The Plantronics Voyager Pro Plus is a top-end Bluetooth headset for those looking for the best possible sound quality.
Note: This review was performed based on a unit that the author purchased with his own funds. Photo courtesy Plantronics.
- Requirements: Bluetooth support
- Price: $99.99 (List Price)
- Additional Information: Product Web site
Who's it for?
The Plantronics Voyager Pro Plus is a "must consider" headset for anyone who puts sound quality, comfort, and talk time at the top of their list when looking at headsets.
What problems does it solve?
Most of the headsets on the market use a variety of tricks and gimmicks in an attempt to create good sound quality while remaining a small, compact, and stylish package. Most of them end up not sounding very good, and their small size compromises battery life as well. The Plantronics Voyager Pro Plus goes in the other direction: by giving up some aesthetic considerations, it provides outstanding call quality, can be worn long-term with no discomfort, and sports great battery life.
- Call Quality: The placement of the microphones (close to the mouth on a boom), dual-mics, and the Audio IQ2 software all combine to make the other party hear you load and clear, even when outside. On the hearing end, the soft rubber cups on the ear piece block outside noise and pipe the sound right in, for an excellent calling experience.
- Battery Life: A full charge should get you around six hours of talk time.
- Comfort: The earpiece is soft silicone, which fits nicely in the ear. The ear loop is soft to the touch as well and just stiff enough to keep everything in the position that you choose. It also distributes the weight evenly over your ear.
- Advanced Features: The Plantronics Vocalyst services offer neat value-adds, like listening and replying to emails, sending Twitter updates, and other basic text-to-speech and speech-to-text services.
- Price: The upfront cost of the unit makes it one of the most expensive headsets on the market. The Vocalyst features cost $24.99 per year after the first year.
- Aesthetics: The design is not just uninspiring, it is downright utilitarian.
Bottom line for business
Each Bluetooth headset buyer has the same set of requirements: call quality, battery life, comfort, ease of use, durability, and style. What is different for each user is the importance that they place on each individual factor. The Plantronics Voyager Pro Plus is designed to put call quality, battery life, and comfort at the top. It is also pretty easy to use.
One thing that is nice is that the buttons require a definite, positive push to be activated, reducing the incidence of random occurrences with the headset in a pocket or purse. If you tried the original Voyager Pro (which has an identical form factor), the metal foil over the mics is much more polished now, and no longer grabs facial hair like the original did. This is a pleasant change, and it is nice to know that Plantronics listened.
All of the great things about this headset stem from its design. The large ear loop distributes the weight nicely, and also houses a relatively large battery, ensuring plenty of talk time. The silicone earbud does a great job at both noise isolation and sound delivery. The boom mic (which can be swiveled to be worn on either side of the head and rotated through 270 degrees to fit any face) gets the microphones close enough to the mouth that the person on the other line hears you clearly and not the ambient noise. Overall, for the purposes of making and receiving phone calls, you just cannot beat this headset. Because of the way the boom can be adjusted, the headset can fold up quite nicely to be put in a pocket, and there are belt pouches available for the headset as well, which are quite convenient.
The downside is also in the design. Quite clearly, the design is not attractive. While others have called it a "Borg" look, it really is not quite that bad. But it is definitely not attractive or stylish. You will not be getting any compliments on this one and it will not discretely hide away.
Another problem of the design is that the part of the earloop where it meets the earpiece is weak; my Voyager Pro made it just over a year for me because the material here broke. If possible, I would suggest purchasing it at a store that offers an extended warranty that covers wear-and-tear for two or more years, because in this case, the warranty will be worth the extra money.
The Vocalyst features are great if you are the kind of person to walk around all day with a headset. To me, the best feature is being able to leave reminders to yourself, which is great when you think of something while driving. But unless you are someone who spends a lot of time in scenarios where you can't use your hands to operate a phone, or who does not have a smartphone, the Vocalyst features are probably not worth the money after the first year.
Have you encountered or used Plantronics Voyager Pro Plus headset? If so, what do you think? Rate your experience and compare the results to what other TechRepublic members think. Give your own personal review in the TechRepublic Community Forums or let us know if you think we left anything out in our review.
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Justin James is the Lead Architect for Conigent.