If you spend much of the day chatting online, a decent headset can make life much easier.

Using a headset at work is a fact of life for many people these days – especially if you work in one of those open-plan ‘cube farm’ offices. If you’re on the phone all day making lots of calls, or contributing to podcasts, you’ll understand the benefits of using a decent headset, especially in a noisy environment.

This week I’m looking at Jabra’s Evolve 80 headset, a top-of-the-range device aimed at the power user and incorporating large audio drivers that mean the Evolve 80 is designed as much for listening to music as it is for chatting. The vinyl-covered ear cushions form part of a large conventional headphone frame that incorporates a boom microphone that can be pushed upwards and out of the way when you’re not using it. The Evolve 80 isn’t quite as comfy as the Bose QC35, but it does have a few rather clever tricks up its sleeve.

Like the Bose QC35, the Jabra Evolve 80 includes active noise-cancellation; by using microphones to monitor the ambient noise in a room, the noise-cancelling circuitry subtracts the ambient noise and virtually eliminates all the low-end and rumbling frequencies that usually make listening to headphones in offices, on airplanes or trains so problematic. The efficiency of the noise cancellation is definitely on a similar level to that offered by Bose, which is state of the art at the moment.

Jabra Evolve 80 headset uses a battery for noise-cancellation that is recharged using a Micro-USB cable.

The boom microphone provides some of the clearest and best speech performance I’ve heard on a headset. This is comes as no surprise as Jabra – along with Plantronics – are masters at this sort of technology. Being able to hear, and make oneself heard, is really important for voice calls with impact. Anyone whose job requires them to talk online or even dictate documents for long periods of time needs a headset like this.

The Evolve 80 is fitted with a 3.5mm jack that means it will work with all smartphones, tablets and laptops. This makes it simple for using when you’re out on the road. There’s a soft carrying case provided but the headset is quite large, even with the earcups folded flat; possibly a bit too large for putting in small work bag.

As well as being compatible with smartphones and tablets, the Evolve 80 also comes with a puck-style USB controller that connects it to a PC or Mac and can sit on your desk. The puck has buttons for volume control, muting, call acceptance etc. There’s also a clever feature called Intelligent Call Transfer that enables you to shift your conversation seamlessly between devices. If you’ve ever found yourself holding an important conversation at the end of the working day, this feature will delight you. It enables you to unplug the headset from your laptop and plug it into your smartphone and the call will transfer seamlessly, enabling you to head home while carrying on your conversation. You need to use Jabra’s software but it’s a handy feature that’s bound to find favour with anyone who’s sick of never seeing daylight while heading home.

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