With an increase in my commute and new laws going into effect for Illinois regarding cell phone use, my wife got me the Plantronics Voyager Pro+ Bluetooth Headset. July’s new laws state that you can’t be on the phone unless you’re using a hands-free device while driving through construction zones or school zones. Although construction is wrapping up now, I had to drive through plenty of construction zones this summer and you never know when a school zone might pop up when driving through an unknown town. Not only is a Bluetooth headset practically required by law at this point but it’s more comfortable for long calls and makes multi-tasking easy. Not only all that, but it seems the technology is also finally there as the Voyager Pro+ offers a significant upgrade to the Voyager Pro at the same price.
Only the Voyager Pro was available in my local stores, so we went through Amazon to get the Voyager Pro+ version of the headset. In my opinion, there is little to no reason to get the Voyager Pro when you can get the Voyager Pro+ at the same price. Overall they are much the same headset:
- same battery life at 6 hours talk time and 6 days standby
- the ear piece and mic boom can be rotated to accommodate either left or right ear
- power and volume control, independent of the phone’s volume, on the headset
- 3 swappable ear tip sizes with foam covers secured by a lock and twist
A nice thing about the Pro+ is that it gives more frequent audible updates regarding the battery life of the headset. It will tell you the talk time remaining for the headset upon powering on and ending phone calls whereas with its previous generation, you’d have to pay attention to the blinking lights on the back of the headset for that answer. The coolest difference between the two is that the Voyager Pro+ supports the A2DP Bluetooth profile. If your phone also supports this, it means you can stream more than just phone calls through the headset. I listen to audio books, Pandora, game audio, voice mail, and phone calls, all through the headset. The nice thing about this arrangement is that the phone will automatically pause what I’m listening to and I can answer the call at a touch of a button on the headset instead of trying to grab the MP3 player or turn off the radio and answer the phone before they hang up, not a great scenario while driving. The headset allows me to easily hear what I’m listening to whereas I might have to pump up the volume on an MP3 player and the car’s radio in order to listen to an audio book through the car’s speakers.
Of course, call quality is probably what matters most when considering a Bluetooth headset and I’ve received compliments that the calls were clearer and I was easier to hear than before. The headset also looks professional, or as professional as one can look with a headset on over their ear. There are headsets with smaller microphones but from what I’ve read the audio quality drops with it. I’m also on the soft spoken side and the extended microphone means I don’t have to talk any louder than normal and I can actually talk quieter if I’m out in public and don’t want to disturb others. It’s also comfortable to wear throughout the drive and far more comfortable than holding the phone to your head or tipping your head and using your shoulder to hold the phone. With a range of about 32 feet, you also don’t have to have the phone on you the whole time. I’ve used the headset to talk on the phone while I prepared dinner with both hands and my phone sat safely well out of the splash radius.
My only complaints with the headset are simple and minor. I would have preferred a sliding power switch instead of the ‘press and hold’ button that it currently has. Plantronics also provides an iPhone app to read the headset battery level and not having an iPhone, I wouldn’t mind there being an Android app as well. My bigger complaints aren’t with the headset but instead are how my phone acts differently while paired with a headset. For example, my phone, a Samsung Epic 4G, allows the volume control buttons on the phone’s side to work even though the screen is locked. Whereas they normally wouldn’t work, this has muted the volume more than once on me as I walk while listening to the headset. The other quirky thing about the phone is how it sends beeps and even the camera’s “click” noise (Beware of pervs again!) through the headset but when I get a notification only the last beep of the audio sound comes through the headset, the rest comes through the phone.
The last thing to say about using the headset to play audiobooks is that I haven’t found the perfect audio player yet. The built-in player doesn’t want to stop playing with the Bluetooth connected and I’m looking for an app with a bookmark ability so I can easily return to where I left off. Any suggestions for Android apps that work well for playing back audio books? I’ve tried WinAmp beta (which works the best so far but doesn’t have bookmarking and quits playing whenever multitasking) and the paid app Osplay (which only detects the first track of my merged mp3 file). Other than these preferences and phone issues, I’m very happy with the headset and have a more enjoyable commute now.