Bluetooth headset makers certainly have a market all their own: professionals who need to take constant calls on the go, working parents who need both hands to drive while on the phone, and gym rats who can’t be torn from their phone during workouts. While it might still be weird to see people looking like they’re talking to themselves when they’re really speaking into Bluetooth headsets, Plantronics will make things a bit less conspicuous. The very visible Voyer Legend earpiece is the latest from Plantronics’ Voyager line, with new features, functionalities to make it an overall better model compared to its predecessors.
Look and Feel
The Plantronics Voyager Legend is an upgrade on previous Plantronics Bluetooth headsets, with a slimmer, sleeker look than earlier models. It’s designed to accommodate glasses wearers, and while the item did feel comfortable but a bit heavy on top of my glasses, nothing is ever going to feel completely unnoticeable when you have a little computer sitting on your ear.
The device is made with a flexible silicone body to fit your ears without being too snug. And the extended microphone flips forward and backward depending on your dominant ear. Along the side is your main control panel where the power and volume buttons are located. Shortcut keys like the “Voice” button, which enables the Voyager Legend’s voice command functionality, are located on the actual stem of the microphone and on top of your ear piece.
The body of the Voyager Legend also has a rubberized finish, so you can wear the headset during your morning run and not worry about the sweat breaking your $100 gadget. Unfortunately, this rubber is also a bit of a dead skin cell magnet, and I get quite a bit of dusty bits on the black earpiece as it rubs against my head during wear. Gross, I know, but it had to be mentioned. Included in the box are also changeable ear tips to best fit the inside of your ears.
When you’re done with the headset for the day, the device charges using a USB cord to connect to the magnetized charging pins. The Voyager Legend snaps against its charger much like Apple’s MagSafe charger holds steady to your MacBook, so you can leave it hanging off the desk while you finish up emails or read the nightly news. A full charge takes just about 90 minutes.
Voice driven interface
What’s new about this refreshed model of Plantronics’ Bluetooth headset is the addition of a total voice command interface, which has become popularized by the likes of Siri, S Voice, and Google Now. You can hold the Voice button and say a command, such as Redial, Call [Name], or Answer to perform corresponding actions. You will also receive voice alerts when your battery is low or headset connection has been interrupted.
Another neat feature, if you will allow it, is for the Voyager Legend to access your phonebook and read you the name of your caller when you receive the call. Granted, it was easy for the Voyager Legend to say “Mom” was calling, but I haven’t experienced calls from friends with unique or hard-to-pronounced names to see how the device performs reading ethnic names. I could only hope it’s not as disastrous as Siri’s attempt. If you find that the Voyager Legend is butchering the pronunciation of your phonebook contacts, you can always turn off the feature and just gander at your phone when you receive a call — you know, the old school way.
Unfortunately, voice command didn’t work as smoothly as I had hoped. I asked the Voyager Legend to call “Home,” “Mom,” and “Voicemail” and they all led to the Bing business search hotline. Weird.
As far as usability, the Voyager Legend delivers crisp and clear sound even in a noisy city like New York. My voice being sent to the receiver did have some issues from time to time, particularly with wind noise, but communicating was not entirely impossible. The Bluetooth range was also reasonable at about 10 to 15 feet before static creeped into the call.
A professional’s gadget
When Plantronics representatives visited Digital Trends to speak about their new product, it was clear that the Voyager Legend is aimed at business professionals who would make the most out of Bluetooth headsets in their daily lives. This is apparent in the headset’s ability to sync with multiple devices, from your PC to smartphone. All you have to do is hang up a call on Skype to access the sync with your Galaxy S3, or the Bluetooth setup in your car on the drive home.
The Voyager Legend also boasts the talk time of seven hours — 11 days in standby mode — enough to get you through one work day if you’re constantly picking up and making calls. The earpiece can also sense when it’s being worn, so it “knows” whether to send the sound to your headset or leave it in your phone.
Perhaps my favorite feature out of this all is the new Find My Headset function on the accompanying Android app. It’s a bit like Foursquare for your call log, which records the location of your last call made or received, in case you misplace your Voyager Legend. The app allows you to see where you last used the headset so you can backtrack through the day. If someone else stole your earpiece and made calls through it, you might also be able to locate where the item is being used.
Aside from some voice control issues, the Voyager Legend is a fine piece of Bluetooth technology that performs. Personally, I’m not a fan of voice commands, so I didn’t care that it didn’t work so well for me, but others may have better luck (or care more about its sub-par functionality). My primary issue is that the earpiece is still pretty bulky and gets dirty quite quickly — a potential inevitability with a device that gets so close to your ears and their canals.
The Voyager Legend comes packed with some cool tools for $100, but if you want the add-on carrying case that doubles as an extended battery pack, that’ll cost you an additional $30 for 14 hours extra life. Unless you plan to travel with limited charging time, these expenses are likely unnecessary. But if you are the type who will absolutely use the heck out of a Bluetooth headset, the Voyager Legend is a solid choice. The device is available today on Plantronics, Amazon, Best Buy and will be coming to AT&T and Verizon in October.