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Jabra Evolve 80 Microsoft Lync Stereo Review

By Danny Hayasaka

October 16, 2014

Jabra Evolve is new series of USB headsets that includes multiple models however this particular variant is one of the cooler headsets I’ve had the pleasure of evaluating.

Two Evolve 80 variants:

Jabra Evolve 80 Microsoft Lync Stereo (Jabra SKU# 7899-823-109)

Jabra Evolve 80 UC Stereo (Jabra SKU# 7899-829-209)

What’s in the box: Jabra Evolve 80 Microsoft Lync Stereo Headset, Carry Pouch, Cable Management clip, USB Controller (Jabra Evolve Link), User Guide & Warranty Info

Set Up for Softphone Use: The Evolve includes hardwired 3.5mm cable that connects into the USB Controller. Connect USB cable into USB port on PC. Like the majority of business use headsets, it’s important to download the appropriate software for optimal quality and feature functionality. Jabra offers Jabra PC Suite for individual download or Jabra Xpress for mass deployment. Once downloaded, check to see firmware is up to date. Since we use Microsoft Lync I have also configured for Microsoft.

Right and Left ear speakers are clearly marked. The boom microphone is on the right side.

The USB Controller includes answer/end call button, volume down, volume up, mute switch and Busylight indicator (little ring around Jabra logo).

Another cool feature that at first may go unnoticed is the little grippy pad on the underside of the USB controller. It prevents controller from sliding on your desk. Most other USB headsets with inline control typically hang down by your knees and aren’t very practical. So this is nice feature.  Additionally you can accept and handle multiple calls at same time via USB controller. Read user manual for “how to” do this.

The Evolve 80 has Active Noise Canceling (ANC) which is awesome feature if you really need to concentrate and block out background noise. The ANC on/off button is located on the underside of Right speaker. There is also a “Listen In” feature that allows you to listen to your surroundings if you need to. Listen in button also Right speaker under Jabra logo.

You must charge headset for at least 3hrs for ANC to work. Once charged you get up to 24 hrs. of ANC time. Battery indicator light on underside of Left speaker. Evolve 80 must be connected via USB for headset to charge. 3.5mm cable alone will not charge headset.

Set Up for Mobile Device: Disconnect 3.5mm cable from USB Controller and connect 3.5mm plug to mobile device that supports. Reminder that headset does not charge when connected via 3.5mm plug.

If your softphone supports transferring call to mobile device, you can switch from PC to mobile.

Actual Wear and Use: I’m all for the “open office” concept.  It does foster more collaboration amongst co-workers however at times it can get “noisy” and hard to concentrate. The Evolve 80 is a great solution. When you really need to concentrate simply put your Evolve 80 headset on, turn on the ANC and focus. The speakers completely surround your ears in what feels like a cushiony pillow.

Yet another great feature is the Busylight indicator on both speakers and USB controller. It lets others know you are in a call. Additionally you can manually turn on/off Busylight. Again, if you need to focus and not be bothered, turn on the Busylight indicator so folks leave you alone.

I LOVE listening to music while working. These Evolve 80 stereo headsets produce great audio quality while listening to music. One of the features of Lync I use sometimes is forwarding calls to my mobile device. I can connect the Evolve 80 to my mobile device and stream music. Paired with Active Noise Canceling turned on it’s like the whole world just disappears and I can just enjoy the music!

In closing, I believe Jabra has knocked it out of the park with the Evolve 80 stereo headset. These can be used at work, home or when traveling in trains and planes. The Active Noise Canceling is comparable if not better than my Bose headphones. I will be replacing my Bose with the new Jabra Evolve 80!

 

Phone or Headset in Lync environment?

June 26, 2014

By Danny Hayasaka

I remember the planning days when we decided to make the switch from an old Inter-Tel phone system to Microsoft Lync. Even though we were using headsets attached to our desk phones, we still felt it necessary to provide employees with desk phones and headsets.

I believe it took about three months, before the majority of our employees removed the phones off their desk. In a 100% Lync environment, a headset and webcam are all you really need. Of course some folks still can’t make the transition so they must have a desk phone.

The key to knowing whether or not you provide a desk phone, is understanding employees’ roles and how they “work” on a daily basis. In addition to Lync, do they have mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) they have to connect to?

I personally get to test/evaluate many of the devices for Lync so my desk and book shelf are full of multiple products from various manufacturers (Yes, I love what I do).

The way I work, requires me to pair to my PC for Lync calls as well as my mobile phone. Great products that provide that connectivity are the Jabra Motion UC+ MS, Plantronics Voyager Legend UC-M (B235-M), Sennheiser Presence UC ML, and VXi VoxStar UC. All these models allow me to pair to my PC via Bluetooth USB Dongle and my mobile phone via Bluetooth. Regardless of where call comes from (PC or mobile) I can answer with one headset. Additionally, at the end of the day, I can drive home and use same headset for hands-free driving.

However, there are still areas of an organization that require something other than a headset. For example, conference rooms, training rooms, etc. require conference phones or conferencecams. Polycom and Logitech make great Lync optimized devices for those areas like the Polycom CX5100, CX5500 or even CXC8000. From Logitech you have the BCC 950 and CC3000e ConferenceCams.

As I mentioned earlier, some folks will NOT wear a headset and MUST have a phone. Fortunately there are Lync optimized IP phones available from Polycom, HP and Aastra. Then there are a host of Lync compatible phones from AudioCodes, Spectralink, Polycom and Snom that offer multiple features.

How each individual employee works should dictate which device is best. It’s important to seek out a device-centric vendor who specializes in Lync optimized/compatible devices that can guide you through the MANY options that are available and help with best practices. If the vendor uses Lync themselves, like Call One, Inc. it’s a plus!