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About the Frost & Sullivan Analyst Gauntlet

Frost & Sullivan’s Analyst Gauntlet is a structured program wherein participating vendors and service providers give industry analysts deep dives and demonstrations of their collaboration solution. The analyst then uses the collaboration solution over a period of time and provides candid feedback based on his/her user experience with the specified tool.

About the Professional Headset Market

The professional headset market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 16.3% from 2019 to 2026 in terms of unit shipments, reaching 65.7 million devices sold by the end of the forecast period. Frost & Sullivan predicts the professional headset market will witness robust growth due to the increased popularity of cloud meeting services, remote working and virtual learning practices. PC USB and UCC headset shipment, in particular, is expected to almost triple in 2026 due to the ability to enhance software communications and collaboration experiences.

About EPOS

EPOS is the independent company established upon the former successful joint venture between audio specialist Sennheiser and the leading hearing technology group Demant. Part of the Demant Group and headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark, EPOS builds on more than 115 years of experience of audio and operates in a global market with offices and partners in more than 60 countries. EPOS’ objective is to deliver high-end audio solutions designed for enterprises and gamers.

During 2020, EPOS co-branded the existing Sennheiser Communications portfolio as EPOS | SENNHEISER and notably invigorated the product line with the introduction of new endpoint categories, new product models, and general product enhancements.

Today, EPOS offers a wide variety of professional headsets, including the ADAPT Series advanced corded and cordless UCC (unified communications and collaboration) models for task-based workers and a vast assortment of corded and cordless multi-connectivity headsets for call-centric users under the IMPACT Series.

About the ADAPT 165T II USB Microsoft Teams Certified Headset

The Connected Work research team at Frost & Sullivan has completed its evaluation of the EPOS ADAPT 165T USB II, an advanced corded headset designed for task-based users in hybrid work (in home or office) and learning (virtual and physical classrooms) environments.

Among the newest products in the extensive EPOS ADAPT 100 Series that spans single and dual ear wearing styles and multiple wired connection types, the ADAPT 165T USB II is a wired, headband, binaural, on-the-ear, stereo headset. It offers USB-A and 3.5mm connections, a flexible boom arm microphone with noise cancellation and in-line call control (answer/end/redial/call, volume and mute) buttons on the connection cable. EPOS also offers ADAPT 165 variants with single USB-C or 3.5mm interfaces. All ADAPT 165 models are certified for Microsoft Teams support and compatible with a variety of popular unified communications and collaboration (UCC) systems. A carrying pouch as well as quick instruction guide for use with Microsoft Teams, safety guide and compliance sheet, each in multiple languages, are also included.

The product rating is specifically given in comparison to similar wired binaural on-the-ear professional headset products that offer 3.5 mm and USB connectivity for PC communications from other developers.

For a month, we tested the ADAPT 165T USB II with Microsoft Teams, a range of other audio, video and web calls as well as streaming entertainment (e.g., music, streaming videos and podcasts) and for concentration. Our total score for the device is 4.24 out of 5.00 or 84.7% out of 100%, which is certainly above the industry average when compared to other USB professional devices in its class. What follows is how Frost & Sullivan generated this score, taking into account the average rating on 10 different criteria.

EPOS ADAPT 165T USB II

Rating Analysis
3.55
Criteria: AESTHETICS                                                                                                                  

The product is packaged in eco-friendly packaging, including an inexpensive, suitably-sized black nylon drawstring carry pouch.

The headset comes fully assembled, including the microphone arm that folds into the headband when unneeded or when aesthetically preferred.

Device connection is performed using a single cable design for 3.5mm and USB-A ports, with each attaching to opposite sides of the in-line call control button assembly.

Overall, the all-black (primarily matte-black) headset offers a sleek, utilitarian form factor constructed of quality materials that are characteristic of its product class.

The headband fits user heads widely, leaving a noticeable gap between the user’s head and headband just above the ears.

Fit adjustment for smaller or average-size heads is performed by sliding the ear cups slide higher up a track on the inside of the headband. This leaves the ends of the headband extending below the bottom of the ear cups, which is a less elegant approach compared to some headsets in this class.

4.15
Criteria: ERGONOMICS

At 145.3 g / 5.12 oz, the ADAPT 165T USB II with dual leatherette ear pads, in-line button module and connection cable (97 g / 3.44 oz without module and cable) is similar in weight to comparable products in its class and is comfortable over multiple hours of wear.

Leatherette ear pad size is 74 mm height, 58 mm width and 14 mm thickness, providing effective on-the-ear coverage. The ear pads are warm, but not overly so, on both ears. The ear pads rotate 180-degrees to fold flat for flexibility on the head, for transporting or placing on flat surfaces.

The inside rim of the headband incorporates a narrow band of rubberized padding for a comfortable fit on top of the head.

The device is reversible—the microphone boom arm can be worn on the left or right-side.

The ear cups and headband are easily adjustable and generally remain in place once positioned to user preferences.

Connection cable is 89.06 inches long in USB mode and approximately 45 inches in 3.5mm connection mode, allowing the user ample freedom of movement.

The connection cable lacks a clip to attach to users’ clothing, which would allow it to be more tightly tucked away when in use.

4.00
Criteria: FEATURES

User Control: The ADAPT 165T USB II audio functions are controlled from the in-line buttons on the connection cable.Universal symbols label the mute and volume controls to make them easily identifiable. An indicator light displays red when muted and is unlit when unmuted.

A Microsoft Teams button invokes the Teams soft client on user endpoint devices with a single touch, disconnects and places calls on hold. An indicator light displays green when connected/busy on a Teams call and white when available.

Connectivity: The ADAPT 165T USB II is designed to support single device connectivity through either USB-A or 3.5mm, providing plug and play support for a wide range of devices, including: PCs, Macs, Chromebooks, tablets and mobile phones that have these interfaces. The 3.5mm pin is accessed by disconnecting it from the button module. We tested 3.5mm connection to iPad, Chromebook and PC, as well as USB connection to PC and Chromebook to find the headset performed consistently and reliably, with some minor device-driven variations.
UCC Service Integration: The ADAPT 165T USB II is certified to meet stringent performance criteria for Microsoft Teams audio. It is “optimized” for use with all major UC audio/video calling and conferencing applications, with which it performed well using several platforms during our evaluation.

4.25
Criteria: AUDIO TRANSMISSION & MICROPHONE PERFORMANCE

The ADAPT 165T USB II is equipped with a single noise-canceling microphone to filter out ambient noise. The microphone frequency range is 100-8,000 Hz for wideband PC audio.

In our tests, the headset performed sufficiently to filter out ambient background noise when the user is actively speaking.

Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) is not supported by the ADAPT 165T USB-A headset. ANC is not consistently offered with competing products with similar functionality and price points. ANC is supported by several ADAPT 100 series products, including the four ADAPT 160 models.

EPOS Voice technology is supported to enhance important speech frequencies and improve speech intelligibility to deliver clear, natural conversation experiences.

5.00
Criteria: TALK TIME & WIRELESS RANGE

As a part of the corded EPOS ADAPT 100 family, the ADAPT 165T USB II must be cable-connected for use. Powering the device over USB-A or 3.5mm connection eliminates the need for batteries and enables all-day talk-time with no charging requirements. Some alternative headsets require pluggable USB-C cables for wired connection and charging that can more easily disconnect while in use.

4.00
Criteria: AUDIO RECEPTION & EAR CUP PERFORMANCE

Speakers are a lightweight, dynamic, neodymium magnet type with a frequency response of 20-20,000 Hz, which is generally accepted hearing range for people and similar to comparable products in this class.

Speakers perform in wideband frequency bandwidth with 86 dB/V sensitivity and impedance of 32 ohm, which are similar to direct comparables in this product class.

The headset is equipped with EPOS patented ActiveGard technology that protects headset users from hearing loss or damage from acoustic shocks and complies with European standards for protection against workplace noise. While the device does not support offer active noise cancelling, surrounding noise for the user is notably reduced in listening mode.

User hearing is protected by EPOS ActiveGard technology to limit audio bursts to a maximum of 115 dB sound pressure. Users and administrators can further adjust volume threshold settings in EPOS Connect and EPOS Manager, respectively. The headset also complies with EU Noise at Work legislation (Directive 2002/10/EC) that restricts audio to an average of 85 dB over a workday.

4.75
Criteria: END USER SOFTWARE APPLICATION

A number of EPOS headset families, including the ADAPT 100 series with the 165T USB II, are supported by the intuitive free-of-charge EPOS Connect software. Available for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android, the software ensures the headset receives the latest firmware updates, works seamlessly with the majority of UC soft clients on the market and provides access to personalized settings.

Personal settings can be configured when running the application for the first time for activation. After activation, EPOS Connect ensures the headset interfaces with UC soft clients seamlessly. The desktop user interface is available in eight languages: English, French, German, Spanish, Russian, Japanese, Korean, and Simplified Chinese.

Such user control apps for USB devices are starting to appear on the market from a variety of vendors; however, few support the array of devices and depth of control options that EPOS Connect currently does.

4.00
Criteria: PRICE

At MSRP $80, the ADAPT 165T USB II is competitively priced for its materials, functionality and performance compared to certain alternative professional on-ear stereo headsets in its class.

EPOS offers a two-year warranty with new product purchase, something consistently offered only by certain alternative products at similar price points.

4.00
Criteria: EASE OF USE

As a corded headset, the ADAPT 165T USB II does not require wireless pairing needed with Bluetooth computer or mobile devices, and users never need to be concerned about battery life.

Upon USB-A connection, the headset drivers are recognized by the end-user machine, syncing the installed software clients with the headset automatically.

Unlike more expensive headsets, there are no controls on the headband, boom microphone arm or ear pads to discover and remember how to use.

The in-line call control buttons are intuitive and easy to access and manipulate during live audio or video calls, as opposed to finding controls within soft client menus or PC system settings.

The headset is plug-and-play compatible with most popular UC clients. It is certified with Microsoft Teams and syncs automatically with installed Microsoft Teams clients. Using the in-line Teams button, users can activate the Teams app, answer and end calls, place calls on hold and manage multiple calls simultaneously. The sequence for each call handling action (e.g., press one, twice, press and hold Teams button) can take some user training to master; however, functionality and ease of use is similar to comparable headsets with dedicated in-line Teams control buttons on the market.

4.65
Criteria: IT MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE

As with other EPOS professional headsets, ADAPT 165 products can be efficiently managed with the cloud-based EPOS Manager software tool that allows administrators to see all of the company deployed devices on a single dashboard.

Via EPOS Manager, IT departments can manage and update the firmware of products from anywhere, centralize configurations, analyze device usage and performance, run reports, and get additional insight. EPOS Manager supports Windows and MacOS. Mobile OS support remains a roadmap development item.

Conclusion

The EPOS ADAPT 165T USB II is a solid performer for hybrid work and learning environments. Comfortable and easy to use, the headset is an uncomplicated device with reliable above average performance for its product class.

EPOS technology shines through with plug and play functionality with a variety of devices – PC, Macs, mobile phones and tablets – that enable users to consolidate their peripherals and use virtually any UC software they need without compromise. The in-line call management buttons and dedicated Teams button make controlling software-based communications applications that much more simple.

When supported by the EPOS Connect user app and EPOS Manager administration app, the ADAPT 165T USB II becomes an essential, manageable business tool that is quite unlike the headsets of yesterday. While there are certain advanced features not supported by this model, buyers need to look no further to effectively outfit workers or students in the office, classroom or at home without overpaying.

Click here to for additional details about the EPOS ADAPT 165T USB II for Microsoft Teams.

About Rob Arnold

Principal Analyst and Program Manager for the ICT practice, Rob has been involved in some facet of telecommunications for over 20 years. A primary focus of his research is to uncover how technology is enabling new ways of working, how professionals will collaborate using tools and what will the future work environment look like. Specialties include competitive and market intelligence, market trend analysis and forecasting. Rob's experience covers a broad range of sectors. Before starting with Frost & Sullivan in 2010, he was an analyst with Current Analysis for 8 years. Prior to that time, Rob served several years in MCI/WorldCom and has held numerous roles within contact centers in the healthcare and retail sectors.

Rob Arnold

Principal Analyst and Program Manager for the ICT practice, Rob has been involved in some facet of telecommunications for over 20 years. A primary focus of his research is to uncover how technology is enabling new ways of working, how professionals will collaborate using tools and what will the future work environment look like. Specialties include competitive and market intelligence, market trend analysis and forecasting. Rob's experience covers a broad range of sectors. Before starting with Frost & Sullivan in 2010, he was an analyst with Current Analysis for 8 years. Prior to that time, Rob served several years in MCI/WorldCom and has held numerous roles within contact centers in the healthcare and retail sectors.

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