The New Jabra Speak 810 for larger group conferencing and collaborating

By Danny Hayasaka

October 28, 2015

Jabra recently introduced a new member to their Speak Series of USB speaker phones: Jabra Speak 810. It comes in two flavors:

These are in addition to the popular Speak 410 and 510 variants for smaller groups of 1-4 people:

First off I want to clarify that the Speak 810 is CORDED. Some of the marketing images are a little misleading (see below). The Speak 810 requires AC Power adapter (included) connected to power outlet in order to work. If connected to a PC/Laptop, you need a USB cable (included) in addition to AC power.

What’s in the box: Speak 810, AC Power Supply (various connection types), hardwired USB cable, hardwired 3.5mm jack cable

The Speak 810 has microphone range pick up of up to 15ft and supports up to 15 people in the room. We’ve been testing here in our conference room and usually have 18-20 people. The feedback I have received is positive. We can be heard clearly and we can hear the caller clearly. The Speak 810 uses DSP (Digital Signal Processing) technology and has Zoom Talk microphones which are intelligent directional microphones that focus on human voice and not noise. There are also answer/hang up buttons, volume up/down buttons as well as a mute button.

The Speak 810 supports Bluetooth (Class 1 – up to 328ft range for Class 1 supported devices) and NFC (Near Field Communication). Additionally it includes a 3.5mm jack cable to connect your smartphone or tablet directly for immediate conference calling. It’s firmware upgradeable via free Jabra Direct software.

It also has a nice cord management system on the underside.

A cool feature is the USB charge out port that allows you to recharge your smartphone or tablet. Plus it includes a Kensington lock. Jabra and Kensington have the Jabra Lock It Up Promotion through November 30, 2015 where you can get a FREE Kensington Microsaver® Micro DS Lock when you purchase a Jabra SPEAK 810 UC or MS (A $54.99 Value)!!!

As more and more organizations utilize UC, VoIP softphones and web-based conferencing solutions, the need for larger USB speakerphones are needed. All companies have multiple conference rooms of varying sizes. While the Speak 410 and 510 are great for small huddle rooms, they aren’t sufficient for larger meetings. This is where the Jabra Speak 810 comes into play or as we have come to call it, “the hoverboard”.

 

Lack of employee training reduces UC adoption. I would like to add that not having the right device also hinders UC adoption/success…

By Danny Hayasaka

October 16, 2015

Yes, it’s true that UC adoption suffers due to lack of employee training. I remember in our company when we first deployed Microsoft Lync (now Skype for Business), the individuals more involved understood and were aware of all the great features that were available to them. However, not everyone did and there was a lot of pushback, complaints, etc. Being device specialists, we had our pick of devices. Initially, everyone had desk phones optimized for Lync. After about three months, the majority of employees had removed their desk phones and opted for wireless headsets (single and multi-connectivity) and/or USB speakerphones. And of course they have a USB webcam for video calls and we have conference cam in a conference room for voice/video calls.

As a communications and collaboration specialist, I encounter several scenarios daily where customers are simply unaware of all the feature/functionality their UC platform offers.

We often get calls from customers who have had a UC platform for months or longer and have just now discovered they can “click to call”. They thought all they had was Presence and IM capabilities. Of course, now they want a “USB Headset”. As we probe a little more to understand their daily routine, we come to find in many situations, customers need more than just a USB corded headset.

I say this because often times when organizations are budgeting for a UC platform, they tend to budget $30 for a USB corded headset. Unfortunately, in most cases, that isn’t the solution. Organizations need to take time to consult with a communications and collaboration devices specialist who can walk them through the various options.

Every organization has various use cases, employee types, environments, and applications. It’s important to develop employee profiles and understand how they work on a daily basis. Are they desk-centric meaning they spend 90% or more of their day at their desks. Are they office-mobile? Meaning they spend part of their day at their desks and the other part moving about the office. Are they mobile? These are your “road warriors” who spend their time in cars, lobbies, planes, trains, hotel rooms, etc. Additionally, there are different environments. You can’t use a $30 USB corded headset in a conference room. You need different devices. What about in a lobby or other common areas?

Then, of course, we need to understand if they have multiple devices i.e. Laptop/PC, Desk Phone and/or Mobile device. Would it be beneficial to connect to all three or any combination of the three or two? Device manufacturers today offer solutions that allow multi-connectivity.

Wait there’s more, which UC platform? There are multiple headsets, phone, audio conferencing, and video conferencing device manufacturers however only a select few offers Optimized, Certified, Interoperable, Compatible with the various UC platforms. A communications and collaboration device specialist can help customers navigate through the overwhelming options and narrow down the choices to the appropriate devices so their employees utilize the UC platform more effectively. Of course, it is important for the organization to do its best to provide training. Our organization has provided this type service in the past and is strongly considering making it a regular line item as we know from our own experience how challenging it can to get employees to utilize the new UC platform.

 

 

Plantronics Voyager Focus UC Review

By Danny Hayasaka

July 27, 2015

Do you work in an open office environment? Are your primary modes of communication a PC and Mobile device? Do you like streaming music while you work? Are there times when you really need to focus but can’t because you’re distracted by all the noise around you? If you answered yes to any of those questions, the Plantronics Voyager Focus UC may be the device for you!

This is another great product from Plantronics! It’s a Bluetooth stereo headset with Active Noise Canceling speakers. There are a couple of other Active Noise Canceling (ANC) products that have recently been introduced however they are corded and miss the mark on some features/functionality. The Plantronics Voyager Focus UC seems to address those missed features.

There are currently four variants:

  • PLT-202652-01-006 Plantronics B825 Voyager Focus UC Bluetooth Headset
  • PLT-202652-02-006 Plantronics B825-M Voyager Focus UC Lync/Skype for Business Bluetooth Headset
  • PLT-202652-03-006 Plantronics B825 Voyager Focus UC Bluetooth Headset (No Stand)
  • PLT-202652-04-006 Plantronics B825-M Voyager Focus UC Lync/Skype for Business Bluetooth Headset (No Stand)

I’m reviewing the Plantronics B825-M Voyager Focus UC-M for Microsoft Lync/Skype for Business.

What’s in the box? Plantronics Voyager Focus Stereo Headset, Charging Stand, BT600 USB Dongle, Micro USB Charging Cable, Travel Case, Quick Start Guide, other documentation

At first glance: It’s a pretty cool looking wireless stereo headset.

What does it do? Bluetooth stereo headset with Active Noise Canceling speakers. Pairs to your mobile device via Bluetooth and to a PC/Laptop via USB Bluetooth dongle. You can answer softphone calls and mobile calls. You can stream music. There are some other very cool features I’ll get into.

Set Up and Use: The charging stand has one hardwired USB cable. I connected to USB port on my PC and I placed headset in to charge. I only charged for few hours because I was excited to use it. I didn’t read any of the instructions however I’ve set up tons of headsets in my almost 17 years doing this. The Voyager Focus UC was fairly intuitive. I assumed if I wanted to pair to mobile device I would just turn on and hold on/off/Bluetooth button until headset went into pairing mode. It did. I selected “PLT Focus”. Next I plugged the new BT600 USB Dongle. It took a little bit however soon my Lync client recognized it and I selected the Plantronics BT600. Also, if you want this to be your primary device, be sure and go into your PC’s Control Panel –> Sounds (or Hardware and Sound) –> Select Plantronics BT600 as Playback and Recording Default Device. This way you hear when you get notifications, emails, IM’s, as well as have audio through the headset when streaming online media.

 

The Voyager Focus UC is a very comfortable headset. It has very soft leatherette ear cushions and a nice cushioned headband.

The power button acts as “on/off” as well as the button to place headset into pairing mode. The red “mute” button is on the mic boom. You get audio prompt letting you know “Mute on” as well as “Mute off”. It automatically turns “Mute off” if you hang up call.

The “answer/hang up” button is on the mic side of headset as well as the online indicator lights. A cool feature if you are streaming audio from mobile device is that if you get a softphone or mobile call, it will pause the music. When you hang up call, it starts the music from where it paused. If you are using a music streaming program like Windows Media Player and answer a call, it pauses the music and starts back when you hang up. If I am watching a YouTube video and answer a call, it does not pause the video or audio. In fact, I can hear the audio from the video and the caller’s voice simultaneously. So that was interesting. No, the caller can’t hear the video that is playing. Another cool feature, let’s say you are in a call and as it quite often happens, someone comes up to you and they can’t wait for you to get off call. If you take headset off, in the middle of call, it automatically places headset on mute. When you place headset back on, it turns mute off. Also like the Voyager Legend and Edge, the Voyager Focus UC has Smart Sensors so it knows when you are wearing the headset. Let’s say you aren’t wearing the headset and you get a mobile call. You can answer via your mobile phone like normal, if you put the headset on; it automatically transfers the call from your mobile device to the headset. I’ve loved this feature ever since it was available. Similarly if you aren’t wearing headset and you get a softphone call, simply put the headset on and it answer call. Super cool.

The non-mic side contains the controls for music: Volume Control, Play/Pause button, track forward and back buttons. A cool feature of the volume is regardless of which side the mic is on, forward is always volume increase and if you rotate back it’s volume decrease. The Active Noise Canceling (ANC) on/off button is on same side.

Audio Quality: So it looks good, it’s comfortable but how does it sound? If you are streaming music, it’s great! Sounds really, really good. If you have ANC activated plus the music streaming…you won’t be able to hear anyone or anything. This is so important if you are working on an important project that requires your complete attention. Ok, here’s where I give a just a couple dings. The noise canceling mic is not going to completely drown out background noise. If you are in an area with “loud talkers” or there is laughter, cheering, etc in the background, it will be heard. However, it’s a sufficient noise canceling mic. It does have an online indicator however, it’s a tiny little light so not certain how effective it would be at showing/informing others you are in an active call unless you educate them beforehand.

The speakers do fold flat for easier portability. I was impressed that in addition to the charging stand, they also include a micro-usb charging cable and travel pouch. The travel pouch has another zippered compartment where you can neatly store the charging cable and even the BT600 USB dongle for safe keeping. Really digging the second compartment.

Conclusion: The Plantronics Voyager Focus UC is another great addition to the Plantronics portfolio that definitely fills a void. It’s packed with many very cool features. Oh and one of the best parts!!! Can’t believe I hadn’t mentioned it earlier. Are you ready for this? 12 HOURS OF TALK TIME!!! 15 HOURS OF MUSIC STREAMING!!! So you get ALL DAY hi-fi stereo sound! If you really need to “focus”, the Plantronics Voyager Focus UC is definitely a must.

Logitech ConferenceCam Connect – Uniquely Portable and Versatile, All-in-One Video Collaboration for Small Groups

By Danny Hayasaka

July 23, 2015

When I first saw the Logitech ConferenceCam Connect I knew I had to have one. Well, I finally do. It’s been sitting here for a little bit now. The Logitech ConferenceCam Connect is jam-packed with features!!!

It comes in two variants however I’m being told it’s really tough to obtain a Ruby – Limited Edition version so if you want one of these, you should go with the Silver.

PN 960-001013 Silver

PN 960-001026 Ruby – Limited Edition

What’s in the box: ConferenceCam Connect device, Power adapter with plug, Regional plugs, USB cable, Documentation

 

At First glance: It looks like this cool gadget that has you wondering what it does.

What does it do? The Logitech ConferenceCam Connect is a USB webcam + speakerphone that supports Bluetooth and NFC pairing. This allows you to use as a webcam and speakerphone for web-based calls from Microsoft Skype for Business/Lync, Cisco Jabber, Skype, WebEx, GoToMeeting, and most major web-based collaboration platforms. The ConferenceCam Connect can be used as a wireless speakerphone for your mobile device to have a small group conference call. You can connect your *supported mobile device wirelessly to screen mirror presentations, spreadsheets, videos or Internet content to a projector, monitor, television or other display that’s connected to ConferenceCam Connect via HDMI cable (not included).

*Screen Mirroring: Android 4.3 or higher, Windows 8.1 or higher (As phones or tablets may vary, please check your mobile device specs or contact manufacturer)

Set Up and Use: I let charge overnight. It’s a very clean design. Once ConferenceCam Connect is charged you should get up to 15 hours (3 hours for video conferencing and screen mirroring). The remote control also acts as a lens cover and attaches magnetically. Again, very clean design. You have three operating options once you turn unit on: Screen Mirroring, USB and Mobile (Bluetooth or NFC). The selection options are on top of ConferenceCam Connect.

 

Here’s one of the downsides, it doesn’t automatically switch from Mobile to PC mode. For example, I’m connected to PC for Lync voice and video calls. I am also paired with my mobile device to stream music. If I am in mobile/Bluetooth mode and I get Lync call, I have to manually press the USB mode to answer the call. It doesn’t automatically switch.

Audio and Video Quality: I don’t have an HDMI cable here so I’ve been unable to test the Screen Mirroring feature however I did witness it at the tradeshow and it was pretty cool. They were streaming movies from Netflix to a tv monitor. Good quality.

When streaming music the audio quality is very good. Nice sound. Plus it’s wireless so very portable.

Audio quality on Lync (softphone) call was very good. I can clearly hear and be heard.  Video quality appears to be very good as well.

What’s really cool is that the ConferenceCam Connect offers a 90-degree field of view with autofocus, 4X digital zoom in Full HD, Rightlight™ 2 Technology for clear image in various lighting environments (even low light), and Digital pan, tilt and zoom from remote control or optional downloadable app plus a mechanical tilt. The remote control offers camera controls and speakerphone functions with a 10-foot range.

Image of my view with ConferenceCam Connect and then an image of the view from the person I’m calling. So you can see the video quality is very good. Nice clear image.

 

The microphones and speaker support a 12-foot diameter range. This is great for small group audio or video conference of 1-6 people.

The Logitech ConferenceCam Connect also has nice light indicators on base to let you know if you are muted or not. Blue light means you’re on active call. Red light means you’re on mute.

ConfereneCam Connect Certifications

  • Certified for Skype for Business
  • Optimized for Lync
  • Cisco Jabber™ and WebEx® compatible (See logitech.com/ciscocompatibility for the latest version.)
  • Skype™ certified
  • Windows®
  • Mac®
  • ZEISS®
  • HDMI™

Conclusion: This is a great device for small groups (1-6 people) for audio/video calls through your PC/Laptop or voice calls via your mobile device. The ConferenceCam Connect is very simple and intuitive. It’s sleek and portable design offers a very small footprint. Click to see all the features and specifications. And the best part…it’s only $499.99

Plantronics BackBeat Fit Review

By Danny Hayasaka

June 23, 2015

I’m a Fit Junkie. A few years back (161 weeks and 3 days) I made a decision to “lose weight”. I was 246lbs+ with a 42 in waist and growing. These days I’m happy to report I’m 184lbs with a 32in waist. It’s no longer about “losing weight”. It’s about being fit and healthy and able to do things.  It was a challenging journey. I went from getting winded walking a quarter mile to being able to run 16 miles non-stop. I now average 100+ miles per month. I went from not being able to hold a plank for 10 seconds to just yesterday holding it for 4:14 min!!! (I’ve challenged myself to do a 5 min plank).

All along the way there has been music. I must have gone through dozens of headphones/earphones. From corded to wireless. A little embarrassing but I sweat buckets in this Florida sunshine and humidity. I have ruined headphones and even iPods because of my sweat (I know gross). Other issue I ran into with other wireless headphones is the very short battery life. Most would only last 1hr to 2hr max. Well if I go run 13.1+ miles, I’m going to need a little longer battery life. Because even after you run, you need to cool down and stretch. The music needs to keep playing. Enter in…Plantronics Backbeat Fit!!!

I’ve had my BackBeat Fit since March of this year. So I’ve put them through heck. I’ve logged 408.4 miles wearing them. Not to mention my strength training workouts and HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) sessions. Regardless of how much I sweat they continue to play. Regardless of all the various movements I make, they stay put. No matter how long I run or workout…the BackBeat FIT keeps up.

These are definitely my favorite headset/headphones for working out. However, guess what? You don’t have to limit using these to working out! I use them when I’m grocery shopping, cooking dinner or just laying out by the pool! And because they have a mic, you can use it to take calls as well.

 

Ok, let’s get into the product.

They come in two variants:

BackBeat FIT – Blue 200450-01

BackBeat FIT – Green 200460-01

What’s in the box? Headphones with microphone, micro USB cable, armband for smartphone or headphones

At first glance: Single form factor with minimal moving parts which is what you need when working out.

Set Up and Use: It was very easy; they seem to go into pair mode as soon as you turn them on. Go to your Bluetooth menu on phone (I have iPhone 6 plus) and select PLT_BBFIT. Buttons are fairly easy. On right speaker you have on/off button, answer/hang up button for calls as well as covered charging port. On the left side you have volume up/down button (tap to increase volume and press and hold to decrease volume) and play/pause button. I was surprised there wasn’t a skip/forward/rewind button/function. I was also prompted to download an app, which I did. It has some nice features.

I was able to update my headset firmware (must be paired). The “Help Me” section offers some good info as well: Pairing: First Time, Firmware Update and Tips

So how does it sound? My personal opinion is they sound great! Volume is loud enough when I’m running where I can listen to the music clearly and still able to hear traffic/surroundings which is important when running. When I’m doing my strength training I can crank up the volume pretty loud.

The Plantronics BackBeat FIT is feature packed!

  • Bluetooth Headset
    • Bluetooth v3.0
      • A2DP for audio streaming, AVRCP for music controls, Hands-free v1.6 for wideband, and Headset v1.2
    • Up to 33ft range
    • Eight-device memory
      • Pair with your mobile device and tablet!
    • Status alerts
    • Carrying case
      • Can act as mobile device case/armband (too small for iPhone 6 Plus)
    • Up to 8 hours of listen time/Up to 6 hours of talk time (Very cool feature!!!)
      • Up to 14 days of standby time (we all forget to charge our stuff from time to time – no need to worry with these)
      • Deep Sleep Mode – Up to 180 Days
      • Micro USB charging
      • 2 hours for full charge
    • Sweat proof design plus P2i nano-coating on headphones (Another very cool feature!!!)
    • Only 24 grams
    • 1-Year Warranty

As I continue on my fitness journey, I expect that these will make it through. I really have put them to the test and they are holding up. Again, even if you’re not a “Fit Junkie”, these are great. Some folks don’t want to wear big bulky headphones however they still want to hear music through both ears, wirelessly while they shop or wash the car. The Plantronics BackBeat FIT, fits the bill.

 

 

 

“What is the best Bluetooth headset?”

May 28, 2015

By Danny Hayasaka

I’m often asked, “What is the best Bluetooth headset?” The answer is always, “That depends”.

Let’s first understand Bluetooth. Bluetooth isn’t a mystical, magical power. It’s short-range wireless technology. There are currently three main wireless range categories for Bluetooth.

  • Class 3 – up to 3ft range
  • Class 2 – up to 33ft range – Most commonly found in mobile devices
  • Class 1 – up to 300ft – certain commercial grade Bluetooth headsets offer this range

Additionally, there are various versions, profiles and protocol stacks. Perhaps in another blog, we can get into those. For now, let’s focus on Bluetooth headsets.

Like any other communications and collaboration device, the use case will determine which headset is most appropriate. Because our company focuses on B2B, I’ll narrow my options to commercial/professional grade products. There are a TON of consumer-grade Bluetooth headsets available. I focus on business communications devices.

We’ll need to understand the environment. Is user in private office, open office, car, airport, coffee shop, etc.? Additionally we’ll need to understand the application, is it FaceTime, Skype, Google + Hangouts or is it an enterprise-grade UC platform like Microsoft Skype for Business/Lync, Cisco Jabber, or other. In addition to a mobile device, will the user need to connect to a PC or laptop? What about a desk phone?

How, what, when and where to start to determine which Bluetooth headset will be the better fit. Additionally, personal wearing style preferences also help you to choose.

Here are some suggestions for Bluetooth headsets based on use case:

  • Commercial Drivers or users in very noisy areas will require strong noise canceling mics and extremely long talk times. There are no better than VXi when it comes to noise canceling mics and 20+Hrs of talk time:
    • VXi BlueParrott Bluetooth Headsets (single connectivity however you can order VXi BT2 USB Adapter for connectivity to PC/Laptop)
      • VXi B350-XT+ (24hrs talk time)
      • B250-XT+ (20+ hrs talk time)
    • Microsoft Skype for Business/Lync Mobile Users – Laptop and Mobile connectivity
      • Plantronics Voyager Edge UC-M (B255-M)
      • Plantronics Voyager Legend UC M (B235-M)
      • Jabra Stealth UC-MS
      • Jabra Motion UC-MS
      • Jabra Motion UC+ MS
      • Sennheiser Presence UC ML
    • Unified Communications (Cisco, Avaya, etc.) Mobile Users – Laptop and Mobile
      • Plantronics Voyager Edge UC (B255)
      • Plantronics Voyager Legend UC M (B235)
      • Jabra Stealth UC
      • Jabra Motion UC
      • Jabra Motion UC+
      • Sennheiser Presence UC
      • VXi VoxStar UC

Jabra Stealth UC Review

By Danny Hayasaka

March 30, 2015

I attended EnterpriseConnect 2015 in Florida as I do every year.  As I made my way through the exhibit hall floor I came across one of our very good partners, Jabra. They outfitted me with their new Stealth UC. I’ll write another blog later because I was actually able to test the competitive product right there on the really loud exhibit hall floor.

The Jabra Stealth UC is a headset that allows users to connect to their mobile device via Bluetooth or NFC and PC/laptop via USB Bluetooth dongle. It comes in two variants:

5578-230-109 JABRA STEALTH UC supports most major UC platforms

5578-230-309 JABRA STEALTH UC (MS) optimized for use with Microsoft Lync

What’s in the box? Stealth Headset, Carry Case, USB Adapter, Car Charger, Micro USB charging cable, Large and Medium size ear hooks,

At first glance: It’s a small, sleek, cool looking Bluetooth headset.

Set up & Use: Headset goes into “Pair mode” when you first turn on. I went into my Bluetooth menu on my iPhone 6 Plus and selected Jabra STEALTH and headset “Connected”. One of the things I noticed is there are no volume controls.  Besides the on/off switch, you also have an answer/hang up and a dedicated Voice Control Button that allows you to activate Apple Siri and Google Now. It’s actually a cool feature as you can just tap the button, Siri comes on and you can ask away i.e. “Siri, find me a Chinese restaurant?” When I got back to the office, I plugged Uthe SB dongle into PC and it paired right up (the dongle and headset come pre-connected).

This is an in-the-ear headset. I know some folks don’t like that. I personally use the smaller black eartip and it stays in place comfortably.

Jabra also has the Jabra Assist App you can download to your iOS and Android mobile device that offers some nice features like battery meter that warns when you need to recharge device and Find my Headset and even a Find My Car. Jabra Assist works with multiple Jabra Bluetooth devices: Jabra Stealth, Storm, Style, Classic, Drive, Tour and Freeway.

So how does it sound? Again, due to size I wasn’t expecting much however it seems technology really is improving as the noise canceling was much better than expected. Initially the receive volume didn’t seem to be loud enough however it did adjust. Plus you can also use your mobile device to increase volume.

The charge port is located on boom.

Here’s a list of features and specs:

  • ƒƒ Smartphone voice control button for remote activation of Siri / Google Now
  • ƒƒ Noise blackout dual microphone technology reduces background noise
  • ƒƒ HD Voice* for high definition sound quality
  • ƒƒ NFC** for easy pairing
  • ƒƒ Stream music, podcasts or GPS directions
  • ƒƒ Up to 6 hours talk time
  • ƒƒ Stay connected with the Nano sized bluetooth dongle
  • ƒƒ HD sound with noise reduction
  • ƒƒ Superior comfort in a small design
  • ƒƒ Dedicated voice control button

* Network dependent **Device dependent

How you work really dictates which device is best for you. The Jabra Stealth UC suits how I work because I don’t have a desk phone. I use Microsoft Lync via my PC and my iPhone 6 Plus for communicating and collaborating.

 

VXi Reveal Review

By Danny Hayasaka

March 5, 2015

VXi is already known for having the best noise canceling mics in the Bluetooth world with their BlueParrott B250, B20-XT+, and new B350-XT. However, some folks aren’t fans of those larger, headband style only Bluetooth headsets.

I actually had a glimpse of a beta unit a while back so I was excited to finally receive my VXi Reveal.

What’s in the box? Reveal Bluetooth Headset, Carrying Case, USB Cable, Car Charger, 4 ear buds, 2 earhooks, and a User’s Guide

At first glance: The VXi Reveal is very different form factor from what I’m accustomed to from VXi. It’s smaller than any other Bluetooth headset VXi has produced.

Set Up & Use: The VXi Reveal offers Bluetooth and NFC connectivity. I have an iPhone 6 Plus so I paired via Bluetooth. When you first turn on headset, it goes into pair mode. Go to Bluetooth menu on phone and select Reveal.

You have four contoured ear buds to choose from plus a couple ear hooks. I tried all and settled on the small bud with ear hook. For me, that was the most comfortable.

VXi Reveal offers these features and functions:

  • Volume Up/Mute
  • Volume Down
  • Extendable Microphone Boom
  • On/Off Switch
  • Indicator Lights
  • Multifunction Button
  • NFC Zone

When it came to using on calls, VXi Reveal didn’t disappoint with the noise canceling mic. One of the cool features is the ability to extend the mic when in noisier conditions however, the noise canceling capability was pretty good even with mic boom not extended. The speaker quality is very good as well. I can hear clearly and it’s loud enough.

The VXi Reveal  offers over 7hrs of talk time, supports streaming music or GPS directions and allows you to connect to two Bluetooth devices so like your smartphone and tablet.

Make your phone a walkie-talkie with the free BlueParrott Push-to-Talk App (Android/iOS).

I have been digging this new Bluetooth headset by VXi. Happy to see they were able to reduce the size of the headset and still maintain a strong noise canceling mic.

 

Plantronics Voyager Edge UC Review

By Danny Hayasaka

February 16, 2015

The Plantronics Voyager Edge UC is one cool little solution. It’s a Bluetooth headset (also supports NFC) that pairs with your mobile devices as well as a PC/Laptop via Bluetooth USB adapter for use with softphone clients as well as other web-based collaboration platforms. It comes in two variants:

B255, 202310-01 – Voyager Edge UC  – UC Standard version built for UC applications and softphones from Avaya®, Cisco®, IBM®, Skype® and more

B255-M, 202320-01 – Voyager Edge UC-M – Microsoft-certified version optimized for Microsoft® Lync and Microsoft OCS 2007

What’s in the box? Voyager Edge Headset with medium eartip attached, Charging Case, USB Bluetooth adapter, Micro USB cable, small and large eartips, and ear hook

At first glance: It’s a small, sleek, cool looking Bluetooth headset.

Set up & Use: It was fairly easy to set up. First I charged Voyager Edge UC in charging case (90 minutes for a full charge).  Voyager Edge also supports micro USB charging which is cool. Voyager Legend requires a proprietary charger.

This is an “in the ear” style eartip. So if you aren’t into that, then this isn’t for you. I personally don’t mind and it’s actually very comfortable to the point I forget I’m wearing. The occasional email/text notifications let me know I’m wearing.

When I turned on, it automatically went into pair mode. I went into my Bluetooth menu on my iPhone 6 plus and selected PLT_Edge. To pair to PC I simply connected Bluetooth USB adapter to a USB port and shortly thereafter I heard “PC connected”.

I have to admit that initially, I didn’t know how to answer/hang up. (I should probably read user guides/set up guides prior to use.)I just started dialing to make a test call. Below is a diagram of all the various buttons:

I’ve used many Bluetooth headsets, so I had a preconceived idea of what the audio quality would be like. I was pleasantly surprised. First I can hear loud and clear. Secondly and the most impressive was the noise canceling mic. Typically the shorter the boom mic, the poorer the noise canceling ability. The Voyager Edge changes that. The noise canceling was very good considering the size of the boom. I’m not saying it drowns out all background noise, I’m just saying for its size, it blocks out a considerable amount. I included an image of Voyager Edge vs Voyager Legend

Other Cool Features: The Charge Case actually acts as a secondary charger on the go if needed and adds an additional 10 hours of talk time for a total of 16 hrs of talk time. It also includes cool little slot/holder for the USB adapter.

The Voyager Edge UC has responsive smart sensor technology. This is a super cool feature that was first available with the Voyager Legend. This technology basically “knows” when you are wearing the headset and when you are not. If you get a phone call via your mobile and you are NOT wearing a headset, you can answer via your mobile device, if during the middle of call you place the headset on, the call is automatically transferred to Voyager Edge headset. Additionally, you can answer calls simply by putting the headset on. If you are streaming music and you get a call, it pauses music. You also have voice commands that make call management easy.

P2i technology is a nano-coating applied during the manufacturing process, resulting in invisible liquid repellent properties that help protect headset from rainy days or drink spills.

As always, with any USB device, I strongly recommend downloading the appropriate software. With Plantronics Hub you get added value of:

  • Call control across multiple softphones
  • Battery meter conveniently displays headset battery life remaining in PC icon tray
  • The headset control panel allows for customization of settings, including call notification and related options
  • UC presence automatically updated when on a call; not only on PC calls, but also when on mobile calls (Microsoft Lync and Skype only)

In closing: So far I’m digging the Voyager Edge UC. If your two main communications mediums are a mobile device and PC/Laptop, this may be a solution for you. It’s lightweight, comfortable, easy to set up but more importantly, it sounds good.

 

 

 

Call One USB Multi-Charger

By Danny Hayasaka

January 6, 2015

Happy New Year!!! The holidays are over and I like most received new gizmos and gadgets. An issue folks may run into is how you charge all the various devices when you have limited USB ports or power outlets.

The Call One USB Multi-Charger is a great way to charge multiple devices using only one USB port.

The cable comes in a nice little case for easy portability and is a standard USB on one end and four connectors on the other end: Traditional Apple (30 pin), Apple Lighting and two Micro USB

 

I can now charge my iPad or iPhone, iPod, Bluetooth headset and even my mouse or keyboard!!!

Just another cool little device to make your lives easier. Hope you all have an awesome 2015!!!