One of the more competitive segments in the Bluetooth Headset market is that of the premium headset. Jawbone, BlueAnt, Plantronics and Motorola are just a few of the heavyweights vying for the top spot; throwing the best technology they have into making the best products they can come up with. The way that these companies go about building a product that is head and shoulders above the rest of the industry varies. Some aim for a simple headset, with solid quality; while others try to pack as many features into a small package as possible.
Plantronics’ Voyager line has produced some amazing Bluetooth headsets through the years. Their Voyager Pro headset is a simple, straightforward design that is light on extra features and heavy on quality for a decent price of $89.95. With arguably as much or more experience in designing and building headsets as any other company, Plantronics has the expertise to really make a strong push the have one of the top headsets in the world.
The two things that I find that all manufacturers strive for with premium Bluetooth headsets are the best sound quality and the best fit possible. Different manufacturers have used a variety of designs and gimmicks to try and achieve both of these goals.
Plantronics has utilized a boom microphone in a couple of their headsets. The placement of the microphone, moving it away from the ear and closer to the mouth, makes it much easier for noise isolation software to differentiate between the user’s voice and any outside noise. The boom can be flipped around in order to use the headset on either ear.
The over the ear design featured on the Voyager Pro is also a familiar design element to Plantronics. Having most of the weight from the headset on the back of the ear enhances the comfort of the headset while also giving balanced fit.
As stated, much of the weight on the Voyager Pro is on the back half of the headset. All of the interior surfaces are rubberized, helping keep the headset in position. The neck that goes over the ear is flexible enough to make it comfortable but sturdy enough that it’s not flopping around on your ear.
The earpiece itself is interchangeable. Three different sizes are included, with foam covers for those earpieces included as well. Earpieces lock into place for a secure fit. The boom microphone rotates quite a bit in order to position the microphone as close to your mouth as possible.
My one word of caution is that this can get a little bit interesting for those that wear glasses on a regular basis. I don’t have any problem wearing this headset alone with my sunglasses, but glasses do subtract somewhat from the comfort and fit.
The Voyager Pro doesn’t exactly fall into the small and insignificant category, quite the opposite. This headset is of a similar design to those worn in call centers and others whose entire job revolves around being on the phone. This headset communicates a very professional look.
Plantronics gives you all of the standard buttons, while placing them in the optimum locations. The only button on the back of the headset is the power button. This may seem like an insignificant decision, but I find it uncomfortable to push on the back of the headset (and thus on the back of my ear), so the less buttons on the back the better. Volume controls are on the top of the headset, which is not my favorite design choice because any time your pushing down on a headset it is getting pressed into your ear. This is not a major issue with the Voyager Pro as you can push up on the bottom of the headset while you press down on a volume button. The call button is on the outside of the headset, and blends into the lines on the boom.
Plantronics uses three layers to reduce wind noise. A stainless steel screen and acoustic fabrics are the foundation for noise cancellation. An electronic filter built into the microphone circuitry adds to the wizardry. Plantronics includes AudioIQ2, their second generation noise cancelling software, which uses the Voyager Pro’s dual microphone design to filter out ambient noise. These technological solutions add to the simple act of moving the microphones closer to the mouth. All of these features complement each other and compensate for any individual shortcomings.
One thing that I like about this device is that Plantronics attacked the various problems inherent with a Bluetooth headset with a number of different solutions. Comfort and fit were accomplished with a tried and true design as well as good use of materials. Sound quality was enhanced by the use of a more traditional boom microphone, quality materials in and around the microphone as well as AudioIQ2. The attention to detail exemplified by Plantronics’ various methodologies is indicative of their quality.
There is much to like about the Voyager Pro. If Plantronics sacrificed anything it was size vs. quality. On a Pro level device, I believe that they made the right decision. If your job requires you to maintain a decent conversation with customers while still having your hands free for driving or input into a computer, the Plantronics Voyager Pro should definitely be towards the top of your very short list.
The Voyager Pro is available from the WMExperts store for $89.95, a very reasonable price for such a quality headset.