Style and value – now that’s a combination fairly hard to come by where people are often forced to choose one or the other, and the compromise is usually looks over performance (or neither if you’re on a strict budget). All would seem futile but offerings from Logitech still provide those much needed alternatives, but with a little work their latest ClearChat Style Headset dutifully brings both the looks and essentials you’ll need in a functional microphone + headset combination into one affordable package without a whole lot of complaints.
Looking over the headset you can immediately point out where the ‘style’ is on this unit. The headset itself appears swoopy from the forward-angled mounts of the earpieces (and microphone), to the headband meant to wrap around the back. The earpieces themselves are initially fitted with blue color plates that help add a bit of flair to the outward design, and the look is also interchangeable with other included plates (red, orange, black) for a quick personalized touch. There isn’t much here out of the box, but there really doesn’t need to be.
A separated clip that handles the in-line controls (volume wheel and mute-switch), and the microphone boom is adjustable to help you find just the right comfort zone for talking. If there’s any one aspect that betrays the headset’s otherwise exceptional value it would be its connections, as dual 3.5mm analog speaker and voice plugs can’t offer the convenience of their single USB alternatives. This could end up the deciding factor for some of you out there, but be aware that cheap 3.5mm-to-USB adapters are becoming easier to find and should alleviate this minor inconvenience.
One half of any stereo headset is the stereo headphones themselves, and you’ll get some surprising bang for your budget-buck here. The audio coming from these otherwise flimsy stereo speakers was louder than I expected, and in some cases was strong enough to drown out almost everything else in the room (and in my case that’s impressive). Bass-lovers aren’t going to flip over the performance here – the reflex rate was built for voice communications after all – but at least the quality isn’t reduced to sounding like tin cans filtered through string.
The other half is actually talking, and I’m pleased to say that speaking into the noise-cancelling microphone was great, and conversations in chat rooms and VoiP services I regularly use (including Skype and Google Voice) were quite clear, with only the occasional interference breaking through. I’ll chalk these issues up to normal internet-related problems, as simply recording my voice was virtually flawless and I suspect that standard dictation software would be equally problem-free.
One thing that did bring growing pains to the long durations was the headset itself, because it appears that looks and comfort doesn’t necessarily go together. The main culprit is the form factor of the slim design itself, which isn’t adjustable and certainly isn’t designed for everyone’s differently-sized craniums. It may just be limited to my personal experience but things began to feel a little tight and constrained after a few of hours of constant wear, and either my head is too large for long-term use (probably true) or the ClearChat with its sleek curves was originally for select people other than me.
For a budget-priced alternative to expensive models, Logitech’s ClearChat Style Headset may be the quick pick-up you’ve been looking for. In-line volume and mute controls were a snap, and I was genuinely surprised by the quality of the the crystal-clear stereo sound the flimsy speakers were able to output. The adjusting microphone boom makes finding just the right speaking spot fairly painless, which is more than I can say for the unit’s actual comfort level. Those of you with bigger-sized heads (like myself) might want to consider an adjustable size, as prolonged use may not be in your best interest here. I’d still prefer USB to its dual 3.5mm plugs, but those willing to compromise might find much to like for such a small price.