TreoCentral's Douglas Morse reviews the Plantronics Voyager 510 Bluetooth headset.
Read on for the full review
I wasn’t thrilled with the Plantronics M2500 when I reviewed it a while back. On the other hand, I was impressed with the sound quality of the M3000, though it was a bit bulky. The new Plantronics Voyager 510 is more similarly shaped to the M2500 – a very thick earloop extends behind the ear and a boom mic points down. It is also priced between the two aforementioned models, though ultimately falls in quality more towards the M2500.
The earloop is thick and the inner edge is a slick gray plastic that slides comfortably behind the ear. A foam-covered earbud rests inside the ear while the swiveling boom mic points at your mouth. All in all a very comfortable, and dare I say it, ergonomic set up. There is a volume rocker switch and two other buttons. The standard multifunction button is just opposite the earbud while the volume rocker is just towards the top of the Voyager 510. Behind the volume rocker is a tiny black nub used for turning the unit on and off, as well as muting a call. One headset I reviewed recently tried to get away with just two buttons to handle all the work. It was a less than successful implementation.
The pairing was easy. Press the Call Control button and the Volume up ( ) simultaneously, start the Bluetooth Wizard on the Treo (from the Bluetooth icon in the upper right hand corner or on the main screen), follow the steps, and enter 0000 to pair the devices.
The AC adapter is lightweight and has a unique circular tip that plugs into the end of the earloop. The unit itself is the usual gray-black-blue gray affair with the annoying blinking blue LED on the tip of the earpiece. I’m starting to wonder if it is some sort of design specification for Bluetooth devices to have this feature. My son has cool red LEDs on the soles of his sneakers and they look great lighting up on the jungle gym at night. It makes it easy to find him. That is a good use for an LED. Blue blinking every couple of seconds like a lightning bug, however, is not.
It is convenient to have dedicated buttons to answer and mute a call as well as a simple rocker switch. I have found that the rocker switch on this earpiece is not as convenient as others. Rockers on an earboom are easier to use because you can form a counter pressure with your thumb. On the top of the earloop, you have to press down, relying on the stiffness of the cartilage of your ear to provide resistance. It works, but I like the opposable thumb trick better.
The top power button is sharp and pointy and takes a good squeeze to make it work. I prefer slightly softer touch buttons. I suppose in this case they didn’t want the headset turning off by accident. Being sensitive, I find with this sort of button I have to use my fingernail, making the process a bit trickier than it ought to be. If this sounds like minor details, it’s important because this headset will be used every day for perhaps dozens of calls each day.
I had high hopes for the sound on this headset. When callers called me, the sound was clear and sharp, albeit it a bit tinny. Callers reported some of the usual problems. The headset, in an effort to reduce background noise, clamped down when it felt I wasn’t talking. When I did start to talk, it clipped the beginnings of words.
Here are other features and observations:
- Transfer is a little slow
- Can handle two Bluetooth pairings
- Can get desktop charger
- Includes a windscreen eartip
- Supports last number redial, call reject, call transfer
This is one of those earpieces that is exactly where you’d expect it to be. Slightly better than it’s lower priced cousin, the M2500, and a half step down from the more expensive M3000. If sound quality of the most importance, spend the extra fifteen bucks and get the M3000 or another comparable headset. If you are willing to sacrifice a bit for comfort and features and a lower price, then the Voyager 510 is probably the right choice.
(First posted at TreoCentral on Nov 14, 2005