Doug Morse of TreoCentral reviews the Plantronic m2500. Read on for the full review:
What a monster. I’m looking at the earpiece on the Plantronics M2500 and it looks huge. Slipped over the ear, though, it is comfortable and reasonably lightweight. The manual is annoying. It’s one of those that includes the eleven language explanations on a page that correspond with a diagram rather than simply giving each language its own section.
Before I continue a quick digression. While I’m in a peevish mood, I need to let you know a bit about my experience with Plantronics customer support a while back. I was one of those that was on the technological trailing edge with the Sprint Wireless Data Link – the precursor to the Treo 300. It shipped with a Plantronics headset. The ear clip was a hard piece of plastic that tended to snap in two on cold days, especially if put in a pocket, rendering the headset unusable. So I called customer service and the conversation went something like this:
Me: Um, I broke one of those plastic ear clip thingies. I was wondering if I could get another?
CS: We don’t sell those separately.
Me: Um, but it’s a one cent piece of plastic and I can’t use the headset without it.
CS: We can send you a replacement as a courtesy but next time you’ll have to buy a new headset.
Me: A thirty dollar headset?
Flash forward to present day and I’m on the cutting edge with my trusty Treo 650 and a wireless Bluetooth headset. For a budget headset, the Plantronics M2500 package accessories are not-so-surprisingly minimalist: manual, headset and charger. That’s it.
The charger for the M2500 is a standard affair and it plugs into the back of the earpiece. The status indicator light towards the back of the earpiece turns green when the unit is fully charged. On the top of the earpiece is a multifunction dial: click it back and forth for volume, and press it in to turn the unit on and off. This is not my favorite kind of control as, wimp that I am, I find it uncomfortable to push in on such a thin wheel. The call control button on the stem of the earpiece is convenient and easy to use.
This was the second Bluetooth device I’ve used, and I had the headset paired in under 60 seconds once I had deciphered the instructions in the manual. When you press the call control and multifunction control buttons on the headset simultaneously, the M2500 goes into pairing mode. The standard way to get the Treo to pair is to click on the Bluetooth icon and basically follow the prompts: Turn Bluetooth on, make the device ‘discoverable,’ click on ‘set up devices’ and then ‘Handsfree setup,’ and the Treo will find the Plantronics headset. Once you’ve set up one Bluetooth device, you’re a pro. The only thing you need to know is the combination of buttons that puts a device into pairing mode.
However, with the Plantronics M2500, I discovered an even easier method. Simply power up the Bluetooth headset while the Treo is on and you will be immediately prompted for the passcode, four zeros, if the devices are not paired. How cool is that? It saves many steps.
As I mentioned before, this thing is big: at least the behind the ear bit. The boom part of the microphone is slender and the headset speaker does fit nicely in the ear (it rotates easily for right or left ear). The call button is conveniently placed on the ear boom and the multi-function wheel seems to be well located at the top of the headset so that when you rock it, your other fingers automatically grasp the headset to stabilize it while you adjust the volume.
The earpiece is comfortable enough but begins to show its weight after extended wearing. The M2500 is not a headset you will forget is there. Visually, unless you have long hair or big ears, the behind the earpiece will be very noticeable.
Bluetooth headsets can be enormously finicky. Some are more prone than others to interference and range problems – some are so sensitive that you need to wear the headset on the same side as the body as the Treo. I have good news and bad news to report. The good news is that the Plantronics is less sensitive to positioning. The bad news is that the sound quality is consistently fair compared to other headsets I’ve tried. The rumor is that this headset doesn’t have the noise canceling circuitry that other headsets have, and it is thus more prone to background noise. I found it a bit scratchy under most test conditions.
This is a no frills headset that is easy to set up and comfortable to wear. Because it is heavier and bulkier than some others, it is not great for extended periods of time. Although the price is right, the sound quality is not on par with other headsets even in this price range.
(Originally published at TreoCentral on Feb 15, 2005)
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