Let’s face it, not everyone has the available budget to fork over $150.00 for a high quality wired USB headset. At that price it doesn’t take long to find yourself handing over thousands of dollars in order to get your team set up with USB headsets.
Paying less for a wired USB headset doesn’t always mean you’ll end up with a model that’s uncomfortable, prone to breaking, and poor sound quality. Believe it or not, there are some wired USB headsets for under $50.00 that are actually decent.
In this blog, I’m going to bring to light five wired USB headsets by some well known manufacturers that can be purchased for under $50.00. I’ll also include a video that compares the microphones for sound quality, and their ability to reduce unwanted background noise.
Some of the key areas that I’ll focus on include
- Ear speakers and headband adjustment ability
- Build quality impression
- In-line controller functions
- Microphone sound quality, and noise reduction
The headsets I’ll cover in this blog, include these makes and models:
The primary uses for these headsets include video conferencing calls, Softphone calls, listening to voicemail messages, and music.
Let’s jump into this and see what these headsets are all about.
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MPOW HC6 - Suggested selling price $36.99
MPOW is a brand that’s known for being inexpensive. MPOW Technology Co. Limited is a Chinese based company that favors economically priced products over those that cost more and are manufactured to higher quality standards. Still, there’s plenty of demand for products in their price range which helps to explain the success they’ve experienced recently.
The MPOW HC6 fits right into their pricing scheme at under $40.00. The HC6 feels comfortable enough when wearing it, and there seems to be sufficient padding on the ear cushions. So, if you find the need to wear a headset for long stretches of time, the HC6 should allow you to wear it without discomfort.
One nice feature about the MPOW HC6 is it comes with the typical USB-A connector, but it can also connect to devices via a 3.5mm plug. The cable that goes from the headset has a 3.5mm connector.
This connector plugs into the inline controller which then reverts to USB-A. You have a choice; USB or 3.5mm. This is something you don’t find very often in a wired USB headset, let alone one that’s so inexpensively priced.
The inline controller has the usual buttons such as volume up, volume down, mute on, mute off, speaker on, speaker off. The HC6 allows you to turn off the ear speakers by pressing a button. This is something you don’t typically see in a headset.
One thing missing on the HC6 controller is answer/end. This is because the MPOW HC6 isn’t able to answer and end Softphone calls from the headset controller because it’s not optimized for use with the Softphone providers software. Answering and ending Softphone calls are done using the mouse and computer.
The sound quality is okay for use with Softphone or video calls, but as you might expect from an inexpensive headset, it lacks high fidelity when it comes to listening to music.
Chances are high that anyone who buys this headset isn’t buying it to have high quality sound for music. With that in mind, the MPOW HC6 should work fine for most people
who buy it. Though I would advise that you treat it with care as it appears to be average in terms of durability.
Sennheiser (EPOS) PC8 - Suggested selling price $24.00
What comes to mind when viewing this headset is you get what you pay for. And, at $24.00 or less, you shouldn’t expect a lot.
The Sennheiser PC8 to the eye, looks a lot like a disposable, throw away headset. And the truth is, the PC8 is just that. The build quality looks flimsy and cheap with plastic throughout. The padding on the ear speakers is nearly non existent, and as you’d expect, there isn’t any padding on the headband.
The microphone can only be placed on the right side. Most wired USB headsets allow the microphone to be placed on the right or left sides. Another example of cost cutting with this model. But one needs to keep in mind that it’s a $20 buck chuck, and that’s what you’ll be doing with this, chucking it, once it's unable to press on.
The PC8 is lightweight as you’d expect. Based on the weight of this headset, you should be able to wear it for long periods of time. I would question though whether the ear speakers would cause your ears to cry out in pain due to the lack of padding.
Having hard plastic pressing up against your ears for extended periods of time doesn’t sound like the most comfortable experience. The headband does adjust which helps to establish a personal fit.
The inline controller has the usual buttons that include; mute, unmute, volume up, volume down. The PC8 connects to computers via USB-A which is typical for low end USB headsets.
This is a simple, inexpensive, disposable, USB wired headset that provides acceptable sound for your voice or video calls, but lacks sound quality for anyone wanting great sounding music.
Then again, you wouldn’t expect to get this in a headset that costs about the same as an afternoon meal.
Poly Blackwire 3220 - Suggested selling price of $49.95
In the Poly (formerly Plantronics) line, the Blackwire 3220 is considered an entry-level wired USB headset. When you compare the 3220 to others in this price range, you can
see that the 3220 is a bit nicer in terms of the fit and finish. Yes, it’s a cheaper headset, but in spite of that, and compared to some others, it does look a bit better and looks better made.
The headband has a rubberized cover over the metal headband that lies beneath it. That’s to help make it more comfortable compared to having a hard metal band pressing against the top of your head. The headband is adjustable, so you can make it longer or shorter, depending on the size and shape of your head.
The ear cushions have a reasonable amount of padding which helps to make it more comfortable on the ear when wearing it. The microphone boom arm is bendable which is important so you can position the microphone properly for optimum sound quality. The microphone can be placed on the right or left side whichever you prefer. Some models are limited to one side only.
The inline controller includes adjustments for volume up, volume down, mute on, mute off, as well as answer and end for calls.
Overall the Poly Blackwire 3220 is a decent entry level wired USB-A headset that has fairly good comfort, and sound quality. It looks to be made fairly well which suggests that you should expect decent durability and longevity.
Though the audio is decent, you won’t think that if you’re looking for high-end sound. This is a sub $50.00 headset that isn’t expected to deliver that level of sound. So, if expectations are realistic, you should find the Blackwire 3220 to be a headset that’s affordable and fairly good.
Jabra Evolve 20 - suggested selling price $55.00
Jabra is the second largest headset manufacturer globally for office communication headsets. Second only to Poly. Jabra’s Evolve line of headsets are nice, and well, evolving. Their newest members to the line are listed under the name of Evolve 2, which I assume refers to the second generation of Evolve headsets. Though the Evolve 2 models are newer, the Evolve models are very nice as well.
The Jabra Evolve 20 is an inexpensive wired USB headset that connects to a computer via USB-A. It’s lightweight, has an adjustable headband for a tailored fit, and ear cushions that are nicely padded for a more comfortable feel. There’s a disk on the cord that contains the buttons for adjustments to volume, mute and answer/end of calls. If
you download the Jabra Direct software, you’ll have access to firmware updates, and feature activations.
The sound quality is similar to the Blackwire 3220, which means it’s decent, but not great which includes what you can expect when listening to music as well. The microphone can be located on the right or left side, whichever you prefer.
This is an inexpensive headset that can be purchased for under $50.00. The comfort is decent, and the sound quality is also decent. Not stellar, but certainly acceptable. And, given this is offered from Jabra, you’ll have a good warranty from a reputable company.
Yealink UH34 - suggested selling price of $43.00
Yealink is best known for providing headsets to businesses. Their entry into the headset space is somewhat recent, but I must say, they’re done a great job with their inaugural models. The UH34 is no exception.
Of the models we’ve looked at here, the UH34, to me, looks to be the best built model of them all. This is based on my perception of the materials used and the fit and finish.
The sound quality is decent and on par with any of the others here, but where this model really stands out is in its ability to cancel out unwanted background noise. Make sure to check out the video I did on this so you can hear for yourself. I’ll include the video below for easy access.
The microphone on the UH34 can be placed on the right or left side for accommodating your wearing preference. The microphone boom arm is bendable which allows the microphone to be positioned in the proper location for optimizing sound.
One thing that I don’t like about the UH34 is the ear speakers don’t rotate much at all. Keep in mind that the size and shape of people’s heads and ears vary. The value of having rotating ear speakers is it allows the headset to conform to the contour and shape of the ears and head of the person wearing it. Without speaker rotation, the person must adapt to the limited adjustment capability of the headset which suggests less than ideal comfort.
The inline controller has what you’d expect like mute, unmute, volume up, volume down, but it also has a Microsoft Teams button which is nice, making for easy access to Teams calls.
Overall, the Yealink UH34 is in my opinion, the best value of all the headsets on this list. I feel it’s built well, sounds as good as any of them, cancels out far more unwanted background noise, is lightweight and comfortable and is priced well.
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