Wireless Luxury, Bleh Sound
May 24, 2011 (Updated May 24, 2011)
Review by Guy Techie
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Wireless convenience, goes pretty far, good battery life
Cons:Sound quality lacking, difficult to master the controls
The Bottom Line: At $200, it's expensive, but it's wireless, and can pair with a cell phone as well.
I've been tasked to test and review a few headsets for Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 (OCS) and Lync 2010 (which we will be upgrading to). I've already tested a couple of wired headsets from the low to mid end. Today, a high end Bluetooth solution found it's way to my desk. The packaging was actually very retail worthy, and I had high hopes. I just love opening up pretty boxes.
Recommend this product?
Plantronics Savi Go WG100/B Attributes
The Plantronics Savi Go WG100/B is not labeled as optimized for OCS or Lync. However, there is a similar model that is (Savi Go WG101/B).
Unfortunately, our vendor does not carry the WG101/B, so we figured the WG100/B was close enough. Since the non-Microsoft sanctioned model is the one I have, I will review it.
Being a wireless headset that hangs on to your ear, it reminds me a lot of the Plantroics CS55 wireless headset for office phones I reviewed eons ago. I also have (but have not reviewed) the USB version for computer use (CS50-USB). The headset themselves are the same, but the home base is different (one for USB, the other connects to your office phone).
This time around, it's a Bluetooth device, much like the ones used on your cell phone. In fact, the Savi Go can also work with your cell phone. It can be paired up to your cell while still remain paired to the USB dongle that will be connected to your PC.
The earpiece is slightly larger than a pack of gum, except that it has about 2 inches of boom for the mic. It's completely hard plastic, so the boom is not adjustable, short of moving the entire device up and down. There is an LED that lights up red, blue or purple (red and blue together) to indicate various modes, functions, or warnings. A single chrome-colored plastic nub functions as both a answer/end button, as well as a volume up/down rocker.
It comes with a behind-the-ear loop already installed, but can be removed so you can install the included headband if you feel that having this thing hang off your ear lobe is too much to bear.
The earphone itself is completely encased in rubber with a small opening for the sound to channel into your ear canal. It doesn't look comfortable, but it's not that bad. However, because of this design, I could not recommend my boss to mass order these for company use - even for just the executives (who else would be getting this luxuriously priced headset?).
It comes with a weighted base which allows for the earpiece to dock and charge. A small power brick is supplied and will be connected to the weighted base.
There is also a USB cable that can be used to charge the device. It does not offer any kind of data connection. It's just for power. Between the weighted base and the USB cable, it is obvious that Plantronics want you to travel with the Savi Go WG100. Unfortunately, the USB cable is not standard, so if you loose it, you would have to purchase it from Plantronics.
Plantroics also bundled two foam covers for the earphone. I'm not sure how that would help, since it would stifle the sound channel. Also, because of the shape of the rubber earpiece, it would be a tight fit for the foam.
Of course, there is the USB dongle that connects to your PC that allows for the headset to communicate with your PC via Bluetooth. It is not simply a Bluetooth dongle. The dongle actually shows up as a USB sound device to Windows, and is only good for pairing up to other Plantronics Bluetooth audio devices.
The included PerSonos Suite software allows for some customization, but you can actually do without it, since the software doesn't really do much.
It's actually easy to set up. Just plug and go. It already comes paired from the factory. Even if you wish to re-pair them, all you have to do is hit the small button on the dongle until it blinks, then push and hold the answer/end button until it is paired.
Due to the multi-functional nature of the small nub, I found it hard to control the device. Am I turning the volume up or down? Is the microphone muted? Am I running out of battery? Am I in pairing mode?
The PerSono Suite has a small tray icon that shows the battery level. However, there is no visual indication if your microphone is muted. Instead, you just hear a beep every so often to remind you. Of course, the same beep is also there to warn you that your batter is low.
If that wasn't confusing enough, if you were trying to lower the volume by pulling on the nub, you will find yourself muting the microphone instead. To unmute, you do the same thing. To really lower the volume, you are suppose to pull down on the nub, then let go, and keep doing that until you hit the desired volume level. You push up on the nub to turn the volume up, but as far as I can tell, holding the nub up does not do anything else like pulling the nub down (which is mute). Are you getting all this?
Also, as expected, the answer/end button does nothing for Microsoft OCS 2007 or Lync 2010.
Battery life is amazing! I was able to use it for 2 days before needing to recharge it. This is with heavy testing for a few hours (probably a total of 8 hours of continuous use), and the rest of the day it was spent idling but still actively connected to the PC.
Of course, comfort is a subjective thing. It wasn't exactly comfortable for me, but it was bearable. I didn't like the hanging-of-your-lobe ear loop. Instead, I opted for the headband. I wear glasses, so the loop would cause discomfort after some time. Also, as light as the earpiece was, it wasn't light enough for my lobe to hold it up for extended amount of time.
Even with the headband, the rubber tip that juts into my ear canal wasn't comforting, either. I got used to it after a while, until I move my head around. I would then be able to feel the small movements of the rubber tip touching the inside of my ear canal. That gives me the willies.
Wireless and sound quality doesn't go well together. Neither does having a rubber tip going into your ear canal. So what caused the bad sound quality? Could it be a combination of the two?
While it's not made for music, Windows treat the WG100 like another USB audio device, so you can actually play music through it. Unlike the wired headsets I've tried, the WG100 will not be able to double as your descrete music companion. At least not in a satisfying way. Everything sounded strain, and in fact, as if you were listening through a telephone (only slightly better). This is fine for telephony duties.
The microphone does pick up well, but the sound on the other side sounds less defined as the wired solutions. This is probably due to the high compression used for wireless transmission.
The price you pay for wireless is sound quality. That's a shame. However, it is very convenient as you can walk away from your desk (about 30 feet for me). You can also move around your desk without getting tangled up in wires. However, moving around with the ear lobe loop is not very comfortable, as it dangles and moves about. I find that the headset made it better.
For voice only use, it's pretty good. However, it would be better if the answer/end button would work with Microsoft OCS and Lync.
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