TRAVEL IN MAJOR cities like Boston has its advantages. I don’t need a car nearly a decade, thanks to the fleets of bus and metro, the trains zip through the city, which is awesome. But I really could go without the piercing, screeching noise of each train as it is brought to the stop at the station. Metro rides are often deafening from beginning to end, and packed with people who are stronger still.
For the last two months, the port of Plantronics Voyager 8200 UC Bluetooth headset has calmed down my journey. As a trip to the land of imagination, they made me forget. I legitimately missed my subway stop several times because I was so lost in what I’ve heard—and, equally important, that I was not at the hearing. A switch on the left earpiece allows you to switch between the two levels of the active noise cancellation, which does a Bose-level employment in the maintenance of the audio quality while eliminating the ruckus around you, whether it is on a train or plane (another place I loved using these). Usually, I have it set to the active cancellation on max because I haven’t noticed degradation in my tracks.
Even with noise reduction turned off, the leathery memory foam cups provide a nice seal around the ears, to silence a lot of the clamor of the outside world. A soft microfiber band adjustable sides holds it in place. You can twist the cups on the side and the rest around your neck when you’re not listening.
I like the design of these much more than the ubiquitous Bose QuietComfort headphones, but there is nothing remarkable about their appearance, which makes the$ 380 asking price, hard to stomach at first. (The white and tan version looks a bit more chic than the black and orange set that I have.) Almost no one has complimented their style, and most are surprised when I say how much I love them. After I explain all these boxes can do, their tone changes.
For a start, the sensors work well, automatically pausing and playing tracks if you take the helmet on and off. Even lifting a cup off your ear will trigger this function and it is so, so cool.
Four microphones help it cancel the noise also make Travel 8200s fantastic to take calls. Even outside on a windy day, I could hear and be heard on the phone. The synchronization is very simple, because the Bluetooth button is also the power button on the right earpiece. Turn the power on, and you will naturally press up enough to trigger the pairing mode, which is smart enough to allow you to auto-sync with two devices at once, allowing you to use it on a computer and your phone, or share with a significant other. The coupling is usually a daunting task. Here, it is a child’s play.
A glance at the inside of the earphones is the perfect example of the way in which Plantronics favors utility over pure fashion. The left cup has a giant L, and the right has a giant A. When you first look at, it almost seems childish, but these giant letters have saved me time every day, I’ve worn. On most headphones, it is a nightmare to find the tiny R or L and put them on the right. On these, it happens in a blink of an eye.
The fake wood on the sides of the cup may seem corny, but it is hard to blame the controls on these panels, which are skip tracks, change the volume, pause, and take calls easy. Five blue points, even slight, to show you your life of the battery each time you start the 8200 is. If you don’t pay attention to points, you’ll still have to learn of the life of the battery from a voice that speaks to you every time you put it on. It is generally a good news on the battery front, too. The whole receives about 24 hours of music and podcast play per charge, and can hold the charge for several weeks without dying, even if you can keep it on.
If you run out of energy, you can go into the Travel 8200 the soft fleece carrying pouch where you will find a double sided 3.5 mm audio cable, which converts it into standard headphones (no power). A Micro-USB to USB charging cable and Bluetooth dongle for your PC or Mac are also included.
I hope that you will never notice, but Plantronics has cooked in hearing protection, kicks in if a song suddenly increases in volume. It “detects and eliminates any large sudden increase in signal level,” which avoids being surprised or having to rip them off. That voice I mentioned earlier, warns if you are listening at super loud volumes, and lets you know when you are successfully connected via Bluetooth or turn on / off the function of noise cancellation settings, which allows you to avoid the confusion.
As much as I love their comfort and rich life of the battery, Plantronics Voyager 8200 CPU have also become my headset for an old reason: they sound stellar. Their sound quality is among the best I’ve heard on a Bluetooth headset. Just today, I was listening to “Oh the Devil” by Electric Guest and noticed how much I was able to pick up the nuances of the singer Asa Taccone’s enchanting falsetto voice, in the middle of the electric piano tones and deep bass rhythm. The tracks have the depth that you will not hear on a lot of games, and audio podcast comes to sharpness and clarity.
If you have $380 to start on the helmet, put it on your shortlist. If you do not know that they have been put on sale for $280 at least once before, so if you hold long enough, the price is likely to fall once again.
Source: wired.com Image: wired.com