Logitech ClearChat Wireless USB Headset (Black) review: Logitech ClearChat Wireless USB Headset (Black)
Wireless keyboards, mice, and printers have been around for years, but headphones and headsets are fairly new to the cordless party. Logitech's entry into the fray is the ClearChat PC Wireless Headset. Unlike the Creative Digital Wireless Gaming Headset HS-1200, which is targeted at gamers, Logitech sees the ClearChat as a jack of all trades, intending it to work equally well for listening to music, playing PC games that use voice cooperation, or for standard PC-based communications such as Skype.
The ClearChat uses a USB dongle that instantly sets the headset as the PC's speakers. We really like the ease-of-use factor here; there wasn't any complicated setup involved--you simply plug in the dongle, power up the headset, and you're all set to go. (The ClearChat works equally well on Mac or Windows systems.)
As with the Creative, the ClearChat has an embedded battery in the headset's right earcup. A 2.5-hour charge with the included AC adapter netted us around 6 hours of use, right on par with the estimate from Logitech. You can also use the headset while it's charging. The company claims the device will work within 33 feet of the USB dongle, but we found that the operational limit was closer to 20 feet--anything beyond that gave us an annoying static dropout. That said, the ClearChat ships with a 7-foot USB extension cradle (for the dongle), which will help to expand the transmission radius.
The construction of the ClearChat headset feels less durable than that of the Creative HS-1200. The plastic headband is padded, but that's surrounding a thin flattened metal strip, which made it feel fragile when worn. This also did not allow the headset to fit as snugly as we would have liked, something the HS-1200 was successfully able to offer. We would have also liked the swiveling earcups to have been larger, as they were barely able to fit over our ears. That lack of a good seal meant that there was no sonic isolation--we could hear outside noise, and those nearby could hear sound from our headset.
Unlike the HS-1200 microphone, the ClearChat mic boom is not as malleable as you may like. The boom must also be lowered (although not completely, just halfway) in order to function. We liked the small red light on the tip of the mic that flashes when it's activated and stays lit when it's muted. The boom can also be lifted completely out of sight when not in use. The right earcup features volume up and down buttons, as well as a microphone-mute button for easy control access. This is also where you'll find the headset's power switch. There are not, however, any buttons exclusively for VoIP calling which we enjoyed on the Creative HS-1200.
In terms of sound quality, we were a bit disappointed with the performance of the ClearChat. In our trials with Counter-Strike, we found the explosions and other sound effects to be very underwhelming. There is very little range of sound that the headset can produce, which dampened our overall experience. Our voice communication tests fared a lot better, with our online teammates reporting an echo-free, loud and clear reception.
We then tried the ClearChat with some music sampling. Again, we experienced an overall flat, tinny sound with various tracks off the new self-titled Weezer record. In other words, the ClearChat doesn't really compare with dedicated audio headphones for music listening. We can, however, recommend the headset for use with VoIP programs such as Skype. This was where the headset really shined, with voice quality sounding very crisp. Our party on the other end also reported a successful test indicating that we sounded very clear.
Overall, we really can't recommend the ClearChat PC Wireless headset for anything other than VoIP communication. Priced around $80, you're much better off opting for the Creative Digital Wireless Gaming Headset HS-1200. Not only did it perform much better in almost every category we tested, but it can be had for $10 cheaper. We weren't thrilled with the bundled EQ software it came with, but its design and features edge out that of the Logitech's.