With so many traffic laws being passed regulating cell phone usage in your car, a Bluetooth headset is on the top of every cell phone owner’s mind. The Plantronics Discovery 665 is targeted as the ideal solution for those road warriors who have frequent and lengthy phone calls while on the road so that they can keep their hands and attention on the wheel.
The Plantronics Discovery 665 Bluetooth Headset ($69.95) is a slick looking Bluetooth headset that uses AudioIQ technology to enhance performance. Does the technology translate to real life success? Could this be the Bluetooth headset for commuters around the world?
You’ll have to read on for the rest of the review!
When I opened the box, I was already confused. Where was the AC Adapter? How was I supposed to charge the dang thing? Until I realized how it all works together. Road warriors mainly use their Bluetooth headsets in the car, so it would logistically make more sense to include a car charger before a AC adapter right..? But what about those city-slickers who take the subways where there is no cigarette lighter to plug your charger in? It certainly seems to isolate a target group of potential buyers. Also, it is befuddling why they would include a USB Charger over the more classic AC adapter, I mean come on, really? Computers are more common than electrical outlets?
Everything else included is pretty much standard fare (wires, ear loop, gel ear tips), except the ‘base station’ that looks more like a 21st century PEZ dispenser than a holster/charger for a Bluetooth headset. It is an odd looking So I guess though first impressions were a little different from the usual, everything did have a purpose and came with some sense.
The Plantronics Discovery 665 is a very sleek looking Bluetooth headset. In fact, I would even argue that, it looks like what a Bluetooth headset should look like. The design is sharp without being too safe and fashion-forward without being too minimalist. Weighing no more than 9 grams, the headset is also barely noticeable on your ear or in your pocket. With or without attaching the ear loop, the headset feels very secure. I never once worried about the security of the headset when it was in my ears.
The gel ear tips are surprisingly, very, very comfortable, you can barely notice yourself wearing the headset. The size configurations of the gel ear tips (small, medium, large) should accommodate most ear sizes. I have larger-than-norm sized ears and the medium fits me quite perfectly. The fit is superb, the gel ear tips adapt to the ear canal and manage to do a great job in dissipating the stress that Bluetooth headsets normally take on your ear. The gelly substance is a very forgiving material and a great step away from the usual harsh plastic edges of Bluetooth headsets. The soft gel does attract dust and dirt fairly quickly, but the feel and fit is really quite amazing. I can’t stress enough how good it feels in your ear
My only concern is the quality of the volume buttons. Instead of being made from a harder material such as plastic, the buttons are constructed from a fragile soft rubber. In fact, when having a conversation with the headset on, I attempted to change the volume but in doing so, punctured said rubber volume button. The replacement headset had no such quality problems so it may be that my first headset was just an isolated issue, but it is still worthy to note.
Pairing the iPhone with the Plantronics Discovery 665 was a cinch. Turn on Bluetooth on the iPhone and press the button on the headset for 10 seconds until it blinks red and blue. Select 6xxPlantronics on the iPhone and type in the 0000 passkey and you’re done. You’ll never have to pair it again, the iPhone automatically recognizes the headset whenever the headset is turned on and directs all calls to the headset. The ease of the whole connection is great for those who demand technology to make their lives easier.
The headset isn’t too complicated to use, there is one main “call control” button and two volume buttons. Essentially, the main button does the brunt of the work while the volume buttons just control the volume. To charge the headset, you place the headset into its ‘base station’ and plug the holster into either the car charger or USB charger. The base station also plugs into a triple AAA battery charger and AC adapter but those are not included with the headset. The idea of a base station is unique, it also doubles as a holster for the headset and lights up when there is an incoming call.
The range of the headset is great, I managed to maintain a conversation about 15 feet away from the iPhone with little to no quality loss. When jumping into the 30’s of feet, the quality loss is more pronounced but that issue is common among all Bluetooth headsets on the market.
The battery life, however, is sub par when compared to other headsets currently on the market. Having a listed life of 3 hours and 30 minutes and a 3 day standby time, I managed to get a shade over that, which is always a pleasure, but compared to the more common 7-8 hours of talk time and 5-6 days of standby on the market today, the Plantronics Discovery 665 is definitely on the low end of the spectrum in terms of battery life.
According to Plantronics, the Plantronics Discovery 665 is supposed to reduce background noise by 50%, though in my tests with the headset, the results varied from situation to situation. Talking in noisier environments such as outdoors or in the car with the radio on, the headset was a very average performer. The callers I spoke to, often claimed to hear heightened background noise, which they didn’t hear when I was using the iPhone itself. But when I used the headset in quieter areas, such as inside the car with no radio or in the bedroom with no noise, few callers noticed that I was even using a Bluetooth headset, and we’re truly surprised to find out that I was. Though its performance in noisier environment leaves room to be desired, its quality in the quieter environments is definitely noteworthy.
The claims that Plantronics markets are hefty, but in some situations, the technology inside the Discovery 665 does deliver. Though it doesn’t have great noise-canceling technology, if you were going to use this headset more in the car than out walking on busy streets, it would be a perfect addition to your mobile life.
This is where the headset really shined. Using the AudioIQ technology, I noticed a significant difference when using the headset outdoors and indoors. The AudioIQ technology essentially smartens up the incoming audio—if you are in a noisy area, it increases the volume and if you are in a quiet area, it’ll adjust the volume to your surroundings. What is surprising is that the Audio IQ actually works. When I was at the park filled with little children running around, I had no problem hearing the voice of the caller—the headset automatically adjusted its settings for the environment. The idea of the AudioIQ is simple and smart, and especially useful considering how delicate the volume controls are.
The incoming audio is very, very good. In fact, I’d rate it better than almost all Bluetooth headsets on the market and even clearer than the iPhone itself. I found myself reaching to use the Bluetooth headset even when my hands were free because of the superb incoming quality. Callers were clear and pronounced, static was nonexistent and I never had trouble hearing any parts of the conversation. Combining those facts with the extremely comfortable fit, the Plantronics Discovery 665 is a true winner in enhancing the user experience.
Though its incoming audio quality is very average, the Plantronics Discovery 665’s sleek design, exceptional fit, and excellent incoming audio quality is perfect for anybody looking for a Bluetooh headset. Adding to the fact that the headset pairs wonderfully easily with the iPhone, the Plantronics Discovery 665 should be considered a BUY.
The ideal user of the Plantronics Discovery 665 would most likely be those who frequently use their cell phones in the car. Others who mostly use a headset on foot or in a cramped subway will certainly have issues with their outgoing voice quality but the Plantronic’s AudioIQ will accommodate incoming audio quality for those noisier surroundings.
I can fully recommend this headset to anyone who is looking to upgrade or simply looking for a headset that looks sleek, fits and feels great, and most importantly, enhances audio quality.