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Plantronics Xbox Gamecon Halo 2 Headset Communicator review: Plantronics Xbox Gamecon Halo 2 Headset Communicator

It may not be wireless, but it's one of the best wired headsets for Xbox Live out there.

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, Nook e-books and audiobooks.
Expertise Mobile accessories and portable audio, including headphones, earbuds and speakers Credentials
  • Maggie Award for Best Regularly Featured Web Column/Consumer
David Carnoy
2 min read
Plantronics GameCom Halo 2 Edition
The Plantronics GameCom Halo 2 Edition is the company's current top-of-the-line headset for Xbox gamers. This translucent green, futuristic-looking model retails for $49.99 and is designed to replace the headset that comes in the $29.99 Xbox Live Communicator package.

The headset, adapted from a model made for call-center operators, can be strapped over your left or right ear. A reticulating arm on the earpiece lets you comfortably tuck the budlike earpiece into your ear. It can take a little fiddling to get the headset on correctly, but once you do, you can get a snug fit. All in all, it's a pretty ingenious design, and Plantronics goes the extra yard by including four different earpieces that you can easily swap on and off until you settle on the one that gives you the tightest, most comfortable seal. The flexible boom microphone is exactly that--flexible--so you'll have no trouble fitting it to the contours of your face.


Plantronics Xbox Gamecon Halo 2 Headset Communicator

The Good

Futuristic design; comfortable to wear; multiple earpiece options included.

The Bad

Costs as much as a copy of Halo 2; earwax magnet.

The Bottom Line

If you're not ready to splurge on Logitech's wireless headset, the Plantronics GameCom Halo 2 Edition is the next best thing.

Performance was good. The bidirectional, noise-canceling microphone helps reduce background noise from the games themselves, and since we were able to get a tight seal from the earbud, we felt at times that the other players' voices were in our head, trash talk and all.

The one downside to an earbud-style headset is that even if you practice good ear hygiene, you'll have to clean off the bud after a gaming session or two. But the advantage of the Plantronics GameCom Halo 2 Edition over the standard, neckband-style Xbox Live model is that you can lie back in a couch or a lounge chair without displacing the headset. It's also more eyewear-friendly, though the step-down Plantronics GameCom X20 ($29.99) is even more so. Lastly, it looks cool. True, if you tend to play alone, it's not going to turn too many heads. But you can always use it as your cell phone headset out in the real world--assuming you're not shy about broadcasting your unabashed love for Halo 2 to the general public.