The Plantronics Savi W430 is an impressive headset sporting DECT wireless technology with excellent range and HD quality sound. With the convergence of the telephone and the network we say the creation of VoIP, including the phenomenal growth of Skype and SIP-based IP-PBXs and phones. Now we're seeing the convergence of the computer and the phone, resulting in 100% software-based phone solutions - also known as the "softphone". The problem with softphones is that it's still a fairly new concept to the enterprise and there just aren't a lot of headsets for the PC designed with telephony in mind. Most PC headsets are stereo headsets with big speakers for playing back music or for rich bass while playing PC games. Most of these are USB-based headsets, which means you are tethered to your PC and can't roam about. You also can't tap a button these typical USB headsets to answer a call or hang up a call.
Enter the Plantronics Savi W430. This headset is wireless and it has software that integrates with Skype, and SIP softphones for one-touch call control. It also integrates with Cisco, Avaya, Microsoft, IBM, and more. Plantronics sent me a review unit to check out.
Side profile of my wearing the Savi 430 headset
After charging the headset for about 3 hours and installing the Plantronics software which adds support for Skype and other 3rd party apps, I launched Skype. Skype asked permission for Plantronics to integrate with Skype, which I granted. Next, I made a test call to another Skype account. The voice quality was excellent. The headset includes noise cancellation and proprietary SoundGuard technology which guards against audio spikes. Obviously, it was monaural and not stereo like I'm used to when making PC Skype calls, but for mono sound the sound quality had excellent depth. To end the call I simply pressed the call control button on the headset.
Next, I made an inbound call from the remote PC running Skype. Once again, I just pressed the call control button which instantly answered the call. Thus, I could be roaming around the office and answer a Skype call wherever I am. The wireless range was superb. The device uses DECT 6.0 technology which has minimal interference problems with WiFi. Check out this video below as I roamed around TMC's offices to see just how good the range was.
(Note, I say I'm walking perpendicular to my office, when I'm actually walking parallel back towards it. I had just finished playing an addictive song/video about perpendicular technology, which probably stuck in my head. )
The Plantronics Control Panel has some good customizability, including 3 ring tones, pausing media player on an inbound call with auto-resume, and more.
Features / Specs:
- DECT™ technology provides better audio; eliminates interference from Wi-Fi networks
- DECT™ USB adapter has 180-degree articulation for optimal positioning and storage
- Conference up to three additional Savi headsets
- One-touch call answer/end, vol+/-, mute and flash with supported softphones
- Advanced wideband audio using CAT-iq technology for high definition voice quality
- Manage multimedia with mute/unmute or pause/play settings in the Plantronics Control Panel
- Wideband PC audio increases call clarity and provides lifelike fidelity
- Range of up to 300 ft
- Subscribe compatible Savi headsets to the USB adaptor for choice of wearing styles
- Flash between softphone calls for productive call management
- Offered in two versions:
- UC standard version supporting one-touch call control with softphones and UC applications from Cisco, Avaya, Microsoft, Skype, IBM and more.(Savi W430)
- Microsoft certified version: Optimized for Microsoft® Office Communicator 2007 supporting one-touch call control with Office Communicator.(Savi W430-M)
The integration with Skype and SIP-based softphones and HD support is certainly a first for a DECT-based headset. Priced at ~$175, this is a bit steep for a wireless headset. However, executives and gadget freaks who want the latest and greatest headset will certainly consider adding the Plantronics Savi W430 to their arsenal. I would like to see a future Plantronics headset that is dual radio supporting both DECT and Bluetooth. Then you can use a single converged headset for your PC, Skype/SIP phone, and your mobile Bluetooth-enabled phone. But until then, the Plantronics Savi W430 is probably the best wireless headset you can buy for the features it does have. All-in-all, a worthy choice due to its excellent range, superb audio quality, and VoIP / phone integration.
Available on Amazon for around $175.