New Bluetooth headsets are being released almost daily. The premium end of this market has some new arrivals.
Plantronics Voyager Pro
The Plantronics Voyager Pro (pictured on the left) looks like it’s on the large side but would fit comfortably given its solid behind the ear piece. It features an adjustable boom microphone plus noise cancellation. This device is Multipoint. Thankfully, it has a standard (MicroUSB) connector.
Plantronics has an excellent reputation for Bluetooth headsets. The Voyager Pro certainly has excellent technical specs. It also looks comfortable to wear. It’s just that it’s so … big. I look enough like a Borg already without a massive headset sticking out of my ear.
Aliph Jawbone PRIME
Aliph’s Jawbone Prime offers similar functionality to the Voyager Pro (e.g., noise cancellation, Multipoint) but with a smaller (and more stylish) form factor. No, you don’t get the lady. But you do get the choice of some dazzling colors. The Earcandy series offers the red Frankly SCARLET, the yellow ‘YELLO!, the green Drop Me A LIME, and the purple LILAC You Mean It. If you want a more business-like appearance, there’s black Blah Blah Black, the satin brown Coffee Talk, and the platinum Going Platinum.
Aliph’s website has some information interspersed with the usual propaganda. More useful to me is Slashgear’s (them again) Jawbone Prime hands on. Additionally, Slashgear’s Voyager Pro review compares the two headsets. Here’s some key passages:
“Whether it performs better than the Jawbone PRIME is a difficult question. My back to back testing suggested that, in everyday situations, callers couldn’t tell the difference between the PRIME and the Voyager PRO. I felt the Jawbone deals with direct wind-noise a little better than the Plantronics, while the Voyager Pro has the edge on natural voice clarity. Its processing produces a louder, more defined sound, versus the PRIME’s smoother tone. For most people in most environments, though, we don’t think there’s much to differentiate the technology.”
“While rivals like Aliph’s Jawbone PRIME have aimed for compact and jewel-like with their design, Plantronics have definitely put function over form….Plantronics told me that Voyager PRO is targeted to a specific market: hardcore business users. The gamble is that those users are willing to sacrifice style for comfort and, to some extent, performance. The Voyager PRO certainly offers superlative audio quality and – for non-glasses wearers at least – it’s comfortable enough to wear for long periods, but like I’m simply not convinced it offers enough over the Jawbone PRIME to balance its obtrusiveness. The price tag of $100 is a lot of money and while the Jawbone PRIME costs $29 more, I reckon there’s more flexibility with it; I have a feeling most consumers will feel the same way.”
I’d have to try both on before making a decision. I had the first Jawbone. It really didn’t fit comfortably. Hopefully the third-generation Jawbone Prime has solved this problem. I’d also like to see if the connector is standard or proprietary. I suspect the latter, which would be unfortunate as it is yet another connector/charger to load into by device bag. As for the Voyager Pro, perhaps when I try it on it won’t seem large or heavy.
Finally, there’s the BlueAnt Q1. I’ve posted previously on the BlueAnt Z9i (which I own) and the V1. The Q1appears to be an evolutionary improvement over these two. The Q1 has voice control, which I really like in my BlueAnt Supertooth 3 Bluetooth speakerphone, which I also own and have written about. The Q1 also has Multipoint, noise cancellation and a standard (mini-USB) connector.
Update (4/29/2009) – BlueAnt Q1 Headset Review
It’s nice to have good choices!