Straight out of the box, the Plantronics Voyager 5200 oozes quality in its design and build. It has a superior feel to its weight and aesthetic and also looks like it has a great set of features. Coming in at the $100 / £100 mark, we'd expect it to be a top performer in our guide to the best Bluetooth headsets around. But does it stand up to that reputation and is it worth your money?
Plantronics Voyager 5200 review: Design
The Plantronics Voyager 5200's design is chic - a symphony on black, with chrome accents, it does look very smart. Its over-the-ear design is generally great and helps to anchor the headset into position. The volume buttons - plural as the plus and minus buttons are separate - are located at the top of the headset, helpfully isolated. The power button is situated at the back of the headset also for convenience and the boom-esque mic of the headset extends proportionately to the headset but not obnoxiously over your face.
The 5200 weighs 20 grams and as a result, is one of the heaviest we've seen, but that's most likely going to be a personal preference thing. Some users will prefer a weightless headset, while some will prefer something weighty that fits well and feels immovable. Stability isn’t much of an issue, as the body of the device wraps around your ear, but getting the speaker to sit just right is a little tricky - if not in the right position this can affect sound isolation and audio performance, but with a bit of perseverance it's a hurdle easily overcome. As a final bonus, the 5200 does have a sweatproof outer coating, handy for use in hot weather or on a mild workout, though it's not what we'd consider rugged or tough. If you need something more durable, the Jabra Steel is very much the way to go.
The 5200's design is reversible, so you can wear it on either ear, but very little about the rest of the fit is adjustable. It comes with three earbud size options, which were somewhat difficult to switch out and change, and even with those size options, we found it difficult to find a fit comfortable enough to wear for a really extended period.
Plantronics Voyager 5200 review: Features
Being on the large and bulky side (still, mainly in a good way) is an advantage for elements of the design and it has the aforementioned volume control buttons and power switch, as well as a voice button, a call button, an NFC pairing zone, power and battery indicator lights and a microUSB charging port. Impressive. It might sound crammed but as touched upon above, the design allows each button and feature enough room. The 5200 comes with a USB to microUSB charging cord but, frustratingly, no mains adapter, car charger or portable charging case. These can be purchased separately, but that is a slight annoyance in the year 2020, and even more so as this is not a cheap bit of kit. Something like the Jabra headsets or the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless offer more elegant charging solutions.
Plantronics Voyager 5200 review: Performance
The headline of the Plantronics Voyager 5200 is the microphone setup it uses to execute noise canceling. In most Bluetooth headsets there are only two microphones to soak up exterior noise and stop it interfering with the headset's call and audio functioning. However, the 5200 uses four. This may sound like overkill, but the tech does an incredibly good job at isolating your voice and canceling out environmental sounds, even down to the weather. More specifically, Plantronics uses something called WindSmart technology to intuitively respond to wind interference for exceptional outdoor performance. A niche approach but one that is certainly welcome and, importantly, effective.
The Voyager 5200’s audio quality is, generally terrific but it is directly related to the fit of the headset - once that's right then the audio quality should be excellently beamed into your ears. The Voyager’s speaker is also one of the loudest Bluetooth headsets, which compensates very well for any slight gaps in the seals on the earbuds themselves. Otherwise, the audio and general performance of the Voyager 5200 does everything as expected and does it well. Having a phone call using the headset is easy, clear and without interruption or crackle, and any adjustments that might need to be made are easily and efficiently done with the onboard controls.
Should you buy the Plantronics Voyager 5200?
The Plantronics Voyager 5200 is one of the best around-the-ear-style headsets we've tested. Though heavy and bulky, the Voyager 5200 is easily the best of those at the heavier end of the spectrum, and it is a great headset for business and outdoor performance. Its four mics effectively filter out background noise, and even though the speaker may not fit quite right in your ear, it puts out enough volume to hear all your calls.