This is a great solution for virtual office workers
Nov 13, 2007
Review by gunf1ghter
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Great sound quality, many fitting options. Comfortable!
Cons:Expensive. Cannot be used with cordless or cellular telephones.
The Bottom Line: This is THE top flight wireless headset option for those telecommuters willing to spend the coin on it.
For over a year now I have been looking for a good wireless headset solution to use at home, in a virtual office environment. Wired headsets are a hassle. You get tangled up in the cord and you have to keep the attached cordless phone with you at all times... bluetooth solutions are few and far between and primarily rely on the use of an "adapter" that takes the output from your cordless phone and makes it bluetooth capable.
Recommend this product?
Plantronics builds some of the best office headsets you can purchase, and I wasn't aware that they could be used outside of the office environment until a co-worker mentioned to me that you could use the Plantronics wireless headsets with a regular home desk phone.
Even though the price is steep, I decided to order the CS70N and give it a try, since anyone who works from home knows, you can't put a price tag on having a good headset solution on your telephone.
The CS70 is Plantronics newest wireless headset, and the first to take advantage of 1.9ghz DECT technology. DECT allows for less interference and better range than conven tional wireless headsets, and are far less likely to get interference from microwaves, wireless LAN or other cordless telephone sets. There are currently four versions of the CS70 in the marketplace. The original CS70 makes use of a "tube" microphone and can be purchased as a standalone or bundled with the HL10 lifter module. The newer CS70N model is virtually identical to the CS70 but has a newer noise cancelling microphone which is helpful in loud environments. It also can be purchased with or without the lifter module.
A previous reviewer questioned why you would even be able to purchase this headset without the lifter module. The Plantronics CS70, as well as most of their other headsets, can be used without the lifter module if they are plugged directly into a PBX office telephone that has a dedicated headset button. These phones will typically have an RJ11 2-wire connection for a headset, which the Plantronics can be plugged into. When properly configured the Plantronics headset can answer or end calls with the headset button, WITHOUT use of the lifter module. Plantronics provides detailed configuration notes on their website about which phones will work with or without the HL10 lifter and how to set them up.
For many users (especially those using it at home) the HL10 lifter module is a MUST. The HL10 plugs into the CS70 and attaches to the side of the desk phone, and raises and lowers the telephone handset to allow the user to answer or hang up a call. When the headset button is depressed, the lifter module will raise or lower and lift the phone on or off hook which will answer or end the call.
Setup of the headset is fairly straight forward, but I did hit some bumps so I will cover the setup procedure in detail.
The headset comes out of the box without an ear piece attached. The user needs to select from one of several included ear pieces and then couple this to the headset. Where most manufacturers include a simple "push on" type of ear piece, Plantronics makes use of a locking connector that requires just a bit more effort to attach or remove the ear piece. I suspect Plantronics designed things this way to allow for a bit of movement of the ear piece (making it more comfortable) while still preventing it from becoming detached from the headset. I ultimately settled on one of the gel ear pieces and find it so comfortable I often don't realize I'm wearing the headset.
The next step in installation is attaching the included base station charger unit to your telephone. In my installation I purchased a Panasonic branded analog corded office phone (you really can't use this headset very well with a cordless phone) from Amazon.com for about $24. The cord from the telephone handset is plugged into the headset base station, and then a cord from the base plugs into the telephone where the handset would normally plug in.
Plantronics provides a very simple setup guide that makes it pretty apparent how this is done. If you are using the lifter module (as I was) then you will need to make sure the HL10 is plugged into the base and properly positioned to raise and lower the telephone receiver. Once the lifter is positioned correctly and you've tested that it can properly raise and lower the handset, it is attached by means of some very strong sticky tape (that ships pre-attached to the HL10 in the right spots). This leaves the HL10 lifter attached to your corded phone, and allows it to raise and lower the telephone handset. You can still opt to use the telephone handset normally, without using the wireless headset (the audio will pass through the base unit without any fuss).
I did run into some integration issues with the HL10 lifter unit. Upon initial installation I found that the button on the headset seemed unable to raise and lower the HL10 lifter every time it was pressed. After an hour of troubleshooting without success I went onto Plantronics website and learned how to reset the base module, and the wireless headset. After I did the reset everything worked properly (and still does, a month later). Another thing to note about the HL10 is that the cable connection on it appears "loose" where it connects to the lifter. This is apparently normal as I've seen several of them and they are all this way.
After everything is cabled up properly, you still aren't done. Plantronics provides an 800 number that you dial from the phone the headset is installed on. This 800 number walks the user through completing the setup of the telephone, which consists of adjusting a rotary configuration dial on the side of the base unit as well as the positioning of switches for the send and receive volume. I would strongly advise using this service, as it might appear your headset is working properly, but could have issues. When I initially installed my headset I ignored this step and called my wife. She reported that she couldn't hear me, even though I could hear her fine. After using the 800 setup number I discovered that the configuration dial was in the wrong position, and adjusting it corrected the issue.
The base unit is one of the nicest things about this solution. It allows for easy storage and charging of the headset, and has enough weight that it won't slide around on your desk or get knocked over (a real concern considering what one of these headsets costs). Additionally there is a switch on the base that (if selected) will allow for the answering and ending of calls by placing or replacing the headset in the charger. This is a very handy feature for those users who will not use the headset throughout the day, but want to pull the headset out of the charger and have it immediately answer the call.
Sound quality on the CS70 is the best that I've ever heard on a headset. It's really really good. I've had numerous people comment that it sounds like I'm on a very good wired phone. I haven't had any issues with static or interference and the adjustments on the base and headset itself allow for fine tuning of the volume to a level you are comfortable with. If you hold down the volume down button on the headset for three seconds the phone will be muted, an invaluable feature for being on conference calls or dealing with difficult clients.
I have found the headset range to be quite good. The charger/base sits in my home office and I've gone down to the end of my driveway (80 feet or more away) to get things out of my car and never dropped the conversation or had it break up. Will you get 100 feet out of the unit in an office environment? Probably not, but the range of any cordless device usually fails to live up to manufacturers claims.
Battery life is excellent. Plantronics claims 5 hours of talk time and I have yet to exhaust the battery in the course of a 10 hour work day. It's quite easy to place the headset on the charger when you have lunch, or if you hit a slow spot during the day, to make sure it's completely charged up.
All in all the CS70(N) coupled with an inexpensive desktop telephone provides an absolutely top notch wireless headset solution for those who need the ability to work at home and take their calls wirelessly. Not having to cradle a cordless phone against my neck means fewer trips to the chiropractor and it's nice to have a headset that will go all day on a battery charge. It doesn't hurt that I can quickly go to the kitchen to get a cup of coffee or even fix my lunch while I'm still on an important phone call.
For those telecommuters or office workers willing to pony up the $200-$300 that this solution costs, you won't regret it. It's worth every penny!
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