One headset to rule them all. Well, sort of.
Wireless ‘portable’ headsets are seeing a bit of a surge lately. You can now easily find a “branded” pair of cans for a non-budget busting price; and they seem to be doing a fine job of tight-roping between providing wireless freedom and adequate sound quality. The recently reviewed Asus HS-W1 was one such example, and our product of today, the Logitech h800 wireless headset joins the category as well.
What sets the Logitech apart, however, is that it can quickly ‘switch over’ from being a desktop headset using wireless connectivity, to a Bluetooth headset, which can then be paired with a smartphone or a tablet device. But is it a ‘one headset to rule them all’ then?
Call me spoiled, but I find the Logitech h800 extremely bland and boring. In fact, its appearance is quite deceptive, and can be taken as one of the knock-off brands if not for the properly spelled ‘Logitech’ sticker on the sides.
That’s not to say it does not serve its purpose. The Logitech holds all of its controls on the right ear cup, with the volume rockers, play/pause and the microphone mute button embedded on the center. The inner right-edge has a switcher that changes the headset’s connectivity from wireless and Bluetooth, and a slider to change sound tracks if you are using a media player. The controls might seem crammed but they are quite evenly spaced out and are intuitive to use. If you have used similar headsets before, you shouldn’t have much problem adapting to the Logitech’s ways.
The Logitech h800 also have found a very innovative place to hide the microphone, which is straight under the right ear cup. While we still prefer the Steelseries’ hide-it-inside-the-earcup way of doing it, the Logitech design is functional and works quite well. Unfortunately, the microphone does not auto-mute when it’s shoved back up, the lack of which can be potentially dangerous if you happen to forget to do it yourself. So thread carefully, you must.
I usually find the on-the-ear design to be painfully uncomfortable. The ear-cups lay flat on your ear, and the padding has to be just sturdy and soft enough to not hurt. The Roccat Kulo and the Asus HS-W1 failed in doing so and I had little hope from the Logitech h800 to be any more comfortable. It certainly didn’t look to be, at least.
The Logitech are comfortable, surprisingly. It doesn’t claim to have the softest, highest-quality premium padding. It just uses basic foam material on its cans and the headband, and I have to say, it fits in snugly. It does heat up after a while, but that’s normal given that headsets don’t float in the air. Yet.
The Logitech h800 switches between wireless and Bluetooth connectivity quite smoothly, allowing you to ping-pong between your PC and your music player easily. There is a bit of a delay between picking up connections, but that can be chalked up to a limitation of the technology than the headset itself.
The h800 is a general purpose headset and provides adequate power and performance for its purpose. For music, the headset is quite loud and clear, but lacks the fulfilling, wholesome punch that premium sound drivers provide. My test tacks consisted of various Hindi movie songs, ranging from mild-rock to full-on bhangra to what can be best described as ‘masala-pop’ music. The sound felt compressed and hollow, with the treble falling flat on most occasions. The bass was muddy and sometimes overly done, giving more hollowness to the soundscape.
For gaming, I tried it on two experts – Counter Strike 1.6 and Modern Warfare 3. Here, too, it felt weak, with many effects being ‘left out’ or ‘buried’ under the more prominent ones. It provided decent positioning feedback in Counter Strike, however. Not ‘surround’ by any means, but did the job just fine defining between left and right, which was good enough for my experienced fingers.
For appox. AED 380, the Logitech h800 are a decent buy, especially since it can negate the need to have multiple devices for your music player and your PC. It does lack power but is adequate enough to be a portable solution that is sturdy and can last a good number of hours before it needs a recharge.