Bluetooth headsets often offer the same feature set, the same styling, and the same performance. Plantronics is known for offering unique takes on Bluetooth Headsets and often add a new wrinkle to each headset in their product line. Popular because of their comfortable fit and Audio IQ technology, the Plantronics line constantly innovates.
With the Plantronics Voyager 815 Bluetooth Headset ($89.95), the innovation is an in-ear earbud and a sliding boom mic. Do they create a better Bluetooth Headset? Or are these features just bells and whistles? How does the Plantronics Voyager 815 perform?
Read on for the rest of the review!
Ed note: people looking to future-proof themselves might consider the Plantronics Voyager 855, it's identical to the 815 but supports A2DP Stereo for music. If the iPhone ever supports Bluetooth Stereo, it's a good option. Note, however, that the 855 has a 2nd earbud attached to the earhook, which might be annoying
The Plantronics Voyager 815 falls in line with the look of a classic Plantronics headset. The sleek black plastic is outlined by a silver strip that tastefully adds symmetry to the design. It is extremely lightweight and feels very durable, Plantronics succeeds again in creating another quality looking Bluetooth Headset. The build quality is definitely that of a higher end headset.
There are three different in-ear earbuds you can insert to fit your ear not to mention the standard, included one. The in-ear earbuds are soft and malleable, they fit gently yet securely, in your ear. I found that the in-ear earbuds were very similar to high-grade earphones such as those from V-moda and Shure. Also, there are 2 different ear loops that allow you to stabilize the headset, though not required, I found it more comfortable with the ear loops attached.
The sliding boom mic is a unique feature in that it is supposed to make your outgoing audio sound clearer. There is no lock or extra click to fasten the boom mic, rather just simply a smooth slide to utilize the mic. You can also answer and end calls via sliding the boom mic. Though when extended, I felt the mic extension wouldn’t be as durable as the rest of the body of the headset because the plastic thins out. The headset is charged via micro USB.
The overall fit of the Plantronics Voyager 815 boils down to if you prefer the in-ear fit of noise isolating ear buds over the classic, less immersive regular earphones. Because this is strictly an in-ear headset, those who prefer the alternative should reconsider. The earbuds are of high quality materials and fit snugly in your ear canal, though the in-ear design may rub off some, the comfortable earbuds combined with the lightweight headset equals a great, almost unnoticeable fit.
The benefit of an in-ear design is that it blocks out surrounding noise and allows for a clear conversation. I found that though I’m typically not a fan of in-ear designs, using this headset is almost enough to convert me. Combining the AudioIQ technology (which automatically adjusts the volume to your surrounding) with the in-ear design, the incoming audio is superb. No static, great volume, and no background noise.
In varied tests with the PLantronics Voyager 815, I found that the outgoing audio quality was absolutely superb in quiet settings. Callers could hear my voice clearly without any digitization and no echoing. I was stunned by the quality of the outgoing audio quality, it worked wonderfully.
However, the Plantronics Voyager 815 isn’t quite the noise assassin that the Jawbone is so background noise is a bit of a problem. Extending the boom mic does help outgoing audio quality in this regard but the overall effect is minimal. Given a quiet surrounding and the Plantronics Voyager 815 excels, with a noisier background its performance is middling.
The Plantronics Voyager 815 Bluetooth Headset has become my go-to headset. The in-ear design blocks out surrounding noise and allows you to focus on the conversation. The fit is perfect, its lightweight body resting gently on your ears. The outgoing audio quality is superb when it is quiet and performs as well as most other headsets when background noise exists.
I think this is the perfect headset for anyone who prefers an in-ear design. The sleek and modern look is an added bonus and the comfortable fit is consistent with the Plantronics platform. Overall, this is easily one of the better headsets on the market today. You should consider it a BUY if you are looking for an in-ear design and a comfortable fit with great audio quality.