Review: Plantronics Voyager 855 Bluetooth Headset
With WWDC 2009 right around the corner, there is excitement in the air. The iPhone OS 3.0 software and a highly possible next generation iPhone are right around the corner. Now what does this have to with the Plantronics Voyager 855 Bluetooth Headset? The answer to that question is simple - A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile). Finally A2DP is coming to an iPhone near you... unless you still plan on keeping that first generation iPhone. (Sadly, for A2DP, you guys will need to upgrade to a current 3G model or the soon-to-be-announced next generation hardware.)
So, iPhone 3G owners, what better way to get a jump on things than by picking up the Plantronics Voyager 855 Bluetooth Headset?! It is available in TiPb's sibling store WMExperts for a cool $69.95. After the break, a full review!
The Voyager 855 consists of two pieces: a headset unit, which is where you will find all of your controls, and the detachable earpiece, which is what you will use to turn the 855 into a stereo headset - pretty crafty indeed.
The headset is sleek and stylish with its black coating with silver trimmed accents. The mic boom slides out to bring the microphone closer to your mouth. That not only makes it easier for the person with whom you are speaking to hear you, it's also a way to answer and end calls - more on that a bit later.
Next up is it's size. The Voyager tips the scales at mear .53 ounce (11 Grams) so it is surprisingly on the lighter side compared to other headsets available. It measures 2.25 inches by 0.5 inch by 0.6 inch. So again, not large by any means unless you have the boom extended. With the boom, look to add another inch or so to it's length. To get a better grasp on it's size below you will can see the Voyager next to the Jawbone 2 and Apple's no longer available headset.
Now if you are looking to get in on the stereo bluetooth action you will need the separate stereo plug-in cable with earpiece. It looks just like a regular earbud attached to an ear loop. To get stereo bluetooth you simply need to attach the ear loop with earpiece to the main headset. The stereo setup is meant to be worn with the cable resting behind your neck.
Also included in the box: ear loop stabilizer (2 sizes), sound isolating ear buds, micro USB charger, lanyard, and carrying case.
I've been using the Voyager 855 for about a week now and I will admit the sound quality is pretty good compared to other headsets I have used in the past. While the headset is not as clear as -- or does not boast noise cancelation like the Jawbone -- it does contain AudioIQ, which is simply a fancy name for digital signal processing or DSP. Without noise cancelation, loud conditions did create a bit of background noise but people I spoke with did not have any problems hearing me or vice versa. So overall the AudioIQ does it's job well. To make your voice heard even better you can also slide the boom down closer to your mouth. The boom can also be used to answer and end calls simply by sliding it out or in respectively.
The added bonus of the Voyager 855 is it's ability to turn into a stereo bluetooth headset by simply adding the stereo plug-in cable. The sound quality for listening to music was pretty decent as well. I have no complaints in that department.
The big question I always have when it comes to bluetooth headset is how comfortable is it to wear and how is the battery life? This headset comes with three earbud pairs in different sizes, allowing you to pick and choose the most comfortable fit for you. You can wear the headset with or without the included earloop, on either your left or right ear. So with that said, you should not have any issues finding the right combination that will comfortably fit your needs. Battery life was excellent. Plantronics claims 7 hours of talk time, 6 hours of listening time, and 160 hours of standby time. I've put it through the ringer this week and have had to charge it two times within the week with a good amount of usage.
The Plantronics Voyager 855 Bluetooth Headset, which is available in the WMExperts store for $69.95 is a fantastic deal. Not only will you be able to take full advantage of the upcoming 3.0's A2DP feature you get a very good overall bluetooth stereo headset.
Low price for what you get
Great battery life
No noise cancelation
Micro USB charger