Plantronics Voyager Pro+ vs Pro HD

I had a Plantronics Voyager Pro+ headset that I rather liked. But I lost it. :(

So when I went shopping for a replacement, I decided to see what else was out there. I tried out two other headsets, the Jawbone ERA
and Jawbone ICON, but in the end, returned them.

I mostly use a bluetooth headset for listening to podcasts and audiobooks.

The Jawbone products were nice enough – sound quality was okay, phone calls were good, but while all of these products support Bluetooth A2DP audio streaming, the Jawbone products don’t support the AVRCP profile needed to play and pause media. This means that if you’re listening to streaming audio and someone comes up and wants to talk to you, you need to fumble your phone out of your pocket and pause it. That’s no good.

Newer Jawbone products, like the Jawbone ICON HD, do support AVRCP, but I didn’t have one of those available to test, and I knew I’d liked my Voyager Pro+.

So I went with the Plantronics Voyager Pro HD.

It’s a bigger headset, with a weighty ear hook.

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There are lots of reviews of the Voyager PRO+ out there, and the Pro+ and Pro HD are identical in many respects, so I’ll just talk about the differences here.

The main difference is the sensor that tells the headset when it’s touching your face. This is used to prevent it from making calls while it’s in your pocket, and to let you switch calls from the phone to the headset by putting the headset on or taking it off. It detects this, so you don’t need to press any buttons.

That’s a nice feature, but even more important for me is that they made the volume buttons easier to press! The previous design of the phone put the volume buttons on a bit of an angle, and there was no surface directly across from them that you could put your thumb on to get leverage to push the buttons. The way you pause and resume media is by holding down both volume buttons for a second, so this is something I was doing fairly often, and it was just awkward. With the Pro HD, it’s easy.

One thing I’ve noticed, both with the Pro+ and Pro HD, is that the signal sometimes cuts out while the phone is in my opposite pocket while I’m outside with the phone. This doesn’t seem to happen in the house, and I think I’ve ruled it down to interference with the iPhone’s WiFi signal. Turn off WiFi and the Bluetooth seems to be better. This may be an iPhone specific issue, I’m not sure.

Speaking of iPhone, how do the Pro HD and Siri get along? Reasonably well. I find voice recognition works a bit better when I hold the phone itself up near my mouth while I’m speaking, compared to speaking into the headset, but in a quiet area, both work well enough. You hold down the button on the side of the headset for a second to initiate voice dialling, which beeps once. Then it connects to the phone, which beeps again, a different kind of beep, and then you have to wait for the Siri beep. Fortunately, Siri’s beep is recognisable, but you do need to learn to wait for the third beep before speaking.