The rise of video calling and online meetings has been fast and meteoric and some of us are still trying to get used to the idea of conducting most of our meetings online. One of the most important pieces of tech you’re going to need to get right to not make the experience a sour one is your headset. Here are some things you want to pay close attention to when you’re choosing the headset you’re going to use for your online meetings and video calls so that you aren’t left frustrated.
The Connection Type
Headsets typically connect to your computer or laptop in one of three ways – either by a normal 3.5mm audio jack, a wired USB connection, or a wireless connection (either Bluetooth or with a USB dongle). Each type has some advantages and disadvantages, but these days you can’t go wrong with leaving behind the traditional audio connection in favor of the more user-friendly USB connection. If you move around a lot or want to ditch the wires, then look at a wireless option. Just don’t forget you’ll need to plug it in occasionally between using it to charge!
Open Back vs Closed Back
Open-back headphones allow sound from around you to enter your ears while you’re wearing a headset. If you work near people or like to know what’s happening around you, then open back open-back headphones are for you. If you want to go even more minimalist, then a mono single-ear headset might also be an option.
Closed-back headphones behave the opposite, blocking some or all the noise from around you. This can be useful if you’re looking for a Work from Home Headset or want to be able to concentrate fully on what’s happening in your headset. Some more complex options are available too – like an active noise canceling headset that actively works to electronically cancel out the sound around you.
Some features that we consider useful are:
•A microphone mute button, or a microphone that mutes automatically if you lift it up
•A call answer button, or a headset that can detect when you put it on and answers calls
•An in-line or on-ear volume control
•Replaceable ear cups or pads
You might notice that some headsets will be certified for use with a particular video calling service, like Microsoft Teams or Zoom. This not only means that the company has tested the headset for quality and call fidelity, but it also means that the physical buttons and features on the headset will automatically tie into the app, so call answer buttons and mute buttons will interact with the app itself and not just the headset. This can be a very useful thing, so look out for headsets designed to work with your video calling app of choice.
You’re likely going to be wearing your headset for multiple hours every day, whether it’s for listening to music while you work or for video calls and online meetings. Choosing something that is of a high quality with useful features and comfortable for you is essential.