CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement

Plantronics GameCom X30 Earset review: Plantronics GameCom X30 Earset

Plantronics GameCom X30 Earset

David Carnoy Executive Editor / Reviews
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Kobo e-books and audiobooks.
Expertise Headphones, Bluetooth speakers, mobile accessories, Apple, Sony, Bose, e-readers, Amazon, glasses, ski gear, iPhone cases, gaming accessories, sports tech, portable audio, interviews, audiophile gear, PC speakers Credentials
  • Maggie Award for Best Regularly Featured Web Column/Consumer
David Carnoy
2 min read
Plantronics GameCom X30
Plantronics made a splash last year with its GameCom Halo 2 Edition, a futuristic-looking headset that was adapted from a model created for call-center operators. Now, the company's come out with the Plantronics GameCom X30 ($29.99), another impressively stylish headset that works with both the Xbox and the Xbox 360.

The Plantronics GameCom X30 has a swiveling earbudesque earpiece that's coated at the tip with soft rubber. It takes a little fiddling to get the headset on correctly (it can be clipped to either ear), but once it's secured, you can get a pretty snug fit. It's not quite as comfortable as the similarly priced Halo 2 headset, which can also be used with the Xbox 360 (though you sacrifice mute and volume control options), but its under-the-ear design allows the headset to avoid any conflicts with eyewear. The boom microphone is flexible and rotates to position over your mouth--and around the contour of your face--whether you decide to wear the headset on your right or left ear. An in-line volume control is built into the headset's wire and can be clipped to your shirt pocket.


Plantronics GameCom X30 Earset

The Good

Offering a uniquely stylish design, the Plantronics GameCom X30 is lightweight, comfortable to wear, and eye-wear-friendly--plus, it sounds good.

The Bad

The Plantronics GameCom X30 isn't wireless, nor is it the loudest headset we've tested.

The Bottom Line

The Plantronics GameCom X30, the company's stylish follow-up to its Halo 2 Edition headset for Xbox Live, is an upgrade from the standard Xbox 360 headset and won't interfere with eyewear.

Performance was very good, though this isn't the loudest headset we've tested. The microphone has a noise-canceling feature, which helps reduce background noise from the games themselves. You won't get the tight seal from the earbud as you would from the Halo 2 Edition headset--or even the sound blockage standard Xbox and 360 headsets offer with their over-the-ear designs. However, the sound was clear, and we had no problem hearing teammates in multiplayer games or opponents in head-to-head sports action or vice versa. On another positive note, because the earbud fits more loosely, you don't have to worry about it attracting earwax like the Xbox models; also, the ear wearing the headset won't be subject to muffled sound.

The only big downside to the Plantronics GameCom X30 is that it isn't wireless. Microsoft has announced it will offer a wireless headset in 2006, but if you can't afford that model and don't mind a cord attached to your wireless controller, the X30 is good headset that can also work with cell phones.