Targeted towards mobile professionals who demand clear call quality in all sorts of environments, the $99 Voyager Pro boasts excellent noise-canceling and wind-reduction technologies. In fact, at times this headset performed better than the Aliph Jawbone Prime. Although some will find its design a tad large compared with some competing devices, others will love its sturdy comfort.
The Voyager Pro is a throwback to the Voyager 510(which is still available four years after its release). Although light, at 0.6 ounces, it has a spacious build, including a long three-inch boom with dual mics, and a thick ear hook that wraps around the lobe. Certainly, it dwarfs the Jawbone Prime and the Jabra BT530, both of which have pint-size, rectangular shapes and don’t require the user to wear an ear hook.
The tactile volume buttons sit atop the ear hook, while the power/pairing button is on the back of the loop. In addition to the stodgy boom, the black design and stainless steel accents make it more appropriate for a road warrior and not, say, a fashionista. The call answer and end button is on the side of the headset, where the boom meets the earloop.
Comfort and Fit
Although the Voyager Pro’s long boom and large earloop don’t make for a subtle design, its comfort is undeniable. The hook wraps snugly, but not too tightly, around the ear, while the inner earpiece feels soft. Unlike other headsets, such as the Samsung WEP301, the earpiece didn’t protrude too far into our ear, like a plug. Even so, the headset stayed put as we moved our head around.
The headset comes with three sizes of eartips in two different materials, silicone and foam, and both were comfortable. Since the ear hook isn’t removable, you don’t get any customization options there.
Noise Cancellation and Wind Reduction
The Voyager Pro combines AudioIQ noise-cancellation technology with WindSmart wind reduction. In both cases, Plantronics combines mechanical elements with digital signal processing (DSP) algorithms for subtracting background noise. Before the DSP even kicks in, the noise passes through two windscreens, which are lined with Gore (as in Gore-Tex, the cloth-lining gloves). When the wind is blowing too strongly, a tone alerts the user that the wind is interfering, so that they know to change position.
We were able to pair the headset with the T-Mobile G1 on our first try. Even when we placed calls at a busy Manhattan intersection, with taxis honking and trucks rumbling past, our caller could barely hear any background noise and couldn’t tell we were in such a noisy environment. On both ends of the call, the volume was loud but not overwhelming. The call quality was even comparable to (and occasionally better than) the new Jawbone Prime, and the volume was louder, too. The noise cancellation also rivals the $129 Motorola Motopure H15, but its fit is far sturdier, too.
Likewise, when we placed a call next to a speaker blasting the Raiders of the Lost Ark theme music, our call sounded louder on our end when we used the Pro. But while the Pro did a better job muffling that background music, our caller still said that our voice sounded clearer when we used the Prime.
The Voyager Pro also ushers in VoicePrompts, a new feature that offers warnings when the battery is low or to confirm the user has pressed the mute button. After pressing the mute button, a brief tone will play every few minutes to remind users they’re still on mute (ending the call turns off mute automatically). On the low battery front, users receive warnings during phone calls only, and when 30 and 10 minutes of battery life are remaining.
Range and Battery Life
The Voyager Pro has a rated range of 33 feet. In our tests, our caller sounded clear as far as about 50 feet. Thanks to multipoint technology, the headset can pair with two devices at once.
The rated talk time is 6 hours, which is longer than the Prime’s rated 4.5 hours or the BT530’s 5.5. The Pro recharged quickly, and certainly faster than the Prime, which we charged alongside it. Out of the box, charging it for just half an hour or so gave it more than enough juice to place half a dozen calls.
The biggest drawback to the Plantronics Voyager Pro is that some people will find its design too serious, or too bulky. That said, it’s one of the most comfortable we’ve tested, and the noise and wind cancellation are both effective. The $129 Aliph Jawbone Prime offers better style and comparable quality, while the $99 Jabra BT530 also offers a sleeker design and good sound. But among the noise-canceling headsets in this price range, the Voyager Pro is the sturdiest and greatest comfort you can get.