The .Audio 370 Headset is a full-sized unit -- similar in design to the Creative Fatal1ty Professional Series Gaming Headset, albeit not at the same kind of wallet-terrifying price. The adjustable headset -- which comprises a semi-flexible upper frame and a softer, more malleable lower inner frame -- is surprisingly adjustable, and even those with the largest or smallest of crania should be able to accommodate it. It incorporates a chunky swivel boom microphone on the left earpiece, and an in-line mute/volume switch on the extremely lengthy cable. When we reviewed the aforementioned Fatal1ty headset, we pondered whether any gamer actually needed to sit 2.4m away from their PC; it would seem that Plantronics thinks gamers need more movement (or are almost staggeringly obese, and need more cable to wind over their voluptuous stomachs), as the .Audio 370 has a 2.9m cable which terminates in separate audio and microphone plugs.
Plantronics hypes the .Audio 370 as a gamer's headset -- in fact the tag they use is "Full-Throttle Multi-Player Gaming", so presumably if you're a more timid, half-throttle solo player, don't apply. The hype on the back of the box continues in the same alarming (and somewhat amusing) manner. Apparently, the open-ear design "fuels the excitement of team gaming" -- and all these years we'd thought that being in a team fuelled the excitement. Who knew it was what style of headphone you wore?
Marketing feature hype aside, the .Audio 370s feature a 40mm stereo speaker pair with a claimed frequency response between 20Hz and 20KHz, and a noise-cancelling microphone with a claimed frequency of 100Hz to 8KHz. The inline control gives you a quick muting action via a switch, as well as a small rotating volume control.
We tested the .Audio 370 within its claimed gaming environment, as well as for more everyday mundane audio applications, including VoIP calls and just listening to music on a variety of devices. From a pure audio standpoint, the headphones gave good but not spectacular quality, which is in line with the asking price of AU$79. Rather akin to the Fatal1ty headset, when things got extreme in either bass or treble, the headphones struggled a little.
We predictably hit the same problem that's always going to be present with any headphones that enclose your ears -- aside from the problem of looking like a Cyberman -- in that extended use can make the sides of your head feel uncharacteristically warm. It's especially noticeable when gaming, simply because you're normally more excited and have faster blood flow. We never felt like we were actively on fire, or anything like that -- but it was still a noticeable effect.
We also noticed that while it's great in theory having nearly three metres of cable to play with, that same distance is also ideal for tangling around other cords, stray pets and even itself given half a chance. It's also a tangle peril; if the headphones are stowed in a bag -- say for use at a LAN party. On a similar note, the foam surrounding the microphone is relatively thin and feels like it wouldn't survive much in the way of heavy travel.