Review: Plantronics Voyager 520 Bluetooth Headset

The Plantronics Voyager 520 is the follow up to the very popular Voyager 510 with newer features and better technology. The Voyager 520 is targeted at the user who is looking for supreme comfort and solid sound quality. It maintains professional styling and ease-of-use to provide the user a great Bluetooth headset. How does it perform? Does it measure up to the uber-popular Voyager 510?

Read on for the rest of the review!

Design

Let’s put it this way. The Voyager 520 isn’t the most stunning Bluetooth Headset you’ve ever seen. There are headsets that are smaller, sleeker, and use better colors. The headset is fairly large because of the locked-in, large ear loop. The front face of the Bluetooth Headset looks overly-complicated, with harsh lines, multiple patterns, and different colors.

Don’t get me wrong, the Voyager 520 is most definitely not an ugly headset—it’s just not the prettiest one either. The Voyager 520 looks like the Bluetooth Headsets of yore, more professional and business-like than sleek and stylish.

However, styling and design issues aside, I was amazed at how comfortable and light it felt when worn. The large ear loop rotates nearly 360 degrees and is made of a softer, silcone-esque material. It is likely one of the better, more comfortable ear loops on the market. You’ll barely notice it hanging on your ear

Also, the earbud of the Voyager 520 is unique because it sits soft in your ear canal. As opposed to a lot of classic earbud designs, the Voyager 520’s earbud sits naturally in the ear because of its almost funnel like shape. The earbud is the best compromise of in-ear designs and classic ear phone designs.

When you’re wearing the Voyager 520, the comfortable ear loop and the even more comfortable ear bud makes the headset essentially unnoticeable. Some headsets may be prettier but few even come close to the superb fit the Voyager 520 offers.

Usability

Syncing with the iPhone is a cinch. Plantronics chose to implement a multifunction button that doubles as a volume switch. I found the button to be easy enough to hit but switching the volume up and down proved to be more cumbersome. I accidentally ended a call when trying to turn up the volume.

As I mentioned before, the Voyager 520’s fit really stands out. Even after wearing the device for hours, my ears were perfectly fine and I didn’t feel the need to remove the device. Typically, my ears need a break when earbuds are lodged in but the unique design of the Voyager 520’s earbuds made it a joy to wear.

The incoming sound quality is rock solid. Because of the funnel shape of the ear bud, incoming callers were clear and pronounced. It felt like I was getting the best of both worlds—in-ear sound quality but classic ear phone feel. Also, Plantronics uses AudioIQ to smarten the audio, getting louder in noisier environments and softer in quiet surroundings.

Outgoing sound quality is also good. Though it does pick up some background noise, it wasn’t enough to be bothersome to the caller. Callers felt that I sounded clear with no digitization and preferred the headset to many competitors. In quiet environments the headset’s performance was simply stellar, callers never even imagined me being on a Bluetooth headset.

Talk time is 8 hours, which should be plenty for most users. You’re also able to pair to more than one device, which is definitely convenient. Unfortunately, the Voyager 520 uses a proprietary AC adapter.

Final Thoughts

The Voyager 520 really surprised me. When I first saw the headset, I was expecting middling performance and an uncomfortable fit. I could not be more wrong. The fit of the Voyager 520 might be best in class—it hangs light on your ear yet sits naturally in the canal. Also, the audio quality ranged from decent in noisy environments to simply superb in quiet surroundings. Though I still have a few quips with the design and styling, honestly, it’s closer to being pretty than ugly while still remaining professional. I think the Voyager 520 should be seriously considered by any potential headset user and should be considered a steal for the price!

PROS

  • Very, very comfortable fit
  • Smart Ear Bud Design
  • Solid Audio Quality
  • Good Battery Life

CONS

  • Average Styling
  • Fairly Large
  • Weird Charger

FINAL RATING:

 

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Reader comments

Review: Plantronics Voyager 520 Bluetooth Headset

23 Comments

I have this headset and agree it's great. I can't use tradition ear buds (they hurt my ears big time), so I love how this one fits into the ear canal a little. I can wear it for several hours before feeling a little discomfort and since the earpiece sits so light over your ear, I can easily wear sunglasses and the bow doesn't make the ear loop bite into my ear. Sound quality is great. I mostly use it when I'm driving.

I have had this earset since it first came out. At that time I paired it with the original iPhone, and was a bit disappointed with the quality and interferance if the iPhone wasn't within 3 feet and on the same side as the earpiece. But the 3G iPhone changed everything! The audio quality is vastly better, and there are virtually NO interference problems even with the iPhone several feet away and on the opposite side of the body. What had been a like/hate relationship turned into all love. I realized that the issue was the iPhone all along and that the 520 was just waiting to dazzle given the chance. I love it!

I had no success in pairing this headset with my iPhone 2G. It pairs without problems with a Samsung phone and I can confirm that it is very comfortable and has good sound quality (with the Samsung phone).
I tried it with every iPhone FW from 1.01 up to 2.02. No chance. The Iphone bluetooth keeps searching, but can't find any device.
Does someone can give me an advice how to get them paired?
Thanks.

This headset has fast become one of the most popular ones where I work. I sometimes have a little trouble with it because the part that fits a little into your ear canal bothers me after just a bit. But I have very tiny ears.
Everyone else in my office loves it.

I just purchased iPhone 3G and for some reason it does not recignize my Plantronics 520. I went into Settings - General - Bluetooth and turned it ON. Is started searching and never found anything although 520 was sitting next to it and the light on it was blinking blue. Did I miss anything ont he phone or on the headset. I had no problem connceting it to my Windows Mobile phone before that.

Well, nice buddy... Someone will love this article if I tell her about this. She's really interested in this topic. Thanks again...

Did you ever pair the iPhone 3G to your Pla ntronics Voyager 520? I'm having the same problem. It just keeps searching but no luck on recognizing it. Help me if you can... kind of like the line from a Beattles song.

same problem here, no way i can pair the 520 with iphone - though it works a charm with my samsung

Same problem i am facing, Plantronics Voyager 520 is not working with Iphone 3G.
If anyone knows any solution to it, please let me know.

was having problems pairing this headset with my 3G phone too after using it on the 1st gen iPhone and found this from Plantronics website (under Product Support - Bluetooth Pairing Guide for the 520).
Steps:
1. Turn off your headset.
2. Turn on the Bluetooth mode on the iPhone.
3. Press and hold the headset button until you get a flashing blue & red light.
The iPhone should be able to discover it then, and just enter the passcode ‘0000,’ and it should pair. Hope this helps!
 

Awesome Thanks Liesbeth, It worked for me. I got lucky that i checked this site again after 1 Month.

thank you liesbeth! was googling like made to connect this headset to my iphone 3g with no luck, until I found your post. works like a charm!

Thank You for this wonderful info. I was going bonkers due to I love this headset and phone didn't want to part with either and thanks to you I dont.

hi, this pairs with 3G but just for the phone. But cant enjoy the music. May be i dont know how to set it. Please can anyone help me with this.

I ABSOLUTLY Love the Plantronics 520!! Just having problems pairing with computer and phone at same time... Any help out there?
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