Microsoft LifeChat LX-3000
- Attractive and comfortable design, Excellent audio quality, Noise-cancelling microphone, Easy set-up
- Windows Live Messenger integration seems unnecessary
The Microsoft LifeChat LX-3000 is comfortable and easy to use while also delivering excellent audio quality. However, the Messenger features seem somewhat unnecessary.
Price$ 49.95 (AUD)
The Microsoft LifeChat LX-3000 is a stereo USB headset and microphone combination. In a market saturated with poor quality headsets, Microsoft has come to the party with the promise of both high quality and Windows Live Messenger integration. While the quality is delivered in spades, the integration is somewhat haphazard was often more of a nuisance than a convenience during tests.
The LifeChat excels in many areas, most of which are centred on design and audio quality. The headset has leatherette pads around the ear which are comfortable and block a reasonable amount of exterior noise. They are not noise-cancelling, as such, but compared to on-ear headsets, audio is much easier to hear using these headphones. The audio clarity is quite outstanding for this type of product. Using Windows Live Messenger, we connected to various users around the world - namely in America and Poland. We also spoke with fellow Australians as well. During these tests the audio was clear and the quality was particularly impressive by comparison to other headsets we've run through these tests.. We also used the headset with the popular PC game communication program, TeamSpeak and found the audio to be clear and easy to understand.
The foam covered noise-cancelling microphone extends from the left hand side and is attached to a fully adjustable arm. Voice captured by the microphone is also clear and easy to understand. We tested the microphone with third party assessments over various Messenger voice chats and also by recording voice using Sony SoundForge.
Setting up the headset is very easy. By simply plugging the headset into an available USB port Windows was able to detect it and found basic drivers that allowed the unit to work. However, to use the Windows Live Messenger integration features, we had to install the correct drivers and Messenger plug-in from the provided installation disc.
Once you have the Messenger features installed, you can press the dedicated button on the in-line remote control to start a web chat. However, doing this only opens a window which asks you to choose a contact to start a chat with. From what we can gather, there is no added benefit of this feature at all. It is just as easy to simply choose you contact using the mouse from within Messenger and pressing the voice chat button. After several days of using the headset we gave up on the Messenger shortcut altogether. However, the remote also has volume and mute controls, which are very handy for volume adjustments on-the-fly. The LifeChat LX-3000 also has a six foot cable for greater flexibility and mobility.
On the whole, the headset is comfortable, easy to use and has excellent audio quality -especially considering the price point. While we found the Messenger integration to be somewhat unnecessary, others may well find it useful.
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