Day One Review: Logitech ClearChat Wireless USB Headset for Skype, gamers and more

Getting all tangled up in wires when playing games or making a call on Skype is not our idea of fun. Bluetooth headsets can help, but they have an annoying lag that gamers and phone talkers won’t tolerate. That’s where the Logitech ClearChat Wireless USB Headset, which uses a proprietary wireless tech instead of Bluetooth, can help. We tested this walk-around headset with its noise-canceling microphone for lag, sensitivity and sound quality, and even put it to our supreme test: speech recognition.

We like Logitech’s USB pairing routine, mainly because it requires no effort whatsoever. Just like the Logitech wireless MX Air USB mouse we’ve tested here, this ClearChat headset effortlessly and immediately communicates with its 2.4GHz USB dongle. We also heard no interference with our 802.11g Wi-Fi setup, nor were 2.4GHz cordless phones affected.

Auditioning the sound quality of the headphones first, we were pleasantly surprised. These cans still sounded clean, balanced and crisp with plenty of bass, albeit with a small amount of telltale hiss in the background due to their wireless protocol.

The headset also has a noticeable lack of lag; a Skype conversation went smoothly with none of the uncomfortable pauses we’ve experienced with Bluetooth headsets. Also impressive was the range, with the quoted 30-foot distance from the USB dongle proving to be nearly accurate, even through walls.

Then came the ultimate test: Could we use these babies for our favorite speech-recognition application, the formidable, 99%-accurate Dragon NaturallySpeaking 9.5? Alas, no, it didn’t pass the Dragon test, failing the audition (see graphic above) miserably. Undaunted, we tested the headset with NaturallySpeaking anyway, and found it to be a slightly flawed but still usable product for speech recognition, albeit significantly inferior to our usual wired TalkPro 100 USB headset from Parrott.

The Logitech ClearChat headset delivers on its promise of lag-free gaming and Skype conversations, and could be pressed into service for a bit of speech-rec in a pinch. It’s also comfortable to wear for long listening sessions even on an overlarge head, and sounds pleasantly musical. Though it's a bit overpriced at $100, we’d still give it a qualified thumbs up.