The best portable speakerphone for business?

Plantronics Blackwire Family Connectivity Options

By Danny Hayasaka

December 17, 2018

The Plantronics Blackwire Family is made up of several series: 215/225, 3200, 5200 and 700. They offer varying connectivity options depending on the series/model.  While wireless headsets are extremely beneficial and popular, there are very good reasons why organizations choose corded options instead:

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Plantronics Blackwire 3200 Series

By Danny Hayasaka

September 5, 2018

Plantronics Blackwire 3200 Series replace the very popular Plantronics Blackwire 300 Series. There are some apparent cosmetic changes like the new “Lava” cable and accents. Some of the variants include folding speakers along with leatherette ear cushions and 3.5mm connection option. Also…like the Voyager 3200 UC, Voyager 5200 UC, Voyager 8200 UC and Blackwire 5200 Series.

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Plantronics Calisto 7200

By Danny Hayasaka

August 28, 2018

Plantronics introduced a new member to their Calisto speakerphone family. The Calisto 7200 UC.

Like other new solutions Plantronics is producing, there aren’t “Microsoft” and “UC” variants. The Plantronics Calisto 7200 is certified for Skype for Business. Built for UC applications and softphones from Avaya, Cisco, Skype and others.

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Calisto 7200 USB and Bluetooth Premium Speakerphone

By Danny Hayasaka

I’ve been using the Plantronics Calisto 7200 Speakerphone for several weeks now. It’s much better than the Calisto P610 and P620 in terms of audio quality for voice calls and streaming music.

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Jabra Speak 710 Review

By Danny Hayasaka

May 22, 2017

 

Finally got my hands on a couple of Jabra Speak 710s. When it comes to portable USB/Bluetooth speakerphones, the Speak 710 has the best audio quality I’ve experienced.

Before I get ahead of myself, let’s go through the process.

The Jabra Speak 710 comes in two flavors:

What’s in the box? Jabra Speak 710 with a hardwired USB cable and integrated folding table stand, Link 370 USB Dongle, carry case, Quick Start Guide

Jabra Speak 710 Features:

  • Immersive sound for calls and music
  • Intuitive plug and play connectivity – connect to a laptop, smartphone and tablet via USB or Bluetooth®
  • Lightweight design, protective travel pouch, and 15 hours of battery life (3hrs to fully charge)
  • Flexible and scalable for small and large meetings
  • Interact with your voice assistant with the one-touch Smart button
  • Certified for Avaya, Cisco, and Skype for Business for a plug-and-play experience

Set Up and Use: For any Jabra US device, I strongly recommend downloading the FREE Jabra Direct software of individual use or Jabra Xpress for mass deployment.

 

Set up is a breeze. You have two options for connecting Jabra Speak 710 to PC/Laptop:

  1. Connect to PC via USB Cable (USB cable hardwired to Speak 710 and has nice cord management system)
  2. Connect to PC via Bluetooth (Link 370 USB dongle)

To connect Speak 710 to Bluetooth mobile device, hold the Bluetooth button for 2 seconds and follow the voice-guided instructions to pair to your smartphone.

Speak 710 controls:

  • Power on/off
  • Answer call
  • End call
  • Volume Up
  • Volume Down
  • Mute
  • Bluetooth
  • Battery status
  • Smart button
    • By default, the Smart button will activate your smartphone’s voice assistant (Siri®, Google Now™, Cortana™). However, if you would prefer the Smart button to instead speed dial a phone number on your Smartphone or PC, this can be configured using Jabra Direct.
  • Link Button
    • To temporarily link the audio between two Jabra Speak 710s, press the Link button on both speakerphones when they are within 2m/6ft. The Link button will only be visible when two Jabra Speak 710’s are within 2m/6ft.
    • To unlink the speakerphones, press the Link button on one of the speakerphones.

NOTE If two Bluetooth devices are connected to the Jabra Speak 710, the last connected Bluetooth device will be replaced by the temporary link.

The Jabra Speak 710 is a premium, portable speakerphone for business leaders and C-level executives that ensures amazing sound for conference calls and music – anytime, anywhere.

I have two Speak 710’s linked together so the audio experience is absolutely fantastic for calls and music!!!

Here are some use cases:

  • Small meeting room: 1-6 participants in the meeting room (place Speak 710 in the middle of the table)
  • Large Meeting room: Up to 12 participants (Link two Speak 710’s and place at either end of the table)
  • At your desk (Private office/home office): It’s recommended to put Speak 710 in an upright position using the integrated table stand.
  • Stereo media: if you are presenting or viewing stereo multimedia, two Jabra Speak 710’s can be positioned on either side of a projector or display for automatic stereo sound.

To help you keep track of tiny Link 370 USB dongle, there’s a slot on the underside of Speak 710 so you can store for travel.  Let’s say you forget dongle or forgot to charge…that’s okay, fortunately, there is a hardwired USB cable you can always use. The table stand is also a nice feature.

The Speak 710 is for those who need better audio quality for voice calls and streaming media. Additionally, the look of the Jabra Speak 710 is very nice compared to Speak 510.

I’ve tested all the business-grade portable USB/Bluetooth speakerphones from the major manufacturers and hands down, the Jabra Speak 710 provides the best audio quality.

 

Plantronics Voyager Focus UC revisited

By Danny Hayasaka

May 16, 2017

Almost a couple years ago I wrote “Plantronics Voyager Focus UC Review”. As more and more organizations transition to open office spaces as well as work remotely from anywhere, the need for Active Noise Canceling has become increasingly important.

The Plantronics Voyager Focus UC is ideal for folks who want the ability to “Focus” on their work. Many do this by streaming their favorite tunes or podcasts via their mobile device.

There are four Voyager Focus UC 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)

It has phenomenal talk time (up to 12hrs) and listening time (up to 15hrs).

Let’s focus on Plantronics Smart Sensor technology. It’s a very cool feature. As I wrote before, Smart Sensor means the headset knows when you are wearing it and when you are not. Here are some applications on how Smart Sensor Technology is beneficial:

  • Your mobile device rings and you aren’t wearing headset, simply answer call by putting headset on.
    • Let’s say headset wasn’t quite in reach, that’s okay…answer call via mobile device. If you find it will be longer call, put the Voyager Focus on and the audio automatically transfers from mobile device to headset
  • You’re streaming media, you can pause by removing headset and resume by putting it back on.
  • Maybe you need to sneeze, cough or co-worker taps you on the shoulder to ask quick question while you are in a call, if you take headset off, it automatically mutes the mic so the party on the other end doesn’t hear.
  • In our Microsoft Lync/Skype for Business. If you take headset off, it will change your Presence status to “Away”. Voyager Focus UC will also answer Microsoft Lync/SfB call by putting headset on.

Use sensors: Smart sensors respond when you put on or take off your headset.

With active sensors Putting on headset will: Taking off headset will:
Call Answer the call Mute the headset
Music/Media Resume music/media (if playing previous to taking off)* Pause music/media (if playing)*
Mute Unmute if on an active call Mute if on an active call

NOTE *Functionality varies by application. Does not function with web-based apps.

Reset sensors

You may need to reset the sensors if they are not working as expected. There are two ways to reset the headset sensors. Choose:

  • With your headset powered on, charge your headset on the charge stand for 10 seconds
  • Press and hold both the Mute and Play/pause buttons for more than 4 seconds until the LEDs flash purple twice, being careful to not touch the earcup padding or allow it to come in contact with surfaces

Disable sensors

You can disable your headset smart sensors several ways:

  • Manage sensors through Plantronics Hub software
  • Hold both the Mute and Call buttons for more than 4 seconds until the LED flashes purple then red. Repeat to reactivate; the LED flashes purple then blue.

NOTE Sensors cannot be disabled while streaming audio.

To learn more about the Plantronics Voyager Focus UC or to find out if this solution is right in your environment, contact us.

From October 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017 Plantronics is offering a special promo where you receive a FREE Voyager Focus with the purchase of 10 Voyager 5200 UC headsets.

 

Jabra Evolve 75

By Danny Hayasaka

May 2, 2017

It’s no secret that noise and interruptions negatively impact productivity. Especially in open office environments. The chatter from neighboring colleagues can sometimes be too much when you are trying to complete a project.

Enter the Jabra Evolve 75. This wireless headset comes in four variants:

  • 7599-832-199 Jabra Evolve 75 MS Stereo with Charging Stand
  • 7599-838-199 Jabra Evolve 75 UC Stereo with Charging Stand
  • 7599-832-109 Jabra Evolve 75 headset MS Stereo
  • 7599-838-109 Jabra Evolve 75 headset UC Stereo

What’s in the box (Charging Stand Variant): Quick Start Guide, Evolve 75 headset, Jabra Link 370 USB adapter, charging stand*, protective travel case, USB cord (allowing for use while charging)

Set Up and Use on PC: Setting up the Evolve 75 was very simple. Please note microphone can only be worn on the right side. First, charge unit 2.5hrs. Download Free Jabra Direct software (Individual desktop), Jabra Suite for Mac or Jabra Xpress (mass deployment). Plug Jabra Link 370 USB dongle to a PC USB port (allow device drivers to install). Turn on the Jabra Evolve 75 headset. Should connect almost immediately. You can adjust settings via Jabra Direct:

You can also check the status of Link 370 Dongle via Jabra Direct.

To pair to a mobile device via Bluetooth. First, go to your mobile device Bluetooth menu and place into discovery mode. Slide and hold on/off/Bluetooth switch on Jabra Evolve 75 to Bluetooth symbol for 3 seconds to place Evolve 75 into pairing mode. Select Jabra Evolve 75. You should be “Connected”.

 

To mute Evolve 75 simply lift boom arm up. There’s a little button with microphone icon on right speaker towards the top. When I pressed this button, it activated Siri on my Apple iPhone.

Active Noise Cancellation button allows you to eliminate unwanted background noise. The Listen-in feature allows you to listen to your surroundings without taking your headset off. To activate “Listen-in”, press button on the left speaker.

There is an integrated busy light that kicks on when you are in a call. It’s important to educate employees and inform them that when lit up red, the person is “busy” and should not be disturbed. You can manually activate busy light by pressing volume up/down buttons simultaneously. If you are not on a call but need to concentrate.

 

 

I’ve toured some “open office” environments and a solution like the Jabra Evolve 75 is a must in many use cases.

Logitech B910 HD Webcam Review

By Danny Hayasaka

November 2, 2016

Logitech produces multiple models of webcams. They offer “consumer” models as well as “business” models.

For this series, I will focus on “Business” models as our company focuses on providing solutions to businesses.

Logitech offers these four webcams plus the PTZ Pro for Business applications.

Yes, many of the “consumer” models look identical to the “business” models so what’s the difference?

Plantronics Voyager 5200 UC Review

By Danny Hayasaka

June 7, 2016

I’ve been watching the Plantronics YouTube videos on this product and couldn’t wait to see if this headset lived up to the hype. In particular the noise canceling/wind reduction capabilities.

Finally received and I was so excited to get it set up and start testing.

Here’s the model I received and currently using:

What’s in the box? Plantronics Voyager 5200 Bluetooth Headset, Get Started Guide, Safety booklet, Warranty insert, Small, medium, and large ear tips, USB to micro USB charge cable & Portable charging case with integrated docking stand.

At first glance: Plantronics has a knack for designing good looking headsets. Looks very similar to the Voyager Legend form factor however there are differences with color, buttons, the shape of mic boom AND you can now charge via micro USB!!!

Ideal for: Mobile professionals who use PC audio, mobile phone, or tablet communications in noisy environments

Set up and Use: Nice and easy. I plugged USB cable to PC and micro-usb to charging case/stand. Placed headset on to charge (approximately 90 min to fully charge). Voyager 5200 UC includes three different size ear tips. To change out ear tips push in the ear tip and rotate to the left to unlock it. To attach different size ear tip, align ear tip into slot, push, rotate to the right and lock into place. I mention this because folks who don’t know, tend to break them before they even get started. I plugged BT600 USB Dongle into my PC. Once I turned headset on, it paired almost immediately to dongle. You get an audible “PC connected”. You use the answer/hang up button on back of mic boom to place 5200 UC into pairing mode. Go to your mobile device Bluetooth menu, select “PLT V5200 Series” and you will get audible “Phone one connected” and on my iPhone screen you can see its “Connected”.

 

We use Microsoft Lync/Skype for Business. From my Devices selection I select “Plantronics BT600”. I also have Plantronics Hub software that is absolutely necessary. In an Enterprise environment I HIGHLY recommend Plantronics SaaS subscription to Plantronics Manager Pro.

I want to get right to it. I have made several test calls. One of the last test calls made was really something else. Most manufacturers tout great “noise cancelling” mics in their Bluetooth headsets however the reality is most Bluetooth headsets have lousy to okay noise cancelling.

I’m driving in my car going 60mph, car stereo on and then I roll down the window during middle of storm. It’s so windy and loud. I can’t even hear myself. However I proceed with test. When I played back recording I was very impressed. It’s like you can hear the wind and then it just cuts out and all you hear is my voice. Again, very impressed with Noise Canceling mic.

I’ve had several Lync and Mobile calls in private office, open office space, in airports, hotel lobbies, car, and other various locations inside and outside. No one has complained. Typically if person I’m speaking with “hears” background noise they ask, “Where are you?” I haven’t had that question asked yet so I’m assuming they can’t hear what’s going on in the background. I did ask my wife when I was outside a hotel near airport if she could hear anything. It was a busy street and you can hear the planes taking off overhead. I asked if she heard that jet fly by. She asked “what jet?” I asked you didn’t hear that plane that just flew by super loud? Have you heard all the cars zipping by?” Her response was “No”. Again, I’m very impressed with the Noise Canceling ability of the Voyager 5200 UC.

And of course it’s very comfortable. I wear Voyager 5200 UC from roughly 7:15am until 6:30pm and there is no discomfort. Receive volume is good. I like the location of the volume increase/decrease buttons. Easy to access.

The Charging Case is very sleek looking and doubles as charging stand. When traveling there is slot for BT600 USB Dongle in case.

The Voyager 5200 UC is packed with features:

  • Four adaptive microphones and proprietary DSP
  • Six layers of WindSmart® technology
  • Wideband audio
  • SoundGuard® technology
  • Worry-free mute assurance
  • Up to seven hours of non-stop talk
  • P2i moisture protection
  • NFC pairing
  • 14-hour portable charging case
  • Smart sensors auto-manage calls
  • Range of up to 98 feet/30 meters
  • Works with smartphones, laptops, tablets, and Bluetooth desk phones
  • Enhanced voice alerts
  • Quick access to smartphone Virtual Personal Assistant
  • Designed for all-day comfort
  • Simple voice commands
  • Dynamic mute alert
  • Dedicated mute button
  • Timed voice alerts
  • Visual mute status
  • Customizable mute notifications

In conclusion, this is a pretty awesome headset. It’s comfortable. It pairs up automatically. I can now charge at home no problem with one of the many micro-usb chargers I have floating around. I can use it in the office with my PC via Microsoft Lync/Skype for Business calls as well as my mobile. It’s the perfect fit for how I work. And of course, the Voyager 5200 UC noise canceling is really really good.