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Review: Logitech ClearChat PC Wireless

clearchat_1.jpgIf you have ever used Skype or iChat to place calls, you clearly know how aggravating the setup is to get it working. First you have to find your headset, untangle the wires, plug it into the correct port and then figure out how to make the thing work. For me, it's always been a hassle to even leave Skype running, in fear that someone would actually try to call me on it and I wouldn't have my headset configured. Not any more. I've been wireless for the last few weeks and I am loving it. The Logitech ClearChat PC Wireless headset has simplified the complexity of using VOIP applications for me. Overview The headset uses 2.4GHz wireless technology we are familiar with. This is the same spectrum that many cordless phones, wireless routers, microwave ovens, and several other devices use. While it can sometimes be challenging to keep other devices from interfering with each other, I found no issues with this particular unit in my home configuration. Setup & Use The setup was easier than I thought it would be. Even being a wireless headset, this required just a little more configuration than a wired one did. You simply charge the headset, insert the USB Dongle into your USB 1.1 or 2.0 port, set the proper IN/OUT in your preferences, and then turn on your headset. No pairing and no wires. Who doesn't love that. During initial setup, I encountered a problem with my system slowing down. After a quick call to Logitech tech support, we were able to deduce that the problem was with my USB 2.0 HUB. It's not a cheap no-name hub, it's a Belkin 8 port. Logitech did tell me that occasionally there are some versions of hubs that devices have trouble working with. Unfortunately I was a victim of this plight. To fix the problem, I simply had to plug directly into the back of my iMac. The headset is very comfortable and lightweight. It features up and down volume buttons on the side as well as pressing the Logitech logo to mute it. The boom mic easily adjusts to your preference and I wasn't able to discern any marked difference in audio quality due to the positioning. Now I simply keep the USB dongle plugged into the back on my iMac, keep the headset on the charger and I am ready to go for any conversation. Range & Battery Logitech says you can move freely during while using the headset, up to 10 meters. I found this pretty accurate, even in my frequency laden office. I found a fairly direct correlation between range and battery life. When fully charged I could get the 10 meters, but when low on battery, my calls would drop if I went 10 feet away. The battery is a built-in rechargeable that you simply plug into any standard AC outlet. If you keep it on the charger, you will be ready to talk whenever a call comes in. I tried using it during a long podcasting session and it worked solid for the whole time, which was about three hours. I am not sure of the maximum time for the battery, but I have heard other reports of people using it up to, and in excess of 6 hours off of a full charge. Additionally, you can also use it while plugged into the charger, as it simply slows down the charging process. clearchat_2.jpg Audio Quality The audio sounded very good, but a bit tinny during my test conversations. For day to day Skype conversations and gaming, I think the audio was very good. However, I will say that my older and less expensive Logitech wired USB headset has better audio quality, and one that I choose to use when podcasting via Skype. I can only assume it's the Microphone that makes the difference. The ClearChat PC Wireless noise-canceling microphone did it's job quite well and my air conditioner hum was not detectible to the folks at the other end of my conversation. This was a nice feature and Logitech always does a high quality job when it comes to this. Tech Specs: Frequency response - Headset: 20-20,000 Hz - Microphone: 100-10,000 Hz Sensitivity: - 62 dBV/μBar - 42 dBV/PA +/-3 dB Wireless Protocol: - 2.4 GHz - USB compatible (1.1 and 2.0) System Requirements: - Mac 10.2.8 or later - PC Windows® 2000, Windows® XP, Windows Vista® Conclusion: Overall I give this headset high marks. Providing wireless freedom and very good sound quality make this worth a look. While the price is a bit steep - $99.99, if you shop around on the net you can easily find it for about 20% less than that. If you can't stand the wires and want a comfortable and good sounding headset, the Logitech ClearChat Wireless USB is definitely one to check out. 4 out of 5