My first Bluetooth headset sounded rather lousy, and it required a Bluetooth dongle be plugged into the phone itself since it did not have integrated BT. The headset also had a long boom that reached toward my mouth. It looked… dumb.
When headsets began to appear that were tiny, dropped the boom and, as a result, were less noticeable, I bought. (I once spent a small fortunate on a tiny headset that looked cool but sounded horrible.)
When I had a chance to review Plantronics Pro UC I jumped at it. First impressions were… not good. Here’s what I wrote at the time…
When I first opened the box I wasn’t all that impressed. It’s in recent years I’ve become a fan of Bluetooth headsets that have a low profile and don’t have any sort of a boom. The exception in this regard has been the Etymotic etyBLU which offered superb sound quality and included a removable boom. This headset breaks the trend that I’ve been seeing recently. Not only does it have a boom but it also has an “over the ear” design that includes a rather large portion of the set that sits over and behind the ear. In fact, the best way to describe it is that it looks like an old-fashioned hearing aid that fits inside the ear but had the electronics in the section that sat just behind it. In addition, it also has a rather large boom which is quite noticeable. Compare and contrast this to the short-lived Apple headset or the SoundID headsets I reviewed a few months ago and last year and the difference is quite apparent.
First impressions turned out to be wrong and I ended the review with,
The headset is super comfortable and sounds fantastic on both sides of the conversation. It… is… fantastic!
Since then I have bought two Voyager Pro headsets. Why? Because Elana, who cannot use headsets that sit on or in her ear loved the demo unit so much that I went out and bought her one of her own. And when one of them broke, I immediately replaced it. Yes, the headset was/is that good.
Today Plantronics is announcing a brand news generation of this line of headsets — the Plantronics Voyager Legend. The Voyager Legend builds on its predecessor and goes further. Let’s look…
VOYAGER LEGEND BLUETOOTH HEADSET: Simply intuitive. Smart Sensor technology reacts when you put the headset on, letting you quickly take a call without a click. If you’re already wearing it, Voyager Legend announces who’s calling and waits for you to say “Answer” or “Ignore.” Simply tap the voice command button and ask to check battery level, connection status, and more. With technology this nimble, Voyager Legend is the first truly intelligent Bluetooth® headset.
As the press release notes,
As work and personal lives come together, the new Plantronics [hyperlink] (NYSE: PLT) Voyager Legend [hyperlink] is the ideal communication tool for work, life and play. With a blend of precisely tuned audio, Smart Sensors and intuitive voice enabled controls, the Legend is the most user friendly and best sounding headset in the market.
The Voyager Legend offers multi-point technology which lets it pair with two phones and answer calls from either one. It gets up to 7 hours of talk time and 11 days of standby. It weighs just 18 grams, which means it is light enough to wear all day.
So lets talk about comfort. As previously noted, the Voyager Legend’s predecessor was remarkably comfortable to wear for an extended period of time. The Voyager Legend is better. Yes, the headset is comfortable and, after a brief period of time I barely notice it. That’s quite surprising since it is not a small headset. It is, in no small part, why I am not giving Elana my review sample, but will be getting her one of her own.
So from a comfort perspective the Plantronics Voyager Legend is a winner. But what about the audio quality?
When it comes to audio quality the headset also gets the highest of marks. It builds in “Precision Audio” in which
Multi-microphones optimize your voice and minimize noise caused by wind, movement, and background sounds.
The Legend’s predecessor was pretty amazing thanks to its dual microphones. The Legend tops that with noise-cancellation provided by three mics that offer “triple-mic active Digital Signal Processing (DSP)”. The windscreen is also longer for added enhancement.
I rolled down the windows, opened the sunroof and called my assistant. She understood me just fine. Now THAT’s impressive.
The company is billing the $99 headset as The World’s Smartest Bluetooth Headset, and while I have not done a full comparison with every other headset currently available, I do know that packs some amazing technology.
It offers “Smart Call Routing” which,
Intuitively directs calls to your phone or headset, pauses music for incoming calls, and allows you to automatically answer by simply placing the headset on your ear.
It also has “Caller Announce and Voice Commands”. That means the headset
announces incoming caller’s name and lets you say “answer” to accept the call or “ignore” to decline. Just say “answer” to take a call. Tap the voice button to check battery level, connection status, or dial Vocalyst to hear emails, newsfeeds, and more.
And, since it is 2012, the headset has… apps. The Find MyHeadset app for Android helps locate a misplaced headset by either send a tone to the headset or, and this was pretty cool to see demoed, tracking the last usage of the headset on a map via the “BackTrack” feature. And if you use a device with Android 3.0 or later, you can see the headset’s battery meter in the notification bar. Plantronics is also offering the “MyHeadset Updater”. It lets you change the language, adjust the sensor and manage other settings. All of this adds up to a state of the art headset … and we’re not done yet.
The company is also offering a special case. It is an additional purchase but it adds two great features.
First, it protects the headset. That’s key since the headset it durable AND water-resistant, it is still a piece of delicate electronics.
MOISTURE PROTECTION: You can rely on the Voyager Legend to work as hard as you do, through rain, sweat and the inevitable coffee spill. Voyager Legend headsets are protected against sweat and moisture damage by P2i technology. A nano-coating is applied during the manufacturing process, resulting is an invisible liquid repellent that also makes the headset more durable for where your busy life takes you.
Second, the $30 accessory includes an integrated battery that holds up to two full charges. That is a great convenience since it means you’ll have almost a full day of talk time without going anywhere near a wall or car charger.
As Renee Niemi, senior vice president of Communications Solutions at Plantronics explains,
The Legend offers something for everyone – the mobile professional, the commuter, the business traveler, anyone who needs to be connected to friends, family or work with amazing audio quality in the most demanding environments. From the Smart Sensors to the voice commands, the Legend brings technology and people together.
Having used an early sample for the last two weeks I have to agree. It is, by far, the best Bluetooth headset I have reviewed. And the fact that it is under $100 is rather amazing to me.
MSRP: $99.99 for the headset; accessory prices vary.
What I Like: Comfortable; 7 hours of talk time, 11 days of standby time; BT 3.0; Wideband audio; A2DP streaming; Multipoint; Headset battery meter; Battery case is great; Sound quality is excellent; A fantastic update to an already-impressive headset
What Needs Improvement: Accessories add to the price fairly significantly (but IMO it is still a good deal)