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632 of 642 people found the following review helpful
on August 14, 2009
The good news first:

I like this headset. The sound is good, a bit thin for music, but good for skype and gaming, which is what I use this for. It's comfortable, and I love being able to walk around my apartment while wearing the headset and talking to someone.

The bad news, there's a couple little quirks:

-If the battery dies in-use you have to stop using the headset, plug it in and charge it with a usb cable. While it's charging you can't use it (why?)

-Nonreplacable battery, so you are basically paying to use it for a year and a half and throw it away after it stops holding a charge. The usb cable doesn't carry audio (again, why?)

Love the headset, it works well, I just wish they: 1. made the battery replaceable and 2. would have the usb charging cable carry audio so you can use it when the battery is dead.

If I had known all of this beforehand I might have specced out other headsets more before purchasing.
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898 of 916 people found the following review helpful
on June 28, 2009
Lots of reviews out there, but mine is a bit more objective due to the testing I have done.

Probably, like you, I was in the market for a headset to use with speech recognition, Skype, music playback from iTunes, etc. But I wanted to cut the cord on my Logitech USB headset. So a few months ago I went out and purchased the Logitech ClearChat Wireless headset. Between this latter headset and the Plantronics 995, there really is not much else on the market as far as non-bluetooth wireless headsets go. These headsets use a USB 2.4 GHz transceiver. This is much better than bluetooth, which constantly needs pairing and has sub-par performance when used with speech recognition, VOIP, etc. due to low bandwidth.

Testing and using the Logitech ClearChat Wireless headset, I was pretty impressed. It worked with Dragon Naturally Speaking/MacSpeech Dictate, as well as with Skype.

However, what I did not like about the Logitech ClearChat headset was that the ear muffs were too small (many complain about it) and there was constant static whilst speaking to someone on Skype (Skype to phone calls). Additionally, the more you move around with the ClearChat, the more static there is, and the range was acceptable but not great. To make my testing objective, I was switching, on the Skype call, between the USB headset and the wireless ClearChat one. The static was only present with the ClearChat headset and not with the USB headset.

So, having read all the great reviews about the 995 Plantronics, I went down to the store, exchanged my ClearChat for a pair. I then phoned from Skype to a telephone (same person) and tested the reception again. This time, there was hardly any static at all (user feedback): their comment was that it was "much improved" from the previous wireless headset. I also got better range with the Plantronics as well.

In addition, the speech recognition seems to work a bit better too, and is actually working amazingly. Seems even better than my USB headset.

Furthermore, I tested some iTunes playback and no question the Plantronics has fuller, deeper, richer sound than the Logitech ClearChat headset.

The only thing I like better about the ClearChat headset is that you can quickly switch the headset off when you don't want it to be connected to the receiver.

With the Plantronics, you can quickly switch it on and off too, with auto-pairing (nice), but there is only one button, not a switch, which needs to be held down for 2 seconds to turn the unit off or on. The only issue is, unless the unit is off your head, you won't be able to see the solid blue light turn to red then off. So if you want to shut it off and leave it on your head, it is not possible to get confirmation from the headset that it is off. However, you will see the blue light flash on the receiver, from solid blue, and that is confirmation you have turned off your headset. But it also indicates the headset is out of range, so the only way to really know for sure that your headset is turned off is to remove them from your head and look to see if the light is off on the side.

Thus, the ClearChat's simple on/off switch is superior in this regard, where you can turn the unit off without the need to remove it from your head for confirmation. At any rate, this is sort of minor because most times you can be confident that a flashing blue light on the receiver indicates you have successfully turned off the headset, so you won't be needing to remove it.

And I like to power down the unit frequently to save on battery life...

As for battery life, I think the Plantronics is better than the ClearChat as well, and both demand roughly the same charging times. Of note, when you first get the unit, charging it may be a bit quirky. You should calibrate the battery (the ClearChat headset took 2 days before it was fully charged, for instance).

Other than that, do yourself a favor and get the Plantronics wireless headset. It is truly liberating to have the cords cut, and it works extremely well with speech recognition.

4.5 out of 5 stars, because of the on/off procedure and paltry instructions that do not explain how to turn the unit on/off. In addition, nothing is perfect. But a 4.5 out of 5 star rating for me is a huge compliment to anyone. I am very critical of everything, and demand a lot from my computing products. Plantronics: well done.

Remember, hold down the power button on the headset for 2 seconds ONLY to turn it on or off.

----------------------------

January 6, 2009 UPDATE:

I just wanted to update everyone. Just recently, the headset's power button broke (it wouldn't press any more: sort of stuck). I almost had a suspicion that it would happen because the power button feels a tad cheap and must be pressed and held down for a few seconds to power down the headset. Since I like to power down my headset often to save on battery life, the switch didn't hold up. I just received my new unit from Plantronics and it's charging. Customer service was pretty helpful. They express shipped it to me, which was nice, after sending in my old unit.

Now, do I stand by my review? Yes, yes, and, yes. Aside from a flimsy power button, the unit has worked as I have described. Speech, Skype, and music are the ticket items for this headset. All these latter work very well. Also, I just had a friend call me on Skype recently using the Plantronics 995 headset. It was on my recommendation that he bought the headset. He's got a standard cable internet connection with 1 mbps upload speeds. This is the first call I have received from someone who was using the Plantronics 995 headset.

The thing is, I did not know he was using it when he phoned me. When I picked up, and he started talking, I interrupted him and asked him what kind of microphone he was using. He said the Plantronics 995. I was blown away by the quality of the audio. It sounded so good like it was in stereo sound. I had to smile because I was the one who recommended this to him, on the pretense of a boatload of research and testing. As the conversation took course, I just was smitten by how well it sounded. That right there was confirmation enough to me that this headset is 'for real'. It sort of concluded my testing.

Since I didn't know he was using the Plantronics 995 Headset, it puts that extra layer of validity into my testing. This was no 'placebo' effect. I noticed the quality of the sound without knowing he was using the 995 headset. If you read my entire review, and this update, I think you would agree that my testing is rigorous enough to pass the standards set in the context of the scientific method. Far too many reviews float around the internet with giant holes in their testing methods. I am not tooting my own horn, I am just stating the facts. I put this through some objective testing to prove to you, the reader and consumer, that this headset works as I have described.

I have a feeling this headset is going to be a sort of 'cult classic'. That is, one of those landmark products in a category that struggles to define itself. Although the power button is a bit flimsy, Plantronics really got it right with this. Call quality is incredible on Skype, music has thick, rich sound, and speech recognition just works. This is really the freelancer's/home user's/business user's competitive advantage.

So, like I said, go get liberated, and pick up the Plantronics 995. You won't look back. Rest assured the hard work, the research has already been done for you. I'll stand by this review for all my waking days.

As I spent a lot of time researching, writing, and updating this review, maybe you can take a minute and comment! Let me know what you think. Thank you!

Sincerely,

//Amazonman//
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79 of 86 people found the following review helpful
Package Type: Standard PackagingVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Plantronics .Audio 995

Let me start with something that amazed me. I plugged the USB dongle into the computer, started Itunes, hit play and music started coming from the headphones!!! I did not have to configure a single thing. The control panel in WinXP showed the Plantronics as a first device automatically. When unplugged, I had to restart Itunes, but that was it, the sound was once again coming from my main speakers. That level of ease of operation has to be commended.

The sound quality and controls. The controls on the left earpad are volume up, down, pause, play and skip track. They all work as advertised. The volume of the headphones at maximum level is loud, but not very. I can easily tolerate maximum volume, which I could not do with my none too efficient Sony EX51 earbuds. If I had to estimate efficiency in standard terms I would guess ~97db.

The sound is typical of larger and over the ear headphones. For me this sound is exemplified by good bass and slightly inadequate treble. 20-20khz advertised frequency response. For reference the 995 sound better than an old Consumer Reports best buy Sony MDR CD180, but not as good as renowned Koss clip on KSC75 (a true best buy). The 995's treble is actually pretty good, while the midrange has a slight listening thru a pillow quality. I had a chance to compare these to a Altec Backbeat Bluetooth wireless headphones, and find the Altec headphones slightly more accurate despite a slight hiss in the background.

I tested the built in, fold away microphone with windows XP recorder, and once again the ease of setup (none) was amazing. The sound quality was excellent. If you ever consider these for use with Skype or other computer based internet VOIP (phone) applications you will be pleased.

The range does appear to matchy the 40ft claim, but subtract 10 ft for each wall in the way. Battery life is claimed to be 8hrs (have not run them down the first time yet) and the recharge time is 2-4 hrs (headset only, the dongle is powered thru USB). I wish these and the Altec BackBeat's would also have a wired connection such that you can use them with a MP3 player directly. The Altec's dongle allows you to wirelessly transmit any audio source thru a mini stereo plug, but that forces you to give up the track skip function. The good sound quality makes me want to use them with a TV and a stereo, how about an optional audio in dongle as well?

In summary, the incredible ease of use and very good sound quality will make me use these more often than I initially thought.
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65 of 73 people found the following review helpful
on November 6, 2009
Based on other reviews and historically great performance from Plantronics other analog telephony products, I ordered this headset. I have tried NUMEROUS headsets, looking for one that worked for both work VOIP and gaming for long periods. I had (have) the Logitech Clearchat, but they recently needed repair. While having the Logitech Clearchat repaired (free repair/shipping), I ordered this Plantronics headset because I had a gift certificate, and I can tell you without question that this is possibly one of the worst headsets I have used (at least compared to the Logitech).

From a comfort perspective, the Plantronics are as awkward to wear as they appear in the picture - tight on your head with little cushion and unnatural fit on your ear. Wearing them with glasses is painful after even an hour due to the pressure they apply. The Plantronics utilizes an over the ear headset cup, while the Logitech is "on ear." Usually I favor the over the ear approach (as with my Bose QuietComfort II headphones), however, the Plantronics headset is so stiff that it just grinds on you after time. In contrast, the Logitech could be worn for hours without discomfort (provided the battery lasted that long - see later section).

From a feature perspective, Plantronics is a clear miss. The mute function is accomplished via lifting the mic - vs. the Logitech, which does it via the boom lift OR push button. This may seem minor, but when muting 30+ times a day, the boom lift method gets rather old for quick mutes, and assuredly will add wear to the headset. While muted (in the down position) the Logitech boom mic is illuminated red as a reminder (a truly smart addition). This is obviously not a feature of the Plantronics headset as it does not mute while in the down position. The Plantronics does add a nifty feature in that it allows you to control media players via the multi-way switch on the left headset. While I found this feature fun, the most common functions (mute, vol up, vol down), which are used all day and night, are much more easily accessed on the Logitech and not worth the tradeoff.

From a range perspective, the Plantronics advertises 40ft, and the Logitech 30+ft. Bottom line, they use the exact same RF technology, and in my tests had the EXACT same range in my home - about 20 feet (with walls). Again, however, Logitech went one step further and added a USB pedestal in their product - allowing for the USB wireless transceiver to stand upright and away from the PC for better range. Plantronics simply had the USB wireless fob. Without free front USB ports, this could cause issue.

From a sound perspective, they were both absolutely identical with the quality being much better than expected and as good as most wired headsets.

From a power/battery perspective... both are TERRIBLE with their own unique and frustrating downfalls. Battery life on the Plantronics ran about 6 useful hours, 5 on the Logitech. The Plantronics uses a standard, and easy to use USB connector, but the Logitech uses a proprietary power connector which does not stay connected with the smallest of movements. That is a major show stopper for Logitech, however, it soon gets even worse with the Plantronics! If the Logitech headset runs out of juice, simply plug it in and continue working/gaming (hoping the cord does not pop loose - which it will)... but with the Plantronics you are DEAD IN WATER. You cannot use the Plantronics headset while charging and this is a major party foul. This single oversight by Plantronics is enough to warrant an AVOID recommendation for this product.

Simply put, the Plantronics headset is not comfortable, has identical battery life as the Logitech and has a major skeleton in the closet in that it cannot be used while charging. Recommendation: Logitech Clearchat Wireless Headset.

If one of these vendors could simply combine the features of both products and up the battery life to 12 hours, you would have a fantastic product. Until such time, I reluctantly have to recommend the Logitech Clearchat over the Plantronics wireless headset.
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53 of 61 people found the following review helpful
on December 2, 2009
Overall i really liked the headset. My main complaint is that they give you a 18" wire to charge it with and when you plug it to charge, it turns off! Basically you need to remember to plug it in every day or you will find yourself experiencing a new form of dropped calls. I have had this thing randomly turn off on me so many times that I have moved on to a different headset all together.

-no battery life indicator
-no signal to indicate battery low!?
-headset is very tight. hurts to wear after a few hours of use.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on May 30, 2013
I bought these for work beacuse I am on the phone all day and the cheap, headsets we get through work are less than optimal. A coworker had the same brand so I purchased this model, which was a slightly different model that cost a little less than what he bought. They are great! I love being able to plug them in overnight and leave them to charge. So far it has never ran out of charge. Also, cordless is amazing! You never have to worry about the cord having breaks and sounding crackly or getting the cord stuck around your cup/glass (if you drink coffee or other beverages while you work like I do.)

The headphones do cancel out a little noise, but the benefit is having two ears to listen out of instead of the cheap ones that only have one earphone.

One downside.... my coworker's headset, and now mine both snapped in the same place just above the ear before a year of use. You can tape it together because the cord is still in there and it still works but it disappointing to have a headset break within 7 months. I am not hard on them, they broke when I was picking them up and puttng them on my head (when you go to pull them apart a bit to put them on yuor ears.)
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Package Type: Standard PackagingVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I love these headphones. I got them for my teenage son, but when he told me to listen to the great sound they became mine! The sound quality is incredible. I still listen to my "oldies"...John Lennon, Beatles, Billy Joel and thought I knew every word/sound by heart...well, with these speakers you hear so much more! Each instrument comes out crisper and the voices are amazingly clear. I put these very light weight headphones on and I can cook without my kids complaining about my music being to loud (honestly), clean the house, whatever without disturbing anyone else in the house. Really cool! My son used them for World of Warcraft and he said the sound was awesome. He wants them back...but I've found a great hiding place and I am keeping them!
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon July 16, 2009
Package Type: Standard PackagingVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Wow what a set of headphones.

Let me start this review by saying I rarely take these phones off. They have changed how I use my computer greatly.

I use a standing desk (better for my back and posture) and having to plug in headphones causes me to remain stationary and forces me to leave my desk looking "messy" with all the wires.

I use a mic everyday to record audio / video and chat, my previous set cost 250$ dollars, so I was not expecting this set to replace those (it did!).

I've now used this set of headphones for well over 200 hours, and thought I'd give a nice review listing the pros and cons and recommend the heck out of these guys.

The way this set of headphones works is brilliant, you plugin the usb dongle, and automagically everything just works. (you need to set the usb device as the output and input obviously).

You need to plugin the headset to a small usb cable (con) to charge these guys up, the light switches from RED to off when charging is complete, but you do not need to charge them all the way.

I work at home (marketing, consulting, etc) and I need a headset on most all the day. When I'm writing I tend to work in silence (live in an apartment and dont wish to "blast" my music), but now with these phones, life is so much easier.

I turn on itunes, choose shuffle and just do my thing. When I need a break I can just laydown, maybe do some light yoga, go downstairs and fix a protein shake or whatever, all while listening to my music.

The range of these phones are pretty impressive (I can walk all around my apartment and only experience a few issues (which resolve themselves when stationary).

One last thing I MUST brag about before I get to the pros and cons.

The headphones offer the ability to skip to the next song, pause, and turn the volume up and down all within the headset (by pushing the buttons on the left ear) this is ingenious and makes life SOO much better.

I have a set of wireless headphones for my TV and the audio button is on the right side, and the problem is if you laydown or accidentally brush it the volume goes WAY up almost killing you!

So by having the ability to just tap the audio up or down one, man, that's just too good.

PROS:

Playback control on headphones (next, pause, up, down (con would be no previous).

Fast charge time (I charge the phones twice a day when I workout or leave).

Audio Quality (high quality, love them, nice bass)

Mic Quality (high quality here too, not the best, but good enough)

Comfort (not big phones (usually bad) but in this case they work.

Cons:

Small USB charging cable.

No Previous on the headphones.

Bottom Line?

Buy it and buy it NOW!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on April 22, 2013
I bought the headset a couple of years ago, after about 5-6 months the battery started only lasting about 3 hours even without using the Mic to watch streaming movies). Works really good with Dragon Naturally Speaking and VoIP applications (even better than most bluetooth headsets I have owned); however the mic works best when the receiver is within 3 feet and on the same side of your head as the mic boom. I do not know if this is a result of the aging of the device or if it was always that way. The reception works for a good 25' without issue as long as the mic boom is on the side of your head closest to the receiver and not more than 1 interior wall is between you and the receiver.

The Bad:
1. The most annoying part of the headset is that the audio alerts that play through the headset mute the incoming sound from the computer, so if you are watching a movie or show and the battery starts to run low the constant beeps will cause you to miss 2 seconds of what you are watching every 5 or 10 seconds when it beeps... as the headset ages, this becomes more and more annoying.

2. Non-replaceable battery

3. the headset shuts off whenever it is plugged in, so you are unable to use it as a wired headset or even use it while it is charging.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2010
The Bad:

Very small headset, not adjustable for width. I have an average head and can only wear for 45 minutes due to ear pain.

The wireless range is about 15 feet in an open area.

The charging cable is too short.

Cannot be used during charging.

There is no battery level indicator.

The Good:

The sound and mic quality are great.
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