I just reviewed the Rapoo Wireless Stereo Headset H8030 the other day, and I remarked how not very often it was that I got to review a non-Bluetooth, desktop-or-laptop only headset. Well, it looks like when it rains, it pours.
Here I am again, reviewing another headset for the nth time, and it turns out it’s another desktop-or-laptop only kind. Only this time, it’s also wired, not wireless.
I’d like to introduce you to the Logitech USB Headset H540.
It’s a simple headset, really. There’s nothing else included in the box, save for a user’s guide.
First of all,the H540′s wired to connect to your computer via the USB port the old fashioned way, with a long, robust cord. No dice trying it out on your tablet or cellphone, not unless your device’s got a USB port, which I seriously doubt. (The User’s Guide advises you not to connect it to a USB hub, for that matter; I guess it has something to do with the power requirements and the boom microphone. I don’t really know.)
In a world where Bluetooth or the 2.4GHz wireless spec has taken hold, it’s kinda odd to have a wired headset. I wouldn’t put it past Logitech to have this headset made by the people behind the Rapoo-branded gear, they’re usually the culprit. But still and all, it’s kinda nice not to have to worry about sporadic dropouts in signal, which still bugs Bluetooth headsets to this day.
Second of all, the H540 is a very light headset, all shiny black plastic and nice leatherette padding. There’s none of that restrictive, hot, heavy head clasp of other headsets like the Marshall Monitor, and none of that invasive and bothersome ear-intrusion of the various in-ear models. This one is light and airy, and you can hardly notice you’re wearing it, if not for the heavy-duty, long USB cable connecting you to your computer.
The ear cushions swivel just the tiniest bit, but that’s all the movement you’re going to get from this one. The headband is nicely padded, and extends to fit most head sizes. It allows a lot of the ambient sound to come in, which isn’t really necessary since you’re just sitting in front of your computer. But it feels good on your head.
There is a rotating boom microphone placed on the right earpiece for chatting or videoconferencing, but swivels up conveniently out of the way if you’re just listening to music or watching a video on your computer. I assume that the mic’s always on, because there is a light on the cord that turns red if you place the microphone on mute, which you have to do deliberately—there is a mute button on the right earpiece for that.
It doesn’t just work if you connect it to the USB port. You have to turn on the headset and mic by setting the sound input/output to the H540 using System Preferences. (At least that’s how you do it on Macs, and I assume it’s similar for Windows PCs.) You can turn the sound up or down on your computer directly on the headset, as there are buttons for volume control on the right earpiece as well.
Let’s get to the good part: listening.
I’ve said that the H540 is a light headset, and that extends to the listening part. It reproduces music quite adequately enough, but it can’t seem to handle the top end quite well.
For example, Natalie Imbruglia’s Wrong Impression kinda turned out wrong when played on iTunes at maximum volume, and so did Jennifer Hudson’s Spotlight. The H540 did better when playing more reasonably sedate tunes, but I noticed that most songs on the higher, noisier end gave it conniptions. As long as you don’t push it to the limit though, the H540 should do just fine.
At least it played audio really well with Skype and FaceTime connections, and for general use, the H540 is a fine, light pair that you could wear for hours in front of your laptop or desktop computer. There are no signal drops or audio artifacts to speak of, as the headset, after all, is wired, which is an easy, if a bit cumbersome, tradeoff.
If you want one, the Logitech USB Headset H540 is now available at most computer accessory stores or audio shops, and goes for P2,580.00.
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