In the previous iteration of the Xbox, arguably the best headset made for online communication came from Plantronics. Released in conjunction with Halo 2, the Halo Communicator was highly sought after and widely regarded as combining a comfortable design with superior sound quality. Now that the Xbox 360 is here, Plantronics has once again come to the party with the GameCom X30 and it's every bit as good as the Halo Communicator.
From a design standpoint, the GameCom is pretty sexy with a colour scheme mirroring that found on the Xbox 360 console. It doesn't look good enough to stop your housemates calling you a nerd as you talk to yourself in your bedroom, but if you have to embrace your inner geek, you may as well do it in style.
Plantronics has clearly put some very intelligent minds behind the development of this product. The comfort of the unit was obviously top priority and they have succeeded with their new design. The ear piece has a rubber arm which sits under the ear with a hard plastic upper element holding a 180 degree rotating speaker. This makes it easily adjustable for the left or right ear.
The design looks strange and from first inspection you couldn't imagine that it would actually be comfortable. However, after wearing it for only a short time, you honestly forget it's there. The volume and mute functions are handled via an in-line toggle and mute switch. We would have preferred a mute button with activation light but since the switch seems to be much sturdier than the official communicator, it is more than acceptable.
The sound quality of the speaker is quite exceptional with clear audio and a good volume level. Compared to the official Xbox 360 Communicator, the level of volume is far more usable and can easily be heard over the television, even when using a thumping custom game soundtrack. The microphone is also high grade delivering clean voice across the Xbox Live service. The noise canceling is quite effective too, blocking out much ambient noise and also quite a bit of television volume as well.
Overall, we can easily say that this is the best headset currently available for the Xbox 360. Since there are so few of them on the market, this statement may not bear much weight just yet. The test will be in the coming months as more third party headsets become available and after Microsoft release their recently announced wireless headset. It should also be mentioned that the headset can be used for the original Xbox console as well, although it seems clearly meant primarily for the 360.
If you are currently looking for a headset or own an official one and are looking to upgrade, check out the GameCom X30. The price is fairly high but once you have used it we are confident that you won't be disappointed.