Lync headset: Jabra Evolve 65 MS, Stereo review

For some time now, I’ve had the pleasure of using the Jabra Evolve 65 MS Stereo headset on my Lync client. I would like to share my experiences in this blogpost.

As you all probably know, the importance of proper end user equipment in Lync is vital for user adoption. All Lync users should have access to a Lync certified headset and camera. Without such equipment, the user experience is most likely to be degraded and the user adoption of Lync as a communication solution will suffer.

The Jabra Evolve series is a new series of headsets from Jabra which focuses on design and audio quality. The models comes in both stereo and mono editions, and ranges from the top model Evolve 80 UC with active noise cancelling down to Evolve 20 which is the entry model. All models can be viewed here.

My choice of the Evolve 65 MS Stereo was based on portability and the option to be able to work wirelessly via Bluetooth connected to both my Lync client and cell phone. The headset comes in a pouch and is provided with a USB cable for connecting to the PC/Mac and a USB dongle for Bluetooth connection(if your computer doesn’t have Bluetooth integrated).
Evolve 65 MS Stereo

Connecting the headset is very easy, just turn it on and push the power button all the way up and hold until instructed on how to locate Bluetooth device.

Once connected, you can start using the headset for Lync, Skype and music.

Personally, I like the concept of being able to play music from my computer while working and at the same time being able to answer my incoming calls in one device. The Jabra Evolve 80 MS Stereo is probably better if you have to “zone out” an focus deeply in a matter which requires your absolute attention, but the Jabra Evolve 65 MS Stereo works absolutely to my expectations in my regular day to day tasks.

Jabra Evolve 65 MS Stereo

This picture shows the schematics of the headset. The microphone boom-arm can be flipped to either side as it has a 270 degree adjustment.

The busylight indicator can be turned on and off manually, allowing you to signal to you co-workers that you are busy and don’t want to be disturbed.

Using the Jabra Evolve 65 MS Stereo
Using the Jabra Evolve 65 MS Stereo, Busylight indicator on.

Some organisations may have limitations in what kind of equipment the users are allowed to purchase in terms of prices etc. However, it’s of great importance that the equipment is of a quality that allows for good end user experience regarding audio and video. The Jabra Evolve 65 MS Stereo is by my opinion one of the best alternatives when it comes to headsets, and the price should not intimidate anyone.

My recommendation when it comes to Lync Headsets.

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39 thoughts on “Lync headset: Jabra Evolve 65 MS, Stereo review

  1. Thanks for doing the review. A Couple of questions: do you use a Mac or Windows? can you connect the smartphone and PC simultaneously? i.e. listening to music via bluetooth and then have a Lync call come in over USB?

    1. Hi Chris. I’m using it both on a Mac and Windows client. Playing music via bluetooth and answering incoming Lync call on USB is not yet tested 😃 I would imagine I have to mute the music player manually as the two connections don’t interact. Must try that one 😃

      1. Thanks for the reply. In some of the documentation, it is inferred that this can be done, whereby one of the connections (guessing USB) has priority? It’s vague… there was reference to configuring this in the included SW, which appears to be only PC.

      2. Hi Chris.
        Just tested playing music from my iPhone over Bluetooth while connected to my Windows client over USB. The headset is automatically switching to the incoming call over USB. Thumbs up for Jabra 🙂

      3. I have found the same. I found without using the the included USB interface that things are buggy. Specifically the ability to seamlessly switch between mobile audio and of audio. It seems the dongle provides PC ‘priority’ so if a lync or Webex call it takes priority and mutes the mobile. Using the native Mac Bluetooth this didn’t work correctly.

        I’ve also found that when doing certain things on the MAC that are audio intensive (ie Webex), I have to shutdown Bluetooth on the mobile or it will try to interrupt the Webex audio session when a call comes in and I cant testa lush without leaving the meeting and coming back in. Likely a little room from improvement on the Webex side probably.

    2. That said, this is still the best headset I’ve used! Battery life if very good and the range using the single is quite good in my home office environment.

  2. Hi Tom,
    thank you for your feedback. I am looking to purchase this headset but I have some questions without answers…

    Do you how long is the USB cable?

    On the headset, is the USB connector a micro-USB one?

    1. It is me again, I receive an answer from Jabra support:
      – USB cable is 0.80 meter long (seems a little bit short to use the headset plugged in case of low battery)
      – Yes, it is a standard micro-USB connector.

  3. Tom I just want to make sure that, additional to bluetooth connection, I can connect evolve 65 MS to PC using USB or 3.5mm Jacket. Can you please confirm that possibility ? Thx a lot for your help and have a great day

      1. Hi Tom !
        Thanks a lot for your super fast reply. Enjoy the day

        Paulo

  4. Hi Tom !
    One more question. When connected on laptop using USB, can I capture any sound like music, brainshark presentations, webex, etc or just specific ones like Lync calls ?

    Thx again

    Paulo

    1. Hi Paulo.
      You can play all sounds from your client using the headset with USB connection.Just set it as default output in sound settings on your client.

      /Tom

  5. Hey Tom,

    Thanks for the detailed review. I have a Plantronics headset now that has an active mute button. On the Jabra site, it has indications that a mute button is present, but I was curious to know if it would be located on the Dangle or on the Actual set itself?

    -Brendon

  6. Hi Tom,
    did you notice that when using the headset with the pc dongle and playing some music, that once you switch in the windows sound tab to microphone (recording devices) the quality of the playback gets suddenly worse? The same applies to my Dragon NaturallySpeaking, once I turn on the mic.
    Did you experience that also? I think it might be that the headset switches to some kind of voice-enhanced playback, once it thinks that I am in a call mode.
    Thanks you.
    Greetings, Chris

  7. Tom, what is lync? I don’t think I use this at all. Would I be safe purchasing a non lync replacement bt receiving dongle.They go for $7 vs $60. Obviously, I lost the original receiver.

    1. Hi Aron.
      Lync(or Skype for Business as it’s called after Microsoft rebranded it) is a Solution for collaboration.
      Don’t think you will have a problem using a non Lync replacement BT for this headset. You could end up loosing some functionality or experiencing connectivity problems.

  8. Hi Tom, Thanks for providing such a good in-depth review of the Evolve 65! I’m looking to purchase one of these however I have a question in regards to noise canceling on the MIC.

    I work in a small noisy office with many of my Skype callers complaining of background noise such as people talking, door opening / closing, aircon, printer etc… with my current Logitech wireless headset. Are you still using this headset? If so, does it still work well for you? Has this ever been an issue? What type of environments do you tend to use this headset?

    Thanks In Advance,
    Shane.

    1. Hi Shane. The headset is OK in a rather noisy environment but does not have active noise cancelling. However, due to the quality of the earpads it does filter out some noise. Regarding the MIC, the cancelling of background noise is very good. I’ve never had complaints from any of my callers regarding background noise. But again, this would ofcourse depend on the environment you’re working in. Overall a very good headset, but you’ll probably find better ones if not in the same price category.

      1. Hi Shane.
        I’ve used both headsets, and if the higher cost of the Plantronics Voyager Focus UC is acceptable I would definately choose the Focus. The best headset I’ve ever used without a doubt.

  9. Hi Tom,

    I have a standard small laptop with Windows 7 Home Premium. When I try to pair my Jabra Evolve 65 Stereo to my laptop, without the USB bluetooth adapter, it simply just can’t find it. Yes the laptop’s bluetooth is working, and I register that both devices are looking for each other, but still “no answer”! Do I really HAVE to use the adapter? My phone can easily pair with it.

    You see, sometimes I take them home with me, forgetting the adapter in the USB slot at work! 😦

    Oh by the way, I still love the headset. It’s absolutely fantastic, both for music and calling. And with the USB adapter it can easily reach 20 meters away, which makes me able to dance my way to the copy room with music in my ears. 🙂

    1. Hi Rune.
      It should be possible to use the headset with embedded Bluetooth, but I reccomend using the USB dongle. The sound quality and other features sometimes isn’t as good as it should be with the PC’s embedded BT. Check the BT firmware on your laptop and make sure you have the latest FW on your headset.

  10. Hi Tom,

    thanks for your review!

    I was just wondering ( as I am currently struggling in that point with my Logitech H800 Headset) if the mute button in the Jabra Headset does activate the mute functionality of Lync / S4B iteself, so that everybody can see that you are muted?!

    Having 2 channels for mute (Lync built-in, Headset built-in) really pisses me off.

    Thanks in advance!

    Regards, Dennis

    1. Sorry for the late answer Dennis.
      Must say that I haven’t tested this myself. I would assume that the headset interacts with the Lync client. Have to try it out 😃

      1. Funnily enough, I am looking for the same answer. I have just got my 65 and it appears that using the mute button on the headset just mutes the headset. I believe the call answer/end button doesn’t interact with Lync but may do with more traditional Bluetooth devices such as mobiles. I’m using Lync 2013.

        I am currently looking into this but perhaps a plugin is needed.

      2. After testing, it does indeed interact with Lync. However, there is a catch.

        Firstly, the headset must pair with the Jabra 360 Link Bluetooth dongle as a condition. Then, the headset sees the laptop as a computer and not a mobile device (which is how it sees the on-board Bluetooth, a Broadcom chip btw).

        Secondly, you do need some software: Jabra Direct. This allows you to configure the headset for the Lync softphone. It includes the ability to enable the busy light, increase the Bluetooth range and change its default settings which you could not otherwise do.

        Once these two are done, Lync will detect the USB dongle as a supported device and create a new headset profile. This then allows you to start/end a call using the buttons on the headset including the mute ability which actually mutes Lync and the headset at the same time.

        So, yes the 65 does integrate with Lync but you it needs the USB dongle connected to work. Frustratingly, I have no more USB ports (hence why i went with Bluetooth in the first place!) so I will need to make do without the ‘integrated’ functions.

        Hope this helps others also wondering the same thing.

      3. I might add to Popolou’s comments that all of this appears to be Windows-specific. While these utilities exist on the Mac, I have been unsuccessful to get the utility to work against Lync and Jabber, despite upgrading the Jabber utils, Lync and Jabber on the Mac. It all still works great, I just don’t get push-button answer, red-light or muting through the headset directly.

      4. An interesting update.

        Having recently had both a hardware and software refresh, it appears that the headset is now fully integreated with Skype for Business (Lync) 2016 without the need of the OEM dongle. It is possible that since the new laptop uses Bluetooth v4.2 (whilst the earlier laptop is using v4.0) additional BT profiles may well be allowing for a deeper integration.

        During a lync call, I have noticed that the red busy light illuminates, the mute function isolates the microphone (as opposed to using Lync’s mute function) and the on-board volume controls affect the volume at the laptop level. Call quality has also increased with few pops and stutters which i presume is a further improvement with later BT revisions.

        The Jabra Direct software and dongle will still be needed for firmware updates however.

  11. Hi Tom,

    I have the same experience as Chris. When I activate the mic then the sound becomes terrible. And when I connect it to my iPhone the music sound is perfect but the Skype for Business sound is very bad. Do you know a solution? It sounds like the stereo sound is converted into mono in a wrong way!

    Thanks, Marko

    (Post from Chris: did you notice that when using the headset with the pc dongle and playing some music, that once you switch in the windows sound tab to microphone (recording devices) the quality of the playback gets suddenly worse? The same applies to my Dragon NaturallySpeaking, once I turn on the mic. Did you experience that also? I think it might be that the headset switches to some kind of voice-enhanced playback, once it thinks that I am in a call mode.)

    1. Hi Marko.
      I have not used this headset for a while now, but one tip would be to check the firmware on the headset and to use the provided USB dongle. I have experienced poor sound quality when using embedded BT on my laptop.

      1. Tom thanks for the reply,

        I have the latest version of all components (all is new) and we have tested 8 sets all with the same problem. Only music works fine and all the other options that needs a mic is terrible. We need to suspend the move to Skype for business due to this matter. I hope Jabra has a solution for us. Because with this quality of sound we can not move to Skype for business 😦 If they have a solution then I will post it. Thanks so far.

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