So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Logitech ClearChat Comfort USB
Padded comfort and an in-line volume control
- Sturdy construction, long USB plug, long cord, in-line volume and mute controls, rotating microphone
- Ears become hot after short periods of use, headband can be uncomfortable, not ideal for music listening
For voice applications like Skype and Windows Live Messenger, the ClearChat Comfort USB is a reasonable choice. Just don’t expect great quality when listening to music.
Price$ 59.95 (AUD)
Boasting a padded headband and ear cups and a rotating, noise-cancelling microphone, Logitech's ClearChat Comfort USB is a headset designed for PC voice and video recording. Although it's a reasonably effective device, the design of the ear cups means your ears will often be left hot and uncomfortable.
The first thing that stood out when we first picked up the ClearChat was its build quality. The headset feels strong and sturdy despite its largely plastic construction. In particular, the USB plug is quite long, making it easy to connect and remove — this design is ideal if you don't have any front-mounted USB ports and have to reach around at the back of your PC to access a free port.
The ClearChat's padded headband and ear cups are reasonably comfortable, but your ears tend to heat up very quickly when using them. In addition, despite its padding, the headband tends to dig into the top of your head unless you adjust the headband to ensure it sits above your head. Doing this ensures comfort, but it makes the ClearChat more susceptible to falling off.
Although the ClearChat is marketed mainly towards PC voice and video calling, it can also be used for general music, video and gaming. If you are looking for a pure audio device you'd be better off with a pair of headphones that have been designed specifically for music — although the ClearChat makes a decent fist of audio, it's far from outstanding. Along with distortion at high volumes, the ClearChat suffers from poor instrumental separation and hollow bass.
For voice calling, we tested the ClearChat with the latest version of Skype. The rotatable microphone worked well, with no complaints from our call recipient regarding quality. We also used our PCs recorder to test the microphone and it passed with no issues. During Skype conversations, the in-line volume control is handy, as is the reasonably long cord — you can sit a fair way from your monitor and still be connected. There is also a mute button for the microphone with convenient red LED — a flashing light signals the headset is muted, a solid light indicates that mute is off.
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