Now that COVID-19 virus is well under control in Singapore, most of us would have started rotating work between office and home premises, which offers a good balance. To improve telecommute experience, a headset has become essential. In the early days, most of us simply used existing wired earphones, wireless earbuds, or audio headphones for conference meetings. While the audio quality is superior, I struggle with the mic experience and Bluetooth connectivity which seems less consistent with laptop. The other major bugbear would have to be the latency of true-wireless earbuds.
But I can always count on Creative Technology to come up with a solution that is user-friendly and most importantly, affordable. The Creative HS-720 V2 is a USB Headset with passive noise-cancelling condenser mic and inline remote with mic mute button for video calls. Featuring USB Type-A connector, it connects to your conferencing software directly and allows you to pick up calls, adjust volume, and most importantly, control the mute button directly. It retails for S$49 – yes, it costs less than S$50.
An upgrade from the first version launched almost 10 years ago, the HS-720 V2 is compatible with all the popular conference apps like WebEx, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Facebook Messenger, Google Meet, Skype. The mic button interfaces to the software and controls the mute function. A red LED indicator on the remote makes sure you know whether your mic is mute or not. I tested on Teams and it works well, but on Zoom, the mute was not reflected on the software though the mic is actually muted. Adjusting the volume on the in-line control adjusts the volume of your Windows Sound level directly.
The HS-720 V2 also works with smartphones, just connect it with a USB-C adapter. You can answer and hang up calls with the in-line button, so one has to be mindful not to press the wrong button when trying to mute the call.
One of my favourite features on the HS-720 V2 is that it supports mic-monitoring feature (sidetone), so you can hear your voice through the headset. This has 2 benefits: you never had to talk too loud, and you know when you are on mute. To activate, press and hold the mic button until you hear three beeps. To verify it’s activated, just speak into the mic and you should be able to hear yourself. The feedback volume is not too loud, just enough to sound natural.
The boom mic is long and can reach close to my mouth, but I would want to keep it away as it is not wind-proof. The mic neck does not have a pivot to swing up like Audio-Technica ATH-770XCOM. The overall build quality is also not as premium as the 770XCOM but the price reflects the value. There is adequate cushion on the ear pads wrapped with creased synthetic leather, the clamping force is quite low so it feels comfortable enough, though not as premium as over-ear headsets. Synthetic leather might cause heat build-up if you are not using it in a cool environment.
The audio quality is adequate for telecommute. When listening to music, the bass gets rather possessive of the airtime, sounding a little loose in response. The treble sounds clean, precise, not veiled, but slightly overpowered by bass.
The mic can capture high-fidelity sound which I find it’s adequate for basic podcasts. The mic only picks up close proximity sounds, so when my room speaker was playing music, the other party will still hear my voice above all.
Watch the video where I do a mic quality test.
The Creative HS-720 V2 is the best value audio headset for tele-conferencing. I am a sucker for cheap and good products and would gladly pay S$49 for this headset that offers excellent benefits. The sidetone and the mic mute integration are great features that even premium models may not offer.