Creative Technology has launched another stereo headset to cater to the ever-growing telecommuting workers. The trend is clear: whether working from home or from office, a comfortable headset is essential. Creative Chat is a plug-and-play 3.5mm communications headset that can be used for online calls, music, movies and gaming. The retail price in Singapore is S$45. Also available is the Creative Chat USB, retailing at S$69, and this is my current recommendation for the best headset below S$100.
This latest headset features a boom mic that easily pivots away from the face, with a direct microphone mute switch for instant access to controls without having to fiddle through multiple applications and screens. The overall design looks premium, with thick headband covered with synthetic leather, full plush on-ear cushions. I don’t mind getting it purely for audio, but more about the sound quality later.
The in-line remote features 2 controls: a volume wheel and a mic switch. This conveniently lets you adjust the listening volume during calls and also to quickly mute your mic instead of through the teleconference app.
While the Creative Chat is not designed for audiophiles, the audio quality is good for general content listening. The bass is prominent but controlled boominess, the treble is clear, slightly thin, as the midrange warmth is rather tamed, so vocals is slightly less forward and full, which makes them sound less chesty.
For the mic quality, I find that the mic is not as loud and sensitive to some other recent headsets I reviewed, like the Audio-Technica ATH-770XCOM and Creative HS-720 V2. It might be good if your working environment is somewhat noisy. And similar to the rest of the headsets, it only picks up sound at close proximity, so all the background noise are not audible to the other party.
Compared to Creative HS-720 V2
The two headsets are different in many ways. Firstly, the Creative Chat is an analog headset while the HS-720 V2 is a digital audio headset via USB port. The Creative Chat certainly looks better and fits more comfortably. The boom mic can also fold up better. The HS-720 V2 has much better mic pick-up and its in-line controls can directly control the mic mute and volume on the app. It also has voice feedback so you hear your voice and know whether your mic is turned on. For audio quality, the Creative Chat delivers clearer treble, while the HS-720 V2 is slightly more emphasized on midrange and bass.
Compared to Creative Chat USB
The Creative Chat USB is basically the hybrid of the Creative Chat (3.5mm) and HS-720 V2, offering the best of both worlds. I would highly recommend getting this version. Plus, there is an additional feature which I thought was absolutely useful: the Creative Chat USB mutes the mic automatically when the boom mic is swiveled upwards to the resting position. This is so much easier to control the mic mute, just by moving the boom mic position.
A new feature now available in the Creative Chat USB is that it supports the SmartComms Kit through the Creative app. This feature is actually sold separately in Creative Soundblaster Play! 4, but now it’s part of the Creative Chat USB. With features such as VoiceDetect, which automatically detects your voice and automatically unmutes the mic as you speak, and NoiseClean, a feature that aptly cancels out any unwanted static background noises during online chats, enjoy more productive and less disruptive calls with just a few clicks of a button.
The Creative Chat’s design and comfort are the most striking features to me, the audio is enjoyable, and mic quality is less sensitive. At S$45, it is very value for money, and I like that I can stow away the mic and use the headphones for music listening, especially with its plushy ear cushions and an analog volume wheel to quickly adjust audio level.