Plantronics Voyager 510S

Rich Tehrani : Communications and Technology Blog - Tehrani.com
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Plantronics Voyager 510S

I have been using the Plantronics Voyager 510S for over a month. I have used the headset every day and night during this time. I wanted to put it through its paces before writing about it. The precise product I have is the Plantronics Voyager 510S Bluetooth Headset System as it says here on the box.

The headset itself works with both an office phone and your bluetooth enabled phone/device. Included in the box is a headset lifter allowing you to take calls on the headset without having to lift the phone manually. There is also a sleek charging unit that stands on a desk and looks like something Apple would make if it was in the headset business. Apple of course would change the colors from business-like grey and silver to probably all white or white and blue.

The list of included items in this kit goes on and on. You will find an online indicator light letting others know you are on the phone. You also get a car charger and a USB headset charger and finally a pouch that allows you to carry the headset on your belt.

The pouch may not be needed as the headset can be carried just fine in a shirt pocket or just hanging from the top of your shirt if desired. You can also throw it in your pants pocket.

Even after doing everything I could to trip it up I must say the headset is amazing. It is near-perfect. It holds a charge for well over a day and certainly outlasts the battery life of my phone. I have used it two days in a row at a trade show without charging and it still worked great. I have talked on the headset for hours and hours at a time with no problems.

There is no need to avoid charging the unit nightly as the travel charger that Plantronics supplies is light and very small. It is perfect for throwing in a laptop bag or purse.

The entire headset experience has improved greatly from the first bluetooth headsets (M1000, M3000) the company produced a few years back. The interface is better. The tones the headset emits are more logical and intuitive. The headset feels like it is part of you. You don’t need to think when you use it.

The connectivity between the headset and the phone is amazing as I can take calls on the headset virtually instantaneously. Plantronics representatives told me they worked long and hard to make this happen.

The volume of the headset is amazing as well. Even in a loud car at high speeds you can hear everything clearly. In fact you can turn the volume up so much that it sounds distorted and hurts your ear. This is quite an accomplishment given the light weight, small size and long battery life.

If there is any problem with this headset it is the wind noise. I have complained about wind noise on Plantronics headsets before and I was amazed that the wind noise on this headset was as bad as any unit I have used before.

When I queried Plantronics representatives about the problem I received the following comments which satisfy me. Here are the comments from Plantronics.

Voyager Design Considerations

The Voyager headset was designed to work in two very different environments.  The first is of course, the wireless mobile application, where lightweight and discreet were key requirements.  This accounts for the short boom length and very small size for the parts of the headset that are visible.
 
The second application is the office, where ambient noise rejection, privacy, battery life and overall audio quality were regarded as important.  This accounts for the use of a noise canceling microphone and a larger battery compartment located behind the ear.
 
To accommodate both applications, the design incorporates a noise canceling microphone with a fairly high directivity index (this describes how directional the microphone pick-up pattern is).  Noise canceling microphones are more susceptible to wind noise due to turbulent pressure differences at each of the two sound inlet ports.  Omni directional microphones used in many other products have less wind noise susceptibility, but sacrifice ambient noise rejection, which can degrade privacy in the office environment (neighboring conversations can be picked up…).

For this reason, the product has been shipped with a foam sock that fits over the microphone boom to all but eliminate wind noise at the expense of the sleek look of the microphone boom. With the foam sock, wind noise performance should be better than an unprotected “Omni” microphone, with no sacrifice of ambient noise rejection. With the foam sock removed, wind noise will be an issue.  It is recommended that the foam sock be applied for mobile out-of-doors use or windy areas.  In the office, the foam sock is not really necessary.
 
The Voyager headset performance has been carefully engineered to fit in the middle of the mobile and office applications, providing sufficient audio performance for both use cases with no sacrifice to comfort, fit or discreet size.


The sock as it is called is a bit ugly looking but not too big and will likely get lost quickly. That is why they give you two I suppose. I tried one on and felt like Geraldo Rivera. I immediately was compelled to don a t-shirt, fly to New Orleans and help hurricane victims down stairs. Thankfully good judgment soon returned once I removed the sock slowly and put it back in the included plastic resealable bag.

In summary this is an incredible headset kit. It gives you tremendous flexibility, a multitude of charging options and everything you could want in a bluetooth headset.

I can comfortably recommend this device after more than 30 days of grueling testing where the headset was dropped and sat on repeatedly (please don’t tell company representatives as they want it back in perfect condition).

Interestingly enough this weekend marks the time where my home state Connecticut begins their new mandatory headset law. I strongly urge you to pick up a bluetooth headset and make sure your phone works with bluetooth as well. The wire most headsets use is unsafe in my opinion. It can get caught on a parking brake, shift knob or your arm while driving and can increase the risk of accident. Wireless headsets in the car are the only way to go.

To my fellow Connecticut drivers (and all others) I must say good luck with your new headset purchase and please drive safely out there.



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