Plantronics reveals GameCom 780 7.1 headsets/GameCom 380 headsets

Chris Comiskey

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Plantronics met with PC Gamer today to talk about their new headsets, the USB 7.1 Dolby Pro Logic II GameCom 780 (and their lower-priced stereo GameCom 380, with analog jacks rather than USB). The 780 and 380 are both set for US release on January 15th. At launch, they'll be available at retail in Best Buy stores nationwide, or—if you prefer shopping via mouse and keyboard—you can snag 'em online through Plantronics.com/us or Amazon.com. The 780 will set you back 80 clams, while the 380 will cost you $50. Read on for more details!

Although the 380 wasn't available, I did get my grubby little mitts on the 780. It's covered in a tastefully black paint scheme with minor burgundy highlights, and it's got a six and a half foot cable for power and audio. While you can plug the USB cord in and get your ears filled with machinegun fire and Metalocalypse music immediately, you'll have to install the drivers (using the included CD or through Plantronic's website) to get the authentic 7.1, THX-rated Dolby surround sound.

The 380s lack 7.1, but come in at 30 bucks cheaper.

Delivering the 7.1 virtual audio are a pair of 40mm speaker drivers, each with a frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz. Since the headset doesn't use a complex, multi-driver setup, the entire unit is light and comfy on top of your noggin, due to the lack of weight extra speakers would normally carry. Volume is controlled through a plastic rocker dial on the bottom of the left earcup (just below where the microphone squelch rests). The mic itself is of the bendy, rubberized variety, and pokes out to about the length of two index fingers. The earpads are covered in a soft, cloth cushioning, as is the headband padding.

For the accident-prone, Plantronics also includes a one-year limited warranty. As to what's specifically covered under that warranty, well—pretty much everything. “If your headset ever breaks in a way you think it shouldn't have,” says Product Manager Lars Ahntholz, “just give our tech department a call and we'll see what we can do.” Ahntholz maintains that if Plantronics boasts that their headsets have “Superhero-strength cords and joints,” the user deserves confidence that if they accidentally run over the USB connector with a chair and break it, they'll be covered.

Behold the GameCom 780. Mmmm...metal hinges.

The international release is still to be determined for both headsets, however. Ahntholz did hint that the rest of the world should see them both about a month after initial launch in the states. Keep your eyes lasered to PC Gamer for an upcoming review!

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