Plantronics Voyager 510 Silver/Black Ear-Hook Headsets Reviews

Plantronics Voyager 510 Silver/Black Ear-Hook Headsets

12 ratings (9 Epinions reviews)
Epinions Product Rating: Excellent
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Bulky, but good noise cancellation and signal clarity

Jan 22, 2008
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Good volume, noise cancelling microphone, strong Bluetooth signal

Cons:Some buttons hard to locate, don't lose the eartips, excessive wind noise

The Bottom Line: Much better than the previous Jabra headset I had. Noise canceling microphone was what I needed, and the Plantronics delivered, although it does not handle wind noise very well.

Up here in New York, and increasingly across the country, headsets or hands-free are mandatory when driving with your mobile. I finally picked up a Bluetooth-enabled phone (el-cheapo Nokia 2366i) and at the same went with a compact little headset, the Jabra BT135. Well, the phone is bare-bones but does what I need, but the Jabra headset is worthless. The slightest background noise was picked up and very noticeable to people on the other end of the line, and the volume was way too low for me. I went hunting for something with a better-fitting earpiece, and a noise canceling microphone. After much searching, I came upon the Voyager 510, which seemed to hit my requirements and not be to pricey (about $45).

I am very pleased with the Voyager, while it is a little big, reminiscent of a 1930's era futiristic hearing aid, it serves me well. The microphone is on the end of a 2 inch boom, which makes the headset larger than many of the tiny models out there today, but in my limited experience it makes the sound quality miles better for someone on the other end of the line. I'm not exactly sure what the noise canceling feature is doing, but it blows the Jabra out of the water. My car has a broken muffler, and I can still carry on a reasonable conversation in my car, whereas the Jabra was almost unuseable even when my muffler was in working order!

As for receiving sound, the Voyager also performs very well, with three included sizes of earbuds (or eartips, as they call them). The included earbuds are a small round, a large round, and a kind of ear-hole shaped one that is approximately the same size as the large one. With the correct earbud, I can hear callers much better than I could with the Jabra. Note that the earbuds are hard plastic that plug and twist to lock onto the headset, and each has an appropriately sized foam cover. My biggest concern is if I lose an earbud, or the foam cover, since I don't know how to locate a replacement, if one is even available. The foam covers are similar to those on cheap earbud headphones, but the earbud itself is clearly a proprietary design and the headset would be rendered practically unusable (or at least very uncomfortable) without an earbud installed.

Controls are simple on the headset, although the power and volume controls are tiny. The power button sits right at the top of the device, with the volume control on a rocker switch midway down the back of the part that wraps around the ear. Locating the volume control can be a bit tricky by touch alone, the button is almost completely flush with the headset and does not have a very reassuring click. I usually keep volume on maximum anyway, which is sufficiently loud without being too loud. The main call start/stop button is large and right at the boom hinge, so it is fortunately the easiest button to locate since it is the most commonly used.

Bluetooth pairing with my phone was very straightforward, although this should be expected with any headset since most of the complexity falls on the phone side.

I already mentioned that the noise canceling microphone works very well, but the "Windsmart" feature, which allegedly reduces wind noise, is a little Wind-dumb. Even with a slight breeze, people on the other end of the phone will get pretty significant wind noise. This is not a big deal for me, since I mainly use the headset indoors or in my car, but it could be problematic for someone who frequently makes calls while walking outside.

Bluetooth reception seems pretty good, although I don't have much experience with other devices. I will occasionally get some static even with my phone clipped to my belt, but usually it is quite clear. I tried testing the range with my phone on my office desk and walking down the hall with the headset, and I still got a good signal, with a little noticeable static, about 15 feet away through 2 walls. After about 20 feet, through 4 or 5 office walls, I could still hear but static started to get excessive.

Recommend this product? Yes

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