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Plantronics .Audio 995 Wireless Headset review

Andy Vandervell

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Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

6

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.

Russ

July 31, 2009, 8:18 pm

Sound Quality was terrible. After charging the product kept losing signals back and forth. I tried repairing and would work for 30 seconds and lose sisgnal for 10 secinds and repeat. I was only 2 feet away so I was CLOSE. It was comfortable but worked and sounded like crud. Went out the next day and purchased a Logitech and worked flawlessly out of the box. Live and learn.

Ian

February 19, 2013, 7:48 pm

I have had this headset six months...The good news is that the headset is comfortable and clear on calls.

The not so good news:

- The USB dongle is quite large, and easily bent, if it is broken or lost it is NOT replaceable, you need to buy a complete new headset. I now have a six month old dead headset with no way to fix/replace it.

- The headset charge lasts a long time, however, there is no indication of battery charge, and if charge runs out the headphones just turn off, I have had this happen many times in the middle of business calls.

- You cannot use the headset whilst charging them, meaning if you are low on charge there is nothing you can do.

- When I am charging the headset I get a constant warning from my laptop that the USB device is not recognized.

Personally, I tried this headset, but will now be looking for a similar item from another brand, one with a smaller, replaceable USB dongle for starters.

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