* Prices may differ from that shown
Towards the end of last year I decided to invest in a new headset, not only for video calling friends and family but also for generally listening to things on my laptop while not disturbing others in my student house. The really cheap headset I had bought the year before (£2 off ebay!) broke within three months of usage so this time around I was more willing to spend a considerable amount for a quality headset.
After some searching online I came across the Sennheiser PC 151 headset, which was perfect: well within my budget, sleek design, a noise-cancelling, adjustable microphone and the ability to change volume via in-line control. I bought a pair off eBay for £39.99, though the RRP is closer to £54.99.
==---Appearance and Packaging---==
The headset comes tightly packaged typically of headsets and headphones with the Sennheiser logo and the front of the headset in full view, so giving a clear indication of the quality expected.
The PC 151 headset itself isn't anything to write home about in terms of design. It's an overhead set that's cushioned both below the headband and on the closed earpads for extra comfort. The headband itself is adjustable on both sides. The microphone has a resting position on the right side and can be turned up to 180 degrees from its original position to suit the wearer (bear in mind that to use the microphone you have to wear the headphones the other way round).
As mentioned there is in-line volume control as well as a button to mute sound completely (why would you need that!?) which I find very useful and convenient compared to using either the keyboard of volume icon on my laptop. The wire connecting the headset to the microphone and headphone jacks is only down one side of the headset and is well over one metre long; even three months after buying these most of it is still bundled up in the plastic wire to keep it from getting tangled! Therefore, people using it from their desktop sockets placed on the ground should have no problems with wire length at all.
The headphones work wonderfully. The sound quality is perfect, not at all tinny but crisp and somewhat bassy. The closed earpads aren't sound isolating but they do block out enough background noise to not be a distraction with whatever you're doing. The microphone works well too. I have used it in several video calls and I haven't had any problems with people hearing me. It's easy to adjust and doesn't keep dropping into the lowest position it can due to slight movements like my original cheap headset did. I admit that turning my headset the other way round in order to use the microphone does seem like an unusual design choice, but at least it means it's out of the way when I'm only listening to music.
The headset can apparently be used for listening with CD, DVD and MP3 players. I have only used it once in my MP3 player, and due to the bulkiness of the headset it isn't as comfortable an experience as with my in-ear headphones, although the sound quality as the same standard as through my laptop. Besides, these headsets are primarily designed for computer use so I don't consider these optional possibilities in my final rating.
My only big problem with these headphones is that they do hurt the tips of my ears after about one and a half hours of wearing them. I think it's because my ears are very small and the closed earcups put a bit too much pressure on them. There's no real way for me to get round this problem other than either constantly adjusting the headset or just taking them off and letting my ears recover for about ten minutes. At the very least my ears hurt after prolonged use and not every time I put them on, because other than that problem the headset is very comfortable to wear. In addition, there is some sound leakage from the headphones even at a moderate volume for me,
The Sennheiser PC 151 headset has really impressed me. It has everything I need as a student and casual gamer: great sound quality and a working microphone that isn't susceptible to breaking easily. The fact that it hurts me after prolonged wear is a concern however and I do have a knock off a star for that. Perhaps it is different for other buyers depending on their ear size, I'm not sure. Nevertheless this is still an excellent headset that's great for gaming, video chatting or just listening to music!