Plantronics Voyager Pro UC Headset: Impressive PC-and-Phone Communicator
At a Glance
I had high expectations for the Plantronics Voyager Pro UC. For starters, the $200 (as of March 1, 2011) Bluetooth headset promised to deliver a full-on communications package that would allow users to connect it to a PC for software installations and updates--the headset can integrate with Skype, for example. And its sensor technology can detect when the Voyager Pro UC is in the user's ear, so you can make it answer calls automatically.
Does it pass muster? With regards to all of the above, yes. But it fails to meet expectations in other ways.
First off, though, a word about its design. A competing model, the Motorola Oasis, is shaped like a mini-golf putter. The Plantronics Voyager Pro UC is similar in appearance, only the "putter" part is considerably larger, more boat-shaped. Compared with the Oasis, the Voyager Pro UC provided a better fit in my case, albeit by just a hair. Even though it is bulkier and the fit was neither particularly snug nor comfy, the weight felt more evenly distributed. I found that the smallest earbud cover was too big for my ear, but the overall fit pleased another tester with larger ears. The boom is long and skinny, but it did not feel invasive on my face.
The multipurpose button, designed to initiate voice dialing ("Call Scott office"), reject calls, and so forth, is easy to access on the outside of the earpiece. I got frustrated with the volume controls: Since they're located on the upper rim of the headset and they wound up close to the top of my ear, I had to pin my ear down to use them effectively--otherwise the headset would often tip out of my ear.
In my frequent scramble to pick up calls, I liked how the Voyager's built-in sensor could tell when the headset was in place; it automatically answered calls as soon as I popped the headset into my ear. This function worked great. I especially liked the automatic reminder of how much talk time I had remaining every time I powered on the Voyager.
As for call quality, the Voyager's results were mostly solid. At times callers forgot that they were listening to me while I was on a headset. Other times, according to call recipients, my voice sounded muffled or tinged with static. Voices coming through the Voyager to me sounded near and clear.
I was impressed with the Voyager's complementary PC package. The bundle comes with a minuscule USB dongle that is already paired to the headset. After installing the company's software, I was able to customize in the Plantronics Control Panel how I wanted the Voyager to handle my calls; I liked how I could instruct the Voyager to pick up calls whether they originated via Skype or a phone (another variant, the B230-M, is optimized for use with Microsoft's Lync and Microsoft OCS 2007). Plus, with the Voyager's sensor, I could tweak the online presence settings to indicate that I was "available" when I wore the headset and "offline" when I removed it.
Is this headset package worth the $200 price tag for Bluetooth die-hards? If you're already a fan of earhook-oriented units, your work keeps you on the go, and you're hopping on and off Skype, the Plantronics Voyager Pro UC is worth consideration.
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