Plantronics CS70 Gray Ear-Hook Headsets Reviews

Plantronics CS70 Gray Ear-Hook Headsets

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Excellent audio, poor range, not an "out of the box" experience

Jan 20, 2007
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Audio quality, noise cancelling microphone, security

Cons:High Price, Necessary "options," VERY SHORT RANGE, occasional interference issues

The Bottom Line: If you need a wireless telephone headset with good audio quality and digital security; this is currently the best on the market. If not, wait for the next model.

After many disappointments with corded and wireless headsets and the unavailability of a Bluetooth™ option for our phone system, I purchased the CS70 because of its use of the 6.0 DECT (1.9 GHz) band, digitally-encrypted audio (Essential for our health care office, after having a local scanner hobbyist e-mail us some of our conversations from 5.8 GHz "analog" cordless telephones.), the reported 300 foot range, less chance of interference with 2.4 GHz WiFi networks (and the other myriad of gadgets in that crowded frequency band) and recommendations that the audio was "second to none."

Other cordless headsets that we had purchased in the past were useless when trying to communicate with some of our elderly, hard-of-hearing clients. The CS70 allows adjustments of both incoming and outgoing audio from moderate levels to almost painfully loud. At the highest volume settings it could almost qualify as a speaker phone in a quiet room! We have received many unsolicited compliments about our telephone call sound quality from the hard of hearing. Comments such as: "What telephone are you using? I can't understand anybody else on the telephone except when your office calls." Our clients who have difficulty hearing are much more likely to answer our calls when they see our number in the caller ID because of this. Apparently the Plantronics noise-cancelling and digital audio processing increases the intelligibility. The 64-bit audio encryption, sufficient for all but the most demanding security environments, does not degrade the audio quality – something that we noted with cordless telephones we’ve had in the past from Panasonic and Uniden that use FHSS or DSS (“frequency hopping spread spectrum” or “digital spread spectrum”) although, as far as we know they are quite secure and our calls were never monitored successfully.

The optional Handset Lifter HL-10 is anything but “optional.” It is a “must have” with this device. The whole point of having a cordless headset is not having to return to the base unit for every function – especially to pick up and hang up the phone! For the price Plantronics is charging, the HL-10 should be included. Furthermore, the HL-10’s compatibility, even with models that are so listed on the Plantronics website, is a relative term that will require some ingenuity to insure reliability. In our experience, a small piece of Velcro™ to attach the handset to the lifter works wonders, but it took several hours of “trial and error” to figure this out. Use enough Velcro™ to secure the handset when moved by the lifter, but not so much that the handset cannot be easily removed without yanking the lifter out of position.

The biggest disappointment with the CS70 is the range. The listed “up to 300 feet” is a joke. Even in completely open terrain with no intervening walls in a flat rural area of Florida with no known powerful electromagnetic radiation sources. The best distance we could achieve was 60-75 feet and still have reliable, noise-free communications even with optimal base unit positioning in an elevated location away from all metal and other electronic devices. The range indoors, in an office environment, with sheetrock, non-metallic walls and the usual collection of office equipment and furniture drops to 50 feet AT BEST. With the metallic studs that are used as wall supports in many commercial building, the CS70 basically becomes a “line of sight” device over 25-30 feet. In one of our clinics, the range was so short that we thought that we had a defective unit. However, after exchanging it for another CS70, we got the same results. Of course, very few of us need a range of 300 feet, but it is very annoying to drop a call while making a short trip down the hall for a file. The short range reduces the CS70’s usefulness as an aid to “multitasking.” Could it be that the lack of an external antenna is responsible for this? Somebody needs to call Plantronics “on the carpet” for their bogus range claims.

The headset, although it appears bulky, is surprisingly comfortable. Battery life is outstanding. And the headset recharges rapidly, making it easy to use the CS70 all day. If you’re a big talker, you might have to leave headset in the charger during lunch. We can’t comment on battery longevity since we’ve only had the CS70’s for a couple of months.

Although the CS70 touts its interference resistance, we've had trouble with the CS70 in our office near the airport. These problems did not affect the "frequency hopping" cordless phones in either the 2.4 and 5.8 GHz bands that we've had in the past. Also, some PDA telephones, like the Cingular 8125 and others, intermittently interfere with the CS70. Every few minutes there will be several seconds of static and the outgoing audio is dropped. What the source of this interference is, we still haven't determined. But it seems that it would have to either be the Bluetooth or WiFi transmitters.

Recommend this product? Yes

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Plantronics Eartips for CS70 Series, Product # 72913-01, Ear Tip Kit, 2 Foam Eartips, 3 Gel Eartips, For Use w/ Plantronics Models: CS70, CS70 HL10, C...
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Type Headset Specifications TALK TIME Approximately 6 hours RANGE Up to 300 feet OPER. FREQUENCY DECT 6.0 (1.9 GHz) SECURITY/PRIVACY 64-bit digital en...
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