So many of the headsets we review are sexy, snazzy, offer wireless communication and promise infinite wonders. This headset has the good looks but steadfastly clings to its cable. Even so, that doesn't stop it being one of the best basic sets we've encountered at comparative rock-bottom prices.



First off there's the cable length, rated at 2.5metres but when straightening and measuring it, there's up to 13cm extra wire. That might sound insignificant but when you don't have front mounted 3.5mm jacks the extra travel is useful for head-turning room.

Next, the excellent design. The headphone cans swivel horizontally up to a 90-degree angle. The attached headphones themselves are also loosely fastened and the combination allows them to angle to the shape of any pair of ears. This gives an extremely high level of comfort. Next, the microphone can be similarly rotated on the left cone, and then to talk with the mic on your right hand side, you simply turn the whole headset around.

In tests the microphone performed well. It was certainly powerful enough to pick up the sound of my mono, one-speaker TV in the opposite corner of the room as I was talking on the net, and it performed well in Unreal Tournament 2004. However the lack of a directional mic did cause problems when we tested it on voice recognition packages and its ability to capture ambient noise levels so well could present issues if you worked in a busy environment. That said, this is ideal for the casual internet chat user or gamer alike using it in a spare room or study.

Buy it from Argos and the store will also offers a warranty extension so that if you trip over the wire (which we did twice during testing) and damage either the microphone or headphones, it can be swapped. After going through one of Argos' own headsets in this way, another £3 for the clumsy among us is fair value. If you acquire a retail Nectar voucher into the bargain, then that insurance charge will drop to 50 pence- making it an even better deal.

Verdict

The Stereo 332 headset's simple, effective and it works. If you can't stretch to £20 for an entry-level Plantronics headset (like the Audio 60s rebadged by Microsoft for the Sidewinder game voice, for example), then this Labtec is the best cabled microphone set we've seen for budget buyers, and they make an above average effort at music as well- just the thing for working late at night.