Gamecom Commander - Box
Plantronics are a company renowned for making quality audio products and today we are going to be looking at a very special one in particular….the Plantronics Gamecom Commander Headset.
When this box arrived on my desk I was unsure of what lied ahead, the packaging relayed little to what was the behemoth within.
Plantronics Carry Bag
Upon opening up the monolithic main box we find….another box (sort of) it is actually a travelling case which contains the headset and all its cables. The design and feel of the case is extremely rugged and as a bonus it comes with a hefty carabiner. Now I don’t think they expect you to take this headset rock climbing or any sort of extreme sport, however it certainly makes it useful for clipping the headset to a backpack if space is an issue, which it may well be considering the overall size of the case.
Inside we find the previously mentioned headset and cables, nicely sorted into respective pouch areas of the case, as well as a little quick start manual and information regarding the warranty, which is two years on this model, standard stuff.
Plantronics - Carry Bag Internal
In terms of cables included, you get a 6 foot long coiled (to help avoid the cable tangling) main cable which has an in-line control for the volume and a button which can be used to disable the microphone. On top of that, there is also a cable which can be used to connect to a mobile phone allowing you to use the headset as a hands free device; these two cables can be quickly changed between because of the quick swap clips on the headset. Finally you get a Dolby USB Soundcard, which has two 3.5mm jacks so you can connect the main cable to it.
Gamecom Commander Headset
Getting the headset out of the case is easy enough and upon inspection it certainly looks unassuming - not as gaudy as some other headsets that are available. (This unassuming look also carries down the range of Plantronics Gamecom headsets)
You can see the microphone that is a permanent fixture to the left ear cup; the microphone uses a locking screw mechanism to tighten the microphone position and stop the microphone from dropping, it extends out on a flexible arm so you can fine tune the exact location and position.
The Plantronics Gamecom Commander headset features 40mm drivers in the ear cups that have a rated frequency response of 20Hz to 18Khz. The microphone is rated for a frequency response of 100Hz to 10Khz. Due to the padding and excellent seal they also passively reduce background noise.
One nice feature is a removable logo strap across the top of the headphones which on the supplied strap says Gamecom but could be replaced to say anything, such as your gamer tag etc. It attaches just by a single strip of Velcro.
Gamecom Commander Headset - Front
Gamecom Commander Headset - Headstrap
In testing the headset, I used it for a range of activities from playing games, listening to music as well as some nonstandard activities such as some audio tests to put strain on the actual components and check for any weak spots (These tests are not indicative of day to day usage however)
The included USB Soundcard is able to provide 7.1 Dolby Surround Sound, and is a plug and play device which needs no drivers to install, however on our test sample unfortunately it refused to work as such and the headset could only be tested on the strengths of the 3.5mm connections.
Setting up the headset was simple as you would expect, with it having just two cables to connect to the actual PC, this meant that we were set up and going within a few minutes at most.
When used to play music the headset provided a very good listening experience with crisp and clean sound reproduction, suffering no noticeable distortion as the volume was cranked up, not that you would need to turn it up that much as the background noise is remarkably reduced overall. In games again the sound was clear and crisp and in louder environments the headset faired extremely well; the microphone was also clear and I had no reported issues with anyone hearing or understanding me, although this could be because of my beautiful Yorkshire voice…..In Audio tests the headset worked to the rated specifications, with no noticeable issues arising.
In conclusion, it was clear that the headset is of extremely good quality, feeling as though it should be able to stand the test of time, the padded carry case and the included cables with quick fit connectors improve the overall features of the headset.
I would have liked to have been able to test the headset with the included Dolby Soundcard however this was unfortunately not to be, although the headset worked perfectly over the normal 3.5mm Jacks.
My only issue with the item is price; whilst it certainly feels like a solid item with good components, I feel that for the price other headsets would offer better overall value for money, offering similar overall sound and comfort for less money. We will attempt to put this to the test as well when we run through one or two of the other headsets available from Plantronics.