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Plantronics .Audio 995 Wireless Headset
It has been said plenty of times before; wires are annoying. Nowhere is this truer than in audio, where the wires from speakers or headphones are inevitably long and prone to entanglement. This makes a wireless headset like the Plantronics .Audio 995s we're looking at today a tempting proposition.
This set is marketed as something of a jack of all trades for your PC or laptop, where it can be used for music listening, film viewing, gaming and video chatting. Like the similar Creative HS-1200 set, it uses RF technology (not Bluetooth) to transmit audio from your PC to the headphones.
This requires a USB dongle and it and the headphones come pre-paired, so getting started with the .Audio 995s is as simple as turning on the headset and plugging in the dongle. Both Windows and Mac are supported and no software installation is required, which gives it an edge over Creative's effort that couldn't be used on Apple machines.
Another difference between the two is the form of the dongle itself. The Creative set uses a disc-shaped wired dongle, whereas the Plantronics take a more traditional approach with a self-contained dongle that plugs straight into the port. Which is better is a matter of argument and circumstance; the former won't block a port but isn't so convenient, while the latter is arguably more convenient but could block adjacent ports.
Like the Creative's, the Plantronics set feature integrated audio controls. These are housed on the left cup and comprise volume controls, a play/pause button and a single button to skip forward. They're very large buttons and once you're acquainted with their positioning, using them is very intuitive. Also on the left side is the retractable boom mic, which automatically mutes itself when not in use.
Before you can use the set it must be charged. This is performed through USB with a provided cable, but unlike Creative's effort you can't use the headset when plugged in. This is a fairly significant oversight in our minds, since there will always be times when waiting for it to charge won't be an option. A minimum of an hour of charging is recommended, with a full charge taking between three to four hours.