Monday, March 1, 2010

Battle of the Bluetooth headsets

Plantronics Voyager PRO

Also from Plantronics is the Voyager PRO, which has been on the market for a couple of years and is already a quite popular model. The Voyager PRO in Figure E features the same noise reduction technology as the Discovery 975, including dual mics on the boom and the same three layer Windsmart technology.


The Plantronics Voyager PRO. (click for larger image)

The Voyager PRO comes with a variety of ear gels and cushions suitable for any preference. As you can see in Figure F, the boom and behind-the-ear portion can be swiveled for wear on either the left or right ear.


Swivel the Voyager PRO for right or left wear. (click for larger image)

Also like the Discovery 975, the Voyager PRO has multi-point for use on multiple devices at once and the ability to switch between them, as well as the same low battery and mute voice prompts. Advertised standby time is five days, with six hours of talk time. Also like the 975, the PRO's AC charger is designed for US or European use.

Pairing and set up of the Voyager PRO was easy. The silicon ear gels are quite comfortable, and for those who prefer foam inserts, Plantronics has you covered as well. The multi-point technology was quite easy use, seamlessly switching from one device to another with no problems whatsoever.

The noise reduction and wind canceling feature worked very well with crisp and clear transmission and reception. The Voyager PRO easily slips onto the ear one-handed, but I found that after a few hours it weighed a bit heavy on the ear. I found the talk time to be in the range of four to five hours, with a standby time of five days.

The dedicated up and down volume buttons make volume changes easy, and the tension on all buttons was sufficient to prevent accidental pressing. There seems to be good reason for the Voyager PRO already being a popular model; it works very well. In fact, the only real complaint I have with the Voyager PRO is that it gets a bit heavy on the ear after a few hours. For all its positives, the Plantronics Voyager PRO easily earns 4 out of 5.



Jabra's EXTREME Bluetooth headset comes in rather feature-rich package. It uses dual microphones and Jabra's Noise Blackout Extreme for clarity and noise reduction. The automatic volume control adjusts according to the ambient noise of the environment and retains natural-sounding voice quality.

Like all of the other headsets in this article, the Jabra EXTREME you see in Figure G has multi-point technology for pairing and use with multiple devices, with the ability to switch from one to another.


The Jabra EXTREME headset. (click for larger image)

It features a dedicated on/off switch, up and down volume buttons, and the multi-function button common to most Bluetooth headsets. Unlike most of the other headsets in this article, the EXTREME has A2DP programming in order to listen to music and other device system sounds on the headset.

Also included in the retail package are two ear gels, one for left wear, one for right, two ear hooks, a USB charger, car charger, and AC charger. And it came fully charged. Talk time is advertised 5.5 hours, with a standby time of 10.5 days.