TeamTalk Platform: Xbox Manufacturer: Datel MSRP: $19.99
So, you have a few buddies over to play some Halo 2 online, when you run into a problem ? there?s only one headset. To make matters worse, Xbox Live doesn?t even allow guests to use their own headsets without buying their own Live subscriptions! It?s a major inconvenience. Thankfully, you no longer have to sit there flaming Microsoft for being greedy like I did, because Datel has come up with a solution ? the TeamTalk communicator!
What?s in the box?
Upon opening the always impossible-to-open plastic packaging, one finds a bunch of cheap-looking plastic pieces. Actually, all it really is, are three headsets and one VoiceNet adapter, which works like a splitter.
How does it work?
There is a simple process to go through in order to set it up. When I first tried it, I thought it was a hassle, but upon further use, I found it to actually be pretty quick and easy. The VoiceNet adapter plugs into the second controller port, behind the original Xbox Communicator headset. There?s a small cord that plugs into the top of the Xbox Communicator. After doing that, all there is to do is plug in the number of desired headsets to the VoiceNet adapter, and you?re good to go. Sound complicated? Don?t worry. After doing it once or twice, the whole process is a synch. Perhaps the most difficult part about it is putting one of the headsets on your ear! The microphone/speaker part of the headset has a small hole in it, into which a plastic piece inserts. This plastic piece then goes around your ear. It?s not especially comfortable, but not too bad either, once situated with it. After extended periods of time, I?ve found the headsets to hurt my ears.
Is it sturdy?
Remember what I said earlier about the cheap plastic? Yes, the plastic is cheap, and will most-likely break easily. I?ve actually had a few big problems with the speakers coming unglued and hanging out recently. The padding on the earpieces tend to come off as well. These headsets did, however, take a beating. Being left on the floor in a small room with four guys, they sort of got trampled on. It?s hard to say how long they would have lasted if they were better taken care of.
Is the price right?
Heck yes it is! You?re essentially getting 3 extra headsets and the ability to use them all simultaneously for less than $20. If the headsets break, it won?t hurt you too bad. The great thing is, you don?t have to use their headsets if you don?t want to. Maybe you?d like to buy some other Xbox headsets instead ? that?s fine. They can still be used with the VoiceNet adapter! I say the price would be worth it for the VoiceNet adapter alone, but the 3 extra headsets make it a great deal.
What else should I know?
Well, there are a couple minor things worth noting. First, all four headsets do need to plug into Player 1?s controller. This means you?ll all need to sit relatively close for all the cords to reach, and Player 1 can easily yank your headsets off of your ear if he/she gets too carried away with the game. This also means that communication might not be perfect. For example, when playing Halo 2, communication from all four players will be made through Player 1?s character, putting a hamper on the whole ?speaking to characters close to yours? scenario. Another problem is that there is some static to be heard through the VoiceNet adapter. For this reason, it?s best not to use it when you?re not using the extra headsets. Lastly, just keep in mind that you need the base from the original Xbox Live Communicator for TeamTalk to work. I know I?ve pointed out a lot of bad things about this product, but I?ve found the overall experience to be well worth the shortcomings. The Datel TeamTalk is the best and only solution I know of for the problems with guests speaking on Xbox Live. To me, it is well worth it, and has added so much more to my Xbox Live gaming.
So, is it recommended?
If you like playing on Xbox Live with others on the same Xbox, TeamTalk is definitely something you want to buy. Sure, it?s not the sturdiest, but it?s cheap, and it solves the problem of guests not being able to speak. If the extra headsets break, they can always be replaced with different ones.