Blackwire C215/ C225 Review

By Danny Hayasaka

April 6, 2016

The reality is just about every employee uses a mobile device (smartphone or tablet). While there are scores of Bluetooth headsets, sometimes customers are in search of a corded, lower cost option that offers durability and great audio quality.

The Plantronics Blackwire 200 Series offers just that with these two variants:

What’s in the Box: First off, there is no box. Headsets come packaged in plastic bag. You get the single or dual ear headset and a Quick Start Guide.

At first glance: They look just like the Plantronics Blackwire 310 and 320. Of course upon closer inspection you’ll find they are not USB. They terminate in a 3.5mm plug.

Set Up & Use: Really not much to it. Plug into 3.5mm jack of mobile phone or tablet and you are connected. Please note if connected to PC via Soundcard its listen only. No transmit. It’s nice for listening to webinars or streaming media. The headset is lightweight and speakers feel comfortable. The mic is flexible so you can bend so it’s closer to your mouth for optimal noise canceling. The headband is adjustable to fit most folks.

What I really dig is the inline control. It has an answer/hang up button, mute switch (you can visibly see “red” when muted) and even volume control.

Other nice feature for easy storage and portability is the speakers fold flat.

The audio quality is really good especially with dual ear model if listening to music. Reminder about the inline volume control. I had inline volume on low initially and wasn’t digging audio quality. Then I turned up the volume and that made huge difference.

I made several test calls to include stationary while sitting on my desk and also walking around the office. The noise canceling mic is ok. Good enough especially for sub $40 headset with inline controls.

Overall this is a nice addition to the Plantronics portfolio in terms of having multiple options/solutions for the ever changing communications and collaboration landscape. More and more workers are using their mobile devices to communicate and collaborate. Some like the stability a headband headset offers vs smaller in the ear or over the ear Bluetooth solutions. Some companies don’t allow Bluetooth at all so the Plantronics Blackwire C215/ C225 are good options.

Are you busy? How to visually show co-workers your status

March 29, 2016

By Danny Hayasaka

Before we added our Kuando Omega Busylights it was somewhat chaotic. As most know who follow this blog, we are 100% Microsoft Lync/Skype for Business. First thing to go were our desk phones as folks opted for headsets or USB speakerphones.

However we had some issues. Because we actively sell multiple devices from various manufacturers, we have a mix of Plantronics, Jabra, Sennheiser, Logitech, VXi, and Microsoft headsets. Not all brands offer “online indicator lights” and the ones that do, all look different.

The Jabra busy light only works with certain Jabra Wireless Headset models. The same is true for the Plantronics brand. What if employee had corded headset or a brand other than Plantronics and Jabra?

I had tested the Kuando Busylight and it was pretty sweet. It was USB so it was headset/device brand agnostic. Not only did it indicate if you were online or not, it also showed your Microsoft Lync Presence status. Available (Green) – Do Not Disturb (Purple) – Busy (Red) and Away (Yellow)

One issue…light was too small. You had to be right up a person to see their status. Then I learned about the Kuando Omega busylight which was exactly what we were looking for. Bigger light that can be seen from a distance.

They are so much more than online indicator lights that show Presence status.

Microsoft Lync & SfB

1st class designed software

Never miss a call

  • Rings and/or flashes on incoming calls
  • Adjustable volume

Message waiting indication

  • Notification alert on missed calls/IMs
  • Flashes every 4 sec. to indicate a missed call

Presence indication

  • Avoids interruptions while on a call or busy
  • Lights up your Lync/SfB presence to inform nearby colleagues if you are available or not

Lync Call Handling tools – valuable hot keys

  • Fast dial out – copy phone number and press hot key.
  • Answer call – press hot key to answer/end call
  • Busy on busy –redirect a 2nd call to destination for unanswered calls (call group/voice mail/?) (If you are on the phone, and someone else is calling you – what happens?)

Now I can look out across the sales floor and “see” everyone’s presence status. We even got creative and affixed lights above private office doors so people coming to our office can “see” if we are available or not.

If you are in a UC environment that is supported by Kuando this may be an option for you to consider.

Click here for more info on Kuando Busylight UC – Implementation

Plantronics BackBeat Fit 1,100+ miles later…

By Danny Hayasaka

January 5, 2016

It’s a new year and new challenges and goals to stay fit. Last time I wrote about the Plantronics BackBeat FIT was in June 2015. At that time I had logged 408.4 miles wearing them. It’s January 5th and I have now logged 1,111.1 miles wearing my Plantronics BackBeat FIT. Regardless of whether I ran 1 mile or 13.1 miles… the BackBeat FIT stayed connected/paired to my iPhone 6 Plus and the music streamed wonderfully.

This year I ran mainly in my where I currently reside; Melbourne/Viera, FL. I’ve had the privilege of running everywhere I traveled in 2015: Fairfield, NJ, Southbeach, FL, Jupiter Beach, FL, Cape Canaveral, FL, Cocoa Beach, FL, Indian Harbour Beach, FL,  St Pete Beach, FL and even El Centro, CA. I run mainly early morning or just as it’s getting dark so the scenery is quite nice.

Even when I’m not running the BackBeat FIT have been an awesome set of wireless earphones. After running I do an ab session and stretch. In the evening I do weight lifting or body weight strengthening exercises. Additionally I sprinkle HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) throughout the week. Whether I’m doing jumping jacks, jump squats, mountain climbers, or dreaded burpees, the BackBeat FIT stays on securely. All the others I had would fall out of my ears or fly off my head completely.

I do all the grocery shopping for our household. I absolutely love wearing my BackBeat FIT while grocery shopping. I especially love wearing them when I’m out shopping with the wife. While she’s off looking for the latest fashions, I’m off in my own world jamming out to my favorite songs.

It’s 2016. At some point this year I have set a goal of running a marathon distance. One morning I’ll wake up, put on my BackBeat FIT and go run 26.2 miles just because.

Since March of 2015 these puppies have been going strong. I sweat like crazy and they are still working. I have run in the rain…they are still working.

Reminder of some of the great features:

  • 8hrs of music playback
  • 6hrs of talk time
  • 14 days of standby time (this is perfect if you forget to charge)
  • Flexible
  • Sweat proof (P21 technology)
  • Control Music and Calls
  • Download free BackBeat FIT App to keep up with the latest firmware

They come in two flavors:

If you want something that stays put and just works…I highly recommend these.

VTech enters the audio conferencing phone ring…

By Danny Hayasaka

December 23, 2015

There are multiple audio conferencing/speakerphone manufacturers. So why should anyone consider VTech ErisStation’s? Because VTech offers a much demanded feature: Completely wireless mics!!!

Some will say, wait a second…Revolabs offers wireless mics and speaker and Polycom offered wireless mics for a hot second. You’re right however the VTech ErisStation design and price may peak your interest.

Currently VTech ErisStation Conference Phones with Wireless Mics come in three flavors.

Let’s get right into the main differentiating feature: Portable DECT 6.0 microphones with Orbitlink Wireless Technology

The wireless mics are really the star here. How often do conference call participants have to “lean in” towards the speakerphone so they can be heard? We have weekly conference calls and I like to “walk and talk”. That can sometimes be a problem the further I get away from the mics of traditional speakerphones. Enter in the VTech ErisStation Conference Phone with Wireless Mics. I simply grab one of the mics and I can walk and talk to my heart’s content and still be heard clearly. Additionally, the other participants in the room can easily be heard by strategically placing the wireless mics around the table. And of course, the base station itself has two fixed mics (VCS704 and VCS754) (VCS702 has one fixed mic on base station).

The other cool feature is the wireless mics all have their little slots on the actual unit. You can easily see if mics have been returned for charging.

These units are feature packed!

  • Two-Year Standard Warranty
  • DECT 6.0 wireless microphones with Orbitlink Wireless Technology™
    • Place the wireless microphones anywhere in a conference room and enjoy interference-free, high-quality sound.
  • Ample Wireless Mic Talk Time
    • VCS704 and VCS754 provide up to 8 hours of wireless mic talk time
    • VCS702 provides up to 12 hours of wireless mic talk time
    • Up to 70 hours of standby time per wireless mic
  • Full room coverage
    • Choose models with one fixed and two wireless mics (VCS702) or two fixed and four wireless mics (VCS704, VCS754) for maximum room coverage and participation.
  • Premium sound quality
    • Thanks to features like full-duplex technology, digital mixing and audio equalization, nothing is lost in translation.
  • Charging built-in
    • Magnetic charging bays in the base phone ensure the wireless microphones are always charged and ready
  • VCS754 offers USB connection to PC/Laptop for use with softphones or to act as better PC speaker

For more detailed specifications and features you can check out VTech’s ErisStation website: http://businessphones.vtech.com/products/product_list/erisstation

I tested VCS704 initially and have to say I was impressed with the audio quality of the speaker. The feedback I received from the folks I called all state they can hear me loud and clear. Just for fun, I took the mic and went far enough away that I could no longer hear the speaker however, was told that I could still be heard. It’s highly unlikely anyone will roam 150-300ft away from base but it’s nice to know you can.

I know it’s a small thing but having set up multiple conference phones in my time, VTech ErisStations only have one cable going into the base unit. This may a huge thing in the way of cable management on conference room tables.

I also set up the VCS754 and connected to my PC via USB for use with Microsoft Lync/SfB. It doesn’t allow answer/hang up from unit itself but if you are using Lync or other PC softphone/UC platform, it’s nice to know you have this option for better audio quality conference calls with wireless mic capability. USB cable is included with purchase of VCS754.

Conference calls are given. They happen all the time. There are multiple conference room sizes/furniture configurations and varying amounts of people. There are times when there is a main speaker and there are times when all participants need to talk. Let them be heard by passing them the wireless mic offered by VTech’s ErisStations!

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.

 

 

 

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!!!