Back when I was managing a school we would have kids running in and out of the computer lab, tugging at headsets, bending the earpieces, and constantly searching for driver problems with connecting the headset to the computer. If only I had these ThinkWrite headsets back then.
We often get so caught up with finding the next cool piece of software that we forget how important a solid piece of hardware can be. Our schools don’t put much thought into them and simply continue to order crappy replacement units for crappy original headsets, computers, etc.
That’s why it was so refreshing to find a small education hardware company that seems to be making solid products that work. The fine folks at ThinkWrite sent me a review unit of their headsets, and I have to say I’m impressed.
When I took the unit out of the box I found the headset to be comfortable and seemingly sturdy. The ear cups were a little small for my massive head – but the sound came through clear and even after wearing them for a while, my ears didn’t get sore.
For an inexpensive set of headphones, these things deliver surprisingly well on sound. They pick up the high notes well and put out a pretty hefty bass. You probably won’t use them to produce Dr. Dre’s next album, but when I went through a random Spotify playlist I was impressed at the intricate layers of music it was picking up.
There’s also a volume control on the cord that packs a punch – having it on full blast was too much for my ears, so make sure your devices aren’t turned all the way up when students put them on.
Microphones tend to be one of the biggest tricks in school headsets. Do you build a wire that reaches right out in front of the face? Put a mic into the cord? ThinkWrite found a good solution in making a solid fold-down mic that sits out of the way, but picks up spoken audio well.
I would be lying if I said it was the best quality mic out there – it tends to be a little bit tinny and focuses more on the highs. But this is designed to be used for simple school projects – it doesn’t have to be good enough to record Dennis Haysbert.
Recording audio for an Adobe Voice project? This will do the job well. Want to make a quick voiceover for an iMovie? No problem.
Let’s take a look at how it holds up:
Tough as Nails
It would be unfair to review this unit without mentioning how strong they are. Twist them, turn them, tweak them or drop them: they’re built to last. ThinkWrite was smart to make these things so sturdy. Beyond anything else in the range, durability is a major issue for headset microphones. At the end of the video above you can see me giving them a good wring and nothing seems to hurt them.
3.5 Stereo Minijack
One of the best things about this headset is that it has a simple minijack that will plug into any phone or portable device. It’s designed specifically for working with tablets or chromebooks, so you just plug and go. No more sorting with USBs, drivers, etc.
I’m a big fan of these headphones – yes, there are professional grade units that probably sound a little better, but I know of very few schools that have that kind of money to throw around for a marginal difference. At just $20, they’re reasonable enough to suggest even to students to pick up, and if you’re on an IT team you can contact ThinkWrite for bulk discount pricing for your school or district.
If you’ve used these headphones in your classroom or school, let me know what you think of them below – I’d love to hear your thoughts!