Bluetooth headsets are an essential tool for anyone who frequently needs to communicate on their phone while driving, or while otherwise occupied – especially for those who tend to avoid cables and cords for personal or safety reasons. Finding the right Bluetooth headset can be a challenge, however – there are a huge variety of headsets on the market with various price points, features, designs, and so forth.
Fortunately, Plantronics has made that decision a little bit easier by releasing one of the most comfortable, effective, and high-performing headsets I have used so far: The Voyager Legend ($99, link). We’ll put it through it’s paces and find out just how worthy it really is of it’s predecessor’s mantle.
Plantronics has been a strong industry leader in Bluetooth headsets for a long time, and the Legend continues that tradition very capably. The Voyager Legend replaces the Voyager Pro+, which I reviewed in March of 2011, and makes a number of very welcome improvements over its predecessor.
With the Voyager Legend, Plantronics has embraced much of what I loved about the Voyager Pro series, and taken it back to the drawing board. Most of the changes are fairly minute – for instance, the Legend uses switches rather than buttons for both power and volume control. The result is that it is much easier to power the headset on or off or adjust the volume with as little distraction as possible.
One of the design changes I am particularly fond of is the placement of the Legend’s microphones. Rather than being oriented side-to-side, as with the Voyager Pro, the Legend features a boom that has been rotated 90 degrees sitting parallel to the ground rather than parallel with your ear. The most significant improvement that this offers is much better wind resistance, which is always a welcome feature.
In addition to the microphone and switch improvements, the Voyager Legend is also noticeably thinner and lighter than the Voyager Pro, making it easier and more comfortable to wear for extended periods of time. Not all of the design changes are as pleasing, however, especially when it comes to the charging cable.
With the Voyager Legend, Plantronics has moved from a traditional micro-USB cable to a proprietary Magsafe-like magnetic connector. This is concerning in several ways: First, the magnetic hold isn’t very strong. I frequently found my headset would disconnect from the charger if I tried to put it in a bag (using a battery pack), or if it was bumped even a little while charging. I can tell you from experience that discovering that your headset didn’t charge when you need it the next day is an ugly feeling.
The second concern is that if you lose or damage your cable, you must purchase a replacement directly from Plantronics rather than picking up a cheap USB cable at the closest store.
Features and Performance
What the Legend loses in functionality by requiring a proprietary magnetic cable, it makes up for in smart features that improve the experience of using it. One of the new features I loved the most is the headset’s “smart call routing” and intelligent face detection. When answering a call, simply putting the headset on your ear automatically answers – a vast improvement from trying to find and activate the answer button before the call goes to voice mail. If the headset is not on your ear, the call will be routed straight to your handset.
Plantronics has a well-deserved reputation for having excellent sound quality in their headsets. and the Voyager Legend did not disappoint. Both incoming and outgoing audio came across crisp, clear, and loud. No complaints in this area whatsoever.
One of the areas that the Voyager Legend excels in is range. I had a difficult time getting far enough away from it in my home to significantly deteriorate the connection quality. I had to go deep into the far corner of the basement before I managed to get it to disconnect. The range is extremely impressive.
Plantronics advertises a 7-hour battery life for the Voyager Legend, and I found that to be fairly accurate – although the battery life will decrease somewhat depending on the range you use the headset at, and the volume level. All in all, I was very satisfied with both the in-call and standby performance.
Audio Caller ID and Voice Commands
Another feature I loved about the Voyager Legend is audio caller ID. When a call comes in, the headset automatically announces the number that the call is coming from. If that number belongs to a contact in your Address Book, it will even announce the name of the caller.
The voice commands are also very useful. When wearing the headset, just say “answer” to accept a call, or “ignore” to sent it to voice mail. I rounded up a few of my friends with various speaking styles, namely an English person, a friend from Brooklyn, and an Australian friend. The Legend had no trouble understanding voice commands from each of them.
There’s not much to say here. The Voyager Legend is damn comfortable. It’s probably the most comfortable headset I have ever worn. In fact, I often found myself forgetting I was even wearing it.
Having a mute feature is often overlooked in many headsets. The Voyager Legend, however, makes muting extremely simple – just tap the top button on the boom, and it will announce that the call is muted. Tap it again, and it will inform you that the audio is available once again.
The Voyager Legend is not perfect by any means, and some of its lesser qualities, such as that damnable magnetic cable, take away from the things that the headset does well. However, considering that the headset has only one significant flaw, and performs very well in almost every other area, I felt that it deserved four out of 5 stars.
All in all, I was very impressed with the Voyager Legend – especially in comparison to the Voyager Pro, and would recommend it to anyone in need of a solid and relatively affordable professional headset. For more info, visit Plantronics’ product page on the web. The device is available for $99 both direct from the manufacturer and through Amazon.com (link).
- Excellent range and battery life.
- Extremely comfortable.
- Easy to setup and begin using.
- Companion app is only available for Android.
- Magnetic cable can easily be knocked out, causing your headset not to charge.
- Battery life meter isn’t very accurate.