As many of you know, I’m a full-time telecommuter. Although a portion of my work involves some travel, most days I am working from home, and a lot of that involves sitting on conference calls with colleagues and customers/partners.
Until recently, much of that required that I be desk-bound.
Anyone who has to work with VOIP and IP-based conferencing systems such as Skype, Microsoft Lync, Cisco WebEx and Citrix GoToMeeting knows that voice quality is everything if you’re going to have an effective business conversation.
And that means using devices that typically tie you to your desk, such as a wired headset or an Bluetooth/USB speakerphone, such as the Plantronics Callisto, which I have and think is an excellent product.
While there are many Bluetooth headsets and earpieces on the market which are perfectly suitable for mobile phone conversations, few are specifically optimized for use with PCs that have VOIP “Soft Phone” software, and do not deliver what I would regard as business critical voice quality.
They are perfectly fine for short calls, but not ideal when you are on a VOIP conference for as much as an hour at a time, or even longer, particularly when you need to be an active participant and when paying close attention to who is speaking and the clarity of what you are saying is essential.
As we all know about Bluetooth when it comes to audio streams, the farther you get away from the transceiver, the worse the audio gets. So it’s not practical to stray too far away from your PC.
Logitech’s latest wireless headsets have been a total game changer for my personal work situation since I’ve been using them the last few months. I’ve been using the H820e stereo version which retails for $199 but can be found for considerably less.
Installation and use of the headset is pretty straightforward — you plug the DECT 6.0 transmitter and charging base into a free USB port on your PC or Mac, and the AC power cord to power the base. The headset charges on the base when not in use, and has a built-in rechargeable battery.
The operating system recognizes it automatically, and depending on the VOIP program you are using, you may need to alter the settings to use the headset as your primary audio device.
If you’re familiar with the DECT 6.0 1.9Ghz wireless transmission standard, particularly if you have cordless phones in your house that use the technology, you know that you can get some pretty impressive range and not lose any voice quality. That’s exactly what the H820e headset gives you for VOIP calls.
My home office is a good 60 feet away from my living room and around 75 feet from my “breakfast area” which has my espresso machine and a table which faces my outdoor patio and pool area with outdoor furniture which is about 100 feet or so away from the base transmitter.
So regardless of what VOIP software I am using, and where I am in my house, I get the same crystal-clear voice quality as if I am sitting right in front of my PC. For example, this wearable computing podcast that I recorded with Rick Vanover of Veeam was actually done in my living room, while wearing the H820e using Skype.
So the quality of the audio is without dispute. What about the overall design and using it?
The H820e was designed