Logitech ClearChat PC Wireless Review
As I’ve recently started playing a game (LotRO… in practically every spare waking moment – Oliver) with some friends, I figured (along with some encouragement) to get a headset. My PC sits in my living room hooked up to my TV (aka monitor) – a pretty standard media center setup. I’m about 8 feet from the TV/PC so I needed/wanted something that was wireless. My son likes to chew cords. Who knew this when having kids? Screaming occasionally, sure. Pooping a lot? That’s a given. But cord-chewing? That’s not something that’s in the handbook. Anyway, even if he left my cords well enough alone, who wants cords? Most nerds have wireless keyboards/mice so who wants to go back to the stone age with wires?!? Not I. And thus began my search for a headset sans wires.
Sadly, the options are slim for a non-Bluetooth headset. I didn’t feel like mucking with Bluetooth again (see my upcoming article on Keyboards/Mice problems) so I picked up a Logitech ClearChat PC Wireless headset. The headset isn’t cheap. It goes from around $90 – $100 in the US, or $110 – $150 in Canada. I encourage people to shop around for this as you can usually find a sale. Oh, and because I’m smart I also checked EBay. I found one for around $65. But after currency conversion, and shipping I’d be looking at $100. I also didn’t feel like waiting.
Down to the review. So the headset itself is an attractive design. They feel fairly solid in the hands. The boom mic swings down, and the mic is nice. The headphone part…meh. Although the foamy parts are nice, I generally prefer closed-ear cans instead of over-the-ear cans. They are pretty small and probably suit a smaller ear than mine. I will probably get tired of the pressure on my ears after a long use. Plus, there’s no way you can look cool in these; even the model at right looks odd with them on.
As far as the sound quality…well that’s where things get interesting. Somewhere along the way I thought that if a game has voice chat capabilities, that they’d have figured it out to make it clear and useful. I think I was let down a lot by Lord of the Rings Online’s (LOTRO) voice chat. The quality frankly was less than desirable. It’s hard to put it in terms for this article, but unless you turn everything down (music, sound effects, etc) then hearing the game along with your friends is just hard to do. If I didn’t know there was a better solution out there, I would have returned these things for the $110 I paid for them.
But I knew there was a solution, it would just have to be through a third party solution. To the best of my knowledge, there are a few voice communication tools for gamers out there. Software like Roger Wilco has been around since my Counterstrike days. But I wanted something that was more full functional and less single purpose. My friends in China didn’t use Roger Wilco to chat, and no business client of mine would want to install it to chat about a project. So the next two options that came to mind were Skype and Google Talk.
Hands down…Skype is supreme master of voice communication. The clarity was perfect. As we both commented while trying these out “it’s like your inside my head”. The one downside to Skype is the memory usage it takes up compared to Google Talk. While playing LOTRO we weren’t seeing any major speed problems that would prevent us from using Skype while we played. Another advantage is having a conference call capabilities. Unless you hack Google Talk, you’re limited to single person chats. Lame IMO.
So there you have it. With the right software this headset is a winner. With the wrong software you might as well pull out the cans on strings. I’m getting no end of warm fuzzies for Logitech equipment these days!