When I started my new job, I was issued a MacBook Pro, an Acer monitor, an Apple wired keyboard, a cheapo mouse, and a few other things including a USB headset for use with Lync, i.e. Skype for Business. There was also a desk phone next to my computer that I haven’t figured out the purpose as Lync lets me make phone calls. I brought in my own trackpad to replace the mouse and I was pretty much set. However, after a few conference calls with the USB headset, I asked my manager for something better; he and others had the Plantronics Voyager Focus UC. He ordered me one and it arrived this week. The headset isn’t cheap (list price is $299), but I soon began to understand the high cost.
I quickly setup the headset, plugged in the Bluetooth adapter, installed the Mac software (it’s kind of mediocre), reconfigured Lync to use the headset and I was off and running. I also paired it with my phone to play music. After a few hours with the headset (including a conference call), I was hooked. When you take the headset off, the music pauses; when you’re on a Lync call, the LED on the Bluetooth adapter turns red; if you try to talk when the headset is on mute, you get an alert on the computer telling you that you are trying to talk and the most important feature is the active noise cancelling (ANC). When I put on the headset and turned on the ANC, all the noise of the office were drowned out and I had some peace and quiet.
For the first few weeks of work, I didn’t listen to music and suffered through the noise. Since I got the headset, I’ve been listening to music almost all the time and have been able to get in the “groove” of my work even forgetting how long I’ve been sitting (good thing my Apple Watch reminds me to stand up!). In addition to listening to music, the conference calls have been crystal clear. I’m not quite sure what I would need in a headset.
- Active voice cancellation works well.
- Integrates well with Lync/Skype on the Mac. (Look for the -M version)
- Pairs easily with my iPhone and switches between Mac voice and iPhone music.
- Sound quality is very good for voice calls and music quality isn’t bad.
- Controls are easy to access on the sides.
- When you remove the headset, music pauses; when you put them back on, the music continues.
- The cost is much higher than any headset I’ve ever used.
- The Mac software is subpar; there is a menubar item, but you have to hide the main window otherwise the menubar item goes away.
- If you set the output from the Mac to be the headset and are playing music, the music stops and plays alerts and then plays the music again. I expected the music to “duck” and then come back, but it is abrupt.
- Extended wearing of the headset causes slight discomfort.
- Sometimes a little static that seems to go away despite being less than a foot from the Bluetooth adapter.
After only a few days of using the headset, I’ve been contemplating buying a pair for my home office (at some point I’ll be able to work from home sometimes). Even though I could move the headset home, the convenience of having one would be worth the money. Without having used the headset for a few days, there is absolutely no way that I’d plunk down this kind of money on something unseen. However, now that I’ve had time to use the headset, I should have bought this headset even if I just wanted to use them with my phone. I was on so many calls at my last job, that having these would have been a huge win for me. When I was told to buy a good headset for calls, I bought a cheap Bluetooth headset that crackles; I should have spent company money on something like this!
If you spend a lot of time on calls in an office, I’d definitely recommend this headset. If you’re using Lync (Skype for Business), even better.