My son is like most twelve year olds that have been exposed to it; he loves playing Xbox 360, especially online.
I know it's not a new development, but the ability to speak to friends, no matter where they are in the world, has revolutionised gaming. From a much more grounded perspective, my son and his friends talk to each other and compete against one another whilst playing a range of different games.
I am certainly no expert when it comes to online gaming. I do admit to being a little bit of nerd when it comes to computer games having been well and truly hooked when games like Space Invaders and Pac Man first arrived in the local fish and chip shop. Soon after it was the Atari console followed by Sega, Playstation and PC games. So I was always going to be fascinated with the more sophisticated games available on consoles such as the Xbox 360.
Being able to talk to friends online whilst connected to Xbox Live necessitates an investment in some form of headset or earpiece. There are numerous brands and types available. My son and I have tried several of them. We started with headphones. Initially, I opted for a relatively cheap pair which I bought on Ebay. They were OK to start with, but, if wearing them for an extended period, they became uncomfortable. More worrying though was the sound quality. It was very poor and, after only a month or so, they stopped working altogether.
I then purchased a much more expensive set, still sticking with headphones. The sound quality was very good indeed. They enabled chatting as well as having in-game sound. The only real negative with headphones is they do sometimes become uncomfortable and, if not wireless, the cord is annoying.
We were then offered the opportunity to try several types of wireless headsets. They were from several different manufacturers and ranged from headphones to earpieces. Some had in-game sound and some didn't. The price varied accordingly with those offering the in-game sound quite expensive.
We used all of them extensively. After considering them all, I left them with my son. I watched over a period of months. Initially he would swap headsets several times whilst playing, almost always reverting to an earpiece rather than the headphones. Eventually he used two almost exclusively; both earpieces and one with in-game sound and one without. When I asked him to make a final choice, he didn't hesitate, but chose the genuine Xbox earpiece. (Of course, he selected the MW3 version, but it's the same item). Most of his friends also use this ear piece.
Although it has no in-game sound, it is ideal to use for chatting. It is packaged with three rubber rings, all slightly different sizes to fit your ear, as well three spare sponges. An ear loop is also provided, as well as a USB cable for recharging the unit. Some versions, ie MW3, are packaged with a charging stand. The unit is wireless and is also Bluetooth enabled. When fully charged, it will give you about eight hours use before needing to be recharged.
Sound quality is good and the range is about thirty feet.
Whilst it is not the cheapest, it is not the most expensive either. It seems to be a quality unit and has been in service in our household for quite some time. I normally begrudge paying that bit more for so called "genuine" products and will not hesitate to take a cheaper way out if I can. However, after making several attempts to do just that, in this case it was false economy. I can recommend the "genuine" Xbox 360 Wireless Headset.