Having had multiple Plantronics bluetooth headsets over the last 3-4 years, I have rarely found anything that competes with them in overall features. Sure, BlueAnt and Jawbone boast top-of-the-line performance on noise-cancelling – but they tend to fall short on the other features that consumers tend to want, like ease-of-use and dependability. So when given the chance to try out the new Voyager Pro HD from Plantronics, I couldn’t wait to put it through it’s paces.
The Voyager Pro HD retails for $99.99 and comes with Smart Sensor technology, meaning it will automatically answer your phone or transfer the call back and forth between your phone and handset. It is targeted for the busy consumer who needs the convenience of a truly hands free headset with the added features that make it easy to integrate a bluetooth headset into their daily habits and lifestyle. And with added applications for your Android-based phone and Vocalyst service, it’s a good fit for the casual consumer as well.
Audio Streaming – Stream music, podcasts, GPS and other audio applications from A2DP-enabled phones
Voice Alerts – Now you can talk to your headset and your headset will talk to you whispered voice alerts keep you aware of low battery, lost connection and more
Wind Protection – WindSmart® technology aggressively blocks intrusive wind noise
Multipoint – Multipoint technology lets you pair and maintain connections with two devices
Smart Sensor™ technology – knows whether to send calls to your mobile phone or your headset… put it on and you’ve answered the call
Having used a Plantronics Voyager Pro for awhile, I was pretty familiar with the mechanics of the Pro HD – but what I wasn’t ready for was how much clearer voice quality was and how much lighter it felt in comparison to the Pro. And to be honest I thought the Smart Sensor™ feature was just a gimmick. But after using this for a few days I found it to be extremely handy, especially the part where it switches between headset and handset while in a call depending on if it is in my ear or not.
I paired both my work phone (Samsung Nexus S 4G) and my personal phone (Samsung Epic Touch 4G) and that was painless. But what was annoying to me was that the hands-free functionality of those devices (holding down the Call button on the Pro HD to trigger that functionality) would only work with Phone 1 (which was the first phone connected that time) – Phone 2 was out of luck. But you can disconnect all phones, turn off the headset and then power on the headset and activate each phone’s bluetooth in the order you want them to be in and that’ll resolve that. But a nuisance nonetheless.
The Android app from Plantronics, MyHeadset, makes it easier to learn how to use the headset, and helps walk those who aren’t familiar with how to pair your headset to your phone. Outside of that, it wasn’t really useful. Seeing as I didn’t have an iPhone I didn’t get the battery life indicator telling me how much battery was remaining.
The headset is lightweight and hardly noticeable around your ear, so much so that I routinely forgot about it when the end of the day came around.
Call quality is a very important factor for me when picking a headset, and I was generally happy with the performance of the Voyager Pro HD. Talking outside with no wind was hardly noticeable to the other party, but as soon as the winds came they complained of my voice fading in and out and hearing the wind. Talking in a crowd of people like a coffee shop was much better but was said to be “echo-y”, and in-call volume control is limited. After turning up the volume on the headset and then also maxing out the volume on the phone volume was still low for my taste. But I also have lost some hearing over the years from concerts, babies crying, etc. So I will give the headset the benefit of the doubt on that one.
Battery life is something that this headset excels at. Whenever you turn it on, and disconnect a call, it will quote the battery life back to you. It starts out, with a full charge, at 6 hours but that is just talk time. I have had this sit on my desk for a few days after a full charge and it still have 6 hours left, so it’s standby mode is awesome.
IN THE BOX
- Two extra earpiece fittings with foam covers (one already installed)
- USB charging cable and PC-Connection
- AC wall adapter
Plantronics has a reputation for quality headsets – heck they were used in the Apollo moon landing albeit sans bluetooth – and the Voyager Pro HD doesn’t disappoint. The battery life, overall call quality and comfort are the pros, while it’s noise-cancellation abilities are what keeps this from being a five-star recommendation. But for the price, you can’t go wrong.
Watch for a special announcement from Land of Droid and Plantronics concerning this headset in February!