Hands-on with new Plantronics products

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Plantronics and their subsidiary Altec Lansing announced several new products at CES, and we were there to test them in person.

The new Altec Lansing BackBeat 906 is a Bluetooth headset that’s in-ear (similar to the iPod headphones) and slips around the back of your ear, and includes dual microphones for clear reception when you take a call. We listened to some hip-hop and rap on the new device and there’s enough tonal range and bass to rival some expensive headphones from Sony. The microphones can be set in “open” mode so you can hear your surroundings without having to remove the headset. And, the grips on the ear buds adjust for the best fit.

We also tested the Plantronics GameCom 777 headset, which uses a USB connection for Dolby Digital sound. A bendable microphone can be positioned easily for the best chat sessions in World of Warcraft. The headset sounds clear for both music and game audio, but we were most impressed with the surround-sound emulation of the Dolby audio reproduction – you can hear spatial audio effects like a clanking sword off in the distance. The 777 headset is also padded well enough that you can’t hear what is happening around you, and has track control buttons.