The best headphones for making Skype calls?
Posted on 17 Sep 2012 at 11:26
Paul Ockenden experiments with different headsets for making phone calls from his laptop
For a while now I’ve been trying to find a good solution for making laptop calls via Skype or Lync.
There's a whole slew of options, from the high-end and eye-wateringly expensive Plantronics kit through to simple options such as just plugging a set of iPhone earbuds into your laptop via an adapter to split the earphone and mic functions. The latter trick actually works, but the in-cord controls probably won’t, so you’ll have to mess around with onscreen controls.
In fact, even with some of the high-end earbuds you’ll probably find that the in-cord controls don’t work in Lync, so when you press Mute, for example, it will mute the whole laptop rather than only the Lync client.
Recently I’ve been playing with a set of Logitech’s BH320 earbuds, which plug into the USB socket rather than the usual headphone and mic socket and so can pass commands properly to Lync, Skype or whatever.
I’ve found these BH320s to be excellent for making voice calls. In fact, I reckon that most times they’re better than using a wired telephone (and the person at the other end often remarks that my voice is extremely clear, too).
I did try using them for music, which works, but I wouldn’t recommend it for serious listening because the bass, in particular, is almost non-existent. But I don’t think these earbuds are supposed to be about listening to music – they’re optimised for voice calling and perform that function exceptionally well.
I was a little surprised to find a company such as Logitech making kit such as this, since most of its products are very much in the consumer space: internet radios, Squeezebox streamers, big flashy remote controls, keyboards and mice. I wasn’t even aware the company was active within the B2B space; based on my real-world test of the BH320s, however, I think Logitech is onto a winner here.
I tried these headphones, based on your recommendation in the mag. They do work extremely well. Unfortunately though, they are uncomfortable for my ears, with their conventional round design. Wish they provided different sizes of silicone fitments.
By SteveHammatt on 17 Sep 2012
Steve, if you search for headphone foam on eBay you'll find some VERY cheap foam covers (a quid inc postage!) which might help. You can double or treble them up if you need to, in order to get a good fit.
They do reduce the sound quality very very slightly, but not enough to worry about.
I'll try to remember to cover this in a future column - thanks for the feedback!
By PaulOckenden on 17 Sep 2012
They look quite interesting, especially the control but perhaps at £50 are a little steep - mainly for me as they are USB only, if they could detach from the USB connector and double up for a office headset on a wired phone (saving a fortune on Plantronics) they'd be better value. I'm currently using a Vivanco amplified lapel mic with some Sony in-ear headphones for Skype (total cost under £50 and can be used on a variety of devices). The quality is excellent (especially the microphone), but not ideal for travelling users as the mic has a small AA power amp box, but it can switch from mono to stereo and mute quickly.
By isofa on 17 Sep 2012
question would these headphones http://headphones-earphones.co.uk/plantronics-game
com-380-headset be any good
By hamza786 on 14 Nov 2012
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