Plantronics Voyager 8200 UC :: Return to sender

by Volker Weber

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After 24 hours and countless phonecalls with the Voyager 8200 UC, I am confident this headset needs a few firmware updates until it can match my expectations. Since the agency wants it back after my test, I am returning it right now. Two weeks won't be enough to get it right.

Call quality was never consistent. I had some excellent connections, but most of them were not. If you want to use a headset for phone calls, I still recommend the Voyager Focus, the 5200 (in the picture) and the 3200. Even the Apple AirPods provided much better call quality than the big 8200 cans. And finally, my rather simple and passive Marshall Monitor headphones (with a single microphone) was better at surpressing noise from the Dyson vacuum.

There are a couple of things that worked well. The open-mic switch is useful because it connects an outside microphone to your headphones while lowering the volume. This can be used to talk to your flight attendant or a sneak attack on people talking next to you. The "low" setting on the ANC was helpful for phone calls since you can hear your own voice better and don't start screaming for the lack of feedback. The "on ear" sensors also help you stop and restart the music or mute a call when you take the headset off or put it back on. This wasn't consistent though. Even though the headset was on the table, Siri dictation connected to it. That is a common mistake you make when you use Bluetooth headsets and forget you were still connected. Finally the controls on the headset for track forward or backwards were too slow with Spotify, to the point where they were completely useless.

The real killer is that you can buy the Marshall Monitor BT (150 €), the Voyager 5200 UC (120 €) and the Apple AirPods (180 €) for the same price that Plantronics will be (initially) asking for the 8200 UC. All three of them. This headset needs time for the price to come down and the software to improve.

No editor-refuses-to-give-it-back award.

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I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.

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