NEWS - Monday, November 22, 2004

Logitech Cordless Headset For Xbox

REVIEW: The Xbox Live audio package for voice control and chat has revolutionized networked and on-line console gaming, but it also added to the number of wires trailing across the average gamer's living room. If you want the audio but yearn to cut the cord, check out Logitech's Cordless Headset for Xbox. The $79.99 (U.S.) package isn't cheap, but it does come with two months of on-line Xbox Live service for those in the U.S. (in other countries, the Live certificate isn't honoured for some reason...). And if you play a lot of on-line games, either on-line or using System Link, it's going to make the experience a lot more enjoyable. Instead of tethering your head to the Xbox console, the Cordless Headset for Xbox uses a 2.4 GHz radio link with a 30 foot range. A small adapter plugs into the Xbox, you pop on the headset, and that's it - plug and play. The headset has a simple U-shaped clip that goes over your ear, and it looks about as comfortable as a medieval torture device. Surprisingly, it's one of the most comfortable headsets I've used - and the quickest to put on. It has a spring-loaded button - press the button and the U-shaped clip moves out away from the earpiece, slide it on, and release the button to have the clip grab lightly onto your ear. Sounds awful, I know, but once it's on, you hardly realize it's there. The clip slides quickly and easily over your ear, and the you don't need to fool around with the earpiece to get it positioned properly - it just drops nicely into place and stays there. The sound is excellent. It's crisp and clear, and I had no trouble with static or other interference, even in a room with a WiFi network and a cordless phone. There's also a tiny volume button. It could have been a little bigger to make it easier to use, but it's still handy to have. And the tiny volume control is encased in rubber, so you won't gum it up with nacho scum off your fingers if you've been playing and snacking. The boom microphone is short so it won't get in your way, and you can swivel it into any position you like. It has a noise-cancelling circuit, so you can use it even if there's a lot of audio chaos going on in the room around you. The earpiece is ultra-light, but still has it's own power supply built in. The battery charges in under an hour (it comes with a charger/adapter) and in my tests it provided about five hours of play time. I would have liked to have seen a bit more battery life, as I've had some marathon gaming sessions that go FAR beyond five hours, but I guess there's only so much rechargeable battery mass you can pack into a package the size of your thumb and still leave room for a mic, speaker, transmitter and receiver. Still, a replaceable battery slot for backup packs would have been appreciated - especially since this gadget will become a tiny doorstop a few years down the road when the rechargeable battery inevitably stops taking a charge. Aside from the battery issue, this is one slick little Xbox accessory. Logitech's Cordless Headset for Xbox is not cheap, but it's sweet.

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