The Plantronics GameCom 780 is the first gaming Headset I've had the pleasure of using with 7.1 Dolby Surround Sound Technology. So I was very excited to get them on.
Let's kick off with the design and build. The headsets outer body is coated in hard durable plastic. The inner of the headband as well as both ear-cups are lined in thick padding. Comfortable they are, I have used these for long durations of time, well exceeding two plus hours and they don't become irritating. They feel very light and airy and the relatively compact design makes them appear streamlined. It's easy to adjust the length and angle of each ear-cup, providing additional support. The left cup hosts the rotational microphone and audio controls that allow for the adjustment of volume, muting of the microphone and enabling of surround sound. This placement is quicker to access in some scenarios compared to a control hanging on the wire and any saved time is essential when gaming.
A two metre cable is attached to the headset, more than enough for good movability. However the connection Plantronics decided to solely use is USB 2.0. I haven't experienced any problems with this input but it does mean no auxiliary connectivity is possible, something many gaming headsets allow the option for, as they can then also be used as plain headphones with devices such as an iPhone and iPod. The USB input will work with Windows PCs and Mac's but the surround sound effect is only possible via a PC at this point. I didn't need to install drivers for either platform to just get the headset working. But I did need to install the software supplied in the box to enable surround sound on Windows.
Onto audio quality? The specs are as follows, the speakers drivers are 40mm diameter in size and the speakers have a frequency response of 100Hz-10KHZ. Outputted audio is great in non surround sound mode but when enabled audio becomes tremendous. With rich, deep bass, incredible treble, amazing distance and volume that preserves the elements of the audio without becoming muffled or distorted. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 takes advantage of the 7.1 Dolby Surround Sound brilliantly, the dimension of audio adds a new layer to the game. I have noticed an increase in kills scored which I have to put down to the improved senses within gameplay. I fortunately don't know what it's really like to be on the battlefield but I'd imagine this is close to the mark. Unfortunately though, these have terrible noise isolation, low level external audio creeps it's way in and is this headsets biggest flaw.
Now the software lets you toggle audio modes, such as music, movie and gaming. The music and movie mode balances out the bass and treble a little more and provides a pleasant music listening experience, challenging some dedicated headphones in the price field. These could quite easily satisfy many who want a headset primarily for gaming with occasional music listening use.
The microphone on many gaming headsets can be a real let down, I can confirm that this is not the case with the Plantronics GameCom 780. The inbuilt adjustable microphone picks up voice audio and blocks surrounding sounds surprisingly well. It's clarity can always be relied on when speaking to your fellow teammates, the microphone is perfectly acceptable for webcasts and YouTube content.
To sum up the Plantronics GameCom 780 Gaming Headset is decently built, comfortable after long usage, shows off the Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound spectacularly and are rather low in price at around £38.89/ $55.99. The trade offs are the poor sound isolation and solely PC and Mac functionality.