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Plantronics headset review: The Voyager Legend UC

The latest Plantronics headset -- the Voyager Legend UC -- allows users to connect hands-free to their mobile devices and UC applications.

Headsets are a must for call center agents, but the typical knowledge worker also appreciates hands-free calling and multitasking. The latest version of the Plantronics Voyager Legend UC headset allows users to connect with their mobile devices and UC applications without manually toggling between multiple devices or platforms.

I recently tested the latest Plantronics headset, the Voyager Legend UC, a small, mobile Bluetooth accessory that rests comfortably and inconspicuously on your ear. Like the product name suggests, the headset allows users to unify their communication tools and feeds by connecting to their PCs, smartphones or tablets, in addition to their enterprise UC applications and softphones.

Plantronics headset: Hands-free communications between multiple tools

The Plantronics Voyager Legend UC headset comes in two models. The B235 connects to UC applications and softphones from Avaya, Cisco, IBM and Skype. The B235-M is a Microsoft-certified version that is optimized for Microsoft OCS and Lync environments. I tested the B235-M headset's call control features without any connection to enterprise UC applications, but connected to my mobile device -- an iPhone 5s.

Right out of the box, I had no trouble connecting my smartphone to the headset via Bluetooth. After turning on the headset and docking it on my ear, I hit the call button and spoke the word "pair" into the microphone, which allowed the headset to pair with my Bluetooth-enabled iPhone. The two devices found each other immediately, and I was up and running.

There are four buttons on the headset. The on/off switch is on the back side and the volume toggle sits behind the user's ear. The main call answer/end button is at the end of mouthpiece microphone closest to the earpiece, and the mute button/voice command button is toward the middle of the mouthpiece. The buttons are placed in a logical order, and I found it easy to reach for the right one while using the headset.

The Plantronics Voyager Legend UC headset

The Voyager Legend UC ships with several standard button gestures -- like double tapping the call button to redial the last call -- but you can also hit the voice command button and speak the name of the contact you wish to dial. I liked that the voice command button prompted Siri on my iPhone, so I could look up contacts, in addition to anything else I needed, without touching my phone. If a user is not connected to an iPhone, however, you can still give verbal commands to the headset once the voice command button is activated.

As a Verizon customer, I'm used to not being able to access the Internet while on a call. When using the headset, however, I could access my entire phone -- including apps -- while on a call, which could be very beneficial for Verizon-using road warriors.

The intelligent headset can also determine if a user is wearing it or if they have taken it off. It will bounce an active call to your mobile device if you take off the headset, and it will pull a call from a smartphone if you put the headset on during a call. Incoming calls are also immediately answered once a user puts on the headset. For those integrating the headset with enterprise UC apps, the headset could change the employee's status to busy when it senses a call is in progress, whether on a PC or a mobile device, Plantronics claims. The headset can alert the user via a voice prompt of an incoming call, and who the caller is, if the user has the contact saved on their mobile device. This was useful when I received a call while my phone was in another room or on a different floor. The two devices stayed connected, although I did notice a slight drop-off in audio quality when I walked outside without the phone.

Plantronics headset combines communications for desk-bound workers, road warriors

Unless a wall separates your mobile device and the Plantronics headset, the audio quality of the Voyager Legend UC is very impressive compared to the typical quality of an iPhone call. The caller on the other line always sounded exceptionally clear and very present. One caller I spoke with during my review period confirmed that the sound quality was also so clean on their end that it sounded as if I was in the same room speaking with them.

I believe in hands-free calling while driving, but anyone who has ever been on either side of a call conducted through a vehicle's Bluetooth knows that it can sometimes sound like you're in a carwash. The headset offered excellent hands-free call quality on the road.

For those users who do find themselves frequently on the road, the multiple charging options were an added bonus. I mostly used the very small desktop stand -- smaller than a pack of gum -- to charge my headset. The Voyager Legend UC also comes with a small travel case that holds up to one full charge, itself chargeable via USB or a standard wall outlet. As many home workers with precious desk real estate can appreciate, I liked the small size of the device and its stand.

The headset would notify me via a voice alert when it its battery charge was low, but it had an odd quirk that required me to turn it off and on again before I plugged it into the stand. Otherwise it wouldn't begin charging. It also offered no indication of when the charge was complete.

Because of its size, the Voyager Legend UC headset is easy and comfortable to wear for long periods of time, and the tight integrations make the product very helpful for any type of employee -- whether bound to a desk or constantly on the move -- to quickly communicate via any of their mobile devices or UC tools.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Gina Narcisi, news writer, and follow @GeeNarcisi on Twitter.

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