Founded in 1989, the VXi Corporation is known for making best-in-class headset solutions that are used extensively on a daily basis by many of the largest professional contact centers and offices. Recently, their products have been gaining popularity among the Hi-Fi online crowd of audiophiles, who has found their combination of price and quality to be unmatched by most other products on the market.
VXi BlueParrott S450-XT Stereo Bluetooth Headset
The VXi BlueParrott S450-XT feature advanced noise-canceling and aptX audio compression technology to deliver first-class wireless sound, while at the same time giving listeners full freedom of movement, thanks to the built-in microphone. Great sound quality and a professional-grade microphone? This sounds like a recipe for an excellent pair of gaming headphones. Let’s find out if that’s, indeed, the truth.
Build and Design
The S450-XT have the appearance of a modern-day professional product designed by someone who knows how to make work more fun. Place them side-by-side with many gaming headphones, such as the Sennheiser GSP 350, ask a random passerby to tell you which headphones are meant for work and which for play, and the person probably won’t be able to tell the difference.
Statistically, the majority of call center operators—the target demographic for these headphones—are women. Being aware of this, VXi Corporation has purposefully made the earcup slightly smaller. If you are a burly male, you may experience a slight discomfort after you wear the headphones for an hour or two. The good news is that you can replace the provided earpads with other, compatible ones.
Moving on from the design and comfort, the most interesting aspect of the headphones (at least, for us tech nerds) are the on-headset call and media controls. There’s a special button called Parrott Button, which can be set to any function you choose with the BlueParrott App. Close to it is a multifunction button for playback and call control and pairing.
The headphones can be connected to an audio source in three different ways: via Bluetooth, NFC, or 3.5mm audio cable. By now, just about everyone knows how Bluetooth pairing works, but NFC is still a novelty feature. If you own a cell phone that supports NFC pairing, make sure that NFC is enabled on the phone and turn the S450-XT on. Next, place the NFC zone of your cell phone against the NFC zone of the S450-XT and hold them together while your cell phone registers the headset. Your smartphone should display a confirmation prompt, telling you that the pairing was successful.
When the connection is established, the headphones verbally notify you through the speakers that they are on and inform you about the remaining battery life. According to the manufacturer, they should last for a whole week. As per usual, charging is done via a micro-USB connection. A red LED light shines during the charging process, and it turns blue when the headphones are fully charged.
Using Qualcomm’s aptX technology, a family of audio codecs available for consumer and automotive wireless audio applications and notable for their ability to deliver real-time streaming of high quality stereo audio over the Bluetooth A2DP connection, the BlueParrott S450-XT headset delivers an uncompromising wireless listening experience.
The headphones shine in terms of their clarity, accuracy, and responsiveness. The human voice is reproduced with all of its nuances, and deep synthetic bass is guaranteed to send shivers down your spine. The quality is certainly good enough for the casual listener, but, more importantly, it’s also more than good enough for serious gamers, who rely on accurate spatial sound representation to locate the position of the enemy.
Gamers also rely on high-quality microphones to communicate with their teammates and make tactical decisions on-the-fly. The pivoting microphone boom on the BlueParrott S450-XT headset features an advanced noise-canceling technology called Xtreme Noise Suppression, which is said to deliver 80% noise-canceling performance while retaining HD voice quality. Are VXi exaggerating? Not according to our ears.
Sound-wise, the BlueParrott S450-XT headset passed all our tests with flying colors and turned out to be a very pleasant, if slightly unexpected, surprise.
What’s in the Box
Included in the box are the BlueParrott S450-XT headset, a carrying case, a micro-USB cable, a 3.5 mm audio cable, quick-start guide, and a compliance insert.
- Good sound quality
- Excellent, noise-cancelling microphone
- Active noise cancellation
- Easy pairing
- Built-in media and call controls
- Retails for $179.99
- Comfort issues
It often pays off to venture into uncharted waters. Not many would expect a pair of business-oriented headphones to perform better than many headsets made specifically with gamers in mind, but that’s exactly what has happened. The BlueParrott S450-XT headset sounds great, works flawlessly for two-way communication, and comes with a handy Android app that greatly extends its functionality. Overall, a fantastic product worth every penny you pay for it.
VXi BlueParrott S450-XT Stereo Bluetooth Headset