Now that we’re all more closely attached to our computers with more and more applications being computer based, usb headsets have risen in importance and usefulness.
We’ve seen a number of applications rise in their use over the past year. Some of these include:
- Zoom for video conferencing meetings
- Microsoft Teams
- Google Meet
- Cisco Jabber
- And many more
One thing these applications have in common is they’re computer based, and in order to participate using them, you need a microphone and speaker used with the computer. Given the audio quality shortcomings in using what comes with your computer, you need to use an audio device that brings better sound. Specifically, you need to use a good quality USB headset.
With that in mind, what are 5 good ones that you can put on your list to consider? After all, there are a number of manufacturers of headsets, such as Poly (formerly Plantronics), Jabra, Logitech, Bose, EPOS / Sennheiser, Yealink, Discover, and others.
And, to add a little more complexity to the process, each of these brands offer several models. That can make for some confusion in trying to decide on a USB headset.
In this blog, I’ll provide you with 5 good USB headsets that you can consider.
If you’d like to add a few to this list, that works too. But, these are 5 that are known to be of good quality, reputable brand, and features and sound quality known to be very good.
As a footnote, these 5 USB headsets aren’t being presented in a ranking order. Instead, they’re being presented as five USB headsets you should consider.
Most of the models contained in the blog will be wireless models. I will provide information on wired models as well. I’m showcasing wireless USB headsets as the centerpiece because statistics show that wireless headsets are more popular over wired models.
More people simply want the ability to talk wirelessly, and they want the freedom to move around their work area without a cord. Lastly, wireless USB headsets offer the ability to answer and end calls when away from the desk. For these reasons and more, wireless USB headsets are the more popular choice.
The nature of some people’s work though doesn’t lend itself to the need for a wireless USB headset. In those cases, a wired USB headset would be perfectly fine. For this reason I’m including a couple of wired models for you to consider that I think are worth considering.
With that said, I’ll break things down into two groups totalling 5 USB headsets
- Wireless USB headsets - 3
- Wired USB headsets - 2
Let’s get started!
Wireless USB headsets
Here are three very nice wireless USB headsets that really need to be on your short list. And, as I mentioned earlier, these aren’t being provided in any ranking or pricing order.
Poly Voyager Focus 2 UC - MSRP $349.95
There’s a lot to like in this new version of the original Voyager Focus. Poly has incorporated some new features into this model, and across the board, improved it making it a better headset.
Here are a few things that make this a model worthy of being on this list.
Active Noise Cancellation
Noise is something that bothers us all when we’re trying to concentrate on our work. In fact, noise itself has been found to be the leading cause of productivity loss in business. It makes a lot of sense to engineer technology that’s designed to kill distracting noise into a headset. Poly did just that when they created the Voyager Focus 2 UC.
One example of this leading technology is Active Noise Cancellation, or ANC for short. This is an electronic feature that’s designed to emit a countermeasure sound to disrupt incoming, distracting sound. When activated, you, the person wearing the headset, hears less, if anything at all from your environment. This frees you to stay focused on your work and not be distracted by the noises going on around you.
Noise Cancelling microphone with Acoustic Fence Technology
Another example of noise killing technology that Poly has incorporated into the Voyager Focus 2 UC is a noise cancelling microphone that’s designed to reduce the amount of background noise your callers hear.
Poly took that one step further by incorporating what they call Acoustic Fence Technology. This is a higher level of noise cancellation, and based on our testing, the technology does work.
The top two models we test include the Voyager Focus 2 UC and the Yealink wireless models that have their version of this which they call Acoustic Shield Technology. Both are good, but we feel that the Yealink performs a bit better in eliminating unwanted noise.
Smart sensors are standard on the Voyager Focus 2 UC. When you take the headset off, it knows to mute the microphone automatically. Once you put the headset back on, it will automatically unmute the microphone.
Likewise, if you’re listening to music and you take off the headset, it will pause your music. Placing the headset back on will cause the music to resume. Even if you start talking when the microphone has been muted, it causes the headset to tell you your mic is on mute. This helps to make this headset not only intuitive but convenient as well.
Connectivity to computers and mobile devices
The Poly Voyager Focus 2 UC connects to computers via the included BT700 USB dongle/adapter, as well as to mobile devices via Bluetooth connectivity. Today, these are the things that we use most, and the Focus 2 UC will keep pace as you move from device to device.
Open Mic Button
Though you may be locked into your work, you may find a time where you need to hear someone, or something around you. The Focus 2 UC has an open mic button that allows you to hear as needed. Convenient and useful.
A battery that will keep you talking
If you make a lot of calls, the Focus 2 UC delivers up to 19 hours of talk time if the ANC feature is off, and 16 hours if it’s on. If you listen to a lot of music, it provides you with up to 40 hours of listening time with ANC off, and up to 24 hours if on. Add to that the
battery takes only 2 hours to receive a full charge. Even if you forget to recharge the battery, the Focus 2 UC comes with a micro USB cable that allows you to plug the headset into a USB port. You can use it as a wired headset while the battery charges. Not many wireless headsets have that feature, and yes, it is valuable in real world situations.
The Focus 2 UC is a very lightweight and comfortable headset. If you don’t believe me on this, just put one on, and you’ll quickly see what I’m talking about. The headset itself doesn’t weigh all that much for a binaural headset. It weighs 175 grams, or less than a half pound. The lightweight is complimented by super soft, perforated ear cushions and
a headband pad that’s suspended so there’s no hard metal or plastic sitting on the top of your head. This is a great design, and without a doubt, helps to make this a very comfortable headset that you can wear for extended periods of time.
Jabra Evolve2 85 - MSRP $449.00 or $499.00 with charging stand
Jabra has been upping their game in the last year or two, and the Evolve2 85 is evidence of that. This is a high quality, fully featured wireless USB headset that asks, no, demands to be considered. This headset is packed full with features, some of which I’ve noted below.
Microphones and more microphones
The Evolve2 85 features 10 microphones working in concert. These microphones work to deliver a great audio quality experience for you and your callers. Unwanted background noise is tamed which allows your callers to hear you loud and clear, and not be distracted by the sounds going on around you. Even better, the Evolve2 85 has something for you, the wearer, to concentrate better. ANC which is covered just below.
Active Noise Cancellation (ANC)
The Evolve2 85 comes standard with Active Noise Cancellation (ANC). This helps you, the headset wearer, to not be distracted by the sounds going on around you. This is a feature you can turn on, or turn off, depending on your preference. And, when you combine this feature with the oversize ear cups that fully cover the ear, you’ve essentially established a mini sound chamber. You want to concentrate, and the Evolve 2 85 delivers.
The invisible, movable, mutable microphone boom
The microphone boom arm on the Evolve2 85 moves up, and can be stored out of sight. When being mobile, or listening to music for example, you may not have a need for a boom microphone. In those cases, simply raise up the boom arm and it disappears into the body of the headset. But, when the situation calls for great sound from a microphone, just drop down the microphone boom, and you’re all set.
The boom arm also controls the muting of the microphone. Raise it up to mute, lower it to unmute. The boom arm can also be lowered to answer an incoming call.
The Evolve2 85 has smart sensors for auto answering calls when putting on the headset. It can also auto mute the microphone by taking the headset off. It can also automatically play or pause music when taking off, or putting on the headset. Headsets are getting smarter, and this is one example of that.
This headset even comes with a busy light that lights up on the speaker housing that’s viewable from all angles. This feature helps to eliminate interruptions, allowing you to stay focused on your work.
The battery in the Evolve2 85 provides up to 37 hours of talk time, and recharging the battery takes 2 hours, and 20 minutes. In 15 minutes, you get enough charge to have up to 8 hours of talk time.
The Evolve2 85 connects to computers via the included Jabra Link 380 USB adapter. It also connects to mobile devices via Bluetooth giving you up to 100 feet of wireless range. You never know when your need will be for a USB connection to your computer, or when business requires a connection to a mobile device. No matter which surfaces, the Evolve2 85 has you covered.
Voice Assistant at the touch of a button
A lot of people today find it convenient to interact with a voice assistant in order to carry out actions. With the Evolve2 85 simply press a button and you can begin your dialogue with a voice assistant. This is quick and easy and can help give you that much appreciated shortcut to your applications and settings.
The Jabra Evolve2 85 represents one of the latest UC headsets to come from Jabra. As the features mentioned above show, Jabra continues to release high quality headsets to
enhance business communications and entertainment. If you find yourself on business audio or video calls often and enjoy listening to music, this is a headset worth your time to look into further. It comes in Black or White, with and without a charging base, and standard or Microsoft Teams versions.
Yealink WH66 - MSRP $339.00
Yealink isn’t a name that’s been associated with headsets, but they’ve put their name in the hat, and I have to say, it’s impressive what they’ve come out with as their first models to be released.
The prices are reasonable, and the features included are lengthy. In terms of comfort and sound, they check that box as well. In fact, the Yealink brand with the Sound Shield technology performs better than any other brand we’ve tested to date.
There are several models in Yealinks wireless headset line, but for this blog, I’ll be highlighting the WH66 model.
The sweet sound of nothing
The Yealink WH66 comes with a couple of features that help to optimize sound. This means that your voice will be heard crystal clear, and the unwanted sound will be suppressed so you can give your callers a distraction free experience.
And, for you, the wearer of the headset, you too won’t be left out. ANC, or Active Noise Cancellation is standard on this model, and as with other brands that offer this feature, it allows you to focus on your work and not be distracted by the noise going on around you.
The noise cancelling microphone helps to remove unwanted noise from your work area. This means that your callers will hear you without being distracted by the noise going on around you.
And, to bring that to another level, Yealink included what they call Sound Shield Technology that’s designed to further remove background noise above and beyond the capabilities of the noise cancelling microphone. And, in our tests, it performed better than any other model, which is impressive.
Touch Screen is standard
The WH66 comes with a 4 inch touchscreen. Unlike some brands that have this feature, they’re typically smaller and less user friendly. In our experience, this screen is bright, and easy to read, and it’s easy to navigate. It’s intuitive and responsive which makes it easy to understand the different screens and what you can do along the way. This is the nicest screen found on any headset in the market today.
Optional wireless mobile phone charger
The Yealink WH66 offers a plug in attachment to the base that supports, and charges your mobile phone wirelessly. It positions the phone so it faces outward, and next to the 4 inch display. That places it in a convenient location for easy viewing, while at the same time gets the battery recharged. This is a unique feature only found on the WH66.
Speakerphone in the base, just because
If you want to talk hands free, but without wearing a headset, the WH66 has a speakerphone built into the base. This gives you another use option that you won’t find on any other headset.
Built in USB hub - more plugs are always better
Today, it seems we never have enough USB ports. The Yealink WH66 lends a hand here, or should I say, lends a port? Built into the headset base unit you’ll find 2 type A USB 3.0 ports that are handy for plugging in your computer peripherals. Unusual feature, you ask? Yes would be the correct answer!
Wired USB headsets
In this section, I’m going to present an awesome wired USB headset from Poly that’s admittedly pricey for a wired headset solution. To help offset that with a more modestly priced USB wired headset, I have another to show you which is the Discover D722U. This way, you’ll have information on a premium model, and a second that can more easily fit into your budget.
Poly Blackwire 8225 - MSRP $209.95
The Poly Blackwire 8225 is a model that squarely fits into the category of premium wired USB headset. With it having a suggested selling price of $209.95, there’s actually nowhere else to place it. And, at this price, it’s a bit more than some wireless models. With that in mind, it does open the door to ask why is it priced this high, and what do
you get with it that helps to justify the cost? Here are some of the key features of the Blackwire 8225 that sets it apart from other, more traditional wired USB headsets.
Noise Cancelling Microphone with Acoustic Fence
Having a noise cancelling microphone on a USB headset is expected no matter what price point. However, there are differences in the amount of noise that’s cancelled, and of course the quality of the voice audio too.
One thing you won’t commonly find in a wired USB headset is technology that’s designed to reduce even more noise.
The Blackwire 8225 comes standard with Poly’s Acoustic Fence technology. This helps to further reduce unwanted background noise. This is a useful feature and as I said, not one you’ll find in a wired headset.
The overall value to you by having this feature is your callers won’t hear what’s going on around you. Instead, they’ll hear you loud and clear without distractions.
Advanced Hybrid ANC
Another feature not common to wired USB headsets is Active Noise Cancellation. Poly calls their version Advanced Hybrid ANC, which uses four digital microphones and three user selectable options (Low, High, and off).
This feature is targeted to give the person wearing the headset a quiet working experience. Distractions in the workplace are the leading cause of lowered worker productivity. ANC is a premium feature that’s designed to help eliminate noise so you can concentrate, not be distracted, and get more work done.
Online Indicator (Busy Light)
In order to minimize, if not fully eliminate interruptions, the Blackwire 8225 comes with a built-in busy light. There are two LED lights on the outside of the speaker housing that turns on when you go live on a call. This tells others around you that you’re on a call, and not to be disturbed. Fewer interruptions translates to getting more work done, and giving your callers a consistent call experience.
The Blackwire 8225 comes with technology that’s designed to help protect you whenever harmful sounds are detected. Poly calls this feature SoundGuard. Harmful sound can come at you from different sources and include things like feedback, loud dialtones, static and more. In order to access this feature, you need to download the Plantronics HUB software.
Audible voice alerts
Through the headset ear speakers you’ll hear select audible alerts that notify you of these things:
- Volume maximum
- Volume minimum
- Mute on
- Mute off
- Noise cancelling off
- Answering call
Voice alerts are a convenient way to know more about your headset and its current status.
The Blackwire 8225 comes in four different variants:
- Blackwire USB-A
- Blackwire USB-C
- Microsoft Teams version - USB-A
- Microsoft Teams version - USB-C
The controls found on the 8225 include:
- Volume up
- Volume down
- Active Noise Cancellation - on, low, high
- Microsoft Teams button for immediate access
As you consider these Blackwire features, it’s easy to see why Poly has priced it so it falls into the premium category. Not everyone may be willing to drop a couple hundred dollars for a wired USB headset, but if you’re one who would, I doubt you’d be disappointed with your decision.
Discover D722U - MSRP $99.95
For those who feel $200.00 is a bit rich for their wallet, there’s a nice alternative to the Blackwire 8225 in the Discover D722U. Though the D722U doesn’t have some of the features found on the Blackwire, it costs 50% less so there’s bound to be a compromise
here. Still, the D722U has some nice features that help to make it a good value for anyone who needs a double ear USB headset for Softphone calls, or video conferencing. Here are some of the key features found on the D722U.
USB-A, USB-C connectors included
Whether you need a USB-A or USB-C connection to your computer or phone, with the Discover D722U, you don’t have to choose one over the other. Both connectors are included in the box. You may need the USB-A connector now, but in the future, USB-C might be the preferred connection. You’ll be covered either way.
Having an inline controller for a USB wired headset isn’t anything out of the ordinary. You can expect to have features like:
- Volume up
- Volume down
- Microphone mute
- Call answer/end
- Speaker built in
These are very typical for most USB headsets. However, the Discover D722U has a feature you won’t find on any other headset. It has a speaker in the inline controller housing. Some people don’t have speakers on their computer. For those people, this feature gives them the ability to hear their incoming call ring. It also gives the ability to listen to audio from sources like Youtube etc. Very handy, and uncommon.
Oversize ear cushions
The size and shape of ear cushions play an important role in helping to reduce environmental room noise. Ear cushions can vary in size, as well as type. By type I mean the ear cushion can be doughnut shaped, or it can be a full cushion with or without perforations.
They can also be made of foam or a leather type material. As far as size goes, an ear cushion can rest against the ear, or, it can completely cover it. By having ear cushions that completely cover the ear, it helps to create a sound barrier where unwanted background noise struggles to penetrate. This means that having your ears fully covered gives you a quieter session.
The Discover D722U comes with doughnut shaped ear cushions that fully cover the ears. This helps to keep noise away which helps you to focus better without distractions. This approach to noise reduction is referred to as passive noise cancellation.
Let’s face it, comfort in a headset that will be worn for extended periods of time is important. The Discover D722U not only has oversized, comfortable ear cushions, but it also has a nicely padded headband.
Does a padded headband matter? When it comes to extended wearing comfort it does. Which would you rather have? A headband that rests on your head made of metal or hard plastic, or a headband that has a cushion? No need to answer that.
Noise cancelling microphone
Keeping noise under control is key to having a good quality call. Your callers want to hear you, not what’s going on around you. It only distracts them, and in the end, makes your job more difficult.
The Discover D722U has a high quality noise cancelling microphone which will help your customers hear you, loud and clear, and not what’s going on around you. We’ve all experienced receiving a call from someone where you can hear everything in the background. That’s not what you’ll get with the D722U.
Flexible microphone boom
An often overlooked feature in a headset of any kind, is the type of microphone boom it has. Why is this important? Because where your microphone is placed makes a huge difference in how good you sound, and how well others hear you.
Place the microphone too far away from your mouth, and people will struggle to hear you. So, it makes sense to have a microphone boom that is flexible enough to allow you to position the microphone properly.
The Discover D722U has perhaps the best boom in the business. When you move it, it stays put. You can almost twist the thing into a figure 8. My point here is the 722U boom arm is very flexible, but once placed, it stays where it should. Not all headsets come with a microphone boom that’s this flexible. Many are made of rigid materials that make it hard to bend and adjust.
When it comes to warranties, longer is always better. And, the Discover D722U has one of the longest warranties going. You get a full 3-year warranty which is longer than others. Most offer a 1 or 2-year warranty. This means that with the Discover D722U, you’ll have longer peace of mind, and avoid any unexpected expenses for a longer period of time.
Buying a new headset for use with your computer can be a challenge simply because there are so many different choices. The five headsets noted in this blog are those we
know to be of good quality, comfortable and sound great. There are others makes and models that will do a good job as well, but these are among our favorites.
Hopefully this helps you in some way to narrow down your choices so you can more easily make a buying decision.
If you still have questions, or need some assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out to us and we’ll be more than happy to assist you.