This week, I attempted to get my head around wireless headsets by testing two of the best business models on the market: the H800MB from Logitech and the 660 UC MS from Sennheiser. Ostensibly designed for office use, both headsets are suitable candidates as your primary headset: but which one is best?
What came first: the rise of globalisation, telecommuting and home offices, or the technology that is increasingly making our hyper-connected, often virtual workplace possible? Either way, communicating in this brave new world is easier with a headset: they free up your hands, and reduce ambient noise during calls and virtual meetings so you can hear and be heard.
The most basic headsets are available for less than $10. These are fine for occasional use, including social VOIP calls – so no more shouting into the computer's tiny microphone when chatting to friends overseas with Skype or FaceTime.
However, anyone who often talks online or on the phone, or in noisy environments, including open-plan or home offices, should consider superior options.
I tested two wireless headsets: Logitech's H800 and Sennheiser's MB 660 UC MS. Both are comfortable and lightweight, have noise-cancelling capabilities, good audio quality – even some distance from the connected device – and built-in touch-pad controls.
They seamlessly switch between devices, so you can listen to a podcast and answer a Bluetooth-connected phone, for example. They also interact nicely with common music apps and calling services.
Although intended for workplaces, both headsets are also suitable for downtime uses, including videos and games.
LOGITECH H800 (RRP $189.95)
Vertically adjustable, the boom microphone has noise-cancelling capabilities that deliver satisfying audio to listeners, but foam on-ear pads allow some sound in for users. Basic functions, including volume and call connection, are controlled via a simple external interface; two switches control other functions, including track selection.
The unit folds up compactly, and the Wi-Fi dongle can be stored within when not in use. Battery life is a reasonable six hours, and roaming distance 12 metres.
You can get it from Amazon for $157.
SENNHEISER MB 660 UC MS (RRP $649)
Three in-unit microphones, plus adaptable technology highlighting your voice and reducing ambient noise, is great for listeners. Users enjoy excellent audio, partly thanks to super-soft leather over-ear pads and adaptive noise cancelling that can also be adjusted – when listening for airport announcements, say (the cable connection means it's good onboard too).
Myriad functions are controlled by tapping or swiping the headset. The battery lasts an impressive 30 hours and roaming is up to 25 metres.
It's available from Simply Headsets for $588.
The Logitech performs well, particularly in the core requirement of clear sound for user and listener, so it's a genuine yet affordable step up. The Sennheiser is pricey, but for those who spend considerable time speaking remotely with clients and colleagues, it's an excellent investment in comfort, functionality and quality.