Bose Bluetooth Series 2 vs. Plantronics Voyager PRO HD vs. Motorola ELITE Silver vs. Motorola FLIP
Update: I ended up keeping the Bose, however, after about 2-3 months of use (I switch the headset on and off a lot), the switch broke. Bose was awesome in handling the return, however, I wish they would have created a stronger switch. Not everyone wants to leave a bluetooth on all day.
1. FLIP: $60-$75
2. Elite Silver: $80-$100
3. Plantronics HD: $75-$100
4. Bose: Hard to find for less than $130-$150 (check fleabay or your cell provider)
Conclusion: Elite Silver has been dropping in price rapidly. Bose is hard to find discounted.
Ease of use:
1. FLIP: Open it up, it's on, close the flap, it's off. Great for saving battery power.
2. Elite Silver: Turn the ear piece, it's on, turn back, it's off. A little tricky, as sometimes not sure which direction to turn it.
3. Bose: Switch to turn on and off. Answers quickly. Hard to put it on ear quickly. Buttons a little non-intuitive.
4. Plantronics: Hold button down to turn on and off. Has 4 seconds ever felt so long?
Conclusion: Why o why don't more companies adopt the Motorola flip design. I love having a headset that I can sit down next to me, and then when someone calls, pick it up, put it on easily. AND save battery power. Who wants to charge a headset every day?
1. Flip: Super easy to turn on and off. Best design ever.
2. Elite Silver comes with cool storage case that doubles as a recharger for up to 3 charges. Tells you battery life left over when you put on.
3. Bose: Easy on and off switch (why don't more companies go back to switches)?
4. Plantronics automatically answers the phone when you put it on your ear. However, it doesn't turn it on and off when you do this, so no battery savings. Also tells you how much battery left when you put on.
Conclusion: Love the storage case on the Elite Silver that doubles as a charging station. Love the switch on the BOSE for on/off. But nothing beats the Motorola flip boom mikes for ease/battery savings.
1. Elite Silver: Is lightweight, fit comfortably on ear. Once you figure it out, goes on quick and secure.
2. Plantronics: I like the heaviness of this item and love the boom mike (surprisingly, the boom mike didn't help sound quality).
3. Bose: Has unique inside earpiece that seems like it won't work, but does. It is very loud/sharp, and for some reason I got ear fatigue when talking for more than 30min+.
4. Elite Flip: I'm not a big fan of the small string earpieces. It felt lightweight and fragile and non-secure.
Conclusion: I like the secure feel of the Plantronics. It's heavy, locks in on the ear, quick to put on and off, but the boom mike adds little to the sound quality.
1.) Elite Silver: Easily recharged up to three times, if you use it's portable case.
2.) Plantronics: I got a good day's use out of it.
3.) Bose: This one seemed to die faster than the others. I don't think it is rated as high, but make sure to turn it off, or else it will be dead the next day.
4.) Elite Flip: Did not test thoroughly enough to comment on this.
Sound Quality: This is a tough category as always. I use mine in the car (road noise) and have a larger head (harder for mike to pick up sounds around my cheeks). Your experience may differ depending on your signal, location, face shape, and usage.
1. Bose: By far the most clear. Loud volume. People could hear me. I could hear them.
2. Plantronics: People could make out my voice (when driving) if I spoke very slowly and carefully. Boom mike did not seem to help.
3. ELITE Silver: I loved the sound of this, but people could not hear me when I spoke. My cheeks too big? The mike too far from my mouth?
4. Elite Flip: Didn't test this one as much, but people struggled to hear me.
Conclusion (ALL). I wish the Elite Silver had better sound quality when driving, because I liked most of the features. If I could design a perfect headset, it would have the flip boom mike of the FLIP. Have the comfort and charging features of the ELITE SLIVER. Have the sound quality of the BOSE. And the strength/durability/easy on and off your ear of the plantronics.
People criticize Bose for being nothing more than an advertising company, but why do they have the best two items: Noise Cancelation Headphones and Bluetooth heasdsets...Come on Motorola, you're almost there! I LOVE your flip boom mike on/off.
Bose: Best sound quality. Great fit. Expensive. LOUD VOLUME. This is the first headset I have EVER had to turn down the volume on.
Plantronics: Rugged design, nice boom mike. Not good enough vocal quality. Annoying to turn on and off, but easy to quickly put on your ear.
Motorola Elite Silver: Great innovations, great comfort. Need to work on their sound quality.
Motorola Flip: LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the flip mike. Very lightweight (pro or con?), unsecure, not good enough sound quality.
on October 13, 2011
I really never knew Bose was making these BT headsets until I began a search for the best one a few days ago. I currently own a Jawbone Icon, Blueant Q2 and a couple of high dollar Plantronics headsets. All are very good at something and not so great at others. IMHO the Bose Series 2 has gotten it right.
First off fit is everything to me. I have a set of Bose headphones, with the same designed ear piece, and I love the fit so I was hoping this would be the same which it was. Just make sure you use the correct size, start with the headset turned down and just rotate it towards your mouth. The soft rubber piece slips right under the middle fold of your ear, holds it very secure and you will not know it is there.
Second is sound quality. I am talking about outgoing and incoming, clarity and volume. The volume of this ear piece is special. I know that sounds flaky but I have had enough of these headsets to know that most do not have adequate volume if your hearing is not like it use to be. Absolutely great with this headset. Noise cancellation is also top notch. I have not tested it in a too many of different environments, but have done things like driving 70MPH with my window down while leaving a message on another phone. Also I will crank up the music while doing the same since other voices can sometimes cause issues. So far, I have not been disappointed. The messages I listen to are right up there at the top of all sets I have tried and probably surpass them. Incoming clarity is just as good. First off, they are Bose so listening to music from your phone (if you have a phone that allows this) is superb for a BT headset. I did have some slight static on calls when I first got it. I went ahead and removed the Bose from my iPhone 4 memory and rebooted the phone. Then did the setup again and I no longer have any issues at all.
Third is battery life and options. I don't really know about battery life yet so I cannot comment. Options is a personal thing so I will explain why I was looking for a BT headset that did not have built in voice commands. I have a new iPhone 4S arriving tomorrow and if you have followed this at all, you know about "Siri". It is Apples new, and extremely advanced, voice recognition/personal assistant. Since I will be working with this a lot, I do not want the extra moves needed to get me to the phones voice commands. This set fits the bill perfectly.
Oh yeah, one thing I really like (and I know others do this as well) is the ability to wear this while using my iPhones Garmin navigation. It will send upcoming turns to my BT headset so I don't have to worry about hearing it from my phone's speaker over any music. The Bose does not block out all sound so you can easily have a conversation with the person next to you while wearing it.
Ok...long winded I know so I will wrap things up.
This BT headset is expensive compared to others, but well worth it IMHO. Is it perfect? No. Is it the closest I found for fit, volume, clarity out and in etc? Absolutely. Will it be for you? No idea. LOL
** Side note. I am impatient so I ordered express shipping (actually ships from Bose when ordered through Amazon at the time of my purchase). It was listed as 1-3 days for this. Bose shipped it overnight priority which was great.
on October 26, 2011
I rarely write reviews for products that I purchase, but I am so totally impressed with the Bose Series 2 (after 10 days of extensive use) that I felt compelled to pass on my impressions.
I ordered the Series 2 two weeks ago when I first heard about it. I ordered it from Front Row Electronics who stated same day free shipping and no tax. The shipment arrived three days early with Saturday delivery. Very impressive, great vendor.
Now on to the Bose Series 2. I am absolutely thrilled with this headset. Bose added some very important features (at least to me) to their original bluetooth headset which tempted me into buying it and trying it out. I had no interest in the original Bose bluetooth headset because of the lack of features. I listen to music and talk radio (internet radio/streaming audio) a lot so A2DP is a must, which the original Bose did not support. Also, dual microphone noise cancellation which was also previosly missing. Then add ear specific (left or right) design and Bose finally made the product what it originally should have been and really nailed the product.
Like other reviewers, I have owned a number of bluetooth headsets by various manufacturers and am a heavy bluetooth user. I don't like holding a phone during calls so I always try to use a headset when making or receiving calls. I also don't leave a heaset in my hear when not using it (I never understood people walking around with headsets in their ear constantly) so I need one that is easy to put in and fast to connect. The Series 2 meets these needs perfectly. It goes in easily, fits serurely and comfortably and connects quickly. Fitting in the ear with no hook is a major plus. The headset is so comfortable that I can wear it for hours (when listening to streaming audio) with no complaints. The medium StayHear tip fits me perfectly. I carry the headset in my pocket in the supplied case and can easily remove it from the pocket and case, turn it on while putting it in the ear and answer a call.
The audio quality is the best of any bluetooth headset that I have owned, which I was hoping for from a Bose product. The automatic volume adjustment works so well that I don't even think about it. The volume is always right no matter what kind of environment I am in. I have not done a lot of testing of the noise cancellation but I have had no complaints from anyone I am talking to that they have a hard time hearing me when I am in a noisy or windy environment.
One area that I have not seen mentioned in other reviews is range. The Series 2 has the best bluetooth range that I have yet experienced. This is the first bluetooth headset that I have owned where I have absolutely no momentary bluetooth dropouts when my body is blocking line of sight between the phone and the headset. I can easily get 50'+ range if I walk away from the phone. Very impressive.
Controls: switch and button placement and operation are very good. They are all easliy found and operated by touch when the headset is in the ear.
The only downside that I have found with the Series 2 is battery life. I have not actually tested battery life but I would say 3-4 hours of constant use (not standby) is probably accurate. With my previous headsets I could get by charging them every 2-3 days. I do need to charge the Series 2 daily. Not really a big deal to me, I just plug it in every night along with my phone (Samsung Galaxy S), which needs to be charged daily, as well. Everything else about this headset is so good that I can deal with the battery life.
Anyway, to sum it up, The Bose Series 2 is everything I was hoping it would be, and more. Highly recommended.
on December 2, 2011
First off let me say I am far rom a Bose fan, I feel their audio equipment's sound quality and reproduction is far far from perfect, especially for their inflated costs. Yet since I travel a LOT and I own a pair of their QC3 headphone and absolutely love them, they were the best I have found.
I have had a LOT of Bluetooth headsets, my most recent was the Jawbone ERA, which I had to get replaced twice, and then nothing but troubles with the quality with it, where I would have to do a hard reset on it and my phone when the audio quality just started fading away, I decided to try something different.
Here enters the Bose BT2, which from my understanding just came out and is their 2nd revision and latest model.
First off compared to any of the other headsets it feels like Bose is 5 years behind, in features, functions and usability. They have no iPhone battery icon, I mean really, this is supposed to be state of the art and for me to check battery life I have to look at an LED when powering up and then guess at remaining battery? Really?
I use my headset for standard calls, as well as to stream audio, as I do a lot of walking and I find it more convenient to use the same headset for both.
The audio quality is far superior that any other headset I have used, both voice and music, and everyone I talk with says the quality on their end is great. The auto volume as well as noise cancellation works well and is non obtrusive.
The problem I run into is the functionality and execution.
First I wanted to enable it for multipoint, well this is not enabled by default, so after some contorted button pushes I was able to enable this, but it is no where near seamless and is very difficult to get it to correctly connect to the preferred device. My Jawbone ERA did this flawlessly, as others.
Also now if I turn the headset on and want to listen to music (A2DP) it just doesn't work, voice calls are fine. I have to jump through all kinds of hoops to get it to recognize the music stream, I disconnect, reset, turn bluetooth on/off... never the same combo, this is the only headset that I have seen these issues.
It is comfortable, light, feels and fits nice in my ear, I like the physical on/off switch, and getting to my iPhones voice command, no Siri is very fast and a single button push instead of a push-hold like most. I wish it were a bit smaller/compact in size so it felt better in my pocket.
I would give this headset 5 stars if they 1: updated the firmware to fix the multipoint and A2DP connect issues and 2: added the iPhone battery icon (in my book this is a MUST for any new Bluetooth headset)
Now I have talked to support and they have a huge "I am Bose, therefore it is perfect the way it is and all the problems are yours alone" attitude, so they were not helpful at all.
I have used this headset with my iPhone 4, iPhone 4s, iPad and Macbook pro, and the issues/symptoms are the same on all.
I hope this helps.
on October 21, 2011
I have used all sorts of bluetooth headsets since I am not a fan of holding the phone up to the ear as I am multi tasking most of the time and I do use the phone a lot. I have tried the jabra series - extreme, stone, stone 2 etc. and plantronics and jawbone - prime, era etc. My favourite before I got the bose was the stone 2 - primarily because of the fit. The stone 2 worked well for me but the person on the other end used to complain about background noise and also that my voice is faint or there is an echo at times.
Got the bose a few days back, fit, although a little uncomfortable due to the in ear design as compared to the stone 2's hover above the ear design necessitates to remove the headset after prolong use cause the ear starts hurting after an hour or so. The voice quality at my end is just fabulous, can hear each and every note in the callers voice. I have done testing of the bluetooth in various settings and the caller is also able to hear me clearly in all conditions. So far so good. Micro USB charging is also great since it reduces the need to carry extra chargers. Battery life is good (much better than the stone 2's 2 hours).
What I miss about the stone 2 is the perfect fit and the fact that i could store it in it's charging cradle and carry the round stone like device around easily. The bose on the other hand, like any other headset is a little odd to carry around in a pocket, not rounded or smooth.
All in all a great handsfree. Technically perfect. Aesthetically decent. Fit is decent.
End of the day the caller can hear me well and I can hear them well too.
on October 23, 2011
This is my fourth Bluetooth. Two others were Jawbones and were good for the price. The third was a Motorola, a huge waste of money. The Bose series 2 is awesome. The automatic volume adjusting feature on the Bose is great. If the sender's background noise significantly changes (louder or softer) the Bose 2 unit adjusts the volume to meet the new conditions. How cool is that? The call button and volume controls (yes, there two..louder and softer) are easily accessible and immediately responsive. Ambient noise is blocked. Yes, it's pricey.... but if you rely on your Bluetooth daily like I do driving on the Los Angeles freeways, it's well worth it.
June 30, 2012
I've had the Bose 2 for 8 months. It's still the best Bluetooth I've ever owned...still awesome for the same reasons I wrote about in October, 2011. If you want a great Bluetooth get the Bose 2. I wonder it there will be a Bose 3? If so and it's anything like my Bose 2....I'm in!
The Bose, Series 2 Bluetooth headset is a beautiful piece of hardware and for the most discriminating, this is the one Bluetooth headset to own.
This is the best Bluetooth headset available, but not by a lot AND not by design.
The Bose, Series 2 contains:
* The Headset (roughly 1.75" x .25" x .5") with three (3) very comfortable gel in-earpiece.
* A soft cushioned case
* Compact micro-USB ac adapter.
* Legal paperwork.
Up until now, the best Bluetooth (overall) on the market was perhaps the Jabra "Extreme" with its noise filtering system and design; it's hard to beat.
But there's something to consider and it's, from my standpoint, a design flaw. The headpiece has a very comfortable in-ear piece that is primarily designed to sit just inside the ear--the pinna? (is that a real word?) but there's nothing to attach to any other part of the ear. And, this concerns me.
There's nothing to firmly hold the headset in place. This is a pricey headset and for all of the positives, you'd have to be very careful how you handle this. What if it's a windy day? What happens if you going through the train station during rush hour with all of the bumping and shoving? $125 is a steep price to pay to replace it.
---- Comparing The Bose, Series 2 to Jabra "Extreme" ------
Bose 2--simple, 1-piece, canal bud
Jabra-- simple, 1-piece, canal bud with an ear hook.
Bose 2--Excellent, crisp sound, fidelity is robust
Jabra--Very good, above average.
Bose--about 4 hours
Bose-- Soft, ear gel. No weight, but you're conscious of it falling out.
Jabra--ear clip, barely noticeable.
Voice recognition/ Caller ID
Jabra--voice speaks the number calling.
Bose--"Adaptive Audio Adjusting" system/ Noise-rejecting Microphone
Jabra--"Noise Blackout Extreme"/ 2 Noise-cancelling Microphones
Bose--S, M, L eartips/ USB cable/ Wall charger/ carry case
Jabra--S, M, L ear clips/ wall charger/ Micro usb-usb connector/ car adapter
Jabra--reduced to $40 from $80.
The real difference and perhaps the only reason to select the Bose over the Jabra is that the audio quality is phenomenal. The Jabra is nothing to sneeze at either, btw. Whereas if one is only concerned with having a Bluetooth to answer calls, The Jabra "Extreme" will do just fine, however, if audio quality is high-prized, The Bose makes a very compelling argument.
If it weren't for the fact that Jabra just released the "Extreme2" and reduced the price of the original Jabra to $40, the choice could be a whole lot more difficult to make.
Overall, Bose, Series 2--4 stars.
on October 12, 2011
I have owned countless bluetooth headsets. The original Jawbone was impressive but all the other Jawbone sets have disappointed me due to poor fit, poor sound quality or both. I loved the original Bose bluetooth and have used it for the past year. I jumped on the series 2 when it came out and I am not disappointed. It is well worth the money to have a reliable, comfortable headset that sounds great on both ends. Yes, it's expensive. Yes, you can find cheaper ones, but if you are looking for the best...this is it.
UPDATE April 18, 2013: This little headset is still going strong. Still comfortable, works perfectly, great call clarity. I've switched phones twice since getting this headset, and have had no problems in any case. I liked it well enough that I bought one for my fiance when his broke. Still highly recommended.
I've been looking for a replacement headset since I accidentally stepped on (and broke) my old New Plantronics Voyager 520 Bluetooth Headset Over-Ear Boom Type Hands Free Multi-Point Pairing a couple of years ago. I've since used the Plantronics Voyager PRO+ Bluetooth Headset, the BlueAnt Q2 Voice-Controlled Pure Conversation Bluetooth Headset (Black, Retail Packaging), and a brand new Motorola Elite Flip (not yet on Amazon as of this writing). FINALLY I've found the perfect headset.
Update 11/15/12: This headset is still going strong, and continues to impress me. I've been using it in really noisy locations lately (airports, cars with the windows down) and the sound is still great. I actually bought one as a gift for a friend and have been equally impressed with the sound quality as a caller. He calls from his car (windows down!) and I hear him no problem. I did notice that I could hear the cars going by when he was out walking on a busy street one or twice, but much less than I would have expected. Overall, this continues to be my go-to headset.
Fit/comfort: My old 520 fit so well I could forget I was wearing it, so that's what I expected out of the new, high-end headsets I tried. The Voyager Pro would randomly fall out of my ear when I was talking, and the BlueAnt was extremely uncomfortable (no matter which adapter I used). The Motorola is pretty comfortable, but the Bose wins hands-down for both comfort and security of fit. The rubber insert is pliant, and has an interesting "spur" that seems to stabilize the unit without being at all uncomfortable. WINNER: Bose, with Motorola as the runner-up
Reception: Callers told me the BlueAnt and Voyager both sounded static-y, even in a quiet room. There were frequent digital "blips" that cut the sound with them, too. The Motorola had less of a problem with this, but the Bose has zero issues. WINNER: Bose
Call quality (receiving): All the headsets received calls just fine, but only the Bose sounds completely clear and static-free. The Motorola was a close second, but Bose has the edge. WINNER: Bose, Motorola runner-up
Ease of use: All paired with no problems, have intuitive buttons, and simple displays. Two failed this category, though: BlueAnt and Motorola. The BlueAnt had bells and whistles that just got in my way - for example instead of the tapping "call" button and saying "call [number]" like the 520 did, I had to ask for "Voice Commands" and wait for the headset to activate the phone's in-built voice commands (which it also had to repeat every time). For someone who uses the headset a lot, this is a nuisance for every single call. The Motorola, on the other hand, actually failed to do some of things it promised (see my review for more on this). WINNER: Tie between Bose and the Voyager
Form factor: This is a really minor category for me, but the tiny size of the Bose makes it lighter and easier to transport. The Voyager is HUGE compared to other headsets, while the other two are somewhere in between. The Motorola does have a very nice folding feature to turn the unit on/off, so this function gives it a small edge over the Bose. WINNER: Motorola
Some users may care about two things that should be noted: 1) the Bose is ear-specific - so you can't switch left or right - and 2) it doesn't play media. I don't need either of these features since I use this in my car, so I'm fine with that. For media playback, I highly recommend the Plantronics BackBeat 906 Stereo Bluetooth Headphones Set [Retail Packaging]) ***UPDATE*** This headset does work with media. The earlier fault may well have been user error, but it randomly started playing media the other day in the car and has done so consistently ever since. Sound is equally clear and static-free.
At the end of the day, call clarity, comfort, and ease of use all point squarely at the Bose for me. I'll be very sorry if I ever step on this one and break it.
on June 27, 2014
The sound quality is superb of course, both for voice calls and music, for a (mono) bluetooth headset. I can actually listen to music with it and NOT hate my life.
The battery seems to be pretty weak. I ran it out in under a day, which is kind of a problem... but manageable. I'm having a little bit of a hard time fitting it into my ear properly. I tried the M and S size fittings. The S seems too small and insecure, and the M seems too big.
To me it seems like the buttons have not been placed intuitively. The Vol+ and Vol- are in the opposite places I would expect them, but I can learn it. The talk button (with my iPhone 5C) activates Siri, which is very nice. I've never had anyone on the other end complain about call quality.
The main thing I love about this headset is its design — it is discrete and small, unlike most other BT headsets.
All in all, highly recommended.
UPDATE 8 July 2015
Well, sadly, I broke my BT2 the other day. The plastic earpiece disconnected from the main body. Apparently, it's held by 2 small screws. Both came un-threaded. I tried to super-glue it back into place, but it didn't hold. Since I've had this headset for awhile and my ONLY gripes were the buttons being illogically placed and the power button being turned on in my pocket, I'm lowering my 4/5 stars to just 3/5.
I called Bose about a warranty return. I was almost a month past the 1-year warranty, but the helpful gal at Bose said it was no big deal and that they would replace it. She didn't want a receipt or anything. The only downside was that I have to pay shipping both ways (about $15 USD) and the wait time is up to 25 business days, because Bose is awaiting stock, since they're discontinuing this product entirely, to my disappointment! I couldn't wait that long, so I ordered the Plantronics Voyager Edge. When the Bose arrives I'll keep that paired to my laptop for video calls, and use the Plantronics as my primary.
Apart from it catastrophically breaking, I loved this headset. The sound quality was great, all-day comfort was there (for me). I just replaced it with the Plantronics Voyager Edge (http://www.amazon.com/Plantronics-Voyager-Edge-Hands-Free-Bluetooth/dp/B00JLVNF2O/) since it had great reviews, and the extra charger is a huge deal for me. (I'm going to stick it on my car dash and keep it plugged in, kind of like a 'dock' while I'm driving). I haven't received this new headset yet, but will review when I do.
All in all, I would still recommend this headset, but be careful with it! Some users have had callers complain about call quality. In over a year of using it, I never had a single complaint. I loved how stylish and small this headset is, and I'm looking forward to having my replacement! I'd still recommend this headset, but according to reviews, the Plantronics Voyager Edge has 'the edge' in terms of performance. So if you care about style, probably the Bose BT2 is a better option for you because the performance is still excellent.
UPDATE 15 July 2015
Funny how some perspective changes things. Since my Bose broke, I tried the Plantronics Voyager Edge, but returned it because any combination of fitment hurt my ear. I replaced that with a Jawbone ERA v2, which I like a lot. It's far more comfortable, but still not as comfortable as the Bose (for me).
I re-read my initial review and realized I should update about comfort & fitment. For me, I have small ears. It took me a few different tries to find the right fit with the Bose, but I ended up using the Small one and it was great. No pain, all-day comfort. Especially comparing to the Plantronics Voyager Edge and Jawbone ERA v2, the Bose is FAR more comfortable for me personally.
I've read that several reviewers have had the Bose break like I did... see my attached pictures. My replacement unit will arrive this week, and I'm considering super-gluing it straight out of the box to try and prevent the breakage again!