I get sent a lot of new gadgets to play with. I can pretty much determine how I feel about them straight out the box. Call me shallow but at first look I’ve usually made up my mind. Most of the time my feelings are confirmed. And then the Plantronics Voyager Focus Headphones landed in my manicured hands and suddenly, I’m not trusting my first impression accuracy.
Does that mean they’re ugly?
No. They’re slick. The headband is thin and made from brushed aluminum with comfy black padding underneath connected with strong red elastic allowing you to adjust them to fit comfortably. The cups are plastic but a premium blend and far more solid than the competitors. While the headphones look solid they’re extremely light when you’re wearing them. What initially put me off was that they were on ear headphones. I’m partial to over ear and find on ear tends to push my earrings into my skull when I use them for long periods of time.
These are designed for the business professional. The look allows a certain understated elegance in an open plan office environment.
Here is where my initial thoughts began to be proven wrong. Despite the on-ear design and small cup size these are, without a doubt, one of the comfiest pair of headphones I’ve had the pleasure of using. I spend entire days with them on my head and never even notice. I also did a circuit of Kayla Innes Bikini Body Challenge in them and they wobbled slightly during the failed Burpees and jumping lunges but sat secure during sit ups and skipping. Colour me impressed.
Keep in mind, again, these are really meant for the office. You shouldn’t be doing Burpees with them on. But for the sake of testing how well they sit on your head I figured I’d try. If you’re ever late for that really important meeting know that you can sprint through the office without losing your headset.
There is also a microphone included. It cannot be removed and needs to be folded up to run along the headband when not in use. It made me think of call centre agents, unfortunately.
The Plantronics Voyager Focus headphones also come with a funky looking charging stand or there is a USB Charging cable if you travel. The box includes a really nice carrier case that has an internal zipped pocket so you don’t lose the tiny laptop USB connector (more about that later). They don’t bend and fold up when in transit though so your day time handbag will be fine but anything smaller might be a problem.
They’re understated. There are a few things I wasn’t over the moon about but the materials used are premium. They look far more “well made” then many of their competitors in the same price range and aren’t as blatantly “loud”.
But what do they do
Almost all the things really. These are designed for girls like me. Girls who are writing blog posts on their laptops while replying to what’s apps on their phones and using their tablet to check Facebook. You can do it all. The headphones are wireless but can be connected with a USB to micro USB cable (possibly my biggest fault with them, I would have liked the option of a good old headphone jack for no reason other than I always want what I can’t have). You use a small USB plugged in to your laptop for Bluetooth access. While they’re connected to your laptop you can also connect them via Bluetooth to your phone. Suddenly, that call centre mic becomes rather interesting.
I’m streaming my favourite 8 tracks playlist and someone phones me. A polite lady tells me in my ear that someone is phoning (she accesses your address book and says their name as well, so for example “dickhead do not answer is calling”). The best part? She doesn’t cut the music, the music volume lowers so you can hear her but you can simply decline the call by touching the button twice on the one headphone cup. If you do take the call the Microphone is extremely impressive and no one had a problem hearing me when I chatted to them call centre style. This is because the Mic has 3 microphones. It allows for active noise reduction and the person on the other end is going to hear you clearly the first time. Yay to productivity!
The multi-device pair up is ideal because the Plantronics Voyager Focus Headphones offer Passive and Active noise cancellation. Once you have them on you really won’t hear your phone ringing – again, I was impressed because this feature tends to only work really well in over ear headphones. I can imagine this is also an extremely useful tool in an open plan office scenario or if you’re a small business running from a shared space. The noise cancellation is going to allow you to focus on what is in front of you as opposed to the excitable colleague one desk over.
The Bluetooth connection works up to 45m. I tested this out at home and walked around the house, outside and closed doors. The connection to my laptop remained and I could still hear my music. The battery is said to last 12 to 15 hours. I got 13 hours before I needed to recharge. I liked that when I put them on I’d also be told how many more hours I had remaining before they needed to be charged.
And how do they sound?
Good. The sound is crisp and clear. I can’t fault it. However, the volume level is limited so you’re never going to be able to go blow your eardrums loud. I like making myself deaf so I was a bit disappointed. But, in all fairness, Pantronics adopts European Standards on their products. Unfortunately (possibly fortunately) those standards state that users should not be exposed to more than 85db for a period of 8 hours a day. The sound is far more about clarity than head banging loudness. As they’re suited to an office environment I think this is also smart. Having to hear someone else’s bad music selections blaring out their headphones is no fun. I also didn’t find them as “plug and play” as I would have liked. You will have to load some software and change your laptop settings to make the headphones your default speaker and mic.
They’re easily on a par with other Bluetooth headphone sets in the price range with a few add ons. I also think they’re classier and sexier. These are not headphones for the 19 year old university student catching the bus to class. These are for the busy professional intent on getting work done. Not only do they provide great sound but they’re functional as a hands free headset when you’re furiously tapping away at the keyboard.
Noise cancellation is top class
Makes us sad:
There is no getting away from it: the microphone looks dorky.
Disclaimer: I was sent a headset to review and keep.
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