A decade after its first Bluetooth headset in 2001, Plantronics still stands out as one of the leaders in an increasingly crowded field. The Voyager line of headsets is especially popular with consumers who prize audio quality and comfort above all else. We were glad to see Plantronics update its lineup with the Voyager Pro Plus last year, which added A2DP streaming, voice alerts, and even better noise reduction.
But the innovation didn't stop there. Plantronics has introduced yet another improvement on its Voyager Pro line with the Plantronics Voyager Pro UC. Undeniably the company's most advanced headset yet, the Voyager Pro UC uses new sensor technology that can detect whether it is on or off the ear. This increases the headset's functionality tenfold--the ability to answer a call just by putting on the headset, for example, is fantastic. The Voyager Pro UC also works with a variety of softphone and VoIP PC applications without ever losing mobile connectivity.
Even though the design of the headset is the same and the audio quality is unchanged, we think this new technology is highly impressive. Just because of that, we're elevating the headset to Editors' Choice. We just wish it were cheaper; it retails for $199.95, which is nearly double the price of competing headsets.
It's design deja vu all over again with the Plantronics Voyager Pro UC. Indeed, it looks identical to both the Voyager Pro Plus and the Voyager Pro. It has that retro telemarketer look, with a large behind-the-ear battery pack and a long swiveling boom microphone. We're admittedly a little tired of the design by now, but we can't blame the company for sticking to a design that many people have come to love. Despite its looks, the Voyager Pro UC is definitely comfortable and easy to wear. For more details on button placement and overall look and feel, we'll direct you to our review of the Plantronics Voyager Pro.
Unlike the Jawbone Era, which has a built-in accelerometer to help answer and end calls, the Plantronics Voyager Pro UC uses very sensitive capacitive touch technology instead. According to Plantronics, this works by "sensing capacitance changes due to conductors brought close to one or more sensor electrodes." This Smart Sensor technology enables the headset to differentiate one action from another.
The benefits of the sensor are quite impressive. For example, if a call comes in and you're not wearing your headset, the call automatically routes to the phone. You can then answer the call as you would normally or you can slip on your headset and the call will be answered automatically. If you put on your headset in the middle of the call, the call will be transferred to the headset automatically as well. This prevents you from having to fumble around for the headset whenever you get an incoming call.
This works great for listening to music as well. Taking the headset off automatically pauses the song, and when you put the headset back on, the song resumes where it left off. You also no longer have to worry about accidentally placing a call while the headset is bouncing around in your pocket; the Voyager Pro UC has Auto Call Button Lock, which locks the button when the headset is not worn.