Bluetooth Headsets are pretty common place these days. I myself can’t casually walk around with the thing stuck in my ear where as others aren’t phased by some doodad hanging off their head. Thanks to a new California law it’s now required that you use a handsfree device while driving. Thank God, because cell phones and SUVs don’t mix.
In my opinion, a Bluetooth headset should be both utilitarian and somewhat aesthetically pleasing. Does the Plantronics Voyager 510 meet these stipulations? Read on to find out.
Is the Plantronics Voyager 510 any different from other bluetooth headsets?
Yes, it is. In addition to being able to pair the Voyager 510 with a cell phone, it can also be used in conjunction with a computer. Some might think this is pretty common place as well, but without the included Plantronics USB Bluetooth Adapter, I struggled to get my Macbook to recognize it as a mic or headphone. In addition, the Voyager 510 can be paired with two Bluetooth devices (something Plantronics calls Windsmart) allowing you to answer calls or incoming chats from either device with no effort on the user’s part.
How’s battery life?
I always find it difficult to truly gauge battery life with devices like this. I use my cell phone a few times a day, nothing extensive, and found myself charging the Voyager 510 every 2-3 days. Standby time was a solid 3-4 days, with the 4th stretching it a bit. When the battery starts to die, it switches from a blinking blue to an alternating blue and red flash. Unfortunately, when battery life starts to go, which is also signified by an intermittent beeping noise, so did the quality of my voice on the receiving caller’s end.
Is it comfortable?
In the past I’ve struggled to find a comfortable Bluetooth headset. The Voyager 510 is just large enough to hold on tight to your ear, and small and light enough not to cause any ear pain from extended use. In fact, sometimes I forgot I was even wearing the Voyager 510. Included in the box are 3 ear piece attachments. I chose the middle sized one which seemed to work fine, but I didn’t find myself needing to jam this thing deep into my ear canal to hear the other caller.
How’s the sounds quality and connection?
Over the included USB Bluetooth adapter, sound quality is top notch. I made numerous calls over Skype and iChat and enjoyed virtually crystal clear sound, putting aside the Internet connection. Unfortunately, the tests with my iPhone didn’t prove so positive. Although most of the time I could hear the callers fine via my iPhone, often times I would experience ‘crackle and pop’ in the connection. Furthermore, pairing the Voyager 510 with my iPhone proved challenging. In my most recent testing, I’ve had to ‘unpair’ the Voyager 510 from my iPhone and then ‘pair’ it again to obtain a connection. In an ideal world, I’d hit the ‘connect’ button once and the two would pair. This isn’t to say the Voyager 510 has a shortcoming, but it just doesn’t appear to be ideal for iPhone use, iPhone Gen 1 that is.
How long does charging take?
You can grab a partial charge on 20 minutes if you’re trying to get a quick meeting or conversation in. For a full charge you’ll need 3 hours.
I’ve got massive hands, will it be a pain to work the Voyager 510?
Worry not, I’ve got reasonably large hands and I didn’t suffer too much. The volume button was surprisingly easy to reach during a call, where as the power button requires you to remove the Voyager 510 from your ear, unless of course you wanna crush your cartilage – the power button requires a bit more strength to toggle it on and off. On the side of the Voyager 510, just above the ear piece, is the connect/disconnect button. This is easy to reach and works just fine.
Is it worth buying?
The Plantronics Voyager 510 is worth it’s weight in gold. It’s a tad on the larger size, but with that comes comfort and decently long battery life. I’m marking the Plantronics Voyager with a ‘buy’
The Plantronics Voyager 510 is available here for $45 with Free Shipping