After Hours

Geek Gifts 2010: Plantronics Voyager Pro Bluetooth headset

The Plantronics Voyager Pro is a quality, yet economical hands-free headset that might very well be the perfect holiday gift for gamers and geeks on the go.

I’ve bought a few different Bluetooth headsets over the past several years, and so when TechRepublic received Plantronics Voyager Pro, I decided to take it home and put it through the test. However, my 14-yr-old, who uses a Bluetooth for online gaming, thought his expertise would be better suited for this review. Here’s his take on this hands-free headset.

Specifications

  • Battery: 3.5V Li-ion polymer rechargeable battery. It takes 1.5 hours for a full charge, and then up to 6 hours talk time and up to 5 days / 120 hours standby time.
  • Connection: MicroUSB connector and AC/DC 100-240V wall adapter
  • Weight: 17.5 grams
  • Bluetooth Wireless Technology:
    • Enhanced Data Rate (EDR)
    • eSCO data packet transfer
    • Secure Simple Pairing (SSP)
    • Range up to 35 feet
    • Radio Chipset CSR BlueCore 5 Multimedia Flash
  • AudioIQ2 Technology:
    • Two 3mm noise-canceling microphones
    • Active Digital Signal Processing (DSP)
    • Internal, adaptive 20-band equalizer
    • Acoustic echo cancellation (AEC)
    • Sidetone detection for noise conditions
  • WindSmart Technology: GORE vent fabric and electronic microphone filtering
  • QuickPair Technology: Supports initial pairing with Bluetooth phones
  • Multipoint Technology: Supports a connection with two Bluetooth devices
  • Cost: Prices range from approximately $60 to $179 USD
  • Warranty: 1-Year Limited Warranty

What I like

  • Comfort: As a serious gamer, I’ve tried a few different headsets while playing the PS3, including the first and most recent Jawbone Prime earpiece. However, none were more comfortable or fit better than the Plantronics Voyager Pro. I felt like the other devices were too loose and would flop around and sometimes fall off my ear. The Plantronics Voyager Pro fits right over my ear and sits quite nicely, allowing me to focus on my gaming.
  • Stability: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve dropped and broken an earpiece on the coffee table or one of my cats dragged it on the floor and I’ve almost stepped on it. I quickly found out that the Plantronics Voyager Pro can take some damage. Now, I didn’t drop it off my roof or see how many times I could drop it before it would break, but I am very clumsy and do tend to drop things on a regular basis. I guess my point is, if you drop the Jawbone Prime on the ground and your three month old puppy jumps on it, it’s going to break. That’s not the case with the Plantronics Voyager Pro.
  • Performance: Ok, so being a serious gamer and co-leader of a clan means I have to have a high-performing microphone. With other Bluetooth devices, every time I would say something, I would get a chorus of “What?” from all of my teammates. I also often heard an echo of my own voice through the headsets. The Plantronics Voyager Pro not only comes in loud and clear to other players, but there’s no echo!

What I don't like

  • Talk time: The Plantronics Voyager Pro is supposed to have six hours of talk time, but after about two or three hours of use, it would make a weird beeping sound and I wouldn’t be talking anymore. It’s not that the device shut off, because sometimes when I would try to turn it back on, I would hear it shut off. After I would let it sit on the charger for about an hour, the same thing would happen again.
  • Eartip size: I think the comfort of this device is a matter of preference. If you have small ears like my mom, then it can be a challenge to get it to fit on your ear. My thing is, it may be hard to get it on, but once you do, you don’t have to worry about it slipping, sliding, or falling off.
  • Time consuming: The Plantronics Voyager Pro device is weird for PlayStation 3 because, unlike the Jawbone Prime, it won’t automatically connect with the PS3 when it’s turned on. I know this sounds very petty - and really this only directed towards gamers – but every time you turn it on, you have to connect it with the PS3, which is a process that takes around two or three minutes. If you want to turn it off at any point, guess what? Yep, you have to do it all over again when you turn it back on.

Geek bottom line

If you’re a serious gamer or like to chat hands-free on the phone, the Plantronics Voyager Pro is the device to have. Although I would recommend you either try one on or talk to a friend that has one, because there are many different opinions about this device. I personally love it and think that it’s a blessing for all games. It’s also fairly inexpensive, so I completely believe that you’ll get you money’s worth out of the Plantronics Voyager Pro.

Geek gift score (out of 5)

  • Fun factor: ***
  • Geek factor: ****
  • Value: *****
  • Overall: ****

Want more reviews of tech gadgets and gizmos? Download the PDF of TechRepublic's Geek Gift Guide 2010.

About

Sonja Thompson has worked for TechRepublic since October of 1999. She is currently a Senior Editor and the host of the Smartphones and Tablets blogs.

15 comments
richard.stroud
richard.stroud

I couldn't stand this from some others that would not automatically connect to my Iphone. As long as it takes to get the gaming up and running I don't need another 3 minute delay.

jerrycline
jerrycline

Interesting but not helpful for those who are considering use with a phone. I am most interested in the background and wind noise reduction performance.

sjdorst
sjdorst

Did either of you try using this? I'd love to have a single bluetooth headset for my Cell and Desk (with bluetooth Headset Adaptor) phones with simultaneous connection!

TobiF
TobiF

You may want to, change all mentions of Plantonics with Plantronics ("r" in the middle.)

gadgetgirl
gadgetgirl

Good review! Clear, precise and straight to the point. Just the way it should be! Soni, watch out for your job ;) well done, Mr. Thompson! :x GG

Sonja Thompson
Sonja Thompson

which is an LG EnV Touch. It worked great, but not any better (sound quality and noise reduction) than the Jawbone - and I think the Jawbone is more comfortable.

VP-Assistant
VP-Assistant

I have this headset and use it exclusively with my iPhone. The sound is clear inside the house or inside the car. I've found it to be of much higher quality than the smaller Plantronics I used to have. It is heavier than others, and can be a bother when wearing my sunglasses, but the sound quality far outweighs the slight discomfort.

Sonja Thompson
Sonja Thompson

I still prefer the Jawbone for both my cell phone and online gaming. I would switch back and forth between the two during an online game and ask folks if they could hear me better or worse. There really wasn't a difference on their end, but the Jawbone feels more comfortable to me (again, I have small ears).

Sonja Thompson
Sonja Thompson

Thanks for the catch, TobiF! Send your mailing address to trol [at] techrepublic.com and I'll send you some "thank you" swag. Oh, and I'll take the postage out of Andrew's allowance. ;)

Sonja Thompson
Sonja Thompson

Thanks for the nice comment, GG. And yes, I'm watching him like a hawk! ;)

kapspaz-itprof
kapspaz-itprof

Dock his pay, Editor Mom? How much did you have to pay him for his outstanding effort?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

he's gonna pick your retirement home. I plan on putting my father at the "Silver Ice Floe Senior Center", where every member gets his own polar bear!

Sonja Thompson
Sonja Thompson

Roof over his head? Clothes on his back? Hey, that has to count for something! ;)

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