Of the headsets in this roundup, Jabra’s $349 GN9350 is first and foremost meant for office use: Users can pair it with PCs and landlines, as well as hold multi-unit conferences. But we wish it offered a sleeker design and clearer voice quality.
The GN9350’s dated design and assembly-required setup made a bad impression on us. The boom itself is 4.5 inches long and 0.3 inches thick, and it doesn’t flex. The headset weighs a reasonable 0.8 ounces. It comes with a clunky, AC-powered hub plus cables to connect it a USB port or a phone for landline calls. Additionally, the hub can charge the headset’s battery, which snaps into the speaker-boom module.
The speaker and boom arrive unattached; it’s up to you to connect them to either the neckband or headband. For $349, we were almost insulted by the cheapness of the headbands: The ear pads feel thin and crinkly, much like the headphones you’d purchase for an in-flight movie. Lastly, we can’t understand why the two headbands have one ear pad, not two. However sparse the design, though, it was comfortable to wear.
To use the hub, plug the included USB cable into your notebook’s port and press the Computer (as opposed to Telephone) button on the hub. In addition to the Computer and Telephone buttons, the hub has volume controls and LED lights, which indicate the battery’s charge, regardless of whether it’s plugged in or you’re wearing it.
Although the noise-canceling mic delivered clear sound to our VoIP callers, we were displeased with the sound quality on our end. Even when we cranked the volume up to maximum, it remained the faintest among the three headsets. Moreover, in our calls to both Skype accounts and landlines from Skype, our friends’ voices sounded distant and garbled.
The GN9350 does have some redeeming features: It boasts 300 feet of office range, so managers can trade voice quality for great mobility. When we made a VoIP call to a landline, we were able to hear our caller even when standing at the opposite end of our office (about 117 feet away), which means this headset should offer more than enough range for at least one floor of your home. It also has 64-bit encryption, so confidential business calls can stay that way.
Although office workers might appreciate the GN9350’s encryption and expansive wireless range, buyers who want a headset for more personal use should look elsewhere.