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Kyocera Torque, Black 4GB (Sprint)
Kyocera Torque, Black 4GB (Sprint)
Price: $329.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kyocera Torque: Ruggedized wonder or gimmick?, April 16, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Mid-range Android phones seem to be a glut on the market today, and some of them almost seem to be clones of each other. Smartphone suppliers seem to have so many offerings that it will you're your head spin. So when one discovers an Android phone that has been ruggedized, it is enough to perk ones interest.

This Kyocera Torque is definitely a ruggedized phone, and checking the manufacturer's specifications, it meets or exceeds the MilSpec 810G and IP 67 certification. What that means in simple terms is that it is designed to meet standards for rain, immersion, vibration, shock and dust resistant, salt fog, humidity, solar radiation, altitude, low and high temperature storage, and possibly more. But one look at this phone with its rubberized Dura-Grip housing and you'll know that it was designed to stand up against drops, spills, wet weather and other such unexpected calamities that we often face. It is by no means a perfect smartphone designed to fit the needs of everyone, as like everything it has its high and low points.

◆ Likes:

+ Extremely rugged; the case is designed to withstand the elements
+ Long battery life; uses a 2500mAh rechargeable Li-ion battery
+ Very bright screen; reasonably sharp and legible
+ Very good call quality; clear and loud
+ Very little bloatware

◆ Mixed:

± Too many buttons; had to re-program the Direct Call button

◆ Dislikes:

- Mediocre overall performance

◆ In Use:

Activation is easy. Once it is alive, it can be done through the Kyocera Torque itself, online from your computer, or by calling Sprint at the phone number in the instructions. I tried the phone method as I had questions, and got through very quickly, though I had to navigate my way through their (insidious) phone button menu to talk to a live person. The Sprint customer service rep was helpful and knew his stuff regarding phone, the plans and everything that I asked. Kudos to Sprint and their reps for being helpful; your results may vary, but being polite helps.

I wondered about how waterproof the phone might be, so I tested it. Making sure that all of the ports were closed and the battery door was tight, I submerged the Kyocera Torque in a kitchen sink filled with room temperature water and waited about five minutes. That worked, so after making sure that everything was working, I did it again but for a measured time of 20 minutes. Dried it off, turned the phone on again and all was fine, and there was no evidence of water inside. Please note that I do not suggest that everyone test the Kyocera Torque this way, but someone had to do it.

Call clarity is quite good on this phone, probably due to the "advanced smart sonic receiver technology" on this device. Bluetooth pairing was easy and necessary as I wanted to use my Plantronics Voyager Legend Bluetooth Headset when cycling. The GPS system worked well with the mapping application.

On the downside, found that the 5MP camera was nothing to rave about. Maybe I've been spoiled by the 8MP camera in my Samsung Galaxy S III with its burst shot mode and Full HD 1080p video, but the images from the Kyocera Torque were not as good, even comparing them side by side. Its 4-inch 800 x 480 pixel screen is bright, but the 4.8-inch HD 1280 x 720 pixel is far superior, especially for those who wear corrective vision.

◆ Summary:

The Kyocera Torque is unquestionably a ruggedized phone, and it will take drops and banging around far better than most. Within reasonable expectations, it's a good and very sturdy product that should easily meet the needs of those who are looking for such a device. The direct Direct Connect push-to-talk feature is good for those who need it and remember the old Nextel phones with their walkie-talkie style communication, but I found it to be an annoyance that could easily be disabled. Beyond my minor gripes, this is a good phone, and one that I'll keep it as a backup for cycling and for outdoor use... and for those applications, it's quite good.

JW ▪ 4/16/2013


Belkin QODE Portable Bluetooth Keyboard Case for the All New Kindle Fire HD 7" & HDX 7" (fits both devices)
Belkin QODE Portable Bluetooth Keyboard Case for the All New Kindle Fire HD 7" & HDX 7" (fits both devices)
Price: $79.99
4 used & new from $68.90

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good with the Kindle Fire HDX", and even more, April 16, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Keyboards for tablets can be exercises in finding a good middle ground. You just need to choose which compromises work best for you.

The Belkin QODE Portable Bluetooth Keyboard Case for the All New Kindle Fire HD 7" & HDX 7" (fits both devices) is a good product for those who spend a lot of time typing on the keyboard of these devices. Right off, it is not the perfect replacement for the keyboard on a notebook or desktop computer, but it comes much closer than one might expect. Picked this up as a Vine selection for my Kindle Fire HDX 7" tablet as a substitute for its built-in graphical keyboard, mostly for those times that hours would be spent on this device when away from the computer. Took plenty of time to use it, to explore how well it worked, and there were some interesting surprises. Here are the basics:

◆ Likes:

+ Excellent fit; no-nonsense installation of the Kindle Fire HDX 7" tablet
+ Compact; doubles up as a case for extra portability
+ Case is quite sturdy; offers good protection for the tablet
+ Well-spaced keys; results in reduced typing errors
+ Dedicated power button; located on the side of the keyboard
+ Excellent battery life; charges via an included microUSB cable
+ Easy Bluetooth pairing; no issues encountered

◆ Mixed:

± Price is high; design may not be perfect for some

◆ Dislikes:

- There is no way to check the keyboard battery level
- Magnetic ON/OFF feature does not function on these

◆ In Use:

Open the box and you'll find the QODE Portable Keyboard Case, a USB-to-micro-USB cable, and the user manual. The Belkin QODE Portable Keyboard Case is slim and lightweight, and offers a better option than typing with the graphical keyboard of the Kindle Fire HDX 7". It has an ergonomic design lets you take your Kindle anywhere with its sturdy fitted case, and without the added bulk. Luckily I had added the Moshi iVisor XT Screen Protector for extra protection. Inserting the Kindle Fire is into the case is easy and fairly logical.

It is a good idea to fully charge the keyboard before it's used for the first time. This is done by plugging the small end of the cable into the micro-USB port at the side of the keyboard, with the other end plugged into a power adapter or a USB port on a computer. Once it's charged, which takes about two to three hours, you can power it up with the ON/OFF switch on the side of the keyboard. By the way, the battery life is excellent.

Bluetooth pairing it is straightforward: on the Kindle Fire HDX, go to the Settings > Wireless > Bluetooth. Once the keyboard is found, under Available Devices, tap on Bluetooth Wireless Keyboard. Just enter the pairing code and you are good to go.

There are two viewing angles, making the case comfortable when typing, poking around on the 'Net or watching videos. The magnetic standing points keep the Kindle Fire HDX 7" device in place with no problems. The keyboard also has some shortcut keys that which allow for volume adjustment when you're listening to music or watching videos.

◆ Personal View:

The keyboard itself is very good, and there's no doubt that this is a big improvement over the built-in graphical keyboard in the 7" Kindle Fire HDX. But since I had already bought the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7" Origami Case, found that the QODE keyboard case was somewhat uninspiring. The Origami case automatically puts the Kindle Fire HDX 7" to sleep when it is closed and wakes it upon opening via its integrated magnetic closure. As a result I was prepared to rate this Belkin QODE Portable Bluetooth Keyboard Case with an overall 3 or 4-star rating.

But then it dawned on me...

I also have a Kindle Fire HD 8.9" device, and that one is also Bluetooth equipped. Since I already have a couple Kindle stands, I folded the cover back on the Belkin Bluetooth keyboard case and did same pairing as noted above. And it worked, perfectly. For me it was like having an added bonus, and the best of both worlds.

◆ Summary:

The Belkin QODE Portable Bluetooth Keyboard Case for the All New Kindle Fire HD 7" & HDX 7" is useful, functional, and makes it a reasonable substitute for a notebook computer when one is mobile. Though I dislike that there is no LED or display indicating when the battery is low, that is offset by having the versatility of being able to use the keyboard function with another Kindle Fire HD that wasn't listed. From a personal perspective, overall this is a 4½-star product and is highly recommended.

JW ▪ 4/16/2013
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 16, 2014 6:14 AM PDT


Pelican 0915 Black SD Memory Card Protective Case Replaces 0910
Pelican 0915 Black SD Memory Card Protective Case Replaces 0910
Offered by Norman Camera & Video
Price: $18.49
75 used & new from $15.89

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top-notch SD card storage for the photographer on the go, April 15, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This a small product, but a good one from a great company.

Bought this Pelican 0915 Black SD Memory Card Protective Case as a replacement for another hard case from another company that had been a gift. This one holds up to twelve SD/SDHC/SDXC cards in a convenient layout so that you can see which card you need. Lift one of the SD cards and you'll find additional space underneath for six miniSD cards on one side and and six microSD cards on the other. It has a grey closed cell foam insert liner that's designed to absorb shock and protect the memory cards, and it has a sturdy water-resistant polycarbonate housing with a water resistant seal.

The key to this is that it keeps all of your SD-series memory cards in one place so that they don't get lost. Measuring about 4.79"L x 2.25"W x 0.55"D, it's slim enough to fit into about any camera bag with ease. Not noted on the product page, Pelican offers a lifetime guarantee on these, and they are a good way to protect your investment in memory cards. Highly recommended for anyone using SD memory with their cameras.

JW ▪ 4/15/2014


Good Sense Nicotine Lozenge, Mint, 72-count, 3x24p
Good Sense Nicotine Lozenge, Mint, 72-count, 3x24p
Price: $34.58

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For Emergency Use Only!, April 15, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
That is what the label says that I affixed to this small QuitTube.

Admission: I've been at war with smoking most of my adult life, plus a few years in my late teens. Have tried almost every method of quitting short of going off to live on a remote desert island. Some years ago I had to face the fact that I am a smoker, and it has been a longtime habit. Yet it has been over five years since I had my last cigarette, so at least there hope.

This is not my first experience with this Good Sense Nicotine Lozenge, Mint, 72-count, 3x24p product, as I've taken them as a generic before. As far as the taste goes, these to me are somewhat like a slimy, somewhat-minty antacid tablet, and much better stuck under the tongue and alternating from side to side. Each tablet will last for about 20 to 30 minutes, but for good reasons, do not chew them.

The downside it that the inactive ingredients include aspartame, which has been the subject of a number of political and medical controversies (along with Internet hoaxes). If you suffer from migraines, you may want to talk to your doctor first before trying these as a solution to stop smoking. These Good Sense Nicotine Lozenges came in with an expiration date of 11/2014, and there is a good chance mine will expire before that date.

Personally I've had better results from the Good Sense Nicotine Polacrilex Gum, 4mg (nicotine), Cool Mint 100-count product. They have a much 'cleaner' taste, but are still a good reminder that one is trying to quit... eventually.

I do not suggest that my "For Emergency Use Only" is a good way to stop smoking, but for me it's a good substitute for taking one of these lozenges as a way to stop that cigarette craving, which usually happens when working on the computer late at night when under pressure to meet some deadline or other. And even though this is an over-the-counter remedy, it's advisable to consult your doctor or health care provider before starting with any of these Nicotine Polacrilex product as nicotine replacement therapy in smoking cessation.

I did, and am following the advice of both my physician and pharmacist: For Emergency Use Only!

JW ▪ 4/15/2014


WinZip 18 Pro
WinZip 18 Pro
Price: $59.99
7 used & new from $58.47

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WinZip 18 Pro: The latest full-featured version of an old favorite, April 15, 2014
This review is from: WinZip 18 Pro (CD-ROM)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
For those who don't know, WinZip is a file archiver, a way of compressing files for Windows and other operating systems. It has been around since the early 1990s as a GUI (Graphical User Interface) front end for PKZIP, the data compression utility that had been authored by the late Phil Katz. I note this as two people asked me about ZIP files in the last couple months. So much for the brief history lesson.

WinZip 18 Pro is the latest version of WinZip, and is a full-featured product, with a lot of good functionality. It does an excellent job opening and extracting ZIP, Zipx, 7Z, LHA/LZH, RAR, BZ2 and about all of the other major compression file formats of which you can think. It makes fast work of converting Microsoft Word docs (and other Office files) to PDF format, and it's easy to create them as read-only PDF if you want to avoid file alteration by other parties.

This version offers more that the older WinZip 17 Standard and other variations in that it makes it easier to protect your privacy and share files in email messages, in social media, and on the cloud. It has been redesigned to support new add-ons, and cloud navigation makes it simpler to protect, manage and share your files online. An updated Zip engine makes even smaller ZIP and Zipx files.

Now you can display photos within ZIP files without extracting them by using WinZip's internal image viewer, and you can use the 'Photos' button to rapidly transfer photos from supported cameras and iPhones, then rotate and compress them into picture shows for sharing. Among the new features, you can use direct access to cloud services. These include Google Drive, SkyDrive (now Cloud Drive), and Dropbox, which I've tried successfully. You can also access other cloud services such as Box, CloudMe and SugarSync, though I have not tried these. You can also send links to your cloud files via instant messaging, email and social media with the Cloud Links feature.

If you have a large number of digital images on your hard drive, it will reduce your .JPG files by about 20 to 25% with no loss of photo quality or data integrity. Photographers with a large number of images should note that WinZip may (or may not) cause some issues with image management/viewing applications such as Adobe Photoshop Lightroom or Nikon ViewNX 2, so run some tests before you try to compress all of your images. I have not tried compressing RAW images, as keeping them intact is a personal thing.

WinZip 18 Pro is available here on CD-ROM or as a PC download for Windows 7, Vista and Windows 8.x. If you have a Kindle Fire or Android device, the freebie WinZip app works quite well, with excellent compatibility. Users of the WinZip 17 versions may or may not wish to go for this new version; it's a personal choice depending on what features you want. Both versions do their job well, have a good interface, and are extremely handy for taking advantage of cloud storage.

JW ▪ 4/15/2014


STK's Nikon EN-EL9 / EN-EL9a Battery - 1400mAh for Nikon D3000, D5000, D40, D60, D40X
STK's Nikon EN-EL9 / EN-EL9a Battery - 1400mAh for Nikon D3000, D5000, D40, D60, D40X
Offered by SterlingTEK
Price: $9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good substitute for the Nikon EN-EL9 Li-ion Battery, April 15, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I usually purchase "prime" batteries for my better photo gear, but good results from the experiences of friends made me take a second look at these.

The STK's Nikon EN-EL9/EN-EL9a Battery is designed to work with a variety of Nikon D-series cameras. It is rated at 1400mAh, whereas the original Nikon EN-EL9 Rechargeable Li-ion Battery is rated at 1030mAh of power. Either these from STK or the original use the Nikon MH-24 charger.

Bought a pair of these for use with my DSLR Battery Grip, which has been in service for a couple of years now. When one of the Li-ion EN-EL9 substitute batteries from another third-party seller showed up as swollen on one side, I knew that it was time for a change. As an added note, be very careful when messing around with a swelling Li-ion (Lithium ion) battery as these can be quite dangerous. Once a Li-ion battery starts swelling, its been damaged and must be disposed of in a responsible manner. They can explode and cause fires. Enough said.

Have put these through a number of use cycles in the battery grip, and so far they perform as well as the original Nikon EN-EL9 Li-ion batteries, and at a much more reasonable cost. One cannot ask for more than that.

JW ▪ 4/15/2014


Jarrow Formulas Prostate Optimizer, 90 Count
Jarrow Formulas Prostate Optimizer, 90 Count
Price: $23.91
29 used & new from $23.91

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Preventative Medicine, April 15, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Prostatitis is an irritation of the prostate that may be caused by an infection. It is the most common prostate problem for men under 50 years of age, and is so common that about half of all adult men in will be treated for it in their lifetime.

Products like Jarrow Formulas Prostate Optimizer, 90 Count are a good way to fight back against prostatitis. It has the right ingredients that seem to be accepted in the healthcare community. This is no guarantee, but seems to be an established over the counter treatment.

One of the signs of a potential issue with possible prostatitis is frequent urination, especially if you have to get up a few times each night for that trip to the bathroom. It's not as uncommon as one might think, and is shared by many males 50 or above. It may be more of an inconvenience than anything, but take the suggested three softgels for a week and you may be able to get a full 7 to 8 hours sleep without getting the "midnight trots" as a pharmacist friend calls them.

Other things that may help include make sure your diet includes foods with a lot of lycopene, such as red peppers and tomatoes. Eating fish with high levels of omega-3 acids, such as tuna and salmon will help your prostate as well as your heart and immune system. And maintaining a healthy weight range will keep your prostate hale and hearty.

Saw palmetto berry is said to reduce inflammation and prostate enlargement, and is one of the ingredients in this product. Most men don't get enough zinc in their diets, and supplements can help keep your prostate healthy. And perform kegel exercises... these are not just for women. Do the "tighten up" exercises for a few seconds, then release. Do this exercise in ten repetitions, five times a day, to improve your prostate health.

All things considered, this is a decent product, but it's not advisable to decide to take any dietary supplements to treat a health condition that you have diagnosed yourself. Be sure to consult your physician or health care provider before beginning a new supplement routine. I did, and this is preventative medicine.

JW ▪ 4/14/2014


MarBlue Clear Screen Protector Kit for Kindle Fire HDX 7" (will only fit Kindle Fire HDX 7")
MarBlue Clear Screen Protector Kit for Kindle Fire HDX 7" (will only fit Kindle Fire HDX 7")
Price: $12.99
8 used & new from $7.32

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars MarBlue Clear Screen Protector Kit for Kindle Fire HDX 7"... there are better choices, April 14, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Sometime you win, sometimes you lose, and sometimes you wonder why you bothered.

I tried this MarBlue Clear Screen Protector Kit for Kindle Fire HDX 7" mostly from past experience with this company when they were known here as Marware. I had already installed another screen protector on the Kindle Fire HDX 7" tablet (see below), but perhaps it was out of brand loyalty that I tried this one. It works, but even following the directions carefully, the results were not exactly satisfactory.

I had bought the old Marware Vibe Case Cover with Stand for Kindle Fire over two years ago when my original Kindle Fire was new, and it's a product that has stood up well over time. It was reasonably priced, and I had no real complaints over time. It's still in service today. That was my basis for going for this new product.

So what's wrong with this screen protector? Two things:

1. It's a dust magnet. I've applied screen protectors before, but this really attracts dust.
2. There are bubbles. Some can be expected, but not as bad as what I encountered.

I've installed screen protectors on tablets, digital cameras and smart phones before. I know to read the directions and clean the screen first, and from personal past experience use a Lenspen Sidekick Cleaner to make it pristine prior to installation. But even with that, the dust particles were there, along with bubbles. As of this date, the product page here states:

"**NOTE** some small air bubbles may require 24 hours to disappear."

Not trying to be picky, but four days later, "small air bubbles" were still there.

I ended up removing the screen protector, cleaned the screen again with the Lenspen cleaner, then re-installed the Moshi iVisor XT (HD clear) No-Bubble Screen Protector for the Fire HDX 7" that I had removed earlier. The results? No dust and no bubbles. It may be a more costly solution, but it works well... and what is your time worth?

If you can live with the bubbles and a bit of dust, the MarBlue Clear Screen Protector Kit for Kindle Fire HDX 7" is a decent buy, perhaps. If you use your Kindle Fire in a dirty or dusty environment, it's probably better than no protector at all. For this user who expected more from this company, it wasn't worth the bother or time to try the second screen protector film that came in the package. Your results may differ.

JW ▪ 4/14/2014


Cotton Carrier Hand Strap - with Arca Swiss-compatible mini-plate
Cotton Carrier Hand Strap - with Arca Swiss-compatible mini-plate
Offered by Outdoor Photo Gear
Price: $19.95
16 used & new from $13.30

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cotton Carrier Hand Strap: Good alternative to the average camera strap, April 14, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Conventional camera straps are good for what they're designed for: carrying your camera around your neck and keeping your hands-free when your DSLR is not in use. But they are not always the best choice for street photography, shooting sports, quick action shots, or when going from handheld to tripod.

The Cotton Carrier Hand Strap - with Arca-Swiss compatible mini-plate is a good solution for any photographer on the go, and in almost any environment. This hand strap has an adjustable Velcro-type strip, and the plate is made of black anodized aluminum. In terms of use, this means that you can put the camera onto your tripod head in seconds, without removing the hand strap at all.

This product comes in a straightforward cardboard box, and inside is the hand strap, the Arca-Swiss style mini-plate, a camera mounting screw, an Allen wrench to tighten the camera screw, and a small split ring for other mount alternatives. Setup is fast and easy, and the Velcro-type strip allows for fast adjustments of the hand strap in the fly. The Arca-Swiss compatible mini-plate has a standard ¼-20 UNC screw mount, so that once it's installed to the camera and adjusted, you're ready to go. Have tried this with my Vanguard BBH-200 Tripod Head and another from Manfrotto, and the fit is excellent on both.

This has been used on a couple of Nikon DSLRs, one with a battery grip and the other without. It's almost a given that that it would easily fit the plain DSLR body for which it was initially intended, but the pleasant surprise was that it easily fit the camera with the battery grip. When shooting with a longer lens, such as the Nikon 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S DX Nikkor, the added stability and handling is quite noticeable. It's excellent for use when taking those one-handed candid shots that come up so often.

One small but important note: a friend was interested in my hand strap, but we found a problem where it would not fit properly. Mounting the Arca-Swiss compatible mini-plate interfered with opening the battery door on the base of the camera, which could be a nuisance in the field when you need to change batteries. Before ordering this hand strap, take a moment to measure your camera base from the center of its tripod socket to the battery door. If that distance is ¾" or less you may have issues opening the battery door; if it's an inch or more you shouldn't have any problems.

The Cotton Carrier Hand Strap is a good one for the photographer who prefers having the camera at the ready, in hand and geared up for that next shot. It lets you shoot handheld compositions with greater stability, and the Arca-Swiss compatible mini-plate allows for fast transitions from handheld to tripod with heavier camera bodies and lenses... and without the neck strain of a conventional out-of-the-box strap. It's a good one, and why I have a pair of these.

JW ▪ 4/14/2014


Logitech USB Headset Stereo H650e (Business Product), Corded Double-Ear Headset
Logitech USB Headset Stereo H650e (Business Product), Corded Double-Ear Headset
Price: Click here to see our price
55 used & new from $71.74

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Logitech USB Headset Stereo H650e: Very good for business use, April 12, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
For those who spend a lot of time on the phone for business, picking a good headset that can be 'worn' for many hours is an essential. This can be a hit or miss proposition, because having clear sound quality combined with overall comfort is crucial to getting your work done without unnecessary distractions.

The Logitech USB Headset Stereo H650e Corded Double-Ear Headset is an excellent product that meets the criteria for a work headset, and its proof that the manufacturer is in touch with their business customer base. It's a lightweight headset at about 4¼ ounces, and has the right balance of features to meet the needs of many.

◆ Likes:

+ Plug-and-play USB connectivity; connects with no additional software required.
+ Flat USB cable; 6-foot length, doesn't tangle when in use or when stowing away
+ Padded headband and ear pads; comfortable when in use
+ Inline controller on cord; quick access to volume, mute, etc
+ In-call LED light; discourages interruptions from co-workers
+ Stereo wide-band audio; surprisingly good sound quality
+ Lync optimized & UC compatibility; good for those who need it

◆ Mixed:

± Price is high; picky headset users will probably find this justifiable

◆ Dislikes:

- Found a minor sputter at upper volume in the feedback audio; disappeared at lower volume

◆ In Use:

This is a true plug and play USB headset. Once the headset was adjusted for personal comfort, I tried it on a Windows 7 PC notebook and it worked right out of the box. The control set is on the cord, and allows for access to the Up and Down volume, Mute, and Pickup/Hang-up functions. The Volume Up (+) portion is raised so that you can differentiate from the Volume Down (-) portion without looking, and the volume itself has a wide range of settings. You can also visually see or set the audio by clicking on the Windows Speaker tray icon while on a call.

Curiously I had initial issues setting this headset up on a Windows 8.1 PC, which seemed strange. Unplugged it, went back to the Windows 7 notebook and it was working just fine. Plugged it into the Windows 8.1 computer and suddenly all was working fine. Checked it with Skype and played a few audio music files and there were no problems. Later went to the Logitech support site and downloaded the appropriate software for both computers. The Skype Plug-in enables the call answer/end button and the in-call LED when using Skype, and the Jabber Plug-in does the same when using Cisco Jabber 9.2. or later. Please note that the microphone and speakers, volume control and mute button will work without installing the Plug-ins.

An observation worth passing on: using a basic non-powered USB hub will possibly degrade the performance of the headset. Plugging the headset directly into a USB port on your computer or into a powered USB hub eliminates this issue.

The ergonomics and 'wearability' are quite good as they did a good job with the padding on the speakers and on the underside of the top of the headset. It has an excellent microphone that is quite good at not picking up ambient noise. It's flexible, so you can bend it right or left, and you can turn the boom up or down for best voice pickup. It also comes with a decent cloth zipper bag to protect the headset when mobile and have it stowed in a bag or briefcase.

As far as comfort and functionality go, this headset is a definite step up from my older Logitech ClearChat Comfort/USB Headset H390, which has been in use for a number of years. That one was and still is a good 4-star product, but the newer Logitech H650e excels in almost all respects but price.

Sound quality on this H650e is quite good, almost to the levels of my Plantronics GameCom 380 Stereo PC Gaming Headset, but keep in mind that the Logitech H650e is a business headset designed for hours of clear phone conversation. The name alone will tell you that as good as the Plantronics GameCom 380 may be on the basis of pure audio quality, it's probably one that would not be good for business use.

◆ Summary:

This Logitech USB Headset Stereo H650e Corded Double-Ear Headset is a very good business headset with first-rate audio and recording quality. It has a straightforward design and is comfortable to wear for many hours. In comparison, the Logitech Wireless Headset Dual H820e Double-Ear Stereo Business Headset may have a few more features and more freedom when on a call, but it does have a substantially higher price tag. If you want excellent sound quality in a reasonably priced headset compared with others in this class, the Logitech H650e is a solid 4¼-star choice, and is highly recommended. If it holds up as well as my older Logitech ClearChat H390 headset, then I'll be happy, as this one has been in service for almost five years.

JW ▪ 4/12/2014
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 12, 2014 7:32 PM PDT


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