I’ll admit it. For the most part, I’m a Logitech fan. I’ve got a Logitech wireless keyboard/mouse combo, a Logitech 5.1 sound system, and for the most part, I look to Logitech when it comes to buying a new peripheral. The reason is simple: Logitech products are usually pretty decent – not necessarily the best, but quality is always up to par, and the price is often very reasonable.
So on to the review…
I was looking for a microphone or a headset, and after having poor experiences with generic desktop microphones I decided to go with the Logitech USB 350 headset. It was $45 CDN which is a little on the higher end of the scale for a regular headset, but I thought I’d give it a try.
Upon receiving the set, I cut open the horrible “try not to let the package cut you while you cut the hard edge plastic” packaging and took out the set. The cord itself is quite long – about 7.5 feet end to end, with a volume control about 1.5-2 feet from the headset. The volume had a little clip on it, as well as +, -, and a microphone mute.
I plugged it in to the computer. Windows detected it, and it started working right away. I immediately noticed a few things:
- It automatically changed the default audio device from my sound card to the new USB headset.
- There was a blue LED in the mute button on the volume control. It would blink fast when the mic was muted. Otherwise it was always on. An excellent feature for gamers.
- Any programs that were open BEFORE plugging in the headset were still playing sound to my regular speakers. Any new programs that were opened AFTER plugging in the headset played sound to the headset.
- When unplugged, the default audio device automatically changed back to the regular sound card.
The sound output was pretty decent. Nothing amazing, but nothing to scoff at either. Probably what you’d expect from an average pair of name-brand headphones. The sound was quite clear, and there was no background hiss or static. The volume went quite high without clipping or distorting.
The microphone was excellent (compared to most desktop microphones anyway). Very crisp and clear sound. Those doing any sort of VoIP would probably be quite satisfied.
The headphones didn’t really fit perfectly (the padding doesn’t seal the ear) and as a result, I can hear others in the room and they can hear me. Not a big deal to me, but it might matter to some.
This is unfortunately one area where things were lacking. It’s great that Logitech used nice big sizeable 40mm drivers – bigger drivers generally mean better bass and mid-range response. The down side is that it’s a little extra weight. After a couple hours of use, my head was starting to get a little sore from the top strap. It would be nice if they had equipped it with a little more padding. The other problem area was the earphones. The padding is ok, but a slight bit more would have been very helpful. Not only do the earphones not seal sound perfectly, but they pinch the top of my ears a little bit. Wearing glasses got to be painful after a few hours. Fortunately, after a couple days of use, either they stretched enough to not pinch so much, or I got used to it. Whatever the case was, it seems fine now, but mark my words… if you wear glasses, there’s a good chance you will hate them at first.
Day 2: Problems
After a couple days, I noticed the blue LED wouldn’t come on anymore. Actually, sometimes it would blink a bit, but that’s about all I’d get out of it. Since I’d already thrown away most of the packaging (and any chance for an RMA), I attempted to fix it. My first attempts involved banging the volume control against the table. When that didn’t work, I decided to take it apart. Note that the volume control is not intended to be taken apart. While it’s designed to “snap” open and closed, there are a few little “pegs” inside which are glued in place. Forcing a screwdriver around the edge snapped them all off, and I finally had access to the inside.
I was hoping the problem would be something simple like a frayed wire, or broken piece of solder. Sadly, everything looked to be in pretty good shape. I ended up taking a voltmeter to the LED and found that it indeed was getting voltage (somewhere in the neighborhood of 1.5 volts).
The blue LED itself was toast.
Luckily, I had a little yellow 4-LED automotive bulb. I dismantled it and took one of the LED’s. After 10 minutes with a big clunky soldering gun, I managed to get the new yellow LED in place. I tested it, and it worked!
Now the fact that something failed within a couple of days on my $45 headset didn’t really impress me. Then again, it’s very likely that this problem is rare and that 99.9% of the headsets sold are problem free.
For the money, you’re getting a pretty good headset – no hiss or static, and crisp, clear sound. The volume control & mute was pretty well thought out. The cable length is pretty good too. It would have been nice if they paid a little more attention to comfort, but all in all, Logitech did a pretty good job. I was a bit irked about the mute light issue, but I’m guessing I just got the one bad apple of the bunch (had I kept the packaging, etc, I could have easily exchanged them anyway).
For those who like to use regular speakers most of the time, I probably would not recommend this headset (or any USB headset) for the simple fact that you’ll have to restart whatever program you’re running. If you’re in the middle of a movie or a game, it can be annoying to exit a program simply to hook up a headset.
For those who use a headset most of the time, those who need a USB headset, or those looking for hiss and static free input and output, the Logitech USB 350 is definitely worth a try, although the comfort level might be a problem for long periods of wear.