Dell Premier ANC Wireless Headset Review

When I first got the Dell Premier ANC Wireless Headset, I groaned internally. A pair of office headsets designed to deliver the best possible voice chat over Zoom and Microsoft Teams? I mean, come on; this is a gaming website, right? At the same time, I can’t deny that ever since the pandemic hit in 2019, I and so many others have been spending nearly entire days on video chat with colleagues also working from home. In that time, I’ve found my big, chonky gaming headsets to be much too cumbersome and limited for the task.

So I said yes to Dell’s offer for a review sample(mostly because it came as a package with a truly handy 4K webcam) and after a couple of weeks using them daily for all my work calls and everything else, I can say these $370 cans will surprise you in many ways. But you might be thinking that’s some serious money to spend on a headset for just work calls and you’d be right. Gaming headsets in that price range offer a whole lot more to the typical PowerUp! reader than the Dell Premiers would.

IN saying that, the Dell Premier’s do a lot of things right but also, quite a few wrong so let’s get into and let me share what I found.

Dell Premier ANC Wireless Headset

Dell Premier ANC Wireless Headset

The Dell Premiers have a simple and functional design that’s meant to be unobtrusive, lightweight and comfortable for long periods. It’s constructed from light aluminium and plastics with small ear cushions designed in an on-ear fashion meaning they don’t cover your ears. The ear pads are also soft leatherette and feel really gentle on the ears thanks to an inoffensive clamping force. I wear glasses though and it didn’t take long for my ears to start aching necessitating some frequent adjusting.

The headband uses an adjustable suspension headband design similar to that on Steelseries Arctis headsets that keep pressure off your head. The whole headset weighs just 155 gms, it makes for a really comfortable experience. Each ear cup has a few controls and ports. The left has the adjustable boom mic which can rotate down in either direction so it doesn’t matter which way you put the headset on.

Theres also the call button and Micro-USB port and charging connector port. The right ear cup has the Active Noise Cancellation toggle, media controls and a rather interesting volume dial. It’s spring-loaded meaning you don’t turn it as much as twist and hold it in either direction to increase or decrease volume.

The headset comes in a workplace friendly black colorway and besides the blue power LED’s, is devoid of any of the usual gamer distractions. A matching charging stand is part of the package and allows you to easily store the headset and charge it. This basically means you’ll never have to worry about battery life even though the headset can easily get you through an 8 – 10 hour work day. Battery life does depend on how much talk and whether you are using the ANC.

To connect to your devices, Dell has given users the choice of Micro-USB cable, USB Wireless dongle and Bluetooth 4.1 which is a rather older standard. I’m not sure why Dell didn’t integrate the USB dongle into the Charging stand and save us an extra USB port where you now have to have two spare ports. The connection is excellent with no noticeable latency however, once I got up and walked about 10-15m from my desk, the connection became a little spotty.

This is disappointing because unlike gaming headsets where I need to be focused on my game, I’m more to use the Dells away from my computer so I can make a snack or fold the laundry while still participating in a meeting. Dell quotes 30m which is great but a caveat would be line of sight. Go into another room even 10m away and you’ll get terrible connection issues.

Range issues aside, your calls will certainly sound great on the Dell Premier’s. Even with such small ear cups, the headset produces shockingly good audio. The sound is rich and full with a bass response that still raises my eyebrows. Voices sound crystal clear and warm without any of that tiny sound while music is a sheer pleasure to listen to thanks to the great dynamic range. Rest assured, these sound as good as any $300 headset I’ve tested and I’m very impressed. Hell, you could even play some first-person shooters and have an easy time pinpointing your enemies while relishing the booms of explosions and gunshots.

Everything about the Dell Premier ANC Wireless headset is designed to make your voice and video call experience better; hence the Microsoft Teams and Zoom Certification. From the on-ear controls to intelligent call ending when you take off the headset or a hearing protection that detects sudden loud sounds and saves your ears. Additionally, the adjusting boom mic can swivel either way so you can use the headset in any orientation you prefer. The mic also sounds really good for such a short boom arm and my voice sound rich and full on calls with no complaints from my colleagues.

But this was using the USB dongle connection — the Bluetooth connection is noticeably worse and sounds a lot more compressed and unnatural. I struggled a little with positioning the boom arm seeing as it’s so short compared to the longer, Flexi ones on gaming headsets. The mic still did a decent job picking up my voice though its clearly fainter than I’d like with no options for mic gain adjustment.

Lastly, let’s talk Active Noise Cancellation. The Dell Premier is designed to suppress ambient room noise so that you can hear your colleagues even more clearly without distraction. You activate it via a switch on the right ear cup. Let’s be clear, these headsets are definitely not going to give you the kind of noise cancellation that something like the Sony WH-1000XM4’s or Bose QC 35’s can. In fact, I initially thought it wasn’t working but after some careful testing, I did indeed notice a subtle reduction in ambient noise when ANC was active. It’s good enough to suppress your dishwasher or partner frying some eggs but only a little bit.

Verdict

Dell Premier ANC Wireless Headset

At $370 the Dell Premier ANC Wireless Headsets are very good but far from perfect. The overall fit and comfort is excellent for all day wear and the audio quality is very impressive. Admittedly, I’ve no previous experience with Zoom certified and dedicated headsets and so I have nothing to compare with. Nonetheless, after years going through so many different gaming headsets, I can appreciate certain nuances to give a verdict.

For the regular home user, this headset really isn’t for you. You’ll get far more value out of a cheaper gaming headset like the EPOS H3 Hybrid which offers Bluetooth and an excellent detachable microphone. Alternatively, for those who want something stylish they can use for work and travel, you’re better off with the Sony WH-1000XM4’s. All of those come with certain tradeoffs compared to the Dells but nothing that’s a deal breaker.

That said, for corporate buyers, the Dells make sense as you’d likely only be using them in an office environment where the headset would thrive the most.

Dell Premier ANC Wireless Headset Review
LIKES
Excellent audio quality
Great usability features
Lightweight, all-day comfort
DISLIKE
Very expensive
Wireless range can be hit or miss
ANC isn't the best
7
A pricey alternative

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Kizito Katawongahttp://www.medium.com/@katawonga
Kizzy is our Tech Editor. He's a total nerd with design sensibilities who's always on the hunt for the latest, greatest and sexiest tech that enhances our work and play. When he's not testing the latest gadgets or trying to listen to his three whirlwind daughters, Kizzy likes to sink deep into a good story-driven single player game.

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