Tried & Tested

Webconferencing: Headsets and gadgets

1 Mar 2010 by AndrewGough

Headsets and gadgets

With headphones and a microphone, the Logitech Premium Notebook Headset (£35) is a good budget way to improve services such as Skype. It improves audio quality considerably, and also makes it far easier to hear what other participants are saying – most laptop speakers simply don’t work well enough for web-conferencing.

Bluetooth headsets are another essential tool for web-conferencing, and Jawbone’s US$100 Icon is one of the best-looking out there. It’s also very comfortable, and if you pair it with your laptop rather than your phone, it’s a great way to use software such as Skype.

If you chat a lot online, a dedicated PC headset such as the Sennheiser PC121 (about £20) is worth investing in, if only because it’s comfortable enough to wear all day. It’s also of a very high quality, and people you are speaking to will definitely notice a difference. However, even though it’s relatively discreet, remember that there really is no fashionable way of wearing headsets, so keeping it on all day probably isn’t the best idea.

If you’re using a camera and can’t quite get the position right, the Gorillapod (from £17) is the answer. It’s a weird-looking gadget but works incredibly well. The tripod legs can be wrapped around pretty much anything, and it’s available in sizes ranging from small digital cameras and phones to full-size professional SLRs.

Although most new laptops and even monitors now have video cameras built in, for those whose machines don’t, or who want to upgrade, Creative’s Live Cam Optia AF (£70) is a superb piece of kit. Once clipped on and plugged in, the video quality is exceptionally good, and with a two-megapixel sensor and auto-focus, it makes the software reviewed here shine with crystal-clear video images.

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