Plantronics Voyager Pro UC
Review Judging from the photos on Plantronics’ website, the system requirements for its Voyager Pro headset include a goatee (recommended) or some carefully cultivated designer stubble (minimum). Fortunately, we were in unshaven mode when the box landed on our desk and it seemed to work just fine with a basic two-day growth.
Plantronics' Voyager Pro: comfortable, if large
There was initially a little confusion about the name of the product. Plantronics quoted us a price of £80 for the Voyager Pro, but that’s just for the headset on its own. We’ve seen it on Amazon for about £55.
However, our review unit was the Voyager Pro UC - for 'unified communications', a sign of its corporate orientation - which costs £110 and also includes a separate Bluetooth USB adaptor. This allows the headset to take calls from both your mobile phone and the likes of Skype on your computer.
Just to muddle matters more, both the printed and PDF manuals supplied with the headset referred to it as the Savi Go Headset System. So it would be nice if Plantronics sorted this mess out at some point.
Stubble not included
Still, we can’t deny that the Voyager Pro headset works extremely well. We’ve seen smaller and more elegant Bluetooth headsets, but the large earpiece fits comfortably over the ear and doesn’t feel like it’s about to fall out every five minutes. The extended microphone arm is quite large too, but at least it serves to position the mike close to your mouth, and it can also pivot so that the headset can be used in either ear.
We did review a Sennheiser headset that does this a while back.
Desk phone integration has been around for ages!
Integrating with a desk phone (one that's capable of taking a headset) isn't a hard concept, or even a new one. I'm really not sure why you think it's not available.
Just looking at what Plantronics offer, check out the Voyager 510S Bluetooth Headset System and the Savi Office range. Pretty much every major headset manufacturer makes a bluetooth version of one of their cordless headsets that can also be paired with a mobile phone.
If you're looking for something else then maybe you should clarify what you actually need, because at the moment you seem to be swearing about the lack of something that *already exists*.
Why? Because serious people use them.
These things (the UC variants that ship with USB dongles) are geared at business travellers who use UC products regularly. They're not aimed at you. The fact that you don't like BT headsets in general is irrelevant.
We've got a number of heavy UC users (Microsoft OCS) who carry netbooks and ultraportables when they travel. Our stock headset for use in the office is a corded USB plantronics, but they're way too big and bulky for travel. Some of our guys use standard BT headsets, but there are all sorts of hassles with voice quality and pairing. Other guys carry analog earbud headsets and plug in to the onboard headphone/mic ports on the laptop, but again the audio quality (particularly the Mic) is often iffy. We also have a number of Polycom C100's, but a speakerphone isn't always appropriate.
The idea with products like the one reviewed is that they're small, portable, give great audio quality, don't tie you to your laptop, and present to the O/S as a standard USB audio device. There's no stuffing about with the O/S BT stack to get things paired, and no worries about the particular laptop having good/shitty BT signal (looking at you, Dell XPS M1330). It's supposed to be something that's easy to carry and just works, really well. If it can be paired with your mobile, that's good too. Sometimes it's important to be able to type two handed while on the phone, without using shoddy built-in speakerphones. Most importantly tho, it's a high quality headset for your UC app that you an carry around with you.
We, as professional IT people, need to be able to provide these sorts of things to staff, so I'm actually glad that The Reg took the time to review it.
.. his t*ts suck.
Any other bad humour you need?
I've got another Plantronics - love it
It's the one without boom, the 520. Absolutely quality piece of work, and I have it work with an iPhone 3GS and a laptop (using a standard Toshiba Bluetooth stack on XP - works a charm with Skype).
The only occasional hiccup is that the iPhone isn't very good at convincing it to switch back to the iPhone channel, one day I may even bother to read the manual.
On the basis of wearer comfort, build as well as voice quality I will certainly give the boom version a try - I've always been a believer of putting a mike close to where the sound is.
I personally don't care two beans about what it looks like - I know how comfortable it is, and in the car it beats the bejeebes out of any other handsfree idee. You really notice Plantronics has been in the headset business for a long time.
Thanks for the review.