Review: Plantronics BlackWire 720 delivers top-notch call quality

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At a Glance
  • Plantronics Blackwire C720

I don’t know about you, but when it comes to stereo headset comfort, give me ear pads over earbuds any day. The $150 Plantronics Blackwire C720 sports a pair of cushy soft-leather ear pads and an adjustable over-the-head band. Even though this design feels somewhat bulky, it delivered a secure fit––even for my smallish noggin. The headphones stayed in place, even when I bopped around considerably.

The Blackwire’s inline controls, which you clip to your clothing, lie at the end of a single cord. The inline unit’s options were disappointing; for instance, Plantronics does not provide Play/Pause/Skip controls, which I would expect with stereo headphones. In addition, it took a lot of glancing down at the controls initially, before I could use “mute” and “volume,” by feel alone.

Call quality, however, was top-notch. Folks on the receiving end of mobile calls reported that my voice sounded clear, natural, and close up. In fact, a couple of callers couldn’t tell the difference between my nattering on the Blackwire versus my phone’s handset. On the music side, my tunes sounded solid, too: I wasn’t blown away here, but I enjoyed the smooth balance between the treble and lightweight bass.

The Blackwire does double-duty with reasonable success: It handles cell phone calls and PC calls, although you need to be tethered to your machine (via the bundled detachable USB cable) for the latter. During Skype calls, for example, I liked tapping the computer button on the control unit to end a call, instead of my keyboard.

I tend to wander when yakking over Bluetooth, and the Blackwire’s range, according to its maker, is about 30 feet. In my range tests, some calls dropped within 10 feet of this limit. Worse––even with my Motorola Droid Razr Maxx phone glued to my side––the Blackwire frequently dropped its connection, forcing me to futz around with my handset to reconnect.

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At a Glance
  • Plantronics Blackwire C720

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