Pros / It uses four-microphones to cut out background noise.
Cons / It is the heaviest headset we tested and isn’t comfortable for extended wear.
Verdict / The Plantronics Voyager 5200 is the best around-the-ear headset we tested.
Though it’s bulkier than our favorite Bluetooth headsets, the Plantronics Voyager 5200 is intuitively designed and has great sound cancellation. In testing the nine Bluetooth mono headsets side-by-side, our testers preferred smaller, in-ear models, but of the larger devices we tested, the Plantronics Voyager 5200 is the best.
While many headsets we tested use multiple microphones to help filter out background noise, most only use two. Both Plantronics products we tested had more – the Voyager 3200 uses three mics, and the 5200 uses four. The 5200’s extra mics may sound like overkill, but the tech does a good job at isolating your voice and cancelling out environmental sounds, even wind. Plantronics uses something called WindSmart technology to intuitively respond to wind interference for exceptional outdoor performance. Though it does feature a sweatproof outer coating, it is not marketed as a rugged headset like the Jabra Steel.
The Voyager 5200’s audio quality is affected by the fit of the headset. It’s reversible, 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 more difficult to switch out than any other device we tested. Even with size options, testers found it difficult to find a fit comfortable enough to wear for an extended period.
The headset weighs 20 grams and is the heaviest we tested. Stability isn’t much of an issue, as the body of the device wraps around your ear, but some testers couldn’t get the speaker to sit correctly, which affected sound isolation and audio performance. The Voyager’s speaker proved to be one of the loudest in our maximum volume tests, but for regular listening, we had to turn the volume up higher because the ear tips couldn’t form a seal to block out ambient noise.
The bulky Voyager headset takes advantage of its design and has volume control buttons, a voice button, a call button, a power switch, an NFC pairing zone, power and battery indicator lights and a microUSB charging port. The 5200 comes with a USB to microUSB charging cord, but no wall adapter, car charger or portable charging case, though you can purchase these separately. You can also upgrade to the Voyager 5200 UC headset, which is a good business solution for handling conference calls.
The Plantronics Voyager 5200 is one of the best around-the-ear-style headsets we tested. Though heavy and bulky, the Voyager 5200 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 that to hear all your calls.