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Califone HPK-1010 USB Headphone Review by Tony Silva

Califone
1145 Arroyo Avenue, #A
San Fernando, CA 91340
1-800-722-0500
http://www.califone.com

This headphone, which retails for $92, is similar in durability and features to the HPK-1000, also reviewed on this site. In addition to the features it shares with the HPK-1000, the HPK-1010 also has a boom mounted microphone.

Califone headsets are built for classroom use and are very rugged. These headphones "wear" differently for people used to broadcast studiophones. While they seem bulkier and heavier than normal headphones, they are in fact a little lighter than they appear. The headphone features a "comfort strap" headband for longer wearability. If your student spends a long time in an online classroom, this is a standout feature.

We tested the headphones using Skype, and students were able to hear the teacher clearly after several attempts. When using a headset equipped with a microphone, the record and playback settings are set separately. Problems you may encounter are often related to the software being used and not the headphones. However, if you do encounter problems with the headphones, Califone has an aggressive customer service program called "Project Intercept" that will quickly repair or replace defective equipment.

The HPK-1010 features Califone's "Sentinel Technology"--a limiter built into the volume control that keeps the volume levels at or below the recommended 85 db. A red light on the volume control indicates that this technology is enabled. When using the microphone, you do not hear your own voice in the headset while talking

The earcups have soft foam cushions and fully cover the ear, filtering out distracting noise. However, these are not noise canceling headphones. The detachable cord has a built-in in-line volume control. This is the first washable headphone, and it cleans easily with the cord and microphone detached. The durability theme is carried out "inside" the earcup as well. There are slotted baffles to protect the speakers from damage.

Califone products are designed for durability in an institutional setting. With normal care and maintenance, this may be the last headphone you need.

Product review by Tony Silva, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, October 2011

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