12 Tech Days Of Christmas 2011

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Logitech H250 Stereo Headset : Ideal Stocking Stuffer for Gamers on Your List

By Jerry Jackson


Most laptop owners consider the small speakers built into their laptops to be woefully underpowered regardless of the brand of notebook. That’s why one of the most common accessories people purchase for their laptops is a set of headphones.


If you’re a gaming enthusiast who plays multiplayer games online or you frequently make Skype calls then you also recognize the benefit of a quality microphone. Logitech tries to solve both these problems with the affordable H250 Stereo Headset combining stereo headphones with a noise-canceling microphone.


The problem with most speakers built into notebooks is that they are essentially the same tiny speakers found inside headphones but they’ve been tuned to push audio at a higher volume so that you can hear the sound without needing to put your ear next to the speaker. Unfortunately, when you push physically small speakers at high volumes they generally produce shallow, “tinny” sound sometimes with obvious audio distortions (static, popping noises in the bass track, etc.).


Logitech H250 HeadsetThe easiest solution is to connect a set of quality headphones/earphones or a larger set of external speakers to your laptop. Headphones might not have physically larger speakers than what is inside your laptop, but they don’t have to work as hard (your ear is right next to the speaker) and so the audio quality is generally better than your laptop’s built-in speakers.


Microphones also suffer from being built into your laptop’s chassis. Your notebook’s built-in microphone generally picks up more background noise because of the distance between your mouth and the microphone but it also picks up noise coming from the notebook itself — the sound of the cooling fan, hard drive clicking, and sometimes even electrical interference from components inside the notebook.


You Get What You Pay For


Headsets like the Logitech H250 solve the problems of built-in speakers and microphones for a surprisingly modest cost. The unit has a suggested retail price of $29.99 and an average street price of around $20. This places the H250 squarely in the lower mid range among headsets. It’s not as cheap and underpowered as the Logitech H110 (MSRP $14.99, street price $13) but it’s not as impressive and the Logitech G930 Wireless Gaming Headset (MSRP $159.99, street price $120) .


After using the H250 headset for a few weeks I can honestly say it works about as well as I’d expect a $20 headset to work. By that, I mean the stereo headphones put out decent volume with adequate range but you’ll hear significant distortion in the bass (listening to music with a heavy bass track isn’t particularly enjoyable using this headset). On a more positive note, the noise-cancelling microphone works very well at reducing background noise and maintaining adequate levels while recording your voice.


I used the H250 while playing several multiplayer online games and recorded an audio track for a web video and my voice came through with excellent quality. I also enjoyed the in-line controls for volume and microphone mute. It’s nice to be able to lower the speaker volume using the volume wheel or flip a switch to turn off the microphone during an online game.


The adjustable padded headband and foam ear cups are reasonably comfortable but I found the padding on more expensive headsets to be even more comfortable than the H250. In short, the H250 offers decent value in its price range and is a modest step up from the small speakers and weak microphone inside your laptop. It’s not the best headset on the market, but for a street price of around $20 it’s tough to beat and makes a useful stocking stuffer.


Price: $29.99 (MSRP)
Website: www.logitech.com

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