Plantronics Voyager Legend Bluetooth Headset Review

I’ve been a user of Plantronics’ Bluetooth headsets for many years, starting with the Explorer 320 and more recently the Voyager Pro. I’ve always liked them because I found them a good fit on my ears but they’re trouble-free and easy-to-use with no problems pairing on a wide range of phones. More recently, I’ve taken receipt of a Voyager Legend and, so far, it’s living up to its name.

On review here is the full Voyager Legend UC package which comes with the headset itself, Bluetooth adaptor, desktop charging stand and charging case. This is the complete outfit for those in the office and on the go, aimed at those who use both mobile phones and IP-based communications, such as Microsoft’s Lync or Skype. This is the Microsoft version with an alternative version supporting Avaya, Cisco and IBM services. The Legend can manage two Bluetooth connections simultaneously so calls coming in from both routes can be answered on the headset and speaking from experience, this is very handy.

Plantronics Legend Box

The Voyager Legend UC comes in a plain box but opening it up reveals a wealth of accessories and adaptors, including UK and continental plug adaptors plus various USB connectors and chargers.

Plantronics Legend Inside Box

Here’s the charging case with the USB Bluetooth adaptor and the Voyager Legend itself. The Bluetooth adaptor is half the size of the previous generation that came with the Voyager Pro.

Plantronics Legend Charging Case

As might be guessed from the name, this is a charging case and the case has a built-in rechargeable battery which charges the Legend when it is in the case. In the photo below, you can see the contacts in the case on the right. It’s a clever idea, especially when on extended travel as you don’t need to lug around chargers – the case itself recharges via a micro-USB connection.

Charging Contacts

Of course, the desktop dock provides a convenient place to keep the Legend and charge it at the same time. There’s a magnetic catch to snap the headset in place.

Plantronics Legend Headset and Dock

Plantronics Legend in Dock

In use I find the Legend very comfortable to wear and I almost use it almost exclusively to answer my calls at my desk, whether the call comes through on my mobile or my desk phone. The headset is stylish enough to wear without feeling self-conscious, though I tend to take it off when I’m away from my desk. The Legend has three earpiece sizes in the box to accommodate different ears and can be worn on either the left or the right ear.

The Legend has some great features, such as auto answer, which detects when the headset is lifted from the dock and answers the call automatically. The Legend accepts voice commands, letting you put the headset into pairing mode, answer or decline calls and check battery level with ease. There are hardware controls on the headset for on/off, volume up/down, accept call and a multi-function button which does a couple of different things.

The talk time is rated at 7 hours and I never had any trouble with the battery running down unexpectedly. The charging case extends this even further with two full recharges from the case taking the total call time to 21 hours. Call quality is excellent, with callers sounding clear and natural, and most people don’t realise that I’m on a Bluetooth headset. The Legend also supports A2DP, which is handy if you want to listen to music or podcasts, albeit with one ear.

Plantronics have an Android smartphone app which, amongst other things, can help you track down where you last used the headset via GPS. It’s a neat idea but I found the app didn’t always play nicely with other GPS-using apps as the Plantronics app would turn off the GPS after getting a lock. The other app would than flail around looking for a signal lock. I submitted a bug report to Plantronics so hopefully they’ll get that fixed soon as it’s very irritating when playing Ingress.

There’s no two ways about it, the Plantronics Voyager Legend UC is a brilliant headset which I’m sure will do me for years – it has both the features and the construction to last. It’s definitely a premium product and it doesn’t come cheap: the RRP is over £150 but you can find it online for less than £100 including the carry case. However, it’s worth it if you want to to use a hands-free headset on an extended basis both at the desk and on the go.

The Voyager Legend UC was provided by Plantronics for review.

Plantronics .Audio 1100M Review

Plantronics .Audio 1100MThe Plantronics .Audio 1100M is a simple USB VoIP telephone handset optimised for use with Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 and Lync 2010, though it will also work with Skype and other softphone applications.  Habitual users of these systems will recognise the benefit of having a dedicated handset rather than relying on speakers or built-in microphones.

As you’ll see from the photos, it’s functional rather than aesthetically pleasing, with just a numeric keypad plus buttons for mute, speakerphone, call and hang-up.   There are also volume and ringer controls on the left and right sides respectively.

The handset has a good weight to it – not so heavy as your hand gets tired, but it feels like a solid product that isn’t going to break the first time it hits the floor.  The back of the phone is curved and fits nicely into the palm of your hand.

Phone in Monitor HookAlso in the box is a cradle which can be attached to your monitor or other vertical edge.  This keeps the handset handy for when a call comes in without cluttering up your desk.  The picture on the right shows the handset in the cradle.

On both Windows 7 and Ubuntu 10.10,  the .Audio 1100M was instantly recognised and the drivers loaded.

The 1100M has been optimised for Microsoft Communicator 2007 or Lync 2010, as it’s now called.  This means that when used with either of the two Microsoft products, all the buttons work as expected and allow you to dial numbers, pickup and reject calls and so on.  Call quality was good and the person on the other end of my call could hear me well.  I’d definitely rate it as one of the better handsets I’ve used for call clarity.

When used with Skype, the 1100M works as a basic USB audio device in that you can have a conversation but the numeric keypad and the accept / reject buttons don’t work.  Call quality was still high.

A few colleagues suggested that an LCD screen would be useful to see the number being dialled but I’m not sure that it’s essential.  When used with Communicator and Lync, you can see the number displayed on the PC screen so I think you’ll be more likely to look at that to check the phone number.

The online price is just under £60 or $70 going by Amazon.  Clearly, there are cheaper handsets on the market, but this device is not aimed at the individual consumer.  The .Audio 1100M is for businesses implementing unified communications where a lower cost device is needed for basic phone calls.  One scenario I can imagine is someone who works from home occasionally but connects to the work network via a VPN.  This handset would suit them.

If there were a couple of things to improve…first I’d make drivers available so that all the functions work with Skype or similar softphones.  To be fair, the .Audio 1100M is designed for Microsoft Communicator / Lync and it doesn’t try hide this.  Second, I’d make a curly USB lead available to make the device more phone-like.  And finally, I hope the next version of the handset is a little bit more attractive.

Other than that, the .Audio 1100M is a good solid device with better-than-average call quality.

Thanks to Plantronics UK for the device.