Review: Plantronics Voyager Pro UC Bluetooth Headset

The Plantronics Voyager Pro UC provides enables callers to use the same Bluetooth headset for both mobile phone and PC-based unified communications systems.

The Plantronics Voyager Pro UC provides heavy callers with an excellent way to use the same Bluetooth headset for both cell phone- and PC-based unified communications systems. This can free mobile users from juggling multiple headsets, while delivering excellent voice quality and distance performance along with reasonable battery life.

I tested the Voyager Pro UC WG200/B, which comes with an earpiece and a pre-paired Bluetooth dongle for $199 (Costs between £75 and £110 on UK sites). It is designed to work jointly with a Bluetooth 2.0-enabled mobile phone or smartphone plus a Windows-based PC softphone via the dongle. This allowed me during tests to seamlessly use the same headset with both communications systems.

Plantronics also offers the WG201/B for use with Microsoft Office Communications Server systems. This iteration comes with the “Optimised for Microsoft Office Communicator” wordmark promising performance and ease of installation.

Excellent voice pickup and intelligent call control

The Voyager Pro UC is certainly not the smallest or sexiest Bluetooth headset around. Indeed, at just under 11 cm in length and weighing 17.5 grams, the device is larger than many competing consumer headsets. However, the extra length gets the microphone boom close enough to the mouth to provide excellent voice pickup, making the larger size worth the tradeoff.

The earpiece part of the Voyager Pro UC has four buttons: a power/pairing button and a pair of volume controls (that when pressed at the same time will mute the microphone) along the spine, and a call control button at the base of the microphone.

With the call control button, users are able to answer an incoming call no matter which phone the call comes into. The user will know which line is being answered because the earpiece offers a slightly different ring tone depending on the phone in use. Users can also mute the call and hang up from the earpiece.

Unified communications

The Voyager Pro UC is rated to work with many major unified communication softphones, including those from Avaya, Cisco Systems, IBM and Microsoft. When it comes to consumer communications systems, the Voyager Pro UC works with Skype (which I used for the bulk of my testing) and Google Talk.

PC users can also listen to music using the Voyager Pro UC. If a supported media player is being used (Apple iTunes or Windows Media Center, for instance), music playback will automatically pause when a call to the softphone is answered (although not when a call to the cell phone is answered).

The Voyager Pro UC will pair with a Bluetooth radio already in a laptop, but for performance, quality, ease of deployment and additional features, Plantronics recommends using the earpiece in conjunction with the pre-paired Bluetooth dongle. To use with a softphone, users need to install the included PerSono Suite 1.1 (which is available only for Windows-based desktops at this time), then insert the dongle into an open USB slot.