Logitech Premium Notebook Headset
Consisting of both headphones and a microphone, a computer headset lets you listen to music, participate in voice chats, and use speech recognition software. The Logitech Premium Notebook Headset gives you all that functionality on the go, because it folds up to fit inside a plastic travel case. Though the headset folds, it feels far from flimsy, and both headphones and microphone produce full, clear sound. It's not for everyone, though; the behind-the-neck design can be annoying, and then there's the $60 price tag. But we think it's a reasonable expense for frequent travelers who need to place VoIP calls or use speech recognition software on the road.
Upon opening the Logitech Premium Notebook Headset's blister pack, we were greeted with what looked like gadget origami. The headset comes folded to fit tidily into the included plastic travel case; the case's 1.75-inch thickness is a bit bulky for the average laptop bag but does a good job of protecting the headset from everyday knocks and tangles. Unfolding the headset reveals a pair of behind-the-head earphones and a pivoting microphone below the left earpiece. The earpieces are almost rectangular in shape and slide back and forth along the frame, letting you adjust their placement for comfort. Users accustomed to over-the-head headphones will have to adapt to the Logitech's behind-the-head design. For those who wear glasses, especially, getting the headphones on and off requires some delicacy. Once we'd made a few minor adjustments, though, we thought the headset and especially the well-padded headphones were quite comfortable for extended wear.
You can connect the Logitech Premium Notebook Headset by plugging it into your laptop's headphone and microphone jacks or by using the included adapter to connect through a USB port. (It's worth noting that the USB port is for voice applications only; if you want to simply listen to music on the headset, you'll have to plug in to the headphone jack.) There's no software required, so once it's plugged in you can start using the headset right away. An in-line control includes a handy switch for muting the microphone as well as a wheel to control the volume to the headphones. A small clip on the back of the control lets you attach it to your clothing for easy access.
We tested the headset with Sound Recorder on Windows XP and on Windows Vista and practiced giving voice commands and dictating a letter using Vista's built-in speech recognition tools. Though prone to picking up breath sounds--not surprising, given how close it is to your mouth--the microphone captured clear, full vocal sound while keeping background noise to a minimum (though curiously, the background noise was louder when we used the USB adapter to record and play back). With the Logitech Premium Notebook Headset, Windows Vista was able to "hear" and understand nearly all our voice commands on the first try. Voice playback through the headphones was likewise high-quality, and we didn't mind listening to music through them, though they were a step down from the studio headphones we normally use.