I’m always impressed by Plantronics headphone offerings. Time and again they are able to combine excellent functionality with comfort; they even mix in a bit of style in the process. The Plantronics Voyager Legend is an amazing headset, and you can read our review here. We have a review of the UC (Unified Communications) version coming soon.
Plantronics doesn’t just do Bluetooth headsets of course. They have a long history of offering wired headsets for use with phone systems and computers. Their new Blackwire C720 headset falls into that category but takes things to an entirely new level by combining a wired and a wireless headset into a single unit that can serve both purposes. Best of all, in the case of the Blackwire C720, both functions, the wired and the wireless, are up to Plantronics usual level of quality. Let’s take a look.
At first glance the Blackwire 700 Series Headset looks like any other high-quality USB headset. It has two ear cushions with a cable and noise-canceling boom microphone attached to one of them. The boom microphone comes as a straight boom, but it is flexible enough that you can bend and position it for maximum comfort and most-effective voice capture.
And while the headset it lightweight in its look and feel it is also heavy enough to feel substantial. That’s important since it is far too easy for a headset like this to be so light that it feels cheap or, in its attempt to feel substantial, is too heavy to be comfortable. In this case the headset is comfortable even for long periods of use. But because the ear cushions sit on your ears and mold to them enough to shut out a good deal of outside sound, I often found myself moving the right one off my ear and allowing it to simply rest on my head.
As Plantronics explains, the headset has special technology built into the ear cushions. This includes
• Smart Sensor technology lets you answer a call by simply putting on the headset
• Smart Call Transfer automatically routes audio from the mobile phone to the headset whenever it’s put on—and vice versa
• Built-in sensors provide contextual information, creating a long-lasting, adaptable platform
That means the headset knows when you put it on your head and when you take it off. It is impressive. And that is just the beginning.
You see, while the cable include “intuitive inline controls to answer/end PC and mobile calls, control volume, and mute” it also includes a unique ability to double as a wireless headset.
The extender cable that runs from the controls to the USB connection is detachable. From there you can use the headset as a wireless headset that connects to your phone or computer. That’s why Plantronics describes this headset with
Corded reliability meets wireless flexibility. The Blackwire 700 Series is the versatile UC headset that offers high-quality PC audio and seamless Bluetooth connectivity to mobile phones and tablets. Enjoy unmatched audio quality, industry-first Smart Sensor technology that automatically answers a call when you put on the headset, and a detachable cable for taking your mobile calls throughout the office.
The Blackwire 700 Series headsets connect to your PC and mobile phone – combining the comfort and durability of corded with the freedom and flexibility of wireless. Ideal for knowledge workers who need a seamless solution for managing calls on their PC, mobile phone or tablet, the Blackwire 700 Series is the most integrated, premium headset for UC.
It is a neat “extra” that really takes the idea of UC, unified communications, to an entirely new, and convenient, level.
The C720 gets up to 10 hours of talk time and up to 10 days standby time. If you are using the headset to listen to music over Bluetooth on a device offering A2DP you can expect up to 6 hours listening time. And if you were wondering, the headset has Bluetooth v2.1 + EDR, offers enhanced digital signal processing (DSP), has a noise-canceling microphone and includes hearing protective SoundGuard sound leveling for listening comfort.
I’m impressed by the Blackwire 700. As a USB headset for calls and voice recording it works remarkably well. I have been using it with Dragon Dictate for Mac and it gives an incredibly accurate recognition even when I’m speaking quickly.
As a Bluetooth headset for a phone or tablet works quite well too. That sort of flexibility is quite welcome and means that carrying one headset is enough for a wide variety of functions. In fact there is one additional function that I have not mentioned. When the headset is connected to a phone or tablet via Bluetooth it serves as a pair of audio headphones for listening to music. And while I won’t get on top of the roof and scream about these being the very best headphones I’ve ever used, they are actually quite good and the in-line remote control works quite well.
So in one headset you have a computer headset for calls, dictation and audio and you have a Bluetooth headset for calls, dictation and audio. And all of it comes with a nice carrying case for under $150. If you switch off between using a computer and a tablet or phone and have been looking for a good headset to use in a home office or work environment this is definitely worth checking out.
Check them out here: Plantronics Headsets and Accessories.
What I Like: Well-built; Comes with a good carrying case; Microphone boom flexible enough to stay tapped to the shape you want for best comfort and accuracy; Works as a wired USB headset or as a Bluetooth headset; Gets decent battery life; Comfortable
What Needs Improvement: When using this headset as a Bluetooth headset you still have a relatively significant length of cable that ends with the controller. Some may find this to be a bit awkward although the built-in clip can help. Requires you to learn a different approach to headset usage so you can switch between the mobile and wired connections; Only has Bluetooth 2.1
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample