Headset review: Plantronics v8200 UC

Another headset review coming up. This time it’s the new Plantronics Voyager 8200 UC, a boom less headset for the business market aimed at the productive worker needing a headset to block out unwanted noise in an open office environment.

The Plantronics Voyager 8200 UC is such a headset. It’s delivered in a soft pouch together with a USB Bluetooth dongle(always use it when connecting to your PC/Mac), a USB charging cable and a mini jack cable for those times when Bluetooth cannot be used(in flight mode for example). The headset is available in two colors, black(the one showed in this post) and white. It has a quite nice finish with leather and aluminum, and no microphone boom.

The boom less construction is surprisingly effective, and both audio quality during conversations and the reduction of background noise is quite good. The callee is not able to hear any noise in the background when making a call, even in a quite noisy environment. The ANC has two settings when turned on, that is Medium and High. With my limited hearing I’m not able to separate the two 🙂

There are also functions for open mic, mute etc. all controlled from the buttons on the headset. When playing music, you can control play/pause, skip forward and backward etc. Incoming calls are prioritized, and answering calls are done with the buttons on the headset or by the auto answer function if the headset is lying on your desk. This is one of my favourite features with Plantronics headsets designed for UC and certified for Skype for Business. The proximity sensors allows for automatic features as ANC on/off and automatic pause of movies/music and answer/mute calls when the headset is put on or taken off. The automatic disabling of ANC when the headset is not used also acts as a power saving feature.
There are however something to bear in mind when it comes to proximity sensors and machine connectivity. As mentioned earlier in this post, the USB dongle has to be used when connecting to a PC or Mac. That being said, I’ve experienced differences between Mac OSx and Windows operating systems when it comes to operating the headset. Specially the Mac OSx seems somewhat limited in regards to controlling playback of music from the headset. I’m sure this is a problem related to the operating system API and not the headset as it works fine in a Windows Client.

When it comes to playing music or watching movies using this headset, it delivers very good sound(at least in my opinion). When using the BT dongle that comes with the headset, I’ve not experienced any problems with audio playback. Some people has experienced audio delay when streaming audio over Bluetooth, but this is not my impression. I’ve tested audio streaming both with USB dongle on my MacBook and with my iPhone and experienced no audio delay.

The Plantronics Voyager v8200 UC is in my opinion a very good all round headset which delivers excellent performance both when used as a productivity headset and as an entertainment headset streaming music and watching movies. It’s a very good alternative to the Plantronics Voyager Focus UC, which in my opinion has been the best UC headset on the market up until now 🙂

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Headset review: Jabra Evolve 75 UC

After a long time without writing anything, I thought it would be nice with a review of a new headset I got to try out.

Previously, I’ve linked to Staale Hansen’s review of the Plantronics Voyager Focus UC headset. This headset is, in my opinion, one of the best UC headsets on the market.

My review this time will be of the Jabra Evolve 75 headset, which is Jabra’s alternative to Plantronics Voyager Focus UC and a step up from the Jabra Evolve 65 which I wrote about in an earlier post.

The headset comes in two different variants, one with just the headset and the other with a USB desk stand for charging the headset. The Jabra Evolve 75 is certified for Skype for Business and has passed Microsofts test regime for UC headsets(or should I say IC headset (intelligent Communications)). It has ha quite nice “pouch” to cary it around in, which is kind of a hard case which keeps the headset in place and has a little pocket in the lid for the USB cable. It also has a small slot for the USB dongle(which you would want to use together with your PC/LapTop/Mac as this is automatically paired with the headset to give you all the softphone features).

Using the headset is quite easy. The button for power on/off and bluetooth pairing is located on the same earpod as the microphone boom. The boom auto-mutes the headset when you raise it to an upright position and it’s beeing kept in place by a small magnet. The power switch can be somewhat difficult to locate when wearing the headset, as it is quite small. On the other earpod, the buttons for listening in(disabling the ANC) and ANC on/off are located.

The mute button on top of the right earpod also allows for interaction with Siri(on iPhones). Press once, and Siri pops up on your phone asking what she can do for you 🙂

Press volume up/down simultaneously will turn on and off the Busylight indicator located on each of the earpods. This is one of the features of this headset that I like and miss with other vendors.

The Jabra Evolve 75 has the possibility to connect to two different Bluetooth devices simultaneously, giving you the option to stream music and answer calls on your preferred device.

All in all, Jabra Evolve 75 is a very good UC headset. Compared to the Plantronics Voyager Focus UC, it has some limitations and some advantages. The clearly visible Busylight beeing the one feature which I miss with the Voyager Focus, but the lack of smartsensors that are a very nice feature with the Foucs puts it in a 2’nd place in my opinion.
One example: On the Jabra Evolve, The ANC has to be switched off manually in order to save battery power. If you leav it on, it will consume your battery even if the headset is not used.

When it comes to audio playback and noise cancellation, both headsets are quite good and my ears are not in a state to be able to separate one from the other 🙂

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.