Introducing The Plantronics Voyager 520 Bluetooth Headset

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Performance

Plantronics Voyager 520

Using the Voyager 520 during everyday uses was quite pleasant.  Plantronics seems to know how to dial in the comfort of their Voyager series headsets as this was probably one of the most comfortable headsets we have used.  When we measured the weight of the headset, it was actually, lighter than the advertised weight of 16 grams!

Along with the lightweight, the headset comes with a unique speaker duct that fits in your ear nicely when you have it on.  This duct is made of soft rubber that doesn’t irritate your ear like hard plastic or non-fitting ear buds.  This helps to filter out noise as well as allows for less work on the headset’s speaker driver.  This obviously helps with battery life.  Unlike many other ultra-light headsets, the Plantronics still sounds loud to the user even in loud environments.  The combination of this unique ear piece and the light weight of the Voyager 520, make it one of the most comfortable and effective headsets that we have tested. 

Plantronics Voyager - Top View

Plantronics Earpiece

The Voyager 520 Bluetooth improves the Voyager line in not only its comfort, but also its noise cancelling features.  The 520 sports a new windscreen that improves its ability to reduce wind-noise.  For our tests, we drove around town with our windows down and tried to hold a conversation.  Up until 40-50mph, everything was great.  There was obvious noise generated from the open window, but the Voyager 520 filtered out most of the noise and traffic to isolate the users voice well enough for a typical conversation to ensue.  Above 50mph though, there was a little too much wind noise and my callers began to complain that they couldn’t hear me.  In general sound quality for this headset was very good and very clear.  Under normal conditions, the was one of the better headsets in terms of sound quality and volume.

Plantronics Voyager 520 Mic

Clearly, the Voyager does a good job of basic noise cancellation.  Would I get this headset if I worked in a machining factory driving a convertible?  Not really.  For most people, the active noise cancellation coming with the Plantronics set is more than enough to limit extraneous noise. 

We were easily able to pair up the Voyager 520 with each of our test mobile devices: the Brothers Treos (650 & 750), Motorola RAZR V3, and our T-Mobile Wing.  Each device recognized the Voyager 520 and made nice quickly and easily.  Range of use for each of these devices was pretty nice as well.  We could put at least 20 feet between the headsets and the mobile before hearing any sort of static during the conversations.

Plantronics claims that this headset gets up to 8 hours of talk time on a charge and our real-world tests confirm that…in fact, we were hard pressed to use the headset enough for the “low-power” indicator to go off after two intense days of using

When we first saw the Voyager 520, I wasn’t sure what to think of this “radical” new one-button design.  Would a user loose functionality?  If you have big thick fingers, would you be like Homer Simpson trying to mash all the buttons on a telephone?  I am happy to report that none of these things happened and the one-button design that Plantronics implemented was actually a welcomed relieve to the many other designs where 3 or more buttons are used to handle headset functions.  Big props to the Plantronics engineers for a great design.

We briefly tested the Voyager 520 with two USB Bluetooth dongles – our Belkin FST012, and our Plantronics Bluetooth adapter.  The 520 synced with both of these USB adaptors and had no problems using Skype for VOiP. Sound and voice quality were just as good as using a mobile device.  The only slight difference was we found the range to be “only” 12-15 feet from the computer – roughly have the range from our mobile devices.  This could be due to interference generated by our computer and/or LCD monitor.  Regardless, the range is still very good and usable for those that multitask with their headsets.

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