Pros:great sound quality, light, very comfortable
Cons:small controls; rather obvious you have a headset on
The Bottom Line: The Plantronics Voyager 510 scores great for comfort and sound quality -- the most important aspects of a headset.
Recommend this product?
I'm in the car a lot. I'm a pretty heavy cell-phone user -- it's how my clients and wife get ahold of me when needed. So I've been using headsets for a long time. It wasn't until a year or so ago when I first got a Bluetooth-capable phone that I got a Bluetooth headset.
I had a Jabra BT160 for a while and it worked fine, but it became uncomfortable for long-term wear. Some of my clients are located a long ways away, so I decided it was time for an upgrade.
PC Magazine had given the Plantronics Voyager 510 a very positive review. So I decided to give it a try. MaryTara actually purchased it for my birthday, but wanted me to pick it out.
The Plantronics Voyager 510 is on the large side for a headset. It fits over the ear and has an earbud that fits in your ear. It has a boom mic that reaches towards your mouth. It folds up to fit easily in your pocket and is very durable -- after a month it shows no signs of wear. It is all one piece, which I appreciate -- the BT160 had a detachable ear hook which was always coming off in my pocket. It can rotate to fit on either ear.
The sound quality of the Plantronics Voyager 510 is excellent. With my phone on my belt, it is crystal clear. The mic does a very good job at screening out external noise. Previous versions of this headset had problems screening out wind noise, so Plantronics added the Windsmart wind-repelling screen. This addresses the flaw very well.
Comfort is always a concern with a Bluetooth headset. The Plantronics Voyager 510 scores top marks here, too. I can wear this all day and it's still comfortable. Because it's comfortable, I find myself using it a lot more than I did its predecessor. The over-the-ear construction spreads out the weight (.7 ounce) quite nicely.
Battery life is pretty good. Plantronics advertises four days of standby and six hours of talk time. I haven't run it all the way down, but I've been using it for a month on the first charge. Suffice it to say that battery life doesn't seem to be a problem.
It's hard to judge range fairly for this headset, because I have a Samsung A900, which is known to have a buggy Bluetooth implementation. I have gotten up to ten feet away from the phone without a problem, although there was some static and popping. But it's difficult to judge what is the phone's fault and what is the headset's, when the phone is known to have bad Bluetooth capability. Perhaps when I trade up phones I can better address this issue.
If the Plantronics Voyager 510 has a downfall, it's the controls. There is a volume rocker on the part that goes behind your ear. That's easy enough to find. There is a talk button on the boom mic. That's also easy to find, although you may fumble a bit for it while driving. One short tap will redial the last number; one long tap will activate voice dialing. The power button is very small and can be hard to find. Usually I will turn the headset on before putting it on.
The only other issue that the Plantronics Voyager 510 has is that it's not inobtrusive. It pretty much screams out 'I'm wearing a Bluetooth headset!' Some people don't mind the cyborgish look, but it's not always to my liking. There is the Bluetooth standard flashing blue light which means it's on an active; it turns red when charging.
However, these are relatively minor problems. Overall, the Plantronics Voyager 510 is an excellent choice for a Bluetooth headset. The reviewer at PC Magazine said he used his every day. After a month of the Voyager, I agree with him wholeheartedly.