Bluetooth headsets are one piece of technology we can’t get enough of. Using one means avoiding having to cumbersomely hold a four inch slab of metal to the ear, an action that can very quickly get tiring and in the way. However, Bluetooth headsets haven’t been the best experience for most. The average consumer still views Bluetooth Headsets as a buggy experience, with fiddly pairing of devices and sub standard audio quality. Today, we are reviewing a headset that is the exact opposite of that: the Plantronics Voyager Legend.
Plantronics have always been the forerunners in the audio transmission business. When Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, and spoke his first words, they were through Plantronics headsets. The Voyager Legend is their top-of-the-line flagship device. Earlier, it was the Voyager Pro HD and before that, it was the Voyager Pro UC V2, both of which we reviewed.
THE RETAIL PACKAGE
Considering the premium placement of the product, the Legend has a simplistic but premium feeling packaging.
Here’s what you find in the box:
- The Headset
- An Instruction Manual
- A variety of earbuds of different ear sizes, along with sponge coverings for the earbuds
- USB to Magnetic Charging cable
- USB to DC In Convertor for US and Indian plug points
The headset is larger than most regular bluetooth headsets, with a thick portion fitting behind the ear. There is also an adjustable boom mic protruding out in the front. However, the design is pretty much in line with Plantronic’s Voyager range of headsets, be it the Voyager Pro HD or the older Voyager Pro UC V2.
The back of the device has two toggles. The one on the top is the Volume Up and Down toggle. The toggles remains halfway between the two by default. Below that is the Power On/Off button. Below that is the Proprietary Charging Port. Further, there are two LED lights to display battery and Power Status while turning the device on.
The Boom Mic of the headset is reassuringly long. Is it completely adjustable and can you set it at an angle you feel like. We found ourselves keeping it out for talking, but tucking it away up while using it to simply listen to something.
Further, the Boom Mic has two buttons on it. The first is placed at the point where the silver metallic color on the mic starts. This is the Mute button during calls, but otherwise is pressed to invoke Voice Commands. Also, all the way at the back is another Button. This is used to Answer/Hang Up a phone call.
Though the design may initially feel large, we quite enjoyed it. It has been designed with Ergonomics in mind. It was quite easy to put on and take off the headset. Once in place, the headset didn’t fall off no matter what we tried.
The largest part of the handset is entirely tucked behind the ear and is not visible to others. The Mic too can be nearly tucked away in one’s hair. In the above image, I am wearing the headset, but unless you look real carefully, you will not be able to make that out. Of course, if you don’t have long enough hair, it may end up looking quite comical.
Having used a number of different types of Bluetooth headsets, we aren’t quick to give away titles. However, I can comfortably say that Voice Clarity on the Legend surpasses anything I have used before.
By Voice Clarity, we mean how clear our voice was to people on the other end of the line. To test this out, we took to Bombay city’s streets. While talking in a crowded bus, a train and while walking on the street, I was able to hold up a conversation. The person on the other end was able to clearly hear my voice throughout.
This is because of the headset’s triple mic technology along with its software algorithms, tweaked to ensure background noise doesn’t make it across the line.
However, everything isn’t peachy. We found the volume on our end to be a level or two too soft, especially while in a noisy crowded area. On several occasions, we found ourselves covering our other ear so as to be able to better hear what the person on the other end was saying.
WHAT MAKES IT DIFFERENT?
Aside from what you regularly find in a bluetooth headset, the Legend has a lot more to offer.
- Firstly, the headset can be operated on the basis of your Voice. Voice Commands are a large part of the device. For instance, when you turn the device on, it says, “Power On, Talktime: X Hours”. When a device is connected, it informs you. When you receive an Incoming Call, it says “XYZ Calling. Answer or Ignore?”. To pair the device, you need to say “Pair Mode”. It picked up our Indian Accent flawlessly. However, voice recognition while in a noisy area wasn’t reliable enough to be used consistently. We particularly had a problem with pairing a new device while in a noisy area. They could have also included a non voice based method of pairing device.[Update: Long Pressing one of the buttons lets you turn on pairing mode without voice] Further, you can ask the device, “What can I say?” and it tells you a list of voice commands you can give it. Namely, “Pair Mode, Am I Connected, Check Battery, Redial”
- It pairs with everything, and remains connected to them simultaneously. We connected it to an iPad and two mobile phones ALL AT ONE TIME. Any audio played on any of the devices was picked up. We found this wonderfully useful, and find it hard to go back to anything else now. Also, if your bluetooth is turned off, and you turn it on, the headset immediately realizes that and connects to it. This instantaneous connection without you having to manually do so is great to have.
- It knows when you are wearing it. Depending on whether you are wearing the headset or not, the Legend automatically routes the audio either to the headset, or to you phone’s speakers if the device is in your pocket. We liked this touch.
- You can find it even if it is buried somewhere on your desk. Plantronics has a nifty Android App that, when used, emits a high pitched squeaking sound from the headset, letting you know where it is. Be careful never to use this while the headset is on, as that could damage your ears. The really good part about this app is that you can use it with any of the older Plantronics headsets too. Download the Find My Headset app from here.
- Record Voice Memo’s from your headset. They also have a MyHeadset App, that shows you Battery Percentage of your headset on your phone. We found it quite useful to start the Voice Recorder and leave the headset lying somewhere. Get the app from here.
Plantronics have given the Voyager Legend a Proprietary Charging Port. It uses a charging mechanism not too different from the one used by Macbook Pro’s.
While this is definitely nifty and makes charging the headset easier, we still find ourselves wishing they had stuck to plain ol’ microUSB, like their previous handsets. Now that all Android based devices, as well as those from Symbian, Windows Phone and Blackberry use microUSB charging, you are never too far from someone with a microUSB cable. If you forget it at home, it isn’t a problem.
Since this is targeted toward the Executive, someone who travels a lot, we feel microUSB would have been a better option. Ideally, a dual Proprietary + microUSB would have been perfect, but if wishes were horses!
The headset is available for sale around the world. In India, it sells for around INR 5000-5500 (approx $100). That isn’t an outrageous amount for what is being offered, and I find it decently priced. In the world of Bluetooth headsets, you get what you pay for.
In Conclusion, though the headset has a few niggles, the number of advantages is offers make it a great proposition for people who handle a lot of calls.
[col_1_2 style="box border box_blue"] [title h2="title_blue"] What We Liked [/title] [check_list]
- -Great Background Noise Cancellation
- -Intelligent Instant Pairing With Multiple Devices
- -Well Thought Out Voice Commands
- -Ergonomically Built Design
- -Magnetic Charging System
[col_1_2 style="box border box_pink"] [title h2="title_magenta"] What We Didn’t Like [/title]
- -Volume Is A Bit Low In Noisy Situations
- -Lack Of microUSB