Plantronics DSP-400, PC headset

15 Jul 2004

Product: Headset
Price: €109

“Space we can recover, lost time never,” was one of the famous maxims of Napoleon Bonaparte that could easily apply in the technology business world today. Timing is everything to the introduction of a product. Technology companies are the experimentalists of the business world – after spending millions developing a product, it is still hit and miss as to whether that product will achieve widespread adoption.

One of the most remembered technology flops of recent times was the introduction of WAP by the various mobile operators and handset manufacturers in the late 1990s. Ironically, the much-maligned WAP technology is currently the driving force behind most GPRS and 3G applications.

Voice-over-IP (VoIP), or voice calling over the internet for rates cheaper than traditional landlines, ironically falls into the category of technologies that get rudely hyped before their time. Only with the advent of DSL connectivity to the home, affording Irish users broadband connectivity of at least 500Kbps in the past year, has VoIP become a credible business and consumer opportunity. Various operators including VoIP Ireland, Smart Telecom and Ryanair Telecom are preparing serious packages for the Irish consumer this year.

Another myth of the Irish technology scene is that Microsoft – when it was developing games in Dublin for the Xbox – could not find any broadband in the country to test its games. Irish gamers to date are most likely a large minority in the burgeoning networked games arena. The advent of DSL should hopefully change that.

That’s why the Plantronics DSP-400 DSP (digital signalling processing) headset is very much a product of its time. The product is ideal for a variety of technology users. As VoIP services become more prevalent in this country in tandem with the rollout of broadband, the headset is ideal for making calls through your PC. The DSP technology guarantees crystal-clear audio sound.

The headset will also appeal to the small, yet swiftly growing, networked gaming community in Ireland who would probably enjoy nothing more than sharing a joke with a fellow gamer on the other side of the world while simultaneously blasting them out of the sky as part of a fighter pilot game like IL-2 Sturmovik on the PC or Crimson Skies.

The headset comes with its own easy-to-use software that allows users to manage the settings of the headset for both speakers and voice settings. Music lovers will appreciate that the headset has presets for classical music, rock, R&B and jazz, whilst a specific game setting will suit networked gamers. A specific voice setting will cater for individuals planning to make VoIP calls.

As part of the €109.99 (incl. Vat) package, users get a free connection to VoIP provider Skype, which gives them 120 minutes of free international calls to landlines in more than 20 countries.

The device plugs neatly into the USB port on a PC and – because it is foldable – it will appeal to business people on the move with laptops who may intend to use the device for international calls or to while away the time in an airport playing multimedia games.

The Plantronics DSP-400 DSP can be found in most good computer stores, including CompuStore and various Sony shops.

By John Kennedy