Plantronics Voyager 8200 UC :: First Impressions

by Volker Weber

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This was fast. Only two weeks after the press release I hold a test sample in my hand. The Voyager 8200's claim to fame is that it does not need a microphone beam, and yet is capable of supporting telephone calls with outgoing noise cancellation. My first test results are not conclusive.

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The Voyager 8200 UC comes in the same nice bag as the BackBeat Pro 2. This protective bag feels like a million and has an extra zipper for your accessories: a MicroUSB charge cable, a 3.5mm cable for connecting the headset when Bluetooth is not an option and finally, since it is a UC headset, the small dongle you plug into your PC to make the headset look like a wired sound device even if it is just using Bluetooth. The headset can hold connections to both the PC and your phone at the same time.

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The design is an evolution of the original BackBeat Pro 2. It has two wide open microphone grilles pointing towards the front and the ANC (Active Noise Cancellation) slider now was three positions: Off, Low, High. The material feels nicer and the color scheme went from brown to grey. It also has some orange accents inside the cans and on the open mic button.

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To my ears the 8200 sounds like the BackBeat Pro, which is no surprise. When the noise cancelling is on, you hear a slight hissing sound that you completely forget about when listening to music. When comparing the 8200 to the Voyager Focus there were noticeable differences in my very first phone calls. The Voyager Focus and the Voyager 5200 are my favorite PLT headsets and they are both crystal clear. The 8200 however sounded bad. Really bad. Something was afoot.

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I looked into PLT Hub, an app on the iPhone. And that showed firmware version v.0 . Also, HD voice was off. I set the HD voice setting to On and rebooted the headset. Just to make sure I also rebooted the iPhone. Now PLT hub showed Firmware v.115 and Language v.261. In the next test with a landline DECT phone, the call was crystal clear. Bluetooth to iPhone 7+, LTE to network, VoIP to Fritz!Box, DECT to Fritz!Fon C4. Perfect. Then another call to a different iPhone 7+ and the call quality was so-so.

This clearly needs further investigation and way more phone calls.

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