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Plantronics Voyager 855 Review

Ring and Sing

Plantronics Voyager 855

Many of today’s cellular phones include the ability to play music in stereo. While stereo headphones are widely available for phones, covering both ears while driving is dangerous, not to mention illegal in many states. So, if we want our phone to function as an iPod, do we have to carry two types of headphones, disentangling wires and changing between a single-ear type and a two-ear model every time we get in or out of the car?

The Plantronics Voyager 855 has a convertible design to address this problem, and does a fine job of it, without any wires to connect or disconnect to the phone.  The black-and-silver torpedo-shaped headset with extendable boom microphone comes with different sizes of ear buds and semi-circular ear loop stabilizers to attach the unit comfortably to either side of the user’s head. Once paired with a Bluetooth phone, it can be used to make and receive calls, as well as listen to music through a single ear wirelessly. But owners of phones that support the Bluetooth Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) can attach the stereo plug-in cable, which runs behind the neck and connects to an ear bud in the other ear, to enjoy true stereo music when not behind the wheel. There are occasional drop-outs, especially if the phone is jostled, but considering the phone and ear pieces are not physically attached, the sound is quite good. Whether listening in mono or stereo, when a call comes in, the user can answer by pressing the main button on the headset, and the song will pause until the call is completed.

People whose phone (or other Bluetooth device) supports the Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP) can get the most out of the unit. They can stop and start the music, change the volume, and even move forward and backwards through tracks by utilizing the buttons on the Plantronics system without ever touching their phone. Using a Treo 800w, we were able to walk around a room controlling music and making calls while our phone was attached to its provided wall charger.

Price: $190

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(Updated: 12/13/11 NW)

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