Previously I was using the Sennheiser HD 555 wired headphones in combination with the Andrea NC 91 wired microphone, and was looking to combine two devices into one and have a wireless headset (having tripped over the cables on several occasions). I had also been interested in the purchase of active noise cancelling headphones. Researching the market there did not seem to be a single device that offered these three in combination. So therefore I looked to purchase a good quality wireless headset with a noise cancelling microphone. I settled on the Plantronics 995 headset based on the website reviews, but was still somewhat concerned that the headset, in the ~£50 price bracket, was not going to be of audiophile quality. I can report that while the audio quality of this headset is slightly below that of my previous Sennheiser headphones, the audio quality is still good. There is a decent amount of bass and spoken audio is very clear. Additionally, the noise cancelling microphone works well with Dragon NaturallySpeaking, which I'm using to dictate this review. In that regard the microphone is slightly better than the Andrea one I was using before, and overall is of good quality, giving very good accuracy results.
The range on this device I would describe as "within the room" rather than "within the house", but if you're looking for a headset to use from the sofa rather than the garden, then this will be just fine for you.
Installation is simple -- both Windows and LINUX recognise the USB dongle as a plug and play audio device. Windows will set this as the default audio device which will be picked up by any newly opened applications automatically. Operation with Skype, media players and Dragon NaturallySpeaking is 100% fine.
The life of the built-in rechargeable battery is several hours, so it is probably just fine for nearly a full working day of use. A good feature in my opinion is that the charging mechanism is via a USB cable (I believe it is a micro USB adapter), so there is no need for yet another proprietary charger. A full charge takes in the region of 1 to 2 hours.
When within range the audio quality is at virtually 100% with only very infrequent and slight dropouts. The volume changing and play pause buttons on the side of the headset also worked fine with Windows and LINUX, without the need for any additional software or configuration.
The only slight feature that I don't like is the mechanism by which the headset is turned on and off -- rather than having a discreet slider there is a single button which you are required to press and hold for a couple of seconds to turn the headset on and off. This prevents accidental pressing of the button I suppose, but I find that two seconds a little tedious. An LED on the side of the headset indicates the current status -- flashing blue if not connected to the USB dongle, steady blue if on and red when charging/battery empty. There is also a relatively subtle buzzer sound when the device is either low on battery or is not yet connected to the dongle.
Comfort is also good -- I'm able to use the headset for a couple of hours straight without problems.
Overall the Plantronics .audio 995 is a good quality device, suited for use in all computer applications (dictation, music, movies and Skype). At around £50 it is very good value. I would think that only the most stringent audiophiles would complain slightly about the audio quality. Recommended.