Sennheiser MB Pro 2 UC ML – Product Review

July 29, 2014

By Danny Hayasaka

Sennheiser was here the other day and left me this little gem of a product, the Sennheiser MB Pro 2 UC ML.

What you get in the box: Headset, Dongle, USB charging stand, Safety guide, InCompliance leaflet, Quick guide

Set Up: Like most USB headsets today, it’s important to download Sennheiser software especially HeadSetUp and Sennheiser Updater. For connection to PC, insert USB dongle into USB port. Device drivers will install. Appears to automatically pair to USB dongle. Connect Charging Stand via USB to PC. Allow headset to charge

  • 40 min fast charge for 7.5hrs of talk time
  • 2hr 30 min complete charge cycle for 15hrs of talk time

You can check battery charge level by pressing multi-function button and voice prompt tells you “Above 10 hrs talk time”. You can also place headset on charge stand and watch the blue LED light. Red light blinks once if below 1hr talk time. Blue light blinks four times if above 10 hrs of talk time.

To pair to mobile device place headset into Bluetooth Pairing mode

  • Turn headset off by pressing multi-function button for like two seconds
  • Press and hold multi-function button until you hear “Pairing” about 6 seconds
  • Place mobile device into pairing mode
  • Select “Sennheiser MB Pro..”
  • Should pair right up

Pretty standard pairing procedure, you will hear voice prompt telling “Pairing successful” plus if paired to dongle it will let you know you are paired to dongle as well.

Volume and Mute Control Switch – forwards and back to increase/decrease volume. Press in to mute during call and press again to unmute.

Actual use: We use Microsoft Lync here so I was able to select Sennheiser from list of audio devices (I have several Lync devices connected to my PC) I made a few test calls via Lync and was surprised at the range I received. I can roam basically throughout our entire 2nd floor. Please note we have open floor plan except for a few offices around the perimeter and conf room in the middle. Audio quality was pretty poor in stairwell and when I went to the furthest corner of building. That was expected however, it did NOT disconnect the call.

Audio quality of standard call was really good and the noise canceling mic appears to work well and better than most standard NC mics.

Here’s where it gets good. The headset seems “to know” when you are streaming music and the volume level and audio quality seem to improve to support music. STREAMING MUSIC SOUNDS REALLY GOOD!!! As we know,  most Bluetooth headsets that support PC/Mobile connectivity (Voyager Legend UC, Motion UC, VoxStar UC, Presence UC)  are “single ear” and music sounds, “okay” at best when being streamed. Music pumping through both speakers is like being in your own little world at work. If a call comes through, you can answer. When you hang up, you go right back to the music. And…with the crazy battery life of the MB Pro 2, you are assured uninterrupted music and talking during your work day.

Conclusion: The Sennheiser MB Pro 2 is a nice addition to the Sennheiser portfolio. If you are an individual who requires dual connectivity (PC/Laptop and Mobile device), and wants to drown the outside world by streaming music or you just prefer dual ear coverage with a very good noise canceling mic, then the MB Pro 2 is for you. It comes in two variants:

  1. SEN-506045-006 Optimized for major softphone and UC brands, the headsets are designed for UC business professionals who demand wireless communication freedom, brilliant sound quality, and exceptional wearing comfort.
  2. SEN-506046-006 Optimized for Microsoft Lync, the headsets are designed for UC business professionals who demand wireless communication freedom, brilliant sound quality, and exceptional wearing comfort.

 

Speakerphones for Mobile Devices

July 24, 2014

By Danny Hayasaka

When it comes to Speakerphones for mobile devices, there are a variety of options available. I personally have used Jabra, Plantronics, Logitech and recently Sennheiser’s speakerphone solutions for mobile devices.

Why would you need speakerphone for mobile? Better audio quality. Like most folks, all contacts are stored on my mobile phone. It’s easier and more convenient to just call from mobile device for ad-hoc conf call. The issue is the audio quality of the speakers and mic from most mobile devices is poor. If you have two or more folks who need to participate in call, it’s a good idea to have speakerphone that can enhance the audio quality.

To keep this blog short, I’ll concentrate on just the smaller speakerphones by Plantronics, Jabra, Logitech and Sennheiser that are great for two to four people. Polycom, Konftel and ClearOne also provide solutions for mobile devices.

Plantronics, Jabra and Logitech provide Bluetooth connectivity to mobile device where Sennheiser offers 3.5mm plug audio cable connection. Logitech also supports NFC (Near Field Communications).

 

 

Plantronics Calisto 620

This unit offers dual connectivity to PC (via USB dongle) and Mobile device (via Bluetooth). It is a rechargeable wireless device with up to 7hrs of Talk Time with up to 5 days of standby time and includes neoprene carry case. I do have a concern with this unit. You have USB cable and AC Wall Charger option however those items don’t fit in carry case. They do offer a little slot on the underside of unit to slide USB dongle into for storage.

 

 

Jabra Speak 510

The Jabra Speak 510 and 510+ models both offer dual connectivity PC (via USB dongle) and Mobile device (via Bluetooth). They are also rechargeable and wireless with up to 15hrs of Talk Time. Both the 510 and 510+ include a hardwired USB cable that conveniently wraps around base for storage and portability. The 510+ includes a USB dongle for wireless connectivity to PC and neoprene storage case.

 

Logitech P710e

This unit has some cool features that some may appreciate. In addition to Bluetooth, the Logitech P710e also supports NFC (Near Field Communication). You must be connected via USB cable to use with PC but that’s ok as it also has nice USB cable management system on the underside. It does include rechargeable battery and provides up to 15hrs of Talk Time.  The P710e has unique feature none of the other speakerphones offer which is a device stand for your mobile phone or tablet. At first, most will wonder, “Why?” I have a couple reasons: 1. Stability when doing video call with smart phone or tablet. 2. Great stand when watching movies via mobile device. Also includes neoprene carry case.

 

Sennheiser SP 20

The Sennheiser SP Series are the latest additions to the personal/small group speakerphone space. Please note currently neither SP 10 or SP 20 models support Bluetooth or NFC.  Only the the SP 20/20 ML variants offer mobile device connectivity via 3.5mm plug. Both SP 10 and SP 20 models connect to PC via USB. The SP 20 offers USB and 3.5mm audio cable management around the base of unit for easy storage. Also includes a neoprene carry case. It also has rechargeable battery for wireless use with mobile device and provides up to 20hrs of Talk Time.

But which sounds the better?

Based on my own personal testing, I’m going to rank them in order of best to okay as none were horrible when it came to audio quality, it’s just some stood out. Additionally, I’m ranking in terms of both speakerphone audio quality during call as well as streaming media audio quality.

Ranking for Audio Quality via Call

  1. Jabra Speak 510/510+
  2. Sennheiser SP 10/SP 20
  3. Plantronics Calisto 620
  4. Logitech P710e

Ranking for Audio Quality for Streaming Media

  1. Sennheiser SP 20 (Hands down, no contest. Sennheiser SP 20 has sound-enhancement profile that makes streaming music sound awesome)
  2. Plantronics 620
  3. Jabra Speak 510/510+
  4. Logitech P710e

Again, these are just my rankings based on personal use with Microsoft Lync, iPhone and iPad.

What replaces the Jabra GO 6430 and GO 6470?

July 14, 2014

By Danny Hayasaka

The Jabra GO 6400 series have been deemed End of Life/Discontinued. So now what?

Fortunately Jabra has the new Motion Series available. The main differences in the GO 6400 series vs the Motion Series listed below:

  1. Wearing style
    1. GO 6400: Ear Hook, Headband, Neckband
    2. Motion: Wrap around the ear
    3. A2DP Streaming (profile that allows multimedia audio (i.e. music, GPS audio) to be streamed to headset
      1. Supported by Motion (Bluetooth 4.0)
      2. Not supported by GO 6400 (Bluetooth 2.1)
    4. NFC (Near Field Communication)
      1. Supported by Motion
      2. Not supported by GO 6400
    5. Talk Time/Standby time
      1. GO 6400 series up to 6hrs/Up to 100hrs
      2. Motion series up to 8hrs/Up to 360hrs
    6. Busy Indicator Light
      1. GO 6400 series do not support
      2. Motion
        1. Busy indicator light on headset
        2. Motion Office base has Busy Indicator Light port on base to support external Jabra Busylight Indicator.

Jabra GO 6400 series included the GO 6430 and GO 6470 both were UC compatible and optimized for Microsoft Office Communicator and Lync.

  • GO 6430 allowed you to pair to Mobile device and PC via USB Bluetooth dongle
  • GO 6470 allowed you to connect/pair to Desk Phone, PC and Mobile device

 

Jabra Motion Series includes the Jabra Motion UC, Motion UC+, Motion UC MS, Motion UC+ MS, Motion Office and Motion Office MS.

  • 6630-900-105 Jabra Motion UC – Mobile and PC connectivity
  • 6630-900-305 Jabra Motion UC MS – Optimized for Microsoft Lync – Mobile and PC connectivity
  • 6640-906-105 Jabra Motion UC+ with Travel Kit – Mobile and PC connectivity
  • 6640-906-305 Jabra Motion UC+ MS with Travel Kit – Optimized for Microsoft Lync – Mobile and PC connectivity
  • 6670-904-105 Jabra Motion Office – Desk Phone, PC and Mobile Connectivity
  • 6670-904-305 Jabra Motion Office MS – Optimized for Microsoft Lync – Desk Phone, PC and Mobile Connectivity

How you work, communicate and collaborate will determine which Jabra Motion is best for you. It’s strongly recommended you speak with device specialist to help guide you.

Voyager Legend, Voyager Legend UC or Voyager Legend CS?

July 8, 2014

By Danny Hayasaka

Plantronics produces some great communications and collaboration devices to include the Voyager Legend series, however, customers are often confused as to which model to order. For today’s blog, I’m going to do a quick break down of the differences.

It all starts with connectivity. What are you looking to connect/pair to?

If you are simply looking for a Bluetooth headset to pair with your mobile device (smartphone/tablet) the standard Voyager Legend (Plantronics Part# 87300-01 or 89880-01 includes case) will suffice.

In today’s world, folks have a need to connect to a mobile device and their PC/Laptop for web-based collaboration applications or VoIP softphone/UC platforms. The appropriate model would be the Voyager Legend UC (Standard UC version B235, 87670-01 or Microsoft Lync Optimized version B235-M, 87680-01) which includes Voyager Legend headset plus a USB Bluetooth dongle for PC/Laptop.

Then there are those who have office desk phones however, also have a mobile device. For this scenario, the appropriate device is the Voyager Legend CS (Plantronics Part# 88863-01 or 88863-11 with HL10 Handset Lifter) which includes a base that allows for connectivity to a desk phone. Both models support EHS Cables and HL10’s.

 

Connectivity: