Price: $ 220
If you think of Plantronics – a company best known for call center and aviation headsets – music may not be the first thing to me comes to mind. However, with these extremely comfortable and good-sounding headphones, you need to think it over.
What we like
- Excellent sound
- Long battery life
- Can be used with a 3.5mm cable instead of Bluetooth
And what we do not know
- Without Connecting to another device can not accurately determine the battery life.
- Hub utility failed to install on Kindle Fire.
- The iOS version of Hub Utility is more limited than Windows version
Recently, the company has evolved with some great-sounding headphones and earbuds. The BackBeat headphone series and the BackBeat Pro 2 over-the-ear headphones offer great sound, albeit at a premium price. The manufacturer's latest over-the-ear headphone is the Voyager 8200 UC. These products complement the product line and do not replace Plantronics' BackBeat Pro 2 premium headphones, the previous top headphones.
My ears, not yours: a primer for checking headphones
Before you read an audio review, you should know if it is headphones. Note that for speakers or other audio devices, listening habits are for everyone something different. People are usually more sensitive to certain frequencies, and not everyone likes the same kind of music. As a reviewer, I was able to use available gauges and software to determine the frequency response of the headphone. However, a chart does not give you an idea of how the headphones actually sound or feel when worn for more than a few hours. To be informative, an audio review must be at least somewhat subjective.
Most reviewers have a list of tracks they use to test a headset set. Since my taste in music is likely to be different from yours, I will not list the titles I'm using, just stating that over a period of two weeks, I've spent several hours a day playing through titles in my Spotify playlist that are a bit too much Currently has over 600 songs. These vary from Chicago and Texas Blues to 60s Garage Band Rock. There is even a country in it.
If you're interested in putting these or other headphones through their paces, read our Earphone Testing Guide. This page is also useful if you want to create your own test suite. It contains a variety of audio test files. If you want something super fast and easy, Spotify even offers a self-made playlist for headphone testing that you can try out.
However, my preferences are more towards bass than treble, but I also listen to a well-balanced response. Finally, most audio devices and applications have equalizers that allow you to adjust the response to your liking. As usual in advertising, your mileage may vary.
An Advancement Over My Faithful Sennheisers
Over the years I have had many headphones and my favorites have shifted when I had the opportunity to test new ones. Strangely enough, one of my favorites is still a pair of Sennheiser HD Pro 280 phones, which must be almost two decades old. They are worn so long that they feel uncomfortable, but still sound good.
Before I tested the Voyager 8200 UCs, my favorite headphone was Plantronics – the BackBeat Pro 2. These offer excellent sound performance, very good battery life and hours of comfortable wear. The Voyager 8200 UC phones offer almost the same good features and a few more that enhance their use in the office, travel, and listening to music or television.
I will not list The data sheet for the Voyager 8200 UC can be found here. It really does not give you a taste of how they sound or feel. As you can see in the photos, they are available in black and cream and are the size of most other over-the-ear headphones.
They have a very comfortable memory foam padding on the ear cups and on the headband imitation leather cover on both sides, orange accents on the ear cups and a label on the headband and large letters for the left and right auricle. This is not as silly as it seems, as many headphones and earphones have tiny letters to indicate the correct orientation.
A metal screen on both front edges of the earcups hides the microphones used by the ANC (Active Noise Cancellation) reason to have the right earcups on the right ear and hear your voice when using the phones in an office environment to make or answer calls use. Plantronics has designed these headphones to be comfortable to use when listening to music, traveling or working in the office. They come with a USB Bluetooth dongle and a 3.5mm cable that connects the headset directly to a music source.
Active Noise reduction is a feature common to both Plantronics headphones, and it seems to work a little better on Voyager. At the edge of the left earphone is a small slide switch. All the way down and the ANC is off. Slide it to the middle position and some crashes occur, but loud background sounds like a doorbell are still heard. This is the attitude I used most of my time in the office while working. Finally, push the switch up to the top position and more ANCs will appear. There always seems to be loud noises that make it in this supreme position, which is a good thing. You want to be able to hear if there is a strong sound. I could not test the Voyagers in an airplane, but I would probably leave them in the middle setting so I can hear announcements during the flight.
The left auricle also has volume controls with a volume control on the rim of the cup and controls to and jumping back audio tracks. The volume control is also used to control the volume of the microphones in front of each earpiece. If you press in the middle of the cup, you can access the voice control with Siri, Cortana, or Google Now (a strange choice because Google Now has been discontinued for the benefit of Google Assistant).
On the side of this are several additional slide switch right auricle as well as a microUSB socket on the bottom of the beaker to charge the battery and a 3.5mm jack to use the headphones in plug-in mode. Along the leading edge of the pinna is the net that covers one of the two microphones, a slide switch that mutes the microphones, and the power switch, which has three positions: Off, On, and Pair. If you pair the headphones with Bluetooth, you have a range of almost 100 feet, so you can roam around a room or office and stay connected. The 8200 UCs can also be coupled via NFC (Near Field Communications). Instead of the wheel on the left earpiece, the middle of the right earpiece is a switch. Tap to make, answer, or end a call.
For the trip, the earpieces turn inwards, so the headset is flat and fits into the soft travel case provided with the phones, has a zipped compartment for the included USB and 3.5mm audio cables , This ability to fold into a flat pack makes it easy to put the 8200 UCs in your carry-on luggage.
Huba Huba: Software-Based Control
Plantronics promotes its hub software as a useful add-on product. I thought that was mostly true. While the Android version refused to install on my Kindle Fire HD, where I usually listen to music, the installation was flawless on both Windows 10 and iOS. To get the Windows 10 version up and running, I had to install the USB dongle that came with the headphones. In both versions, you can adjust the call and volume settings, and in both versions, you can specify the remaining battery charge connection time.
The options available in The iOS version of the utility were very sparse compared to the Windows version. The "Find My Headset" worked flawlessly and sent a loud sound to the headset, which would definitely help find the phones if you are within 5 to 10 feet of them. Directly below the attached device label (Plantronics Voyager 8200) are the connection status notifications, in this case Connected, and an indication of remaining talk / listen time. The Settings menu contains the most useful functions. However, whether you actually consider them useful or not is a matter of opinion. I have not found any settings I want to use.
There is a feature for which you may want to install the utility. This is the "How Do I" selection that contains excerpts from the Voyager User Guide. This and the display of remaining talk time on the Utility home screen are sufficient to justify the free utility, although the additional features appear rather sparse.