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If you’re looking for a hands-free way to use your phone, a Bluetooth headset is a great option. This type of headset uses radio waves to connect wirelessly to your phone, so you can make and receive calls without having to hold your phone up to your ear. This can be very convenient, especially if you’re driving or doing other activities where it’s not possible or safe to hold a phone.
If you’re considering buying a Bluetooth headset, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, make sure that your phone is compatible with the headset. Second, consider how you’ll be using the headset. For example, if you’ll be wearing it while working out, you’ll want one that’s comfortable and won’t slip off. Third, think about the features that are important to you, such as battery life, range, and whether or not the headset can be used with other devices like your computer or music player.
Once you’ve considered these factors, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices and find the perfect Bluetooth headset for you. Still, though, the market has tons of choices to offer. We’ve rounded up some of the best ones for this year, so you won’t have to.
The Evolve2 65, which is available in black, gray, or white, would resemble a pair of supra-aural (on-ear) headphones if it weren’t for the boom mic. 40mm drivers with a 20Hz–20kHz frequency range are hidden under the perforated leather-like material that lines the earpads. With plush, silicone-coated foam cushioning on the inside of the headband for enhanced comfort, the fit is light and secure overall. Boom microphones can be entirely muted by rotating them upward, while they can be unmuted and used to take incoming calls by rotating them downward.
On the right earcup’s side panel, a three-button array is located. The center button controls playback (paused playback automatically switches the headset to ambient listening mode so you can easily converse in person), while the outside buttons adjust the volume and switch tracks. Using the center button will also open a Microsoft Teams notice, start the Microsoft Teams software, and answer or end calls.
A three-mic MEMs array with a frequency range of 100Hz to 8kHz makes up the microphone system. You may easily switch between a computer and a mobile device after the USB dongle is linked to your computer and turned on as an audio output. During testing, switching between listening to music on a MacBook Pro and making calls on an iPhone 8 was a reasonably seamless procedure. When a call was made or answered, the audio on the computer would instantly pause. However, the audio didn’t always automatically resume; it would play and then stop. Additionally, if the Music app is active on both a Mac and a phone, it may confuse the headset’s playback button, causing you to only toggle between the two sources of music rather than totally pausing both.
What makes the Evolve2 75 so comfortable is the plush-yet-sturdy padding on the interior of the perforated earpads and the underside of the headband. It doesn’t get too hot or apply uncomfortable pressure, so you won’t be worried about wearing it for hours at a time. We really appreciate its elegant appearance; the blend of semi-matte black or beige plastic and leatherette looks chic and smart. The side plate of the right earcup conceals the retractable boom mic. Notably, it has a tiny mute button you can push even when the boom is retracted; when you aren’t on a call, it also functions as a voice assistant button.
The app also has a busy light setting that you can activate, which causes an LED to turn red. The headset produces brilliant, sculpted high-mids and highs as well as tremendous bass depth for songs with heavy sub-bass content, such as The Knife’s “Silent Shout.” The sound doesn’t even distort at the loudest, most dangerous volume levels.
The headset also offers effective noise cancellation. In tests, it significantly reduced the amount of potent low-frequency rumble (like what you experience on a flight). Although it easily reduced the lows and mids, several high-mids and highs slipped by the ANC circuitry in a recording of a crowded restaurant with clinking dishes and raucous chatter. Although a little pricey, this headset is a great choice for its excellent sound and comfort.
There are four models in the Voyager 4200 UC series from Plantronics, two of which are monaural (have only one earcup), and two of which are binaural (and offer stereo audio). The 4220 UC is a binaural headset, as you can see. The price difference between it and the mono 4210 headsets is around $20. Both have USB-A and USB-C versions available. The Voyager 4220 UC, which is available in black, features thickly padded supra-aural earcups and a well-cushioned headband.
The boom mic can be flipped up, away from the lips and out of sight using the dial adjustment on the outer panel of the right earcup, and it can be set to almost any level for maximum clarity. The IT team member or communications team member was taken into consideration in the design of the Voyager 4220 UC. A red LED on-call indication, for example, alerts people nearby not to interrupt while a conversation is important. The headset is additionally supported by Plantronics Manager Pro software solution (granted, this only functions if everyone is aware of what the red light signifies).
In terms of call clarity, the Voyager 4220 UC performs admirably. The microphone does a good job minimizing background noise, and if your phone supports wideband audio, HD Voice substantially increases clarity by removing much of the fuzziness that frequently accompanies Bluetooth technology. If you can, turn it on without a doubt. The Voyager 4220 UC sounds fantastic from an audio performance perspective. It’s a big plus when listening to music, but it also helps when attempting to understand the person who is calling. This is the headset you want if you’re looking for something that sounds as nice as some top-notch headphones.
Despite having a rather bulky body, the 5.8-ounce B550-XT is light and comfortable to hold. The circumaural earpad is made of a leather-like material and has plenty of padding; it is tiny enough to resemble both an on-ear and an over-ear earpad. The headband uses a soft silicone cushion that is flexible and has a lot of padding to gently press against your head. However, the strain on your skull can occasionally feel a little tight, especially if you wear spectacles.
The strain can be reduced by moving the headset. When you find the right angle for your head’s shape, the padding and cushioning allow for a comfortable fit. You can wear the headset with the earpiece on either the left or the right side by flipping the microphone up on top. Out of the ear cup, the boom protrudes. The mic can be positioned precisely thanks to the gooseneck-style boom, which has a protected windshield on top.
A bi-directional electret microphone with a frequency range of 150 Hz–6.8 kHz is located beneath the screen. Similar to the microphone, the earpiece has an internal 36 mm driver that delivers 150 Hz–6.8 kHz, making it perfect for hearing human speech. The microphone provides crystal-clear audio. Even in noisy areas, the mic clarity is outstanding. Furthermore, when loud music or rumble is blasting nearby, it is simple to hear and understand callers. The BlueParrott B550-XT is made to provide exceptional call clarity even in the noisiest settings, and it does it admirably. It’s a cozy mono choice suitable for operating noisy machinery like trucks.
For a Bluetooth headset, the 5200 has all the features. You can pair it with various devices, and it pairs by Bluetooth or NFC. It reads out callers’ names and allows you to voice command whether or not to answer calls. Text messages can be dictated, and instructions can be requested using built-in voice commands, which I found to be more accurate than Google Now on other headsets. However, it won’t read your texts to you. You can make the headset beep if it is lost and check its battery level from your phone using the Plantronics Hub app.
The 5200 has the best range in large part because of its enormous size, compared to other headsets on this list. However, calls sometimes become pretty poppy after around 40 ft. Even so, you can still clearly make out a voice. The 5200 has forceful noise suppression, but the speech quality is a little bit robotic for the price. Nevertheless, it easily mutes passing buses and cars. A little more work is required to deal with wind noise, and some wind was heard during testing (wind noise has always been an issue for Voyager headsets).
For broadcasts from extremely noisy places, however, the 5200 is unquestionably your best option. The voice quality on Plantronics Voyager headsets has been great for years. You don’t have to switch to the Voyager 5200 if you already own an earlier model, such as the incredible Legend. But the Voyager 5200 is still the gold standard if you’re looking for a Bluetooth headset right now that can handle extensive usage both indoors and outdoors.
The Voyager Focus UC has a premium, polished appearance. The majority of it is black, with elegant crimson accents and a silver metal band. A 2-inch boom can swing up out of the way or down for a conversation, and two comfortable pads go over your ears. The headgear is also reversible thanks to its swivel. A voice-command button, music control buttons, and a volume rocker are located on one of the earcups. The buttons are all sizable and simple to press.
The earcups swivel flat to fit in an included neoprene pouch, but the headset doesn’t fold; you’re traveling with a 6-inch-wide object no matter what you do. A key feature that sets the Focus UC apart from competing headsets is its comfort. The earpads are kept in place by the springy metal band, which isn’t too tight to give you a headache after wearing them for numerous hours. Additionally, the padded headband has a lot of giving to safeguard hairstyles. For a headset that initially makes you think that conference calls are its only use, the sound quality is surprisingly decent. There is noticeable but not overpowering bass, unlike the muddy S450-XT, and music can be played loudly without distortion. There is also enough treble edge to provide a balanced sound profile.
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