Customer Review

298 of 328 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Had Potential But Plantronics Fell Short (Detailed Review & Comparison to BA Q2), December 10, 2010
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This review is from: Plantronics Voyager PRO+ Bluetooth Headset (Wireless Phone Accessory)
+++ Pros:
-Excellent Microphone
-Great Battery Duration
-Very Quick Charge Time
-Adjustable Mic Boom
-Announces Remaining Charge Time
-Good Range
-Very Natural Fit

--- Cons:
-No Caller ID Announce
-Communication With Phone's Voice Command Ineffective
-Hard to Hear (in car/noisy environments))
-Vocalyst Service Expensive, Cumbersome and
Limited Compared to Competing Services
-Lack of Adaptation to Landline Phones
-Similarly Priced Headsets Offer More Features Without Requiring Additional Subscriptions

I have owned multiple bluetooth devices over the years, and my all-time favorite was the Voyager 510S, when it was cutting edge in its technological era. I was thrilled when this model came out, figuring it was the 510S evolutioned to today's standards. Although it's good, it fell short of my expectations given the price tag and especially because of the need for an additional monthly/yearly subscription that no one else requires.

I purchased it for use with a Motorola Droid X, to replace the BlueAnt V1, which served me very well for a couple of years, although I hated its bulkiness, and the fact that the Caller ID feature only announced the number, not the contact name - but it gave big shoes to fill. The main feature I was looking for at the time of purchase was A2DP, which this headset handles well, and Caller ID by contact name, which the Voyager Pro+ does not have (which I should've researched better prior to purchase, but took for granted it's not a "standard" feature).

Overall, I had a good experience with this headset. I love the design which is lightweight, comfortable and the long mic boom makes for my voice sounding very clear to my callers. It can also be adjusted with ease. For bluetooth headset standards, it charges very quickly (60-90 mintues from no charge to full charge), and its talk time duration is unrivaled. I think its size is a fair tradeoff for the larger battery. Although it's bulky compared to other headsets, it looks perfectly normal - very professional and conservative when worn, and you truly ofetn forget you're wearing it. The noise cancelling technology is quite impressive. A2DP works very well with very clear sound. I also love the fact I could pair it with my PC via a USB bluetooth adapter (using IOGear GBU421 which was a real pain to set up on Windows 7, but I got it working) which allows me to roam around the office while on Skype calls without being tied to my chair by my old wired headphones. It keeps a good connection all the way to my car parked behind my office. When it does lose connection, it automattically reconnects as soon as it's back in range. The Vocalyst Android application is great on text-to-speach reading of text messages, but if you forget to turn it off when not using the headset, your text messages get read out loud, so be careful!

My first turnoff is that although callers can hear me perfectly well, I often have a hard time hearing clearly while driving or in other noisy environments. This may be due to the fact that the earpiece is not well-designed for the ear canal, and I often find myself pressing it closer to my ear.
The next disappointment is the headset's inability to handle communication with my device's phone commands feature. Commands through the headset are unintelligible to the phone, and in order to speak directly to the phone I end up having to turn off the headset, instruct the phone, and then turn the headset back on, which is extremely inconvenient, cumbersome and time-consuming. Very distracting while driving. I don't know if it's poor information transfer, or whether the feature is simply unavailable.
Cannot speak directions to the phone's Google Navigation. (spoke to Plantronics, who said not possible).
Another shortfall is the lack of Caller ID. It simply beeps when a call is coming in, which means I have to pick up the phone to know who is calling. For the price, I expected this feature.
The final major disappointment is the lack of integration to use with my landline phone in the office, like the old voyager 510 had, which has a communications base which doubles as a charging stand, and an optional handset lifter. No such option seems available for the Voyager Pro+.
Also, I purchased the Plantronics USB bluetooth adapter (BUA-100, retails between $50-120), only to find out it's incompatible with Bluetooth 2.0 standards, or Windows 7. Plantronics offers no UC (Unified Communications) support for this headset. Although they offer it for the older Voyager Pro as a bundle with their newer adapter (BUA-200/201), they do not offer the adapter separately. Fortunately, as I mentioned above, I got it to work with a 3rd party adapter (which only cost $13.99).

Plantronics offers a free android app called vocalyst which allows your text messages to be read to you through the headset, which is pretty cool. It also offers a 1-year free subscription to Vocalyst Basic ($24.99/yr thereafter), which offers other services, like uploading your contacts (which enables you to call in and tell it to "call [contact name]"), listening to news, weather, etc., and the pro package ($35 for first year/$59/yr thereafter - either package is offered as a montly subscription, but the overall price goes up) for additional features like voice-to-text for sending text messages, emails, and having emails read to you). The service is very cumbersone because it works through a proxy whereby you dial in to the service to access the features. Because the service bridges your communications, when making calls or sending text messages, recipients had a hard time figuring out the communications were coming from me. As you can tell, the service is horribly expensive, and it's very limited, compared to similar apps offered by other brands - for free.

I looked at various other brands of comparable headsets in the same price range. As usual, there are tradeoffs with each comparable model. However, the main common difference with most of them is that they offer a service similar to Vocalyst for free, which really pulled the Pro+ way down on my list. I decided to purchase the BlueAnt Q2 to make a comparison, which has the same price (maybe cheaper, depending where you bought the Pro+ and have decided to keep the Q2. Here's why:
Offers all the features the Pro+ does, plus the following:
Has a much stronger speaker, which is plenty loud at 3 levels below max while driving.
Clear sound even with phone in my pocket (with Pro+, I often got static, even when the phone was in my hand, on same side as headset).
Automatically uploads your contacts list (up to 2,000 contact number per connected device) to enable Caller ID by contact name.
Free Firmware upgrades
Exhaustive list of voice commands, from voice-enabled call answer/ignore, to turning LED light on & off.
Flawless communication with phone's Voice Command feature
Works with Vlingo - an adroid app that offers the same services as Vocalyst, with the added features such as several laguage options and more.
Can speak directions to Google Navigation through headset.
Very customizable with separate options for InCar, SMS messaging, emails, Social Networks, etc.
IT'S FREE!

It fell second place to the Pro+ in these respects:
Streaming media only works with the first device it connects to.
No mic boom
takes about 3-4 hours to charge (closer to 4), and call time lasts about an hour less.
Very thin and removable ear hook (I favor the design of the Voyager and while that's mostly my preference, my experience with the BlueAnt V1 was that the rubber earhook holder eventually loosens, and the earhook constantly slips off. (The Q2 has a different design, but only time will tell if it holds up). In its defense, you can adjust it up and down and angle it to personalize the positioning of the headset.
Large plastic speaker/mic screen attracts a lot of lint, which contrasts loudly against the black color.
Physical on/off switch is tiny, and it's located behind the charging port. While not impossible, it's hard to access with your fingernail tip while being worn. Volume buttons are also very small and placed too closely.
Not anywhere near as comfortable as the Voyager Pro+. I end up taking it off several times a day because it makes my ear sore (maybe I'll eventually get used to it, but the Voyager has very lasting comfort).

The Voyager Pro+ has a lot of room for improvement if it wants to command a price tag in the $100 range, since other advanced features are already availabe in this price range. The monthly/yearly subscription for the less-than-par Vocalyst service is IMO completely unacceptable. In writing this review, I kept in mind some reviews I read about the Voyager Pro which some people bought right before the Pro+ made its debut at the same price, and those people were left hanging. I suppose the same will happen when they improve the Pro+ eventually.

Overall, the Voyager Pro+ is a great headset, but given the price, the cost of the additional services offered through Vocalyst, and the cumbersome use of those services, compared to other brands who offer those features and then some (included in the purchase price), I cannot give this headset a 5-star review. I considered the headset as 4 stars, but since greedy Plantronics opted to charge such a high premium for the enhanced services, I concluded it's worth docking it an additional star.
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Comments

Tracked by 9 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 22 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 12, 2010 8:51:33 PM PST
Hruodberht says:
Thank you for the review, I am also considering the BlueAnt Q2 and was looking for a comparison between the two.

Posted on Dec 28, 2010 3:12:22 PM PST
sorry to hear that the pro+ wasn't that loud. i'm assuming you tried the different earpieces, which make a big difference.

also, if you find the perfect headset, it's not that expensive to get a custom earmold made so you get much better acoustic isolation and transmission of sounds. if i ever find the perfect headset, that's my plan.

Posted on Dec 29, 2010 8:00:13 PM PST
Thanks for this helpful thougthful review.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 30, 2010 9:08:07 AM PST
EuroDriver says:
Thanks for the suggestion. I tried the larger earpiece which did make the headset sound better (louder) but after about an hour it would make my ear really sore. The small one fit nicely, but did not provide good acoustics. The BlueAnt Q2 came with about 6 different earpieces and included one which fit very nicely (too nicely, since it muffles out ambient noise and have to take it off when I have a passenger talking to me in the car). I ended up keeping both, using the Q2 for my cell phones and the Voyager Pro+ for use on my work and home computers.

Posted on Jan 23, 2011 10:30:50 AM PST
Don Fosen says:
Thanks for the thorough review. I have the Plantronics Pro+ as well and have found that it is impossible to hear no matter what ear piece I have on it. My dog chewed up my old Plantronics Pro which was very easy to hear. Unfortunately I think the Pro+ is a step back.

Posted on Jan 28, 2011 7:08:27 PM PST
B. J says:
Thankyou for a good and comparitive - common sense review. I found this helpful

Posted on Feb 9, 2011 9:55:23 PM PST
Master says:
Fantastic review. Thanks for taking the time to compose it.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 19, 2011 7:46:23 PM PDT
C. Bordelon says:
Thank you for that wonderful idea about the custom earmold. I went to an audiologist who discovered I have a very small ear cavity, which explains the problem I have with earbuds falling out. I plan to go back to that same audiologist and ask if he can make a custom earmold for my new Pro+.

Posted on Jun 14, 2011 4:56:11 PM PDT
Yes, in addition to the other commentators on this review, I'd like to also add a thank you for this wonderful, and seemingly honest review about this product. I will now plan to compare this model to the BlueAnt and seek a audiologist to customize an earmold for me. Fit has always been my biggest issue with headsets. I recently misplaced my Jawbone Icon and DON'T plan to purchase another one due to poor battery life and fit issues. Thanks again.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 14, 2011 5:32:12 PM PDT
C. Bordelon says:
Hi Timbo, In addition to the superior sound, one feature of the ear mold approach is that it makes it virtually impossible to dislodge. Once I put the ear mold in my ear, the Plantronics Voyager PRO+ is going absolutely no where until I remove the ear mold. Expect your insurance to cover the audiologist in full, and $40-$50 for two ear molds (one for each ear). I got two for the same ear, and have them in a wonderful VidPro ACT-15 case ($6.95).
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