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Recommended headset for Microsoft Teams.

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Jabra Engage 50

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After evaluating a number of headsets, I recommend the Jabra Engage 50 for professional office use because it has these features:​

  • Excellent sidetone control (up to +6dB) with no hiss.  Sidetone is set from the Jabra control panel so works on Mac and Android as well as Windows.  Sidetone is a requirement to reduce fatigue, and in a loud office environment it encourages callers to reduce their voice when speaking on a call.  Compared to other headsets on evaluation, typically only -9dB of sidetone was available, sidetone was only configurable in Windows (so unavailable for Mac and Android users) and hiss was audible when sidetone was set to maximum.

  • Left or right handed mic arm.  Left/right stereo channels can be swapped in the Jabra control panel.  Compared to other headsets on evaluation, mic was fixed to one side or stereo channels could not be reversed.

  • 3 mics provide noise cancelling which prevents the listener from hearing other people talking in the office.  In a test where the user was facing a co-worker, the listener could not hear the co-worker.  This is important for GDPR, general privacy impression.  See below for mic tests.

  • Seperate control panel for volume, mute, Microsoft Teams and light control.  This reduces wear and tear of the laptop's USB ports and makes for neater cabling on the desk.  For users that carry a personal headset between office and home, this makes it easier to pack the headset—a control panel can be provided for office and home.

  • Robust, tactile controls with good feedback and clear indication when on mute.  This makes it easy to mute a call (e.g. to cough or speak to a colleague) without accidently remaining muted or unmuted by mistake. Compared to other headsets on evaluation, the mute button sometimes did not trigger it was less easy to determine if the call was muted or unmuted.

  • Short cable (designed for use with the control panel) means the cable does not get tangled, it is easy to pack in the travel pouch, and easier to manage at a desk.

Cabled vs Wireless

For general office use I recommend a wired USB headset vs wireless:

  • Lighter, so better for use over longer periods.

  • No need to worry about battery charging.

  • Better sound quality.

  • Better for the environment.

USB A vs USB C

I recommend USB C as this will future-proof the unit.  Even if you require USB A now, I would recommend getting USB C and using an adapter.  USB C also allows the headset to work directly with Android phones and tablets.

However, if there is a significant cost different between USB A and USB C, then choose USB A and purchase an adapter if required.

Official product page

The official Jabra product page is here.

Mic tests

All recordings were normalised to -3db as this would typically be done by the communications application.  The noise cancellation test was conducted via external speakers to simulate a colleague sitting across the desk from me.

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Reference

Recorded on a Shure SM57 Dynamic Mic via a Solid State Logic pre amp.

Plantronics_C5220

Plantronics Blackwire C5220 in a quiet environment.

Jabra_engage50

Jabra Engage 50 in a quiet environment.

Plantronics_C5220_noiseCancellingTest

Plantronics Blackwire C5220 with somebody speaking in the background.

Jabra_engage50_noiseCancellingTest

Jabra Engage 50 with somebody speaking in the background.

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