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.

 

Jabra Motion Office Review

By Danny Hayasaka

April 29, 2014

I received the Jabra Motion Office about a month ago. I was so excited to test this new multi-connectivity wireless offering by Jabra.

Two variants:

  1. 6670-904-105 Jabra Motion Office
  2. 6670-904-305 Jabra Motion Office MS – Optimized for Microsoft Lync

Unboxing Video Link: http://youtu.be/WYjsk1vGkYk

What you get in the box:  Jabra Motion headset, Touchscreen base, Wall Charger, Micro-USB cable (long), Telephone cable, Soft Pouch, Jabra Link 360 USB Bluetooth dongle (this is awesome as this makes for true UC device that can be used in the office, while commuting and at home or where ever you are), Ear Gels (S, M, L), Micro-USB cable (Short)

Set Up: Before setting up I recommend downloading Jabra PC Suite. Jabra PC Suite provides a nice Graphic User Interface (GUI) via your PC/Laptop and offers multiple options/settings. Because of the 2.4-inch color touchscreen, set up is nice and easy. Simply follow the prompts. Fortunately, I only have a PC and mobile phone to connect/pair to. However, I have set up PRO 9470 with desk phone in the past and it was easy as well. Basically set headset on charger base. Connect power to the wall. Connect the USB cable to PC and if you have phone connect the telephone cable to phone or it does support EHS cables and/or Handset Lifter. All ports on the touchscreen base are clearly labeled. For added feature, there is a slot for Online Indicator Light that comes in really handy.

Once set up, you have the option via Touchscreen or Jabra PC Suite GUI to adjust settings. For example, you may want to set it so when you undock headset it answers automatically.

Jabra Motion Headset: As I mentioned earlier the headset itself is comfortable. The speaker portion slides up and down for added comfort and custom fit. The mic boom is the “on/off” switch so you can clearly see if the headset is on or off. The volume adjustment is touch sensitive, merely stroke back of headset up or down to adjust volume. The answer/hang-up button is easily located right on the speaker portion or if available, utilizes voice activation. Also, there is a little button under the mic that allows you to activate voice commands. In addition to Bluetooth, the Jabra Motion also supports NFC (Near Field Communication) technology. Also has “motion sensors” however not certain how/what that is for just yet. There is a “Busylight” indicator on the earpiece to show others if you are in a call. This is headset is just jam-packed with features. I’ll list more below…

Audio Quality: The audio quality was much better than expected. Manufacturers have really been stepping up their game when it comes to professional grade Bluetooth’s. I volume is loud enough and I can hear clearly. My transmit quality seems to be good as I haven’t had any complaints.

Talk Time: Jabra states up to 7hrs. I have been on back to back hour long conference calls plus many short calls throughout an 8hr day and the Jabra Motion has lasted.

Switching from mobile to PC calls is a snap via Touchscreen.

Conclusion: If you are a professional that would benefit by having one headset to connect/pair to multiple devices in and out of the office, the Jabra Motion Office is your solution.

Connect to your desk phone (supports EHS and/or Handset Lifter for remote answer/hang up feature), PC/Laptop via USB cable or included USB Bluetooth dongle AND your mobile device (smartphone or tablet). The audio quality is very good and the Motion has enough talk time to make it through a busy day. The included soft pouch and spare micro-USB charging cable really comes in handy so you can keep your Motion charged in and out of the office.

I believe Jabra has a really great solution with the Jabra Motion Office.

HEADSET FEATURES

  • ƒƒ Motion sensor technology
  • ƒƒ Power Nap for extended battery performance
  • ƒƒ Intelligent volume control
  • ƒƒ NFC technology
  • ƒƒ Volume touch controls
  • ƒƒ Voice controls
  • ƒƒ HD Voice and A2DP music streaming audio
  • ƒƒ Wireless freedom – Up to 100m/300ft
  • ƒƒ Noise Blackout™ 3.0
  • ƒƒ Wind noise protection
  • ƒƒ Jabra SafeTone™
  • ƒƒ Busylight indicator
  • ƒƒ Adjustable height for a perfect fit

TOUCHSCREEN BASE FEATURES

  • ƒƒ4-inch color touchscreen
  • ƒƒ Desk phone, PC and Mac, and Bluetooth® mobile device connectivity
  • ƒƒ Touchscreen-guided setup for desk phone, PC and Mac, and mobile device connections
  • ƒƒ Touchscreen call control for all connected phones
  • ƒƒ On-screen caller ID (mobile devices, PC and Mac only)
  • ƒƒ Touchscreen Dial-pad (mobile devices and supported softphones only)
  • ƒƒ Headset recharge docking cradle

Logitech CC3000e Review

By Danny Hayasaka

April 7, 2014

I can’t believe I haven’t written about the Logitech CC3000e!?

This is a super exciting product. All the buzz these days is “collaboration”. There are numerous web-based collaboration platforms customers are using: Microsoft Lync, Cisco Jabber, WebEx, Bluejeans, Zoom, Skype, Google+ Hangouts, GoToMeeting, Vidyo, etc.

There hasn’t really been a good solution for web-based collaboration meeting outside of 1-4 people using standard USB webcam and USB speakerphone.

When you have 5-10 people, you really need a more robust solution. You need a better speakerphone and you definitely need a better camera. The Logitech CC3000e is the solution.

It’s a USB device that is PC and Mac compatible and is compatible/optimized/certified with all the major collaboration platform providers.

What you get in the box: Speakerphone, Camera, Remote Control, Powered Hub, Wall/Table Mount, Two 16-foot cables for Speakerphone/Hub and Camera/Hub Connection, USB cable for Hub/PC Connection, Adhesive solution for hub mounting, Power adapter and Quick Start Guide.

Set Up: The actual set up is easy. What may help make it even easier is if you determine “where” the camera and speaker will go? Actually connecting the camera and speakerphone to the hub is easy. Connecting the USB cable to a PC is simple. And just about anyone can connect the power adapter to the wall.

Use: I personally have had multiple video calls across a variety of platforms: Microsoft Lync, Skype, Bluejeans, Zoom, GoToMeeting, Vidyo and more. The picture clarity and audio were great. I can hear and be heard clearly. With the handy remote control, I can pan, tilt and zoom camera to position it to exactly what I want the viewer to see. I have some pictures in my office that I like to zoom in on to show the powerful zoom and just really nice crisp video. Perfect for zooming in on a whiteboard. There is one preset webcam angle. That makes it nice to zero back in if during call cam has been pointing here and there. There is also a lens security cover so you can rest assured you are not seen if you don’t wish to be.

In addition to connecting via USB to PC/Laptop/Mac the speakerphone also has Bluetooth and NFC (Near Field Communication). This allows you to have better audio for a conference call from your mobile device (tablet, smartphone).

Conclusion: The Logitech CC3000e gets two thumbs way up. There is so much versatility with this device. Set up and use are simple. Because it’s USB, it works across multiple platforms plus it’s Bluetooth and NFC enabled. This is great for any organization looking to enhance their meetings, for interviews, training, teaching, brainstorming sessions, for collaborating. The BEST part is the price. Normally video codecs with PTZ cams can cost thousands and thousands of dollars and possibly a proprietary platform/infrastructure. The Logitech CC3000e is ONLY $999!!! The only negative thing about the CC3000e is that we can’t keep them on our shelves!!! I’m not the only one who is impressed and sees the value of this device. Order yours today!

 

VXi CC Pro Review

By Danny Hayasaka

April 4, 2014

Received VXi CC Pro 4010G Monaural Headset with Jabra QD.

In the Bag: Yes, this product does not come in a product box but in a bubble wrap bag much like the Plantronics C300 Series. Inside you have the CC Pro 4010G headset and VXi CC Pro Headset Instructions

 

Initial thoughts: Looks like solid contact center headset with clearly large foam ear cushion.

Set Up: Basically you place headset on headband style with one ear covered. Connect QD portion to appropriate compatible QD cable/amplifier/adapter.

I received “G” variant of CC Pro so I connected to Link 265 and my PC with Microsoft Lync.

I must say headband is a bit snug on initial wear however you can remove headband and gently stretch headband to loosen it up a bit.

Because I’m using Jabra Link 265, it was plug and play with Microsoft Lync. Lync client recognizes Link 265 and I have all the feature functionality: answer/hang up, mute, volume up/down

Audio Quality: Had several test calls including one fairly long conference call and audio was good. There were no complaints from persons I was calling and the audio on my end was very good. The noise canceling appears to be very good. On one of the test calls I played music in the background and slowly increased volume. I had the volume up loud (not maxed out but then even I wouldn’t be able to hear myself). Person on other end had to be told there was music playing however they couldn’t really distinguish song and it seemed to cut out when I was talking.

Closing Comments: This is a fairly priced contact center headset the competes with Plantronics SupraPlus, Jabra GN 2000 Series and Sennheiser’s SH 300 Series. Key selling point is that like other VXi QD headsets, you have the options of Jabra, Plantronics and VXi Quick Disconnect variants to easily transition from those brands to VXi.

Jabra Link 265 – Review

By Danny Hayasaka

March 19, 2014

Received Jabra Link 265 USB Training-Y for Jabra QD Headsets a little while back however just now getting around to writing about it.

In the Box:  Link 265 USB Training-Y Cable with inline control, Jabra Link 265 Quick Start Guide

 

Set Up: Easy. Plug into USB port. Connect two Jabra Headsets with Quick Disconnect (QD) like the new BIZ 2300 Series Headsets. The green birdband is for agent and the red is for supervisor.

Use: Once you have Jabra Link 265 and headsets connected you are ready to use. The softphone/pc based application will determine whether or not you will have call control via inline control. I have Microsoft Lync and was able to answer/hang up, adjust speaker volume and mute. One of the cooler features of this device is that you have the option to mute the supervisor headset and place it in listen only mode. Or, you can have both headset wearers receive and transmit.

The audio quality was very good on my end as well as to the folks I called.

Conclusion: This is a must have for contact centers or any organization that requires supervisor or “buddy” training in a softphone environment. To date, there is no such thing as a training-y for USB headsets (It’s a PC/USB thing – only recognizes one audio path at a time). This is a much cleaner solution. Currently customers need two QD headsets, Training-Y and QD to USB Adapter to accommodate training. For those who have done this understand that is a LOT OF CABLE all over the place. This is a much, much cleaner solution; just two Jabra QD headsets and the Jabra Link 265 USB Training-Y. Very awesome product/solution!!!

VXi ConneXt – Review

By Danny Hayasaka

February 26, 2014

Received my VXi ConneXt Deskphone/PC Switch

In the Box: ConneXt switch box, Phone to ConneXt cable, ConneXt to USB cable, QD cable (VXi, Plantronics and Jabra QD variants available), Headset Stand, User Guide, Warranty Info card

Set Up: Easy. Attach headset stand to the base. Connect QD coil cord to the base and run along the cord management system on the underside of base. Connect base to phone patch cable. Connect the USB cable to base.

There are A, B and C switch settings on side of ConneXt depending on the phone you are connecting to. “A” switch setting is the most common (Polycom, ShoreTel, Panasonic, and others). “B” for Cisco 6900, 7900, 8900 and 9900 Series and “C” for Avaya 1600, 9600 and 96×1 Series.

Additionally, there is a built-in microphone boost. There are 8 settings (1-8). Position #1 (default) is when no additional boost is needed. Position #8 is for maximum microphone boost.

 

I have no desk phone so I was only able to connect to my PC with Microsoft Lync. Lync recognized the device as VXi 2-Wary Switch V1.0

If I was connected to the desk phone, I would use the toggle switch on ConneXt to switch back and forth between desk phone and PC.

Making calls. I used my Microsoft Lync client to make calls. The audio quality was really good on my end. There was a delay in “answering” a Lync call however after I went into Control Panel à Sound and made VXi 2-Way Switch default, there was no delay.

VXi VoxStar UC – Review

By Danny Hayasaka

December 17, 2013 – January 14, 2014

Received the new VXi VoxStar UC Bluetooth Headset and USB Dongle

In The Box: VoxStar Bluetooth headset, USB Bluetooth Dongle, ear hook, ear cushions and rings, headband, neckband, USB to micro USB cable, AC power adapter with USB port, VXi VoxStar UC Quick Start Guide

Set Up: Charging is simple. Connect micro USB connection to back of VoxStar headset. Connect USB plug to AC Power Adapter or to USB port on PC. Headset charging, the LED will illuminate red and blue when fully charged.

To turn headset on, hold multi-function button (MFB) for 2-3 seconds, if you are wearing headset, headset will state, “Power On”. To power off, hold MFB for 3-4 seconds and you will hear, “Power off”.

When you first connect USB dongle to PC, a series of drivers install before device is ready for use. VoxStar automatically pairs to USB Dongle when VoxStar is turned on and USB dongle is connected to PC.

You can also go to www.vxicorp.com/usb for more info on configuring your specific operating system.

To pair headset to mobile device, from headset turned off, press and hold MFB for 5-15 second, it will state “Discovering”. Place your mobile device into Bluetooth pairing mode. Select VXi VoxStar as your device. Once connected/paired, it will state “Your headset is connected”.

You can make and take calls via Lync. The only negative is that you can NOT answer Lync calls remotely. However I hear VXi is “working on that”. Folks may overlook lack of remote answer capability once they realize how good the noise canceling mic is. I have three different comparable Lync optimized audio devices and the VXi VoxStar provides much better noise canceling mic ability.

Conclusion: VXi has produced a pretty great product. There are currently other Bluetooth headsets that allow you to pair to mobile and PC/Laptop via USB dongle however, the great noise canceling mic really takes this product to another level. Plus the three included wearing styles and multiple charging options are very nice features. I would definitely recommend this product to those in need of a Bluetooth with exceptional noise canceling mic.

Logitech Mobile Speakerphone P710e – Review

November 25, 2013

Received the New Logitech Mobile Speakerphone P710e – Optimized for Microsoft Lync

Set Up – Very easy, only one cable. USB cable attached to speakerphone and has cable management. There is also AC power adapter with the USB port so you can charge via standard wall outlet or power strip.

Use – Very simple to use.

Via PC: We have Microsoft Lync so as soon as I connect the USB cable to PC it registers and sets it up as a device option via my Lync client.

Once Logitech P710e is selected, I can make calls via my Lync client either by clicking to call or dialing like I normally would. If I get a call, I can click on accept call or I can simply touch the green handset icon on P710e to answer. The P710e rings when you have an incoming call. You can increase and decrease the speaker volume. There is also mute feature available at your fingertips.

Via Mobile Device (Smartphone/Tablet): The Logitech P710e allows you to pair via Bluetooth and/or NFC (Near Field Communication). To access Bluetooth, simply press and hold Bluetooth button until the unit is in pair mode. Go to your mobile device Bluetooth menu and select the Logitech Speakerphone:

 

If you have NFC enabled device, simply tap a mobile device to NFC icon on P170e. Your device will ask if you would like to pair to Logitech Speakerphone.

Another cool feature of the Logitech Mobile Speakerphone P710e is the sliding top that allows you to sit your mobile device for better experience. It’s great for video calls (seated vertically) as well as for watching videos (seated horizontally).

 

 

 

Other features of the Logitech Mobile Speakerphone P710e:

  • Digital Signal Processing (DSP) for enterprise-quality audio
    • Advanced DSP technology enables precise tuning for both the mic and speaker so conversations are more life-like.
  • Wideband audio
    • Hear and be heard in true wideband audio, so those on both sides of the call can enjoy a life-like communication experience.
  • Optimized for Microsoft® Lync™, Cisco® compatible** and Skype™ certified
    • Ensures enterprise-quality audio and an integrated experience with most all business-grade UC platforms.
  • Dynamic Equalizer
    • Automatically switches between voice and music modes, delivering the best sound quality and EQ for what the user is listening to.
  • Headphone jack
    • Plug a headphone directly into the Mobile Speakerphone P710e when additional privacy is desired.
  • Acoustic echo cancelation and noise-canceling microphone
    • Optimized to hear and be heard even in noisy workspaces, this is a mobile speakerphone users love to use.
  • Visual incoming call indicator
    • Onboard LEDs flash to provide a visual alert when a call is coming in.
  • Zippered neoprene carrying case
    • Protect the speakerphone in style with the zippered neoprene carrying case.

 

Great features but how does it sound? I have been using for close to a month now for quick calls as well as long conference calls. I haven’t had anyone complain about audio quality yet via Lync calls.

When it comes to mobile device calls, the audio quality is good, however not as good as Lync call. Of course, I’m also at the mercy of our weak Wi-Fi signal. So I’m certain that plays a factor. I used for Facetime call and I could see and hear very well. It’s also a good speaker to listen to streaming music from your mobile device.

I believe Logitech has a winner with this device. As the business world turns to more and more web-based and mobile applications for communications and collaboration, the Logitech Mobile Speakerphone P710e is a great device, especially when paired with a Logitech webcam like the C930e or B910.

 

Plantronics Blackwire C325-M USB Dual Ear Headset Optimized for Microsoft Lync Review

By Danny Hayasaka

Unboxing: The new Plantronics Blackwire 300 Series. Plantronics will sell these in bulk via the case. Call One, however, will break cases and sell as 1ea. Blackwire 300 Series come packaged in bubble wrap, well at least headset portion. USB cable/inline control are wrapped in a plastic baggie. Included is Quick Start Guide and pretty nice, mesh-like storage bag with zipper.

 

Headset: I am evaluating the dual ear C325-M model optimized for Microsoft Lync. Looks just like the other 300 series except for two differences: leatherette ear cushions and foldable speakers that allow the headset to lay flat. The microphone boom is flexible however it does NOT have a 360-degree rotation.

USB Inline Control: It’s standard inline control. Call Answer/Hang Up button, Volume Up/Down and Mute. Placement of inline is actually higher up/closer to the headset so it’s not down by my foot. It’s in a more accessible location/position. The answer/hang up button didn’t work. I can’t seem to answer or hang up using inline control. The Mute button works well.

 

 

Comfort: It’s “ok”. Not the most comfortable, however, not uncomfortable either. I headband does seem to feel like it’s digging into the top of my head.

Set Up: USB headset, plugged it in and allowed drivers to be installed. It is Lync optimized so once the device was ready for use, it became an Audio Device option via Lync client.

It’s also detected via Plantronics software:

AudioQuality: It’s “ok”. Not spectacular but it works. I can hear and be heard. The person on the other side stated I sounded “muffled”. I’ll make a few more calls to identify if isolated or not. Other calls state I sound good and clear.

Summary: Not certain how this product is priced compared to existing Blackwire 300 Series however, I’m assuming it will be lower price point than Blackwire 500 and 700 Series. After just an hour of wear, I find myself wanting to take it off. The headband feels like its digging into my head. May I just have a pointy head. Also, it feels like it’s squeezing my head. I’m certain after a few days it will loosen up.

Logitech Wireless Headset Dual H820e – Review

May 7, 2013

Received the New Logitech Wireless Headset Dual H820e – Optimized for Microsoft Lync

Set Up – Very easy. Only two cables: power and USB cables – The “W” and “N” is Wideband and Narrowband switch.

 

Use – Very simple design. The base is heavy and solid feeling.

  • Answer/Hang Up Button on the back of microphone boom – When engaged in a call, back of boom lights up to indicate in use
  • Mute switch also on the boom. When depressed, small red light on tip of Mic boom lights up red. Not certain how useful that is since when you are wearing the headset, it’s tough to see the tip of the mic
  • Volume Up and Down is two separate buttons and are shaped differently to help you differentiate. Nice feature
  • Lync Optimized – Software/Drivers install automatically – and becomes selectable audio device option via your Lync client
  • Audio Quality – The audio quality is good. I experienced no major issues – you can hear me breathing as I was walking up/down stairs. Noise canceling is “ok” however anyone speaking in normal tone nearby can be heard.

Concerns –

  • Weight – as I mentioned, the base is heavier than most wireless. I’m concerned as to what that will do to shipping costs for larger deployments/orders
  • Service – We haven’t been selling Logitech products long and to date, I’m not fully versed in their service offering. Basically, what happens if the headset breaks within the first 30 days, 30+ days and after the warranty expires
  • Accessories – Not currently aware if there are available accessories, i.e. spare headset, spare ear cushions, ac adapter, USB cable
  • Battery Life – Again, new to wireless line of headsets, not certain how long a battery life when it comes to Talk Time as well as just how long before the battery will need to be replaced – which goes back to accessories – also, does H820e series have field replaceable batteries?
  • Only Headband Style Options – No Convertible Model
  • Only USB connectivity – No multi-connectivity variant/s

Conclusion

This is simple to set up and use headset. Because it connects only via USB, you’re limited to PC only applications. While more and more businesses are shifting to VoIP softphones or UC platforms, there are still plenty of hybrid platforms out there with a desk phone and PC based voice applications. (and let’s not forget the mobile space of laptops, tablets & smartphones. This is not a mobile employee (road warrior) solution as it requires AC power to operate.

The range was good, the audio quality good. Easy to use.

The challenge is Plantronics and Jabra have been out there promoting, pushing complete UC portfolios for many years now so unlike the first couple of years where Plantronics and Jabra were relatively unknown in the IT space, they are now the top two UC device players when it comes to headsets, especially wireless.

Because Logitech is bigger than both Jabra and Plantronics, you certainly cannot dismiss their attempt at entry into the headset world.