To switch between headphone mode and speaker mode, you'll need to flip a switch on the speaker box. Here you'll also find a volume dial that controls levels during either chatting mode. Where the cable plugs into your controller you'll find the mic active and mute control, which actually gave us a real headache when used. The plastic sliding piece that controls all three mic modes is very flimsy. It must be pulled out to allow for voice chat and can be pushed in to mute. When pulled out, you also have the option of pressing down on the springy button, which gives you a temporary mute.
Though it's certainly a smart concept, when used it just doesn't feel right. The shakiness of the build quality isn't solid enough to know whether you've muted yourself so you're better off switching mute on altogether, just to be safe. Also, since it's so close to the terminating end of the wire, we found it takes two hands to securely slide it in place to ensure you don't accidentally disconnect the headset.
In speaker mode, we were impressed with how well the speaker box performed. Everyone in our Modern Warfare 2 online party could be heard easily through the tiny speaker. Unfortunately, we found often than not that the audio from the speaker would go right back through our local microphone, which, in turn, created a frustrating echo for our teammates. While muting our microphone fixed this, it also left us incapable of chatting ourselves. We had some success by lowering the volume of the speaker, but never really found a consistent balance that provided an echo-free experience. Wearing the headset as a necklace was surprisingly comfortable and we felt no weight from the box hanging from our neck.
Things got a little better in headphone mode, but we quickly became frustrated with struggling to hear the actual game audio with buds jammed into both of our ears. Also, the microphone itself may be a bit too sensitive. Because it rests inline, it had a tendency to rub against clothing, which led more unnecessary static. Overall, we were happier with the SpeakerCom's performance in headphone mode, but we were unable to achieve an optimal voice-chatting experience in either mode.
The allure of speakerphone-style chat intrigued us, but we were disappointed with the end results. Unfortunately, there seems to be way too many variables that need to be addressed with the way the SpeakerCom 360 is currently set up. It won't break the bank priced at $20, but it certainly is a letdown.