Sometimes it’s the unexpected things that make a user like a technology product or service.
You’d expect a £200 (approx) pair of headphones to be better than a £100 pair, but when it comes to Plantronics latest range of cans, we actually preferred the cheaper unit and would like to suggest that less is more.
Don’t get us wrong, the Plantronics Savi 8220 is a really nice piece of kit, but we had a better time with the Plantronics Voyager Focus UC B825 Bluetooth Headset from the company’s latest range of cordless PC headsets.
Before we get into the technical details, let’s provide a basic what, why and where of why we like the Voyager Focus.
Firstly, it’s the weight… at 155g these headphones feel super light and it’s very easy to use them for extended periods of time.
Second, it’s the connectivity factor… we paired them with a Huawei Mate 20 and an iPad fifth generation unit via Bluetooth. As long as we only had the one paired device on the pairing was instantaneous without the need to open settings.
Third, it’s the design simplicity of the product. The power button is in an easy-to-detect location right next to the microphone, which swivels down for phone calls or whatever other kinds of communication you want to engage within. So many headphones we look at now have too many buttons, this unit makes it easy to power on and power off and it’s equally easy to find the Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) button on the other side.
Plantronics has carried that design simplicity through into one other superb function… when you turn the unit on, it tells you how much ‘talk time’ (i.e. power) it has left, why don’t all smart headphones do that?
Finally, there’s a super-simple volume switch in the shape of the whole right ear (assuming you wear the microphone on the left, the device is completely switchable after all)… the user simply turns the whole right earpiece in a sort of twisting motion upwards or downwards for more of less volume.
Sexy black leather
The Plantronics Voyager Focus UC B825 has large leather ear cushions that are on-ear and three precision-tuned microphones filter out low-frequency background noise.
The quality of both music and voice is very good… so good that we mostly forgot to switch the ANC noise cancellation on. But, if you do need to pay attention to what’s going on around you, simply press the OpenMic button which will instantly stop active noise cancellation.
This headset uses a Bluetooth USB dongle to connect to PCs, but can also connect wirelessly to tablets and smartphones. It sports a seemingly quite massive 45-metre range and you also have up to 12 hours of talk time off of a single charge. Quite why anyone would need to be 45-metres away from their device is anybody’s guess.
According to product details listed on OneDirect, “Integrated intelligent sensors turn off music when a call is received and the mute function is easily toggled via a button on the headset. A light on the USB key will let you know if you are in silent mode or not. An LED light on the outside of the headset will alert your colleagues if you are taking a call. If you just don’t want to talk to them, this can be activated manually.”
Yes we should have enjoyed the pricier Plantronics unit more, but we didn’t. We even liked the USB-connected cradle unit that works as a power stand/cradle — although you can just power up direct to the device with a USB mini cable.
There’s even a nifty little carrying case, if you like that kind of thing.
Oh okay, this headset is rigid and not foldable, there… we found the one bad thing about this kit… otherwise these cans are a good choice… you can watch the product video here.