GN Netcom Profile SureFit® and Stratus Ultra-G Convertible Headsets
by Chris Klingensmith
We're talking convertibles here, but not cars. So what other kind of convertibles
are there? Headsets! But aren't all headsets the same? Not these. One of the
advantages of convertible headsets is that they're convertible, which means
you can wear them over your head or on your ear. If you're only on the phone
for a few minutes at a time, you might find the on-the-ear style ideal. Since
it rests on your ear and not on your head, you won't have to worry about messing
up your hairstyle. The over-the-head style is designed for people who are constantly
on the phone. This design is typically more stable. And last but not least,
each style can be worn over either ear.
Comfort is another advantage
convertible headsets offer over ordinary headsets. Let's say you're the manager
of a call center, and you need to purchase headsets for your customer service
representatives. Problem is, you don't know who likes which kind of headset.
Over-the-head or on-the-ear? When you choose a convertible headset, you won't
have to make that decision. Your customer reps will be able to wear their headsets
the way that's more comfortable for them.
Let's take a look at 2
models currently available on the market: the GN Netcom Profile SureFit
and the GN Netcom Stratus Ultra-G™. I've reviewed both of these headsets
using the GN Netcom 2-prong amplifier.
Does convertibility make
a difference? Read on for the full scoop.
GN Netcom Profile SureFit
Netcom Profile SureFit is the world's first headset to offer 3 wearing
1. It comes right out of the box with the earhook installed. As
the name implies, this style is worn on your ear. The rubber earhook can be
reshaped for the most personal fit around your ear. However, if you tilt your
head to the side, it feels like the headset could fall off.
2. Next up is the
earloop. There are 4 sizes of earloops included: large, medium, small,
and extra small. Because of the size of my ear, the best fit for me was the
smallest earloop. Unlike the earhook, which you can reshape for a more personal
fit, the earloop is not flexible. That's not to say that the earloop is uncomfortable
or unstable to wear. Of the 2 on-the-ear styles, the earloop provides a more
stable fit because it completely encompasses your whole ear.
One small quibble with the
earloop is that it positions the speaker directly over your ear canal. If you
have sensitive hearing, the sound coming through the speaker may be too loud,
even with the amplifier on the lowest volume setting. Then again, this is through
no fault of the headset. The fact is, no 2-prong amp—no matter who the manufacturer—will
allow you to significantly vary the sound. A 2-prong amp by definition is only
as good as the phone it's connected to.
The 2-prong amp does give
you a 3-position volume switch, though, so you do get some help. But if you
Netcom's Universal or Multimedia Amp, you'll have all the play you could
ask for when it comes to adjusting the volume.
3. You can wear the
Profile SureFit over your head. Of the 3 wearing styles, this one provides
the most stable fit. The best aspect of this style is the click-stop headband.
It creates a custom fit, thereby eliminating frequent readjustments. It's intended
to give you a perfect fit every time you put it on.
GN Netcom included 2 sizes
of foam ear cushions in the package. The small cushion can be attached when
using the earhook and earloop wearing styles. The headband's cushion isn't the
softest pad I've felt against my ear. It's thin and conforms a bit too closely
to the speaker's shape.
The Profile SureFit also
includes a noise-canceling microphone, which can be helpful in a high traffic
environment. No complaints can be made about the speaker's sound quality either.
The transmission always sounds clear, never muddled or garbled.
I was able to snap all 3 styles into place without any difficulty. The only
problem I encountered was during the removal of the speaker from the wearing
component (i.e., earhook). The instruction booklet outlined the proper steps
to take for removal. It sounded simple enough, but the speaker fit so tightly
into the wearing component, separating the 2 required some effort at first.
After doing this a few times, however, it was easy to master.
GN Netcom Stratus Ultra-G
Like the Profile SureFit, the
Stratus Ultra-G is ready to wear straight from the
package. The ear capsule uses the same concept as the Profile SureFit's earhook.
It's shaped like the earhook, but is constructed of solid plastic instead of
rubber. The ear capsule features an adjustable hinge to secure the headset around
your ear. Although it doesn't provide as personal a fit as the earhook, the
ear capsule is surprisingly stable.
If the ear capsule doesn't
suit you, you can always slip the Stratus Ultra-G over your head. The headband
may seem flimsy, but provides a stable fit on your head. The only downside to
the headband is that it's not adjustable.
Two types of foam ear cushions
are included, one for the ear capsule mode, and the other for the headband mode.
The headband cushion offers slightly better padding than its ear capsule counterpart.
GN Netcom incorporated a
noise-canceling microphone into the Stratus Ultra-G. Sound quality was excellent
on my end. But one caller complained that my voice sounded faint, although I
could hear him perfectly. I tried repositioning the microphone closer to my
mouth, but it produced the same result. However, because only one of my callers
reported this issue, it's possible that a poor connection may have been the
culprit, rather than the headset or amp.
Like the Profile SureFit, I had to refer to the instruction manual to figure
out how to detach the Stratus' speaker from the wearing component. Switching
styles called for more effort than should be necessary. Watch your fingers!
The bottom line
From an economical standpoint, both the GN Netcom Profile SureFit and the Stratus
Ultra-G are sound investments. Despite a couple of slight shortcomings, no other
headsets on the market deliver the kind of versatility these two do. When you're
ready for a change in the way you work, take one of these convertibles for a