After trying multiple headsets, earphones, and any other shape of wireless audio device, with issues each time, I realized I have two choices:
- To spend another $40,000 dollars in the hope of finding the one perfect headset.
- Get a decent recommendation from someone who already owns one.
So here I am. My requirements are, I would have thought, simple. But surprisingly rare in practice:
- Wireless. Duh. Should connect to a PC, so USB dongle or base station is okay.
- Has a microphone. On the headset, not the dongle/base station.
- Sounds better than a radio.
- Sounds better than a radio while using the microphone. Seems like a "duh", but this pretty much rules out all Bluetooth-based devices, except those using proprietary technology like FastStream.
- No white noise or buzzing when the audio output is silent. I don't constantly have sound playing, and I don't want to have to take my headset on and off depending on my sound usage at the moment. This tends to rule out many RF-based ones, which seem to have mild white noise when the audio is silent.
- No auto-off. This rules out pretty much all European ones, since EU regulations require broadcast stations to turn off after 5 minutes of silence. But like I said above, I don't listen non-stop, and I don't want to hack an inaudible sound just to prevent my headset from shutting off.
- Can listen while charging. I don't always remember to charge my headset, and the last thing I want is a forced 15 minute break from my computer, because the headset automatically turns off as soon as it's connected via USB (Why is this even a thing!?)
- Reasonably durable. Should last at least several months before breaking. Again, I too would have thought this was obvious, but cough Creative cough Logitech cough.
- Both ear pieces can produce audio at the same volume out of the box. I mean, I don't see how that would be a "feature", but my recently owned Creative Outlier Sports couldn't produce half the volume with the right ear piece as the left, so...
I'm not particular about the shape, but if it's in-ear, I'd rather drivers that are less than 5mm, so they actually fit in the ear canal. If over-ear, I'd prefer material that doesn't gradually disintegrate, leaving pieces of itself everywhere.
Unfortunately, most of the "features" I'm looking for don't appear in technical specs, and some of them are hard to find even in user reviews. I'm tired of gambling (and losing), so I'd really appreciate if someone can confirm owning a headset that satisfies all of the above.