Image: Hugh Threlfall
August 13 2010
If, like me, you remain sceptical of wireless headphones and prefer a proper plug and wire, you will probably have realised by now that the 3.5mm jackplug socket on your computer or phone is just about the crudest bit of technology in it. Unchanged in 100 years, it is universal and convenient, but unsuited to the modern age. The jack socket on both my 10-month-old MacBook Pro and my six-month-old iPhone 3GS have now broken and need replacing.
Imagine my joy, then, on opening a rather naff Plantronics PC headset, the DSP-400 (it came bundled with the MacSpeech Dictate voice-recognition software, reviewed a while back on howtospendit.com’s Technopolis TV), to discover that it comes with a little adapter that turns your laptop’s USB port into a 3.5mm jack socket. What this means is that, even though the socket on my MacBook is broken, I can still plug in my headphones via the ever-reliable USB.
It’s not ideal – I don’t think the audio is quite as good. And listening this way on a flight recently, I did notice that the laptop battery drains rather fast using this arrangement. But it works, and means you don’t need to lose your laptop to the repair guy for three weeks. The Plantronics DSP adapter isn’t sold separately, so you need to buy the DSP-400s to get one. The product is quite useful but not a classic – the accessory is jolly useful, though.