Mitchosky

    Jay Mitchosky Producer

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    You would have as there are no wireless controllers that have an accessory slot on board to accommodate the standard communicator. As far as I know this is the only fully wireless solution available. So if you want to go on XBL you can just subscribe through any number of games that include two free months in lieu of buying the kit that also includes a headset. Then buy the Logitech headset if its capabilities interest you. Worst case is you grab one from Best Buy or wherever and try it. Return if it doesn't suit your needs.
     
  4. Jay Mitchosky

    Jay Mitchosky Producer

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    I stand corrected. This thread indicates a product called the Wideye that includes an accessory slot in the controller itself.
     
  5. Martin Rendall

    Martin Rendall Screenwriter

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    I picked one of these up this evening. Not happy.

    There is a lot of hiss, a background ticking noise (even with the headset right next to the receiver) and it seems to be constantly transmitting (judging by the lit up microphone icon in Halo 2's party room).

    It also doesn't seem to go nearly as loud as the standard headset. Hard to hear your teammates with the surround system going, and that's with the volume dropped more than usual.

    I'm going to exchange it in case it's just a bad one.

    Martin.
     
  6. Jay Mitchosky

    Jay Mitchosky Producer

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    I experienced none of these problems. It is supposed to always transmit. It's not on only when you or someone else speaks.

    I'll be interested in hearing your thoughts if you pick up a new one. Perhaps your battery is not fully charged?
     
  7. Martin Rendall

    Martin Rendall Screenwriter

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    I knew I was being vague. With the MS headset, it may always be "listening", but it only lights up on on the screen when you actually talk. I presume that either the headset, or the xbox itself, is determining voice from ambient noise, and only actually transmitting when it thinks you are talking.

    In my case, when I am totally silent, the icon blinks on for about 4 seconds, and then goes off for 4 seconds, and repeats like that continually.

    Either the noise cancellation stuff just isn't working. Alternately, it may be that the hiss and ticking is "going both ways", causing it to think I'm talking.

    It's really annoying in the party room when people are speaking, and my icon is lighting up like a Christmas tree. Sometimes I don't want people to think that the comments are coming from me! [​IMG]

    I fully charged the device before using it.

    I'll try to get to the store this week for an exchange, and I'll be sure to post my results.

    Martin.
     
  8. Martin Rendall

    Martin Rendall Screenwriter

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    I promised to follow up. Unfortunately, the store I returned it to didn't have any in stock, so I ended up getting a refund. I'm not sure I'm going to get another one, for the reason that I didn't find the headset all that stable on my ear. It seemed to flop about a bit (and no, I don't have dumbo ears).

    I hope one of the other third party manufacturers comes out with a competing product though. Alternately, if the price drops a bit, I might try again anyway. I remember when the Logitech cordless controller first came out: it cost CDN$99. Now you can pick it up for CDN$59.

    Martin.
     
  9. richardwillyams

    richardwillyams Auditioning

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    With four sizes of user-selectable earbuds and an adjustable receiver arm, the TriStar headsetcan be custom fitted to just about anyone. Weighing under one-half ounce, the TriStar headset is a pleasure to wear. TriStar headsets are ideal for executives, call centers, and help desks, as well as technical helplines, credit control, sales offices, and telemarketing. Noise canceling microphone eliminates up to 75% of background noise.
     

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