This Creative Chat USB review comes in a time where Zoom, Teams, and Skype meetings are now scattered across our calendars. The switch to home working in 2020 was fast, and the scrabble for equipment sometimes resulted in desperate measures. Now though, after a substantial chunk of working from home, we know what we need from a headset for meetings.
Our demands are somewhat simple when looking for one of the best headphones with a mic (which this is). We need something that’s easy to hear, easy to mute when the dog starts to bark, plugs into as many devices as possible, and, importantly, doesn’t feel like our skulls are being squeezed in a medieval torture device. Thankfully the Creative Chat USB happily ticks all of these boxes and more.
And hello, USB-C (as well as regular USB)! With its flip mic, it’s probably not one to listen to music on the train on the days you go into the office, but the Creative Chat USB headset has everything you need to make all those Zoom calls as productive as possible, while also making music sound pretty good for its low price.
Creative Chat USB review: Price
The Creative Chat USB is sitting at an affordable £44.99 in the UK and $49.99 in the US. Given that this is a specific wired headset engineered towards work, it’s hard to compare to the best wired headphones intended for listening to music and taking calls on the go.
It is slightly more expensive than something like the Plantronics Blackwire 3200 stereo headset intended for the same purpose at £34.99/$39.99, but Creative’s model has USB-C connectivity and cushioning that, quite frankly, we’d like in a mattress.
Many of the specific work-from-home headsets also only have one earcup and are geared specifically for calls, so here you’re getting a microphone and a proper set of headphones for listening across multiple devices which makes a massive difference.
Creative Chat USB review: Design and features
The Creative Chat headset is ultra light at only 206g but doesn’t feel cheap. Everything is largely plastic as you’d expect, but the overhead band has a large reassuringly spongy section to ensure comfort, and the flip mic raises and lowers with an ultra-satisfying click.
The metal headband extenders are sturdy too so it doesn’t ever feel like you’ll break the headset just trying to make it fit. And where many earcups just have a swivel to ensure comfort, the Creative Chat has an innovative ball and socket style joint to make sure that you find the right fit against your ears.
Then there’s those ear cups, which can best be described as cosy on-ear marshmallows. The leatherette padding and foam combo feels positively luxurious at this price point, and the on-ear sensation is a gentle hug with no vice like grip. The bright orange accents inside each cup make for a stylish splash of colour on all that black too. Finding a comfortable fit is easy thanks to all of this sponginess, and it means there’s very little sound leakage if you’re sharing an office.
The swivel-to-mute mic is just resistant enough to make sure you’re only ever bringing it down when you want to speak, but it’s not the only mic control. If you want to speedily mute, there’s a mute button on the inline remote on the cable that comes in handy. It even happily glows red when you are muted, just to let you know you’re safe.
There’s also a lovely bonus feature that lets you check your own levels to make sure you’re not shouting. Hold the mute button for a couple of seconds and you can hear your own voice played back into your ears. The inline remote also has volume controls and a play pause button for your media which happily works with Spotify or Apple Music while you’re working.
But it’s the generous 2.1m cable that’s the real treat here. The Creative Chat comes with a standard USB adaptor but is natively designed for USB-C. This means you can pop it into your new Mac, PC, Android phone, compatible iPad, whatever. This feels like a great move from Creative, making the Chat USB even more compatible.
And, while you can use it with the PS5 and Xbox Series X, you’ll have to plug it into the console directly with the USB adaptor. Given that this is primarily a work headset, even the fact that it can do this at all feels like a victory.
Creative Chat USB review: Performance
The Creative Chat USB is an absolute dream to use. The multiple mic controls make it easy to keep track during Zoom or Skype calls and the microphone quality is excellent for dulling any surrounding ambient noise. Having a dedicated microphone means none of the rustling or distance that so often comes with microphones on cables or on earbuds, and there’s a real clarity of tone here.
It’s a matter of plug in and play on both Mac and PC. Just make sure your video call settings have the Creative chosen and it happily does the rest. There’s also what Creative calls a SmartComms kit that can be downloaded for Windows 10 to modify background noise, but the microphone is already excellent if you’re just in a standard room so there’s no real need for this extra layer.
And the even better news is that you’re not going to want to take the Creative Chat USB off. 40mm drivers mean that the headset is as nice with Spotify as it is with Zoom. There’s a surprisingly grand multilayered stereo sound at work here. They’re not going to replace your Bose QC45 or Sony WH-1000XM4 for audio quality but with a reassuring bass and room for vocals and midtones, the Creative Chat USB is perfect for listening to music between calls.
Electro pop is just as punchy as you want to be, classical reverberates nicely, and, because these are wired, the volume doesn’t even need to be too high to completely delete your surroundings. The USB-C also makes it ideal for days where you just want to work from a tablet. The Creative Chat plays well with the iPad Air for watching YouTube and playing games before switching into work mode.
Creative Chat USB review: Verdict
The Creative Chat USB happily ticks all of our work from home boxes. The swivel mic means hours of Zooms aren’t interrupted by rustling and drop outs and the almost absurdly luxurious padding means wearing the headset for long periods of time isn’t a chore. Add in the fact that it works with a variety of tech and lets you crank up your music between calls and this is the perfect affordable work-from-home headset.