Plantronics has earned a reputation for making well designed, unique, high quality gaming headsets. For the original Xbox, their Halo themed headset was a fan favourite. We recently reviewed the GameCom X30 For Xbox 360 and were quite impressed with both its design and sound quality. Adding to the GameCom range, Plantronics has once again come to market with an interesting and unique design in the X20, but unlike other Plantronics products, it isn't quite up to scratch.
- Excellent design, Clear audio from earpiece
- Mediocre noise cancelling microphone, sound leakage on mute button.
While the design of the GameCom X20 is rather special, the performance leaves a lot to be desired.
Price$ 44.95 (AUD)
We tested the sound quality of the GameCom X20 over Xbox Live and found it to be a mixed bag. The microphone picked up too much ambient noise, so much so, that the television volume needed to be turned down considerably, making it difficult to hear the in-game audio. The brilliance of the X30 was the fact that you could have your television at a reasonable volume and the microphone would still only pick up your voice. As far as voice quality goes, the X20 does a good job of capturing clear and easy to understand audio but since the microphone is very sensitive, you may need to mute the headset when not talking.
Muting the microphone and controlling earpiece volume are both manipulated via an in-line controller. While adjusting volume is both simple and effective, muting the microphone doesn't work as well as it should with some minor noise leakage. This means that when you put the microphone on mute and then talk, your voice can still be faintly heard.
The design of the GameCom X20 is unique and, at first, a little confusing. It has a rubberised hook that sits behind the earlobe, keeping the earpiece in place. The earpiece has a foam cover which makes it rather large and we found it uncomfortable for extended use; however, this may not be the case for all users. The 2.5mm jack connects directly to the Xbox 360 controller but can also be used with the original Xbox by connecting it to the communicator controller dongle.
We were a little disappointed with the GameCom X20, especially since we loved the X30 so much. When playing Xbox Live you need a headset that will perform well with clear audio both from the earpiece and the microphone and in that regard, the X20 just didn't cut it.
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